Friendships – Reach Out To Those You Care About

by admin on August 23, 2010

I’ve always been a private person, definitely more of an introverted personality. I find happiness and solace just being all by myself, never really feeling the need to have to be out and about and socializing. Well, hair loss added to that in a negative way. What once felt like a personal preference now seemed like a prerequisite to my life… solitude and isolation.

There were two monumental, emotionally catastrophic times caused by my hair loss. One was when this began in 1999, and the other crash came in 2007. I was losing my hair the whole time and having bouts of depression the whole way through, but those points mark times where I just sat constantly feeling helpless and completely without any motivation to live life. It’s definitely no coincidence that I created this site in 2007, it was an extremely sad time for me, and if you read my earlier posts you will likely feel the sadness and pain I was going through. I was withdrawn, I submerged myself into the comfort of my keyboard and I began to pour my heart out onto electronic paper. The more I typed, the more I shared, the more I started to feel better. Sharing is incredibly healing; I say it all the time.

During this time, I started to avoid my friends; I was ashamed of how much worse my hair was starting to look. It was thin before, but after having experienced a nonstop massive shedding from the 2 years prior, it was now a complete hopeless mess, and seemingly progressing each day. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I hid. In every sense of the word. I hid. I started avoiding phone calls, text messages and even started to skip the “reply” part of an email I would receive. It was just easier to push that part away (socializing) and focus on communicating and writing to women I met online, women who I knew understood what I was going through, that felt a whole lot safer.

As time passed I started to feel guilty for abandoning the friendships, and I started to feel empty.  I was saddened that I had pushed everyone away just so I wouldn’t have to share my secret and have them see me a way that I didn’t even want to see myself.

I wanted to reconnect, but how? So much time has passed. What do you say? Where do you pick up? “Hi, how are you… I’ve been balding for over a decade and it’s made me miserably depressed, sorry I didn’t call you back,” that just didn’t have the flow or direction I was hoping for.

I wrote emails, apologizing and explaining what has transpired in my life, or more appropriately put… what took over my life. I went out to lunch with someone else, and burst into tears over my jambalaya. I was scared, I felt vulnerable, but I was received with such love and understanding. I wasn’t judged. All that I had built up in my head of how no one would understand, was really just in my head. I also think when you share such a deeply personal part of your life with others; it can deepen and grow your friendship.

Make no mistake, this is still very much a secret of my life, but I told a few people I very much care about, and I don’t regret it. I know in writing with lots of women on this site, that others have also lost touch with their friends, and in some cases family, and I want to tell you… Your friends, your REAL friends, are still there, waiting for you to reach out. If you want to reconnect, make the choice, and decide how you feel most comfortable – phone, in person, email, telegram :) and do it.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicki August 23, 2010 at 7:52 pm

This is great advice – real advice – that we all need to take to heart on many levels. It’s so important to have good friends to help you through a tough time. To distract you. Or just listen, be there. You now who they are, don’t let them go!
Thanks for posting this, Y.

Jeni August 24, 2010 at 1:58 am

My hair loss has taken a major turn for the worst this year, and what’s making it even worse for me is feeling like my friends and family don’t understand. My boyfriend is helping me, but my parents keep telling me I’m overexaggerating how much hair I’ve lost this year, and I’m “making up” the fact that giant clumps of hair fall out every day. My friends don’t seem to understand because none of them are going through this and they can’t put themselves in my shoes. They have more important things to worry about, and can’t understand that this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me and how horrible I feel. The idea of making new friends right now seems too daunting:(

Anne August 24, 2010 at 4:12 am

I am having that problem right now…. I just want to crawl up in a ball and stay there… My husband does not understand and wants things “back to normal.” Ugh…. Sorry, honey – I don’t see that happening… I don’t know what normal is anymore…. I’ve also notice – TV Shows – all these BEAUTIFUL people on there – I used to look at their faces – now all I don’t is check out their hairline. What’s up with that? I never used to do that! After being diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia earlier this month – I am a basket case. I’ve had to go on anti anxiety pills – I am very careful and don’t abuse them… I hated even having to get them! I’m just scared of what the future holds – I’m doing okay now – I can “hide” my scalp (so far). But, I worry about what’s going to happen months/years from now… I just want this hopeless feeling to go away – as I’ve been told “it’s not life threatening and it’s only hair.” WHY THEN do I mourn it so much if it’s only hair! I KNOW there are people out there with real problems and life threatening illnesses, which makes me feel even worse making such a big deal out of this – I want to be happy again!!! Please let me be happy again…

I have a haircut today and I’m scared of what she will say – she hasn’t seen me since “the great shed” – It feels like I’ve lost 1/2 of my hair in the past month… It’s embarrassing and I wonder what she will think…. Wish me luck… God Bless…..

Donna August 24, 2010 at 4:57 am

I never in a million years would think I would loss all my hair , when I look at the picture from my girlfriends wedding it really hurts…..I always had very thick long hair , that was 1997 and now I am competely bald.My husband and friends and my daughters are very supportive of me . I wear a wig everyday for the last 3 years , hope one day they will start to grow back and I pray every night for GOD to help me make it through this ordeal.

I feel ashamed , depressed and awful inside like I really did something wrong in my life. My husband ,God Bless him , tries to find different things that might be the cause around the house , like mold and mildew and different things but nothing seems to help. I took Zinc vits. daily thinking I could boost my immune system , because the Dr. told me that is were the problem lies . I had gone out to Hershey Medical Center to a Dr. there for 3 years and all he gave me was some type of crap to rub on my head which made my sick and made my lympdnodes swollen in my neck , so I have stopped using that . I tried different things but no good results. I’m glad I can vent to other woman with the same problem and I think we all fell the same inside and out . Someday someone will find something to help all of us I hope. There is always HOPE. Donna B.

Anne August 24, 2010 at 6:16 am

My problem is – it is ALL I talk about with my friends/family – I feel like they are just sick to DEATH of hearing about it – my husband included – it is consuming my mind/brain/body 24/7 ! HOW do I stop that??? – I don’t want to be the type of person who calls a friend/family member and they see my phone number on their Caller ID and don’t pick up….

Any/all suggestions are welcome!!! God Bless…..

Autumn August 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

I completely understand what all of you are saying! I’m trying to slowly reconnect w/friends but their lives just seem to be so great, exciting, and busy unlike mine now. I can truly relate Anne…I feel consumed by this & truly don’t know how to stop. I hate being a downer..a burden..to anyone! This is definitley NOT how I pictured my life in my early 20’s! Where o where did that thick hair go! I just don’t feel like myself anymore! Feel like my youth was yanked out from underneath me! I just keep hoping & praying for a miracle for all of us!

Anne August 24, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Well, got my hair cut today – turned out pretty good and the gal that cuts my hair was pretty sympathetic to my telling her that I was diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia… She gave me a little touch on my shoulder and said “it will be alright”… I then OF COURSE choked up and said “I hope so…” So, that was that….

I did want to say a couple of things…. I saw on one post here that someone felt “shame” with their hair loss. I guess there are many emotions I feel with it: anger, sadness, depression, anxiety and I’m sure there are more, but I can’t think of them at this moment… Shame is NOT one of them. (To me) shame means you did something to someone or something and then feel bad about it…. THAT, to me is shame… NO ONE (in my opinion) should feel shame about their hair loss. They did NOT do anything wrong and should not feel the emotion of shame…. So, ladies – put shame away for another time when you DESERVE to feel it, okay? Don’t feel it for your hair loss….

Another thing – I’ve noticed on this website there seems to be a lot of younger ladies on here with this problem. I have to be honest, I turned 53 this summer and I don’t ever remember when I was 30 years younger, in my 20’s – seeing women/girls my age having hair loss. What do you think is happening? I’m not one for conspiracy theories – but something just doesn’t seem right to me…. AND maybe back when I was in my 20’s a lot of girls/women weren’t on birth control – as that “seems” to be a contributing factor? I do think we have a lot more additives to our foods, etc. – a lot more hormones, etc. … AND MEDICATIONS!!! God knows a lot of us are on something for depression, anxiety! I don’t know what the answer is – but I truly believe “something has changed…” What do you think? ?? God Bless…..

kaye August 25, 2010 at 3:22 am

Donna B. You say you went to hershey med. ctr.. do you live in pa? I live in maryland.. Just a thought, maybe we can meet for lunch and get to know one aother help one another? If you would like email me and we can make arrangements. I know I would like it alot to have someone whom understands to be friends with. browneyes01177@hotmail.com. My name is Kaye, ((((Hugs))))

Helen August 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I have to be honest, I turned 53 this summer and I don’t ever remember when I was 30 years younger, in my 20’s – seeing women/girls my age having hair loss. What do you think is happening?

I’m 43, myself, so I’ve observed much the same periods.

I think that 30 years ago, women with severe hair loss hid to a much greater extent than we do now. It was also less common then to see blind people walking by themselves, people in wheelchairs, lost limbs, kids with Down’s syndrome, and so on and so on, pretty nearly infinitely… not that all of these people weren’t around, they were just hidden a lot. Basically, infirmity in general is no longer considered something to be shunned. Well, not so much, at least. Awareness has grown enormously!

I do also think that illnesses, especially allergies and autoimmune problems, are in fact increasing, for a host of reasons not really relevant here. But I believe that the primary reason we literally see more of them, including hair loss, is that people with health issues don’t feel so societally constrained to stay home anymore as was the case 30 years ago. We’re also – as a society, speaking very generally – more open to talking about these things.

We might want to hide, ourselves, as noted in the piece! And I’ve certainly done this, too. But it doesn’t make me feel like I’m inherently abnormal, as it might have in the past.

louise hooper August 26, 2010 at 12:05 am

i just wanted to say its really helped me looking at some articles that people have written. I lost my hair just over a week ago, i just got up one morning with a full head of hair, washed it as normal and as i was shampooing i noticed it was getting all knotty and tangled and as i ran my fingers through it it just fell away in big clumps i thought i was dreaming and that i would wake up. I dryed and styled as usual, it didnt seem any thinnner when i looked in mirror so i thought it was just one of those things and the next day it happened again and the next and i looked in mirror and had the most awful shock and bellyache that it was thin on top and everyday since it has fallen out until now today i have to go get a wig because i cannot go out anymore without a hat or scarf. Ive had blood tests done which came out all clear so im like well where do i go from here?? i have no anwers, how can i get it back if i dont know whats caused it??

Anne August 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Hi Helen:

THAT is exactly what my husband told me today – people talk MORE about things and are much more open about issues then they were years ago… God Bless….

Beth S. August 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Louise – I was thinking about your sudden hair loss. Did you have a major illness or some type of surgery three months back? From all my years of reading everything I could about hair loss, I have learned that a “shock to the system” can take about three months to express itself as sudden hair loss (telogen effluvia). In other words, what you are experiencing now, could be the result of something that took place three months ago. If this is the case, it will soon stop and grow back. Just wondering ….

Beth S. August 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I am in my fifties and have been dealing with hair loss since the age of twenty. I can relate to all these comments especially Jeni who says that people tell her she is exaggerating. Well, people used to say things to me like, “I was being so silly” and “no one else notices,” etc. Well, it’s all bull. You know if you are losing your hair and other people DO notice, but it is also true that other people won’t like you any less, or care about it anywhere near as much as you yourself will. And to Anne, I was once in the same exact place you are. Friends and family members weren’t put off by my hair loss, they just couldn’t stand my obsessing about it to them all the time. You just have to FORCE yourself to talk about something else with people even though its all you can think about 24/7. One way to do this, is to encourage other people to talk about themselves and take the focus off of you. I don’t know how old you are, but the only thing I can tell you from experience, is that as you age, it gets easier. Going bald in your twenties or thirties feels “freakish”, but once you get to be fifty, there will be a lot of other women in the same boat. I promise you that time may not grow hair, but it will help you heal. Try to stay in the present and peace be with you.

Sandra August 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Thank you for revealing your feelings and letting us know that this is all a normal part of our emotions for those of us losing hair. Hair shed is an emotionally charged experience that drains us mentally, socially, and physically. Like all of you, I’m having a difficult time finding support from those around me. At this time I feel like withdrawing from all social interactions too, but ironically it is at this time when we need the love and support from those we care about. I hope in time I also will learn to be at peace with what I have and heal emotionally from all this.

Anne August 30, 2010 at 3:50 am

Beth S.

THANK YOU for your words of encouragement – they are so appreciated! I turned 53 this summer…. I have always took pride in the fact that I didn’t have to dye my hair – it’s darker, with just a few silver hairs here and there. I thought maybe I was being punished for being “proud” that I didn’t have to dye my hair… I don’t think God would punish me for that? I am REALLY trying not to talk about it to family – especially my husband – he is REALLY sick of hearing about it – even though it’s all I think about….. I pray for strength and OF COURSE for my hair back – I don’t think that will happen, however…. Again, thank you and I hope we will all find peace in our own way…. God Bless…

Anne August 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Hello Y~

I copied/pasted the article below – it was from 2007. Even though this article is three years old – I feel you were talking to ME, directly! This was an article about a girl (Brooke) trying to help out her sister, who was diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia. I was diagnosed with this condition 2 weeks ago today. It has changed my life – not for the better, I must say. Everything seems “clouded”… Things I’ve enjoyed in the past, aren’t fun anymore… I am pretty depressed about it….

I always hunt around this site and read articles from the archives and I came across the one below. … What a wonderful response to a sister who is trying to understand what her sister is going through…. It has helped me understand that I am mourning hair that I haven’t lost yet! I must try to keep positive and enjoy what I have NOW…. And when the time comes, if I must get a wig- then so be it…. God Bless you, Y and thank you for the website……

Hi Brooke-

I’m so sorry to hear that your sister is having such a hard time right now. I think every woman on this blog can relate to the feelings she is going through. I know she is feeling that her fate is sealed and she will end up being a bald woman. Not true. I’ve lived with my hair loss for 8 years and while it has been a struggle I’ve learned to accept a lot more than I ever thought I was capable of. I do have very thin hair now that has rapidly progressed due to what I feel was a totally separate issue causing the excess telogen effluvium these last 2 years. But still with some effort on my part I go out into the world even with the very thin hair I have now and get by. Your sister has so much more hair now than she even realizes, a diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia doesn’t mean your hair will all fall out tomorrow. It is for the most part a slow process that takes place over time. Like Dr. Price mentioned, the hair grows back after it has been shed but just grows in thinner. Hair loss treatments are aimed at slowing and even reversing this miniturization process down even further and keeping more of the hairs in an anagen phase for a long period of time. I understand where your sister is emotionally and honestly you are already doing everything you can for you.

It takes a long time to gain what I call “hair loss maturity” where it just becomes part of your daily routine and you learn to accept your current state of hair. Of course it still bothers me, and I still cry about it at times but I am able to deal with it a whole lot better than I did when I first started losing my hair, even through I have tremendously thinner hair. If you would have shown me a picture of myself today, 8 years ago and said this is what you will look like after 8 years of hair loss I would have totally freaked out and probably locked myself away. But that is only because I was use to having so much hair and wasn’t willing to give up or accept myself any other way. I didn’t realize that you can get by with thinner hair, plenty of women have naturally thin hair and have never lost a hair in their life. I had to learn to not hold on so tight and to be willing to let go… let go of the image and pictures of me with ridiculously thick hair and accept the new me with thin hair. I wrote this in a past post titled “At What Point Do We Let Go?” :

“When I first started losing my hair 8 years ago, I used to pray and pray that I would recover completely from whatever ailment or messed up hormone was causing me to lose my hair and that it would all grow back. As the years went by my attitude changed and I started pray that I could just keep what I had and have it stop falling out. More years past, and I started pray that I could be given strength to mentally deal with my hair loss and move on. That is where I am today. Oh course I want my hair back, I always keep hope that things may turn around, but ultimately I really want to learn how to accept myself as I am, today.”

I think that pretty much sums of the evolution of the way my attitude changed after living with hair loss for so many years. I want your sister to know that her diagnosis of having androgenetic alopecia, is just that a diagnosis. It doesn’t imply that she will be a bald woman, it doesn’t imply that she’ll lose all her hair this week, next month or next year. It is a condition a lot of women life with. Some women are naturally more optimistic and better at dealing than others, that wouldn’t have been me. I took it HARD and I missed out on a lot of my 20’s (I’m 29) because of it. It was needless too, looking back I had so much more hair than I ever realized even when I was in the deepest throws of shedding. I don’t want your sister to be like I was. I want her to enjoy the hair she has TODAY. Hair loss is something we have to life with and deal with, but we get a vote in our attitude and how we view our situation. We can be bitter, which I was for many years, or we can realize that all we can do is the best we can with what we have today, and when that is no longer enough we can choose to add hair to our own or wear a very natural undetectable human hair wig.

Life isn’t over. It’s only beginning. There is no doubt that having hair loss has made me a better person. I’m more understanding, more compassionate and more accepting, I work on trying to appreciate the things I am very fortunate to have today, things other people don’t. I am more patient as well, waiting for your hair get some regrowth after a shed is a slow process. I realize none of this will be of real help to your sister now because it probably all seems so sudden and definite for her. But she’ll get better, she has a wonderful sister by her side :)
Give your sister a big hug, hold her tight. Let her cry on your shoulder. Just be there. Unfortunately I don’t think there is anything you can really say to make her feel better. Just listen. I also understand your sister not wanting to visit the site, sometimes it just too overwhelming. The site will be here when your sister is ready and I look forward to hearing from her and having the opportunity to write to her directly.

~Y

admin September 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Thank you all for taking the time to respond, it means a lot and I appreciate all your words.

@Anne – I am so glad that this site has helped you, at the very least, to know you aren’t alone in this, and truly I think that is such a big part of our despair, (or at least mine was anyways) to think we are the only ones this is happening to.

I’ve lived with this now for 11 years, something that hit me when I was 21. I would often question why.. why… Did I cheat on a test? Did I tell a lie? Why me? I would ask God, “Why take the very thing you gave me that was so amazing?” I had a mountain of hair.. too much hair to manage, if we can all even imagine that. LOL. Too MUCH hair. There has been a youth I’ve felt lost (my 20’s) and for which I have mourned greatly over (and I’m STILL YOUNG). When all the treatments have failed us, we have to dig a little deeper, to a place that many people probably never venture to in their lives… a place of real acceptance and understanding that life is more than what is on our heads, on our face, the extra fat around our waist. We are so much more than any of that. We get one life… this is it. We choose how the story goes from here.

I know it’s all easier said than done, and I struggle still to this day. The difference I have now.. Awareness, and a *greater* acceptance. It’s a journey for sure :)

XOXO

~Y

Anne September 12, 2010 at 4:45 am

I know what you are saying about “life is more than what is on our heads.” I just wish I could get that THROUGH my head, everyday! What a roller coaster ride this has been – and it’s ONLY been a month since I was diagnosed with AGA… One thing I must say though, Y – and I don’t want to get “too” hopeful, is I have noticed a little bit of hair growth on the top of my head! I was so excited to see it! AS I SAID though – I am “cautiously” optimistic about this – and the ONLY reason why, is I have stopped taking Prilosec (Omeprazole) in early June. My son was on it and could not believe the hair he was losing – he too is now off of this drug. My sister was on Prevacid – she TOO was losing hair LIKE CRAZY! These drugs are called (PPI’s) – Proton Pump Inhibitors – for acid reflux. NO ONE else in my family took these drugs and no one else has hair loss like me. The hair loss DID start with the starting of these pills – (2001)…. But, then there is that “dreaded diagnosis” of AGA. THAT keeps my hopes in the toilet… I want to be hopeful, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high… Anyway, all of these PPI’s (Nexium, Omeprazole (Prilosec), Prevacid,) – check out the side effects, Y and you will see “hair loss” is on them…. THANK YOU again for all your encouragement… Take Care and God Bless…. Anne xox

Anne September 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

Y~

I just wanted to say to you again “Thank You” – you are wise beyond your years… I just had my 53rd birthday this summer and I hurts to be going through this – I am SO SORRY you and all the other younger ladies are going through this at your age… It certainly is not fair – but as all things in life – some things just aren’t fair…. I hate that we are all having this happen to us – especially when we don’t get a lot of support at home. As I’ve said before, my husband really doesn’t want to hear about it… ANY MORE…. So, that is why I appreciate coming on this website and reading/sharing/crying with all of you ladies…. May God grant us all the strength and acceptance to get through this…. I am not there…. yet….

sue April 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

i want to start by saying that i’m so happy that i have found this website. i’ve been dealing with thinning hair for almost three years . i can’t pinpoint a specific time that it happened. i used to have long, thick hair for my entire life. three years ago, i noticed that my hair was falling out much more than normal. at first i didn’t do anything, but after awhile it did become more noticable. i went to an endocrinologist in town, and he prescribed for me dexamethasone and spironactone. he did this after my blood test revealed that i have an overabundance of dht. for awhile it seemed to help, but i was still shedding. he told me that he was going to cut my dosages and to use rogaine. i was afraid that his advise would make the situation worse, considering i was still shedding. my hairdresser was reading a book published by a doctor named geoffrey redmond in ny. the book was about hormones, and different degrees of hairloss, and treatments. the book seeemed like it was tailored for me. i made an appointment to see this doctor in ny, and he prescribed for me aldactone, propecia and an estrogen patch called vivelle dot. i expressed concern because on the packaging of the patch it states that one of the side effect is hair loss. he assured me that wouldn’t happen. well guess what, it did. i paid this man $750. out of pocket to lose even more hair. when i called back, he said by increasing the dose of the patch, that should correct the problem. it hasn’t. he has told me that my hair loss is due to genetics, but no one in my family has thinning hair, male or female. i’m upset because i can’t find a reputable doctor to treat my hair loss, and i would never even consider going back to this man. reading the stories that have been posted, makes me realize that i’m not the only person on the planet going through this. my heart goes out to everyone that is dealing with the same problem. unless you’re dealing with the same issues, you can never understand what it’s like. thank you ladies for sharing your stories with me, and for accepting me to this wonderful site. if anyone could recommend a compassionate doctor in nj, please, i would appreciate it. thank you and bless us all.

Leave a Comment

Join the Women's Hair Loss Project Network to meet other women
with hair loss. Share your thoughts, comment, rant, rave, laugh, cry...communicate. Click To Join
Just Launched - Join the NEW Forum for The Women's Hair Loss Project. If you are already an existing member of the Network then you already have an account set up and will need to use the Reset Password link to enable your forum account. Click To Join

Previous post:

Next post: