Dealing with the Psychological Challenges of Hair Loss—Fear and Acceptance
When I started this blog months ago, I tried to tackle the feelings, questions, and frustrations that most all women deal with as they go through the process of realizing that they will lose their hair—forever. I would expect the feelings and process is very similar for men as well.
After writing my blog, getting feedback from real wig-wearing women, and learning from those experiences, I wanted to share what I have learned in the hopes that it will help someone out there who is reading this.
Not all hair loss is forever, of course. There are many reasons a person can lose their hair. The shock, loss, and the necessity to learn coping skills are just as traumatic whether you think the loss is temporary or permanent when it first happens.
At first, you may notice a little thinning, then more, and there is hair in the brush and hair in the shower—much more than you have ever seen. Now, you panic. What could be wrong with you? And then it begins, the search for answers, trips to the doctor or doctors. Some get that diagnosis that they dreaded most. They are told that their hair will continue to fall out and it will never grow back. As we know many conditions can cause this, so I won’t go into all that here. I was disappointed in my experience with the medical community. In the end, I had to be my detective, comforter, advisor, because no one had answers for me.
Once I figured out my issue and made my own diagnosis from my research (good research, not from the weird internet sites and YouTube), I felt better. While I didn’t want it to be true, at least I had an answer of sorts and knew it was time for the next step. That is where I found the world of wigs.
Since I had a background in research, I began to research wigs the same way I had researched hair loss. Once I settled on the right wig for me, it didn’t take me long to get over the fact that I was now a wig-wearer—every day. Very soon in the process, I stopped thinking about it and wondered if anyone could tell. The only looks and compliments that were coming my way were all about how much they liked my color, cut, etc. I never told anyone outside my immediate family and best friend. No one. I had more than one person every week ask me who did my hair. I knew then that I had found the right wig, and then was able to branch out as time went on and I gained confidence in my ability to pick the best styles, color, brand, cap, etc.
The challenges will be different for everyone. The acceptance process will be different for everyone also. No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, or always confident or not so much, losing one’s hair is a huge issue. Your hair has been with you all your life, it has been a part of your identity, the way people see you, and who they think you are to some degree. You’re the girl, lady, woman with the long brown hair and silly laugh, or the person with the cute blonde pixie and full of energy. People see you and your hair is part of it. Now your hair is betraying you—your body is betraying you. How you deal with that can make a big difference in your life, but you will need to deal with that, and how you do that will depend not only on the reason for your hair loss but how much support you have. I am not a psychologist, but one of my best friends is, and I didn’t even talk to her about my experience for a long time, and after I had dealt with it all myself. If you have someone to talk to it can help, even if they know nothing about wigs. Wigs are done so well now that there is no reason for you to ever tell anyone that you are wearing a wig unless you want to do that. Ask for help if you need it, that is the most important thing.
Until next week,