I have always had low self esteem. In 2003, I decided to lose weight and get healthy so I started exercising and eating right. I lost 100 pounds in 8 months and felt great. Soon after though, I started experiencing low blood pressure and low blood sugar and alot of food intolerances. I also experienced depression and felt likesomething was chemically off somewhere in my body. I went to the doctor and he started me on Wellbutrin. After 2 weeks of taking it, I had severe hair loss, so I stopped it immediately. My hair texture changed and since then, I have periods of intense diffuse shedding that never seems to recover. I am left with hair that feels like cotton candy and have to use concealer and style certainways to hide my loss.
I use to be so active, I love to run and play basketball. Now, Im scared to move for fear that my "secret" will be out. I feel so ugly and ashamed. I feel like a part of me has died. My life is being altered in so many ways.Some days I feel like I just want my life to be over. Someone please help me to get past this.........

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Have you gotten a wig? As much as it sucks having to buy one (my insurance didn't cover it--apparently cancer is the only valid reason to buy a wig according to those jerks), it helps a little bit with the whole "not letting your secret out."

The other thing I was going to say was...why does your alopecia have to be a secret? I let pretty much everyone I knew, even complete strangers, know about it. There were sometimes that I didn't let someone know--for example, when I was substitute teaching 30+ elementary/high schoolers...but most of the time it's not a big deal. Everyone I have talked to has been pretty understanding, and they are even intrigued and want to know more about it.

One of the most fun experiences I had with this whole alopecia condition was...well, I was going to the lunchmeat counter at our local grocery store. For about a month, this same guy kept commenting on my "stupid Redsox hat," and I would just say "hey, it's just a hat."

Each week he would ask if I played baseball, why I was wearing a Redsox hat and not a Yankees hat, then the last time he finally asked, "Why do you wear a baseball hat if you don't even like baseball?" So I took my hat off and said "Because I've lost about 95% of my thick, long hair, and it helps me hide that fact. But it's not a big deal, right?" He felt terrible. He apologized about one hundred times, and then walked into the backroom because he felt so bad.

So, maybe I was being an asshole...but guess what...after that I felt really good about myself. Two days later, I had the courage to go to the local barber shop and had them cut off the scraggly bits I had left. I didn't have them completely shave my head, but enough so it was more even (well, not really, it was still mainly bald scalp with a little bit of hair). For me, letting people know about my alopecia made it easier for me not to feel like I needed to keep it hidden.

Yes, I still had very low self-esteem when it came to being in public places, or going anyplace windy with my hat/wig...but when more people are aware of alopecia, it's a lot easier to deal with it. The major motivator for me was people asking why I was wearing a Redsox hat. Pretty much everyone, even friends of mine who didn't know about it, got the response "Oh, I'm wearing the hat because my hair started to fall out a few months ago and there's pretty much nothing left. Want to see?" So I would show them and they'd ask a lot of questions, and it was fine.

If it makes you feel better, or just more uniform, go buy a wig. I got mine from a cancer-patient image kind of place at the local hospital. They also have eyebrows and eyelashes if you've got AU. Another thing I did was started looking for alternative treatments, since the Western medical field knows nothing about alopecia. I've been doing acupuncture and chinese herbs (combined with a medicine called "anthralin" from JohnsHopkins), and I've seen great results. My hair has come back in pretty thick. I still have the chance of it falling out again, but the eastern medicine doctors (the ones I have found) are very interested in trying new things and helping you. It's an entirely different perspective than the Western doctors.

Or you can buy some Redsox hats and then increase awareness of Alopecia that way. It as entertaining after a couple of months.

I know it's hard, but you'll be fine. There's no reason to hide in the house. That just makes your skin really pasty and your eyes will hurt when you have to go outside again!

Where are you located? If you are close maybe we could meet up sometime soon and go up to my grocery store and wear some redsox hats together

I coild not live with it. You have long hair as well, right? So you should know this feeling 

I just can't accept myself with this thin something... I was my hair. My amazing helathy thick long hair. Even now I cry every time I'm mentioning what I had and what I left with now. It's not only sucks, it's impossible to overcome for me. 

I don't date and don't go outside. I extremely miserable and ashamed of my hair. Everybody moticing my bold spot and it make me feel so desprate I literally every day have suicidal thoughts... 

What you are going thru is normal. But you have to stand up and say the heck what the world believes. This is something that takes time. you can always use things to cover your head but that does not change what is in your heart. I do my own hair thru a process that I have come up with and it alleviates the whole wig issue and if you look at me noone would know that I have alopecia. I look like everyone else
The last thing you should feel is ashamed. Who cares if you have hair or not! What does hair make you? A better person? People will care more about you if you have the latest hairstyle? If they do, they aren't worth it. I always thought no one will want to be with me with no hair..but you know what. the person who loves yOU, WILL LOVE YOUR NO HAIR, WILL BE PROUD OF YOU. sCREW THE OTHERS, HAIR IS NOTHING!
I wanted to add that if we start giving up on the things we love, our lives become joyless.

We have to think outside of the box and figure out how we can still do the things we love.

For me, I went to the gym and my wig got caught in a machine and almost came off. I went home and kept wondering how I was going to handle this. I loved going to the gym and did not want to stop. At the time I thought I would have a hard time with the questions, so when my gym membership expired, I started at a new gym. The very first day I went in, I went in with a bandana. From that day forward everyone at that gym knew me with a bandana. Even though at that time, I was still wearing wigs everywhere else.

Susan, what are your options? What can you do? Is there really no way that you can still run or play basketball with your hair condition? Options give us power.
I totally agree with Cheryl. For years, I have worn wigs, hats, and scarves, and I find that the older I get, the less tolerant I am of having things on my head. I still like my scarves, but I also enjoy the freedom of just having to get up and get dressed and walk out the door -- no styling of hair or wigs, no tying of the scarf -- just go!

I will admit, I fall into these spells of depression as well -- and then I get mad at myself for getting upset and sad over something that is not going to change. Now that I am approaching 30, I think I have finally come to the point where I just say to hell with alopecia! I shaved my head last night (had to get rid of the new growth, LOL) and I will be posting a picture later today showing everyone what it looks like! I dressed in all girly pink and did my makeup and found some matching earrings so the whole look is real cute! And once again, my fan club at work has gone out of their way to tell me how pretty I was!

The biggest lesson I learned when my father passed away is that tomorrow is not promised to anyone -- and that we should all live life like today is our last day here. In the end, how you deal with your depression about your alopecia begins and ends with you. What makes you more comfortable, wearing a scarf, a hat, or a wig? Why exactly are you ashamed? Did you ask for alopecia to rear her ugly head (pun intended) in your life?? Living a life filled with shame and embarrassment about your hair loss is kinda like being angry all the time -- it doesn't change anything and in the end you waste a lot of energy on something that isn't going to change.

I would also ask if you are a woman of faith. My grandmother taught me from a very young age about the power of prayer -- faith does move mountains, and my grandmother always saw my alopecia as a test of faith for me. God doesn't put any more on us than we can bear, and I still think that God is using this test to prepare me for something spectacular -- as long as I don't let go of His hand as I go through this, I know I will be just fine!

I hope my words provide you with some comfort and strength. Feel free to message me anytime if you need to talk.

No, it's not true 

It feels like God makes fun of me. Like I'm the least loved child of his and he's just take everything from me. I've been punished but with no reason. And I see all these girls around who live much more sinful lifes and do a lot of bad things but their health in compare to mine  are amazing, and their heads are full of hair! 

I just started wellbutrin a month ago because of the alopecia (caused depression in me also). I didnt read anywhere that it causes hairloss though. I also lost 70 lbs back in 2000. You should feel great abou that!! I always used to hide behind my hair because I was heavy..but now, I dont have to ..(good b/c I dont have any to hide behind anymore). All of my hair came out in Oct of '07...so Im new at this..and its tough..Im right there with ya! Hang in there...get active again..and be proud of your acomplishments! 100 lbs is a lot!! good work!
Lee, That is a great point about not hiding behind other problems because of your hair loss. I had a similar event where I was blaming all of my problems on my hair loss and not other factors I was neglecting! Fortunatelly some good friends helped me get it through my head that I could take control of other factors of my life and focus on that rather than something I couldn't change.

Depression and alopecia are two different disease. Hair loss might have been a trigger event in your depression but for the moment, if you have depression, get well with the depression. You'll then be able to deal with alopecia after.

I'm saying that because I've had suffer from a major depression few years ago. In my case, the trigger event was years of infertility and fertility treatments. Just to give you an idea of how I was: eating, taking a shower, even just sign my name was a challenge; thinking about what has driven me to that state was far beyond my capacity. I even had difficulties speaking. I've had suicidal idea. I was extremely ashamed of myself, of my body, of everything related to me.

For the moment, surround yourself with positive person, positive things...when negative idea came to you, try to focus on something else.....have you try yoga or relaxation, meditation? For me, it was of great help.

I wish you all the best and believe me, things will get better.


PS: English is a second language for me so my post might not sound as warm and optimistic as it could be if it was written in French, which is my mother tong....
Granted, depression and alopecia are two different diseases; however, it is not uncommon for one to trigger the other. While the alopecia will come and go, the ability to come to terms with that aspect in itself will go a long way towards helping to deal with your depression. Focus on the victories in your life -- your weight loss is something to be celebrated, and alopecia should not stop you from doing the things that you love to do!!! You are in my prayers, as is everyone on this site!!!
Wow...I just read this post plus all the incredible responses! I am just again present to the amazing clarity, compassion, wisdom, understanding and love that can truly be gifts that come from having this condition we call Alopecia Areata :-)

Keep Shining!



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