I was wondering...how long does the shedding last? I have diffuse alopecia areata and I'm losing hair on my scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. It's been nineteen months and I can't take this anymore. I am feeling nausea everytime I wash my hair now or see it all come out at the ends of my hair. I see my eyebrows and eyelashes scattered around the bathroom counter every day. Has anyone noticed anything that makes the shedding less? I just started minoxidil because I have lost so much at this point. I know it makes the shedding worse for a while. It"s just so traumatizing seeing a part of your body fall off of you everyday for so long.
I'm so sorry this is happening to you at the moment. Shedding hair is a very stressful circumstance. Not knowing what is going to happen next is even worse. That is the biggest problem with Alopecia Areata, I'm afraid nobody can tell you what is going to happen and when it will happen.
You can't control this so you really need to work out some coping strategies to help you through. Stressing about every hair lost is not going to make you happier, what that does is concentrate your thoughts on the uncontrollable.
If this is causing you to stop living and feel absolutely miserable please seek some professional help. Counselling is a very helpful thing at times like this.
You may also feel that working out alternatives on how you may deal with presenting yourself to those around you may help. Working with scarves, wigs, and make-up may empower you through this horrible time.
I'm sorry I can't give you the answers you desparately want...but do know you aren't alone and I understand how very difficult this is.
Hi Rose Marie, thank-you for replying. It helps to feel I am not alone in this.
My shedding is still going on somewhat. I started the hairloss journey in 2008. My hair now is just straggly and thin, shedding stops, then starts up alittle bit. Nothing like the initial shedding periods (2)Hair everywhere. All over everything, my bed, pillow cases, bath counter, bathroom drawers where I keep my combs and brushes, on my clothing. You name it. You hate to wash your hair, but I found when I let it go two nights, I just shed worse. I guess it appears worse then because it is two days in one, right?
I'm currently dealing with the same thing. It's a terrible feeling seeing it everywhere and not knowing if and when it is going to stop. One thing I've done to help is to tell myself before getting in the shower to wash my hair/ or before I brush it, that my hair is going to come out and to just let that be what it is. Kind of in the same way people dealw ith anxiety. If you allow the feeling to happen and tell yourself, Hey I'm anxious, that's okay, that often calms me fown. Just like with your hair, It's falling out, I'm upset, that's okay. In the past I used to dread washing my hair because I held hope that maybe this time it wouldn't be so bad, but accepting that it may and that I will deal with it really helps take the edge off. I hope this makes sense as I have a hard time putting my thoughts in to words sometimes. :)
Katelyn, I just wanted to say that what you said makes sense, at least to me, because it's how I've tried to deal with it (as well as the anxiety that's either cause or effect of both of this issue!) and it definitely helps, if not all the time, then some of the time.
I understand this is incredibly difficult to go through. I still have emotional breakdowns sometimes when I see how much hair I pull out every time I shower. The thing that has been most helpful in my journey to acceptance is to see other people who have accepted this as a part of their lives and aren't afraid anymore. Watching videos of Gail Porter and her optimism and acceptance really helped. Also reading blogs on this site about those who have recognized this disease as a part of their life and have moved on.
Thank you for all your replies.
I think no person is the same, some shed all the time, others are periodic. Maybe if you truly can't stand it anymore it is time for a short hair cut? This does make it less noticeable. Try to keep some perspective, hair is a renewable part of us and there is a strong chance that it will stop dropping and/or it will grow back. You can choose how you want to handle this, as a victim, or as a strong survivor. Yes it sucks, but you do have power!
I am in my 14 month of diffuse shedding of scalp hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, and I totally understand the feelings you and others describe: the frustration, the helplessness, the fear/anguish over taking a shower or washing your face and knowing what is coming away in your hands (taking showers used to be one of my ways of relieving stress during some very stressful periods earlier in my life--it's sort of ironic how my coping method for stress is now a trigger for more stress!).
I wish I had better/stronger words of encouragement and wisdom to give you, but I am where you are, and find myself struggling with the same emotions. I have changed a few things in my reaction to the losses--I've stopped 'counting' (at least, as consciously as I can) how many lashes or brow hair I lose each day, and I try to get the task of tossing the fallen scalp hair, wherever, whenever it happens as fast as possible. I keep thinking about cutting my hair or buzzing it very short (the irony is, I had a pixie cut for 20 years, before this happened, and it was after deciding to grow my hair and doing so for a few months that my alopecia started...) but so far, I've not taken that step because...I don't know, I think I'm still okay with 'faking' not having issues with creative ways of using scarves as headbands and using caps etc.
Probably the biggest help has been finding this site and reading posts by people like yourself who can understand what I am feeling. It's seems awful to say so, because I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but I feel better knowing there are other people are going through this, and have been dealing with it longer than I have. Someetimes just reading a post or two on this site makes me think, okay, I can do this, I can handle this, if so and so can do it (especially the younger members of this community) the I can too, at least through tomorrow.
Sorry for the rambling but your post really struck a chord with me, especially the way you described it because it's like you took works out of my mouth/mind, and I'm hoping maybe knowing there are (several) others like you, feeling and thinking the same things will, at the very least, help you feel a little better, even if it is temporary.
One other thing, because you asked if anything has made the shedding less...it hasn't made the shedding less but it *has* made dealing with it a little better: I don't know if you are into exercise etc. but I started working out regularly when this started, and as silly as it may sound, pushing my body to achieve things it couldn't do a year ago is making me feel better and more in control. Sort of as if I am showing my body who is boss and I'm fighting back against the control it's trying to have with causing the hair loss. Possibly taking up any new challenge, but especially one that involves something physical, may have had the same effect for me. I'm just putting this out there as an option. I won't like, it was hard going to the gym at first; I thought everyone would be thinking oh look at that girl with the bandana on her head and the weird eyebrows...but now after a year I like to think everyone who may be looking is thinking look at that bad a** girl who is doing military pushups and not breaking a sweat.
I am so sorry for you. The shedding time was the absolute worst for me. After it all was gone I almost felt a sense of relief as I then could face my worst fears. So I bought cute wigs, had my brows tatooed, and tats on my upper lids. It actually feel great NOT to see a hairy bathroom floor. My start to finish was from August to the following March (first spot to totally bald). Shots did not help me nor did Minoxidyll. But everyone is different. Hang in there. You will be OK. And the support here is wonderful. Blessings.
I am in the same place as you...I have been shedding since last Nov and sometimes it bothers me more than others. Thankfully I have a lot of hair, so it is taking a long time for it all to fall out (and knock on wood it WON"T all fall out!), but I used to have really long hair and finally just cut it short. Now, I don't notice it as much and it is easier to brush aside and ignore. It has definitely helped with the anxiety!
When I am feeling anxious about it, I often think about shaving it all off, but for now it is easily disguised...and not even knowing if I will lose it all makes the decision to shave it more difficult!