I Quit My Job Because of My Alopecia

I loved swimming. I was a swimmer and as an adult, I taught swimming classes. I was great at it. Then I started losing my hair. I went bald really quickly. I have Alopecia Universalis. For about a year, I taught swimming with a wig on. Most of the instruction was simple enough that I didn't have to demonstrate for the kids. I chose a stellar student and had him demonstrate.

I wore a really cheap artificial wig. It fooled everyone. I didn't have to deal with comments on my health. I could focus on teaching. However, it was annoying. I wanted to feel the water going through my hair as I was underwater and that didn't happen. It didn't happen because I didn't have hair. 

So, I quit. It wasn't an easy job. I was cold most of time time wearing a bathing suit and standing in the water instructing kids. But I kind of wish that I had the confidence when I was teaching to go without my wig. It is tough when you've lived with hair for 33 years and suddenly you are adjusting to life without hair. 

Views: 1890

Comment by kitkat on May 7, 2018 at 1:40pm

I’m sorry. I had AU when I was 8. It’s been almost 20 yrs for me. I can’t swim and I wanna learn but I’m afraid of swimming or trying to with my wig on. I feel your pain. It’s tough and it sucks. 

Comment by gldean1988 on May 7, 2018 at 1:40pm

I'm a school teacher with AU. I wear wigs, but I go all natural too. I'm not wearing a wig at school today. You would be surprised how understanding or how much people really don't care. Don't let your AU get in the way of LIVING YOUR LIFE

Comment by Ana on May 7, 2018 at 1:48pm

Me too, I have a Alopecia and it's already 25 years but I can't accept it. It's very hard.

I understand very well your pain.


Comment by marypaulinem on May 7, 2018 at 2:02pm

I've chosen to never wear wigs.  Just had to do what was best for myself emotionally.  Very rarely, I'll wear scarves.  If others can't deal with my appearance, so be it.

Comment by gldean1988 on May 7, 2018 at 2:07pm

Actually, if anyone has a problem with the way you look, it is THEIR problem (NOT YOUR PROBLEM!!!!!). 

I really wish you would reconsider teaching swimming. Imagine what a great way to teach kids about life and acceptance. There are all kinds of people in this world, and we need to learn to accept and embrace those differences----now more than ever.

I teach 9th grade, and our English teacher showed me an essay a student wrote about me. They found me inspiring (I'm just a normal person IMHO). You could do so much good. Kids )and everyone else) are battling their own insecurities too, you know

Comment by iammorethanmyhair on May 7, 2018 at 2:10pm

I totally understand where you're coming from Melinda! I too have AU and lost all my hair very quickly. I also had a full head of great hair for 34 years...It's shocking, sucky, and just plan not fare. I know how much it stinks and I'm sorry you're going through it.  I'd also like to say that I too was, sorry AM, a swimmer. I say AM because I decided that I loved to swim too much to let this darn disorder take that from me. I do a combination of things to accomplish swimming. If I'm doing laps or heavy moving around like teaching, I'll wear a swim cap. OR, I'll wear a short wig, OR a halo with a cycling bandana, and a hat. That latter one is what I'll wear to do any working out. Living with alopecia is a very personal journey. Everyone has their own process and timeline for figuring out how to live with it and make the most of your life in spite of it. If I could leave you with one bit of advice, I'd agree with what gldean1988 said. Don't let alopecia get in the way of you living your life. I had to find out who I was all over again and in the process reinvent myself into a better version of me. 

Comment by Finley on May 7, 2018 at 3:05pm

Swimming is certainly a big challenge with alopecia, even once you've sorted the wig situation there's the challenge of brows and lashes. I still feel anxiety when its time to swim, so I can see why you wouldn't want to face that every single day. But I really hope you can find a way to still do what you love, whether that's teaching, or swimming.

Comment by nancy on May 7, 2018 at 3:42pm

Hello Melinda, I wish you all the very best and do understand your frustrations.  I too have AU. I currently go naturel and it's very freeing. People don't judge me. When I first meet people, I take the opportunity  to do a little teaching.   I hope my grand children see that we can face challenges head on (no pun intended). This has been an eye opening experience  for me. I find people to be accepting and will open up about their own challenges. I didn't get to this place one nite but am so glad I did. My own idea of beauty had changed and I'm less critcal, more accepting  of others based on their personality  and talents. I hope you will find it in yourself to accept this condition and learn to  live  every moment you are fortunate to have. 


Comment by Renee on May 7, 2018 at 4:26pm

I bet this happens often.  It's sad but true.  People with alopecia quitting, dropping out, or not participating in things.  God knows I have.  As for the swimming, there are wigs that are for swimming that are either suction cupped on your head or with waterproof adhesive.  These types of wigs might be more expensive though.  I have used swim caps.

    If you have never been to The National Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference, thats a great experience.  The hotel pool is just bobbing with bald heads.  lol.  Its in Arizona in 2 months.  And they will pay for you to go too if you cant affford it through their Scholarship Fund.

    This was a good topic to bring up and reminds me of what the NBA basketball star Charlie Villanueva says.  He says, “I have alopecia, alopecia doesn’t have me”.

Comment by Toxicmosquitoaf on May 7, 2018 at 5:28pm

@Renee, Do they also pay for people to come there, that live outside of USA?


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