I am 20 years old and was diagnosed with alopecia areata back in November. I've always had long hair so I was used to losing a lot of hair when I washed, styled or brushed it but then I noticed a bald spot. My alopecia had a fast time course, I noticed the spot in October, was diagnosed in November and by January, I was almost completely bald. I barely had any time to learn what alopecia was and accept it. Everything was happening so quick,I hid behind messy MESSY spray and powder cover-ups that stained my clothes and pillowcases. I wore clip-on extensions that would ironically pull out hair every night I removed them. Luckily, this all happened in winter so I got away with wearing hats and beanies. I was in denial for a while, thinking it was just a few spots that would grow in on their own. I am pretty outgoing and friendly but had become so distant and antisocial in those 3 months. I kept social contact with people to a minimum, I made all types of excuses to cancel on my friends, I even started skipping classes because I was just so scared someone would notice. I was so miserable and alone, NO ONE knew about my alopecia, not even my family.
I started researching wigs when I came upon Joseph Paris in NYC. Before my appointment with Mr.Paris, I went to a few wig stores to check out my other options. What's funny is that I was going to cancel my appointment with Mr.Paris because I found something that would do in one of the wig stores (which wasn't hard since I have brown straight hair.) I tried canceling with Mr.Paris by saying I couldn't make the time but he was so accommodating and offered to wait til 7pm for me....on a Friday night!! I couldn't say no and since it was a free consultation, I figured why not, maybe I can pick his brain for some wig knowledge.
The difference in experiences between the wig stores and Mr.Paris office was like night and day. In the wig shops I barely got any assistance, I was told by the cashier, what I see on the walls is what I get. And they were very hesitant on letting me try on the wigs. At Mr.Paris' office, I felt like the world revolved around me and my alopecia. Mr.Paris and his staff were so attentive to my needs and answered all my questions with such knowledge and sincerity. I told them about all my troubles of trying to hide my alopecia, the clip-ons, the sprays, everything and they were so understanding. As I was going on and on, something in me clicked and I completely broke down in tears. This was the first time I had cried in front of anyone. I just couldn't stop, it was all so real now. Mr.Paris then confided in me he too had alopecia has a child. At this instant moment, I felt a connection. This wasn't just a fancy shop selling wigs, this was a man who went through it all and understood everything I was going through, because he was in that same position. I can't explain the relief I felt to actually talk to someone who understood. Mr. Paris assured me over and over he would make me a wig that would bring me back to my old self and that would make all my problems subside. Because of the huge impact the alopecia was having on my life, he had the wig rushed and I was to have it by the end of the weekend. I ended up leaving at 8:30PM (wayyyy past store hours) and left with such hope and excitement, but a part of me couldn't help being skeptical. How could he make me look like the old me? I tried on wigs at the other stores, the closest ones were only okay but they definitely weren't 'me.'
When I came in to get my wig, I couldn't believe it. I looked in the mirror and saw ME!! Me before the diagnosis back in November. So much detail was put into my piece that even my fringe bangs were perfect (hairstyler's couldn't even perfect it when I had my real hair.) Since the wig, my life has resumed. I started hanging out with friends and partaking in social activities again. People thought I just had the "winter blues" but little did they know everything I went through the past few months. I'm usually not one to believe in angels and saints but Joseph Paris is a true angel. I do not exaggerate when I say he is the most generous and kind soul I've ever met. The lengths he went to in order to help me, I will never forget. It wasn't just a wig he gave me, he gave me hope, a confidant and my life back. He's also given me a family with his staff and a safe haven in his office. His office is the only place I walk around without my wig and feel comfortable. I don't feel judged and I'm not worried about how I look. Everyone there is so caring and loving. I know every single member of his staff, even his daughter and son-in-law and I adore them all. They're always all so kind to me. Sometimes I like going there to just hang out, it's the one place I can talk openly about my alopecia and be...me, with no secrets.
Who knows where I would be today without Mr.Paris. At one point, I think I was beginning to fall into a depression, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel and my doctor recommended I go see a psychiatrist. But I didn't need drugs and I didn't need to see a psychiatrist, I just needed to look like myself...that's all I needed! I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about my alopecia and it is possible with the wig. To this day, no one has noticed and it's so comfortable, that I even sometimes forget. I am not a big believer in faith but I think it was truly meant to be for me to find Mr.Paris. And to think I was going to cancel my appointment with him!
I know this is a REALLY long post but I just want to help others by sharing my experience and by letting you know you can have your life back and Mr.Paris and his staff can do that for you. I know the feeling and I also know that alopecia doesn't have to control you. They're not trying to monopolize on our hair loss, they truly genuinely are here to help. When you come to Joseph Paris you'll get an amazing wig piece, where the quality and details are so good that celebrities go to him! He has pictures! But more importantly, you'll gain a family of individuals who'll push their limits and do everything they can to help you. The product and people there speak for themselves and since the consultation is at no charge, you have nothing to lose. I highly recommend just dropping by, I did and it completely changed my life. Feel free to ask me anything!! :)