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RL alopecia

RL alopecia

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Published by belgianwaffling
Imagine Life Without Hair, Red, June 2010
Imagine Life Without Hair, Red, June 2010

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Published by: belgianwaffling on Feb 17, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Red/june 2010Red/maRch 2008
calculated recently thatI have been bald or 17 years.Seventeen years? It seemsimpossible. Seventeen o my 35 years, almost hal mylie, without any hair at all – no lashes, brows, leg or arm hair, and certainlyno hair on my head.It doesn’t seem that long. I can stillremember exactly how it elt to stand inmy boyriend’s at and, oddly detached,survey the bedroom oor, every inchcoated with a thick layer o myhair. I remember shaving o theremaining straggly sections amonth later on holiday in Rome.I remember buying my frst wigin desperation rom Selridges,the salesgirls sympathetic, but ata loss how to help. I fnally chose ashoulder-length strawberry blonde bob,ar removed rom my real dark short cropo a ew months previously. I remember the misery o losing my eyebrows and lashes a ew months later, and how muchmore devastating that seemed than losingthe hair on my head. How odd your acelooks without that punctuation, how painully I missed mascara. No-one knows quite what causesalopecia, an immune disorder where the body ceases to recognise hair ollicles,and instead attacks them. Stress is otencited as a trigger and I was certainlystressed ater a frst undergraduate year atOxord, juggling a raught long-distancerelationship and a demanding course.Exhausted, I went to stay with my boyriend in France at the beginning o the summer. Within a week, my hair wascoming out in handuls. Every morning,I would wake, with a distinct sense o unreality, to see my pillow covered in hair.Returning to Oxord two months later with a ginger wig, beuddled withantidepressants, I was still in shock.I never believed or a second, back then, that it might be permanent. I recallvery clearly thinking, when my boyriend  proposed to me a ew years later, thatthere was no way I would ever get married  bald, have children bald, live my lie bald.It seemed inconceivable. Apart romanything else, I couldn’t imagine the photos. I spent the frst two years ater losing my hair in aggressive treatmentwith high doses o steroids intended todampen the immune response thatcauses alopecia. The steroids mademe puy and ravenous. I put on weightand struggled miserably with a salt-ree,calorie-restricted diet to manage theweight gain and high blood pressure,decimating my sel-esteem still urther.There was never any regrowth. Instead,I became acutely bulimic, desperate tocontrol my weight i I could controlnothing else, and battling the eectsthe steroids had on my appetite. I spenta year alternating very restrictiveeating and occasional bingeson junk ood, ollowed by purging, spending wretched hours in college toilets.With excellent, gentle therapy,I managed to break the binge- purge cycles, but my eating remained restrictive or years. Unable to do anythingabout my missing hair, I did everythingI could to eel as attractive, and as incontrol, as I possibly could. Through myfnals and into my early years as a junior lawyer, I ate rigidly, obsessively, spenthuge swathes o my salary on make-upand clothes, exercised religiously, took supplements, gave up alcohol.I look back on that period with hugeregret. I don’t remember having much un,or ever allowing mysel to kick back 
Can you imagine life without hair? as a teenager, emmaBeddington lost all hers (yes, all of it). now 35, she Confessesshe still hasn’t quite Come to terms with it
claudia janke
‘On good days, I’m optimistic:at least I have smooth skin allthe time, no rasp of leg stubble’
‘I i
more than

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