When I was first diagnosed with Alopecia, I felt like someone put a curse on my happy, little life. Did I accidentally step on someone’s toe and they decided that this was the best way to smite me? I don’t know, but trying on wig, after wig, after wig to camouflage my rapid hair loss was surely a curse on its own.
My struggle with alopecia began after the birth of my daughter. Six months of breastfeeding had wreaked havoc on my body; what started as light shedding quickly turned into full-blown balding. At first, I chalked up the hair loss to post-partum hormones, but such a large volume of hair fell out with each brushstroke that I soon realized that I wasn’t dealing with typical post-baby shedding. Why was this happening to me? Covering up the bald spots became my prime objective but struggling to cover where your tresses have fallen out in clumps, truly sabotages your self-esteem.
We, women, are surely cursed in this current society. We’re supposed to care about our appearance, but also not be defined by it. But when it comes to our hair, there is for sure a lot of significance attached to it. Being forced to hide under wigs took a toll on my self-confidence but I wasn’t going to stay in that brokenness. I wanted to do research on Alopecia to learn if and how to cure it. I know I was never forced to wear wigs, but hair is what makes most women feel like a woman, and I wanted to feel feminine again.
While I was researching to grasp the reality that is Alopecia, I learned that there weren’t any existing cures, but that didn’t stop my healthy obsession with research that continues to this very day. Doctors recommended corticosteroid injections and other steroids that came in the form of creams, gels, and ointments for my scalp. I’ve tried them all, but I wasn’t too keen on directly injecting such potent steroids into my scalp, especially when I was fully aware of the side effects it may cause.
So, it was back to the wigs. Anyone who has worn a wig knows they aren’t something that you can just put on and go. You must fit them, trim them, wash them, and if you’re making a custom wig, you have to pick the right density, the right cap, the right color, and the list goes on, and on and on just so it can look somewhat natural. This was a frustrating and excruciating process and I didn’t want to be a part of it. These wigs weren’t who I was. Who I am. I didn’t want to suffer silently under itchy, stiff wigs forever. I would beg God to please, please just let my hair grow in long enough to rock an old Halle Berry Short hairstyle. I didn’t care if it wasn’t super long again, I just wanted to style my hair when I wanted, and not buy multiple wigs for different styles. I started to lose myself; I didn’t feel like the confident, lively Nikki I once was. I was just a shell of her.
Let me clarify that I do indeed love wigs, but I did not love feeling like they were my only option. I’ve always liked weaves, extensions and wigs, but being “forced” to wear them to feel feminie and confident was a hard pill for me to swallow. I also had to learn to find and invest in quality wigs. They make a huge difference on the comfort and confidence level.
But as we all know, time waits for no one. I didn’t have time to be depressed or give up, my mom taught me better than that. I was managing a multi-million-dollar property for work, managing a household, learning how to be a mother, while learning about my condition. Even though there was no time in my schedule for research, I stopped praying that my hair would grow long and stopped questioning why it was happening to me. I stopped asking “why” and started asking “how”. How can I have a deeper understanding of Alopecia?
The moment that I realized that I was still Nikki was the moment that I knew I had to be more proactive in managing my condition, whether that included routine dermatologist appointments and giving monthly scalp injections a try, various products on the market, or my own homemade concoctions. I was not willing to give up on myself.
If it weren’t for the everlasting support of my family, I don’t know where I’d be now. My five sisters, my brother, my mom, mother-in-law, and my fiancé—they were all my supporters in one form or another. Whether it was hugs and kisses, sending me links they came across, products they heard about, info they heard from others, or just checking in on me, all of it meant so much and was a part of my journey. My biggest supporter of all, is my beautiful daughter, Brooke Amor. She would always tell me, “Mommy, it’s ok, you look beautiful with short hair and your wigs.” Even though she was only four at the time, her understanding and encouraging words touched my heart and kept me fighting. When I thought the beautiful, bold, and lively Nikki was gone, they all showed me that she was still there.
They showed me that she was still me.
They wiped away my tears when it was just too hard to keep fighting on.
They sympathized with my frustrations and helped me find solutions to them.
I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like if I didn’t have such a supporting family. Isolated? Lonely? Without them, I doubt I would be where I am today.
To the women who are silently suffering from hair loss, if there’s one thing you take from this post, it should be this: NEVER GIVE UP! You’re still you. Beautiful, charming, worthwhile you. Society may tell us that our hair is an essential component of our femininity, but when you are living with an alopecia diagnosis, it’s hard to not view baldness as the loss of your feminine beauty, even when you know that it’s not. Realizing that you’re still you – that you’re still that beautiful, vivacious woman and that your hair does not define your essence or your beauty may be the hardest step to take in your journey to recovery, but it’s absolutely essential! And even though I am empowered with knowledge, doesn’t mean that my struggle against Alopecia has stopped. Since there’s no cure for it, once you open the “Alopecia Box”, it’s something you’ll have to live with; it’s now a part of you. Daily triggers can easily set it off, such as stress, anxiety, other autoimmune diseases, or just stress to your hair. There will be recurring struggles, frustration, and emotional days, but always remember that the woman that you were, even the woman you always want to be – she’s still in there. And it’s important you know that, because that realization just may be the first step in your journey to regrowth and recovery.
8 thoughts on “Losing Myself in Alopecia”
Can’t wait to read more of your journey!
Thank you. Stay tuned!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog…..reflecting on my issues with balding in the front.. not necessarily due to alopeceia, due to aging and not taking care of hair when younger ( tight braids) so now I am dealing with basically the same concerns… reading this article helps me to “the moving forward part. Thank you
Actually, tight braids come from a form of alopecia called traction alopecia, a form of acquired hair loss resulting from prolonged or repetitive tension on the scalp hair. There are definitely topicals to help regrow and manage hair and vitamins, and what you eat plays a part as well. And no matter what… there are always options for wigs! 🙂
I think you should read up on Annie Malone. She was before Madam C J Walker. She was the originator of creating the first black hair care market in the United States called Poro. What was interesting about her was the fact that she ended up researching unique herbs and creating her potions and products to help combat alopecia. While it may not provide any good relief. Reading about her excited me more because she made it clear that there most definitely is a solution to a problem that just needs to be resolved. Also, I’ve noticed that anytime my hair or edges break off. Even though it is not really the same I like to navigate and use blue magic and water. I don’t know what it is about that combination but it always helps my hair to grow how it use.
Thank you for sharing your recommendations and insight on your hair journey. I appreciate your insight and support.
-Awakening Your Roots-
Your daughter is the sweetest being alive!
Thank you! 🙂