I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to deal with hair loss again, but I am not surprised really. This is a follow up to a hair loss post I made at the end of 2018. If you would like to read that post, you can find that here.
In April, which is about a month ago, I noticed a small bald spot. I only noticed it because it happened to be right around my natural part. Awesome, right? I recently had my hair styled so I was parting my hair further on the side than what is natural. But at home I don’t really concern myself with my hair.
I was walking past the mirror and it caught my eye. My hair is black, so that small “pale” round patch of skin was hard to miss.
The next few hours were hard. I sat on the floor in the bathroom and just let myself freak out for a little bit. Texted a friend about it for sometime and then decided that I needed to stop thinking about it. So I went and watched TV. This was the Sunday before Game of Thrones final season was going to air. When I went to pick something to watch I stopped to think. What would be good to watch right now? I’m miserable, I don’t want to watch something funny, lighthearted… I don’t want to watch something that’s basically background noise (usually shows I have watched a ton of times turn into good background noise)… I wanted to watch something that I would be engaged in, something I could get lost in, something that gave me a goal. It hit me. Seven seasons of Game of Thrones (GoT) and the new season would be starting next week. This was perfect, possibly unlikely that I would get through them all, but I needed the distraction.
That first night I watched a few episodes of the first season. I watched until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Finally when I noticed myself nodding off and having to fight to keep my eyes open, I decided it was a good time to go to sleep. I was successfully distracted and could fall asleep and not think about my hair. I was wrong. I went to get ready for bed and ended up standing in front of the mirror for what might have been 30 minutes… I have no idea how long it was, honestly. But I was scouring every inch of my scalp, trying to feel other possible bald spots, using a comb to try and lift my hair to see if there was any indication of other spots. I only stopped when my arms started getting tired of being held up.
By the time I stopped I had started seeing bald spots where there weren’t any; All the areas between where hair grows looked bigger than it was. I was starting to feel myself spinning out. Why was I here? Oh right, I was going to go to sleep now… I got into bed and just stared at the ceiling. I wasn’t tired anymore. I might have watched another episode of GoT on my phone, I can’t remember honestly. I eventually fell asleep. Kind of anyway.
The next week was me on the couch, not really doing anything other than watching GoT. I found myself mindlessly combing my fingers through my hair, searching for other bald spots. There were a few places I thought I felt some, I had my husband look at them, nothing was there. It's in my head, except for the one that I know is there. I couldn’t keep my hands out of my hair. I needed to know, I needed to feel for anymore smooth spots of skin in the forest of my hair…
Before I found the bald spot, I had decided I wanted to get a laptop. I had found the one I wanted, and the morning after finding the spot, I decided to buy it. I ordered it from Best Buy, and it arrived Wednesday. So. Wednesday I took a short break from my GoT marathon and picked it up, played around with it and then got back to watching GoT. Back to losing myself in the world where I was just an observer. Watching characters deal with loss that was massive compared to my personal hair loss.
By Thursday and Friday of the week I moved from the couch to my art studio, I had a laptop now that I could play on while I watched the show (I was re-watching the whole thing, so I already knew what was going on and happening). I watched GoT on the Surface while I installed programs on my new laptop, while I downloaded games and did computer things. Somewhere in that time between sitting on the couch and allowing myself to detach from my reality I wrote in a notebook a little “emergency” to do list for the next time my hair falls out like this. So I would be prepared. Of course that’s assuming it doesn’t all fall out now, that it grows back and I have a full head of hair again. But I did it anyway.
I finished off the week, I had successfully managed to get through all seven seasons of GoT, and watched the final season premiere only 30 mins after it aired. I did it. I got through them all. All 67 of the episodes. Yay…
I have a bald spot. It's small. It's still a bald spot. What does this mean, what do I do? Why is this freaking me out?
I was completely bald for a good 6 years. Yeah and that killed me inside, even though I played it off as I accepted it.
But didn’t I accept it? Some of it anyway?
Did I though?
I say a lot of things, but do I always feel like that? Or am I just saying it because that’s how I want to feel? Fake it till you make it right? If I say something enough I will believe it.
Yeah but I know that isn’t how anything really works, that I can’t just say something and make it real, no matter how much I want that to be how things work. I mean. HEY I HAVE ALL MY HAIR AND NO BALD SPOT!
Bald spot is still there. Words don’t make things real.
So what am I going to do?
Distracting myself obviously just delayed the inevitable. I have to face this. I have to look at it. I have to accept it. I don’t have a choice in this. I don’t have a choice in much, but I do have a choice in how I handle this hair loss. What have I done before?
In the past when my hair fell out I spent so much time, energy, money, mental power in trying to fix it. Trying to make my hair grow back, trying to find a why, trying to find a reason. What did I end up finding out? Nothing worked for me. The treatments weren’t worth it. The money and time I spent talking to doctors got me no where closer to my hair growing back. All that ended up doing was making me feel useless. All that did was give me hope that this next thing would work. This next thing would make my hair grow back… this was something that I could fix.
So what am I going to do?
I’m going to get my beanies out. I’m going to put those on so that I’m not constantly feeling for new bald spots. I’m going to focus on where my life is going, what I am doing for myself. I am not going to concern myself with my hair. If it keeps falling out, that sucks. But I don’t need to concentrate on it. I am going to focus my energy, time, money, mental power on things that I can change.
It's May. It had been a month or so now since I found the spot. The small spot has gotten a little bigger. It was the size of a dime when I found it. It might be the size of a nickel now. It's hard to hide because my hair does not want to swoop to the side. I force it to. I don’t like how it looks. But wearing beanies has helped some, and hoods on my hoodies. My hair lines have also started to get… weird. I'ts always been odd, but now it's really odd. There is some hair loss there, it was hard to see at first, but it's slowly more visible.
I’ve been debating if I should go to a dermatologist to see if treatment would help right now. Help it not get so bad. But I’ve decided it isn’t worth it. I know that I will go in with hope. Why else would I be going in? You go to get treatment because it might work. Not because you don’t expect it to, but because you want it to. I can’t afford to give myself that little hope. The time after treatment where you wait, wait to see if it's going to help or if nothing is changing… it feels like forever. For someone who lives with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder, that’s not pleasant. Waiting is excruciating. The whole time all I am thinking about is if it will work. And if it doesn’t work, that’s because I deserve it. That waiting, that time waiting is just fuel for my depression and anxiety.
I know not everyone would understand my decision. But ultimately it's me deciding that my mental health is more important to me than having hair. I don’t love that I have to make that decision. But I did. Taking that week off from thinking about it was helpful… it gave me time to look at it all a little bit differently. Look at the hair loss as a whole. Review my past experience and figure out what I could do this time to make it a less stressful experience for myself. It's going to suck. But do I really want to make it all worse by losing myself in it? Would that be worth it just to get my hair back? I don’t think it would be… I need to focus on other things. Like trying to be able to work without burning out, finding a career that works for me. I need to prioritize myself mentally.
It's October now. I think it has been 5 months since I looked at this post. I obviously never posted it. I didn't want to face it. The spot is still there. It has gotten bigger, but it hasn't over taken my scalp. I can still hide it. But I do worry that my hair will shift when I am out and it will be exposed. I have shown it to a few people now, all say it doesn't look that big. I'm always going to see it as a bigger spot than what someone else sees. I'm debating on getting treatment again... I would like to be able to have my hair styled, but I'm scared right now. Should I really get my hair cut if I don't know where it might fall out next? Doesn't it make more sense to keep my hair long, so I can keep the spot (or spots) hidden?
Why do I need to keep the spot hidden... I don't want to care about it that much... but I do. Hair loss sucks y'all.