Blogs David's Story - Reflections and Struggles since 2012 I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in 2012. Here’s what I can tell you about it. Alopecia is not life-threatening but it can definitely cause lots of mental health issues. I felt awful when I lost my hair in 2012. It was a difficult period of my life, and it took me ages until I learn how to deal with the situation. Now I am finally comfortable to talk about it and share my Alopecia experience with the world. February 2012 The picture below was taken in February 2012, and just in case you’re wondering, the beautiful woman standing next to me is Anna, my partner and the mother of my children. At the time, I had strong and healthy curly hair. I’m half-African so strong hair runs in the family. October 2012 In October 2012 things changed. As you can see in the picture below a little patch appeared on my chin. Apologies for the quality of the pictures on this blog post, but at least you can see, first hand, my alopecia story. I had great eyebrows, didn’t I? Well, that didn’t last forever. November 2013 For over a year, there weren’t a lot of visible changes however, as you can see, my facial hair continued to fall. At this point, there were several patches on my face and they were also bigger. I’m not sure when I’ve decided to go to the GP but I can say for sure that at the time this picture was taken, I was already diagnosed. The GP identified the patches very quickly and told me that I had Alopecia Areata. June 2014 Until now, the patches didn’t bother me that much because they were all on my face. But things changed. When the first patches appeared in my scalp, I couldn’t help but feel depressed. When I walked outdoors, I always had the feeling that everyone was looking at me. Even though that wasn’t the case. The patches got bigger and bigger, and I knew that I had no choice but to shave my head. I was the hardest decision ever. It felt like losing my identity. August 2014 Finally, I shaved my head. I couldn’t hide the patches anymore, so I went to a barber one morning and just did it. I still remember the feeling. Before the cut, I was nervous – seriously. After, I was relieved. The reality is that I didn’t look that bad. The hardest part was to come clean to family, friends, colleagues, and the worst part, the world. For a long time, all I could think about was what others were thinking about me. My image completely changed. That wasn’t easy. People that didn’t see me in a long time wouldn’t recognise me. January 2015 At some point, I can’t remember exactly when I started a YouTube channel showing the results of the treatments that I tried. My videos were all in Portuguese. My videos reached hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Many viewers sent supportive messages, and others sent their own Alopecia stories. I realised that I was helping people and so having Alopecia is maybe an opportunity to become a better person. February 2015 When I finally thought that everything was under control, my eyelashes started to fall. I didn’t expect that at all. Losing my eyelashes and my eyebrows felt like going back to square one. Losing my hair changed my identity, but this was a lot worst. April 2015 This was probably one of the worst phases of my Alopecia journey. At this point, I was feeling like a weirdo. I didn’t feel good with the way I looked. My eyebrows were falling really quickly, and I had no control over it. June 2015 A new David was born. I now looked completely different. I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror. However, I have accepted the fact that I will probably live with Alopecia Areata for the rest of my life. Filipa, my best friend, visited me and it felt so good to know that I was still the same old David for her. My personality didn’t change, nor did my values or my sense of humour. September 2015 I hit rock bottom, not psychologically, but physically. In September 2015, I didn’t have a single hair in my body, not even in my nostrils. Breathing became difficult. My nose felt like it was on fire all the time – burning. August 2016 It took me a long time, but I finally got back on track and felt like a human again. I was at a wedding in this picture, feeling handsome and not ashamed of my bald head. May 2017 I continued to work on my self-esteem. Started to workout (a little) and looked after me. Hair loss is not painful or requires medication – it’s just a bump on the road of life. Get over it, and everything will be fine. August 2018 I now know that this is who I am. Alopecia Areata is part of me, and that will never change. May 2019 Getting older also affects people. I’m now 30 years old. Does it matter? Not really. Still feel like I’m eighteen. Anna, my partner for life, supported me and loved me, since the very beginning. She has never judged me and has always made me feel like nothing changed. I can only be thankful. I thought that my drastic change in appearance could affect the way she feels about me. Anna could stop feeling attracted to me. I feared that, really, but it never happened. July 2020 Most of us spent most of 2020 at home. Usually I shave everyday. Yes, every single day. However, during the lockdown, I thought it would be a good idea to let my hair grow. That way, I would be able to see what is the current condition of my Alopecia. I have probably over 60% of my hair back, but for me, this isn't good news. It only means that it’s harder to shave every morning. November 2020 COVID-19 hit me, and I had to stay home for 2 weeks. I didn’t shave during that time so that I could take some more pictures of my scalp. I wanted to share them with you all to see it for yourself and try to understand how people with Alopecia might feel. December 2020 I am very grateful and happy that I am generally healthy, and I have a beautiful and supportive family. I wrote this article to share with you what it is like to live with Alopecia. Thank you to David for sharing his journey with alopecia. You can read his original and fuller blog post on his website here.