Alopecia was so very unexpected and new to me when I first developed it in March 2020.  I hadn’t even realised that I had some bald spots affectionately named ‘the balds’.  I was sitting down one day, and my friend walked past and noticed a bald patch at the top of the back of my head. I thought they were joking at first but then when I looked it was the size of a 2p coin and smooth.

I had noticed in the previous weeks that I had been shedding a lot of hair but being of mixed heritage (Mauritian and English), I had very thick and full hair so noted it but never really worried about it.

It seemed like things sped up after that. I discovered another ‘bald’ and the first one just seemed to be getting bigger. My hair was starting to really thin out and it seemed that each day more and more was coming out.

What was really strange to me was that I used to wake up and I would joke about looking like Captain Caveman but now, I would wake up and my hair was just flat and you could see my scalp.

So, of course, I panicked. Then I looked around and found Alopecia UK. I cried a lot and I just wanted to understand what was wrong with me. I had been very sick in March and wondered if that had something to do with it. When I finally got to see someone, I was advised that I had both Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that results in patchy hair, and Telogen Effluvium, which means temporary hair loss after a shock or traumatic event.

Okay, I thought, I can do this, it’s not permanent. I got some wigs and hair bands and measured my ‘balds’ daily, until that became weekly and less and less over time.  However, I then started to lose hair from my right eyebrow and eye lashes.  The fear is real, it felt like someone had an eraser and was slowly erasing me from the world and there was nothing I could do about it.

I found great support and comfort from Alopecia UK and the charity’s community on Facebook just gets it.  There is no cure for alopecia. For me my journey was doing magical workings at home and trying my best to live in my happy place, in my mind and body.  The shedding slowed down but sadly I was then diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia (female pattern baldness)- talk about kicking a girl when she is down! My dad will kill me for saying this, he is a little Mauritian man with not a lot of hair but excellent eyebrow game, so I guess I take after him in a lot more ways than either of us ever thought I would.

I feel lucky that I had some incredibly thick hair to start with as I can wear head bands to hide the front of my hairline and sprays to cover the areas where you can see my scalp through the hair. But when I stand in front of the mirror and see a high forehead with little or no hair at the front and more scalp than anything, it does make me sad.

And yet I have done things that I never would have done had I not developed alopecia. I have given a workshop on relaxation to others with alopecia, written therapeutic scripts around loving yourself and made a video. I have also made an alopecia twinny friend, who has the same underlying health conditions as me and similar hair loss patterns and who, like me, has mixed heritage. She is a wonderful supportive friend, who I would never had known had I not developed hair loss.

I have alopecia but I am not my alopecia.  It is a part of me that I have learned to respect, I have lost more than I have gained but I remain grateful, because my journey has allowed me to meet some incredible people, a community of people that lift each other up, who show up for each other every day and who are the embodiment of kindness.

So my parting words for today, I still have my thick hair but just not all over.  I feel lucky that I can hide away when I need to but that my friends and family just see me as a whole person.