Let me start this blog post by addressing one thing; Whitney Houston's version of 'The Greatest Love of All' is the definitive version. Fact. The George Benson version is gentler and more soulful but, for me, it's gotta be Whitney! No one can change keys and take a song to the next level like Whitney could. Therefore, just to be clear, Whitney's 'The Greatest Love of All' is the greatest 'Greatest Love of All'. 

And in case you don't know the song (please address that straight away - it's an absolute banger!), what did George and Whitney suggest was the Greatest Love of All? Learning to love yourself. Yep, that's the greatest love of all. And you know what? I think they're right. Ok, the love we receive from family and friends is great. Romantic love can be magical. And the love between one woman and her absolutely 'daft as a brush' Labrador is like no other! But all this love doesn't really mean anything if we can't love ourselves. 

Why am I writing this? Well, I just wanted to acknowledge that having alopecia can be tough. We can struggle to feel good about ourselves, never mind LOVE ourselves. Losing our hair can challenge us in all sorts of ways. It can knock our confidence. It can affect our feelings of self-worth. It can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Not all these things always pan-out for every individual with alopecia but even I (who consider myself to have had an easier ride with alopecia than others) have had a little taste of the challenges i've mentioned, as a direct result of losing my hair. 

In the first year of my hair departing, I really struggled (I know i've mentioned this in other things i've written so please forgive me if I sound like a broken record!). I was very lucky that I had the love and support of those around me. But I didn't love or like myself very much at all. I felt like a failure. I felt unattractive. I felt worthless. I felt embarrassed. I felt like an entirely different person. All because my hair had fallen out. Who knew it could have such a big impact?! I would never have guessed that losing my hair would affect me so profoundly but then again i'd never have guessed i'd ever lose my hair; I definitely didn't see it coming! 

Self-love and self-care are hugely important for those with alopecia. If you're anything like me, you may have given yourself a hard time when your hair fell out/falls out. Like you have any control over it. Which of course we don't. We are not to blame. And yet, blame myself I did. 

The best bit of advice I ever received regarding my hair loss was 'be kind to yourself'. I needed to hear that. Someone to tell me to do that. I needed the reminder that what I was going through was a very tough period and that I should do things that would make me feel better. Long walks, hot bubble baths, cake, chocolate, swimming; just a few things that are known to perk me up (my friends would argue I should add gin and wine to that list...). 

For anyone reading this blog post, I want to remind you to be kind to yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. Yup, it's cheesy. I am cheesy. I don't care. If you've got a voice in your head telling you you're not good enough, whack on some Whitney and croon those doubts away! 

PS, there is also the following line in the song, 'They can't take away my dignity'. This line is also true as I left mine in a bar some time ago...