Alopecia Areata: A Life Journey
Alopecia Areata has taught me a number of things: Life is too short, and with or without hair, life is good and worth living.
When hair starts to thin, and strands fall out, you think maybe it will resolve itself. Sometimes it can just mend itself, but more times than not, it can lead to further medical problems, and this needs to be dealt with.
Alopecia areata caught me off guard. After years of stress and a severe flu plus a chest infection, my body broke down. If you do not look after your body well, including limiting stress and having a healthy diet, you may see your hair start to fall out in lumps. After a year of recovery, and I now have a full head of hair. So what was done to create a recovery?
First, I had to change the way I thought. To me, hairloss was the end of the world. The patches were embarrassing, and I had low self-confidence. My self esteem was taken away. I would look in the mirror day by day and cry. And then I stopped crying and said to myself, “The more you cry,the more you provoke the condition by being stressed with it. Stop it now.” Time was definitely a healer, as with time I grew to accept what the hair loss condition was and deal with it. Upon visiting doctors and a specialist I found out it was definitely alopecia areata. With this condition you lose patches of hair. You normally have quarter-sized patches of hair loss on different parts of the scalp. The treatment starts with medication: A number of creams can be prescribed to you by your doctor. If the creams don’t show any difference after three months, you may need a stronger treatment. The creams in my case helped but not significantly. I wanted to try an organic, natural option so I chose to change my lifestyle, and it is the best thing I could have done.
Changing one’s diet is one of the most important aspects in treating Alopecia areata, in my opinion. Your body needs to take in the right vitamins, proteins and minerals that help hair growth. I personally incorporated much more Vitamin B and C in my diet through foods and vitamin supplements. I have never eaten so many carrots in my life, but this vegetable contains high Vitamin B. I chose to also take Biotin — a vitamin B tablet — taking this four times a day really did help. I noticed a new growth of hair developing quickly. The patches of hair would grow through with little spikes, and I knew the changes were having an effect. Eating fresh salmon every day for lunch helped my body. The fish oil was very important for growth, and washing this down with 2 litres of water a day actually made all the hair I had look healthy and shiny. It almost feels when you see a slight change in hair growth that a miracle has happened.
What got me through my journey though was faith. I remember walking through the park and came across a church, being scared to go in after so many years of not attending I felt guilty for wanting to go pray for help. God gave me the courage that day to face my problems. I went and said a prayer, then cried it all out on the church bench. It may have been the most embarrassing sight, but I needed someone to talk with, and in that moment, God was my help and my friend. I felt I had unleashed a number of problems in my life by seeking help. Through a release like this I was able to look at myself in a better way, change my thoughts, and also get back to making myself fit and attending the gym again. My body circulated good energy, and to this day, it feels full of health.
During this journey I leaned on my family and close friends. At a time of need, my support unit was the best. Never feel bad about asking for help — sometimes you need a helping hand! I am deeply thankful for what life has to offer and look forward to my next journey!
Jeanna Heeraman is a survivor of Alopecia Areata. At 30, she’s the happiest she’s been in a long time, Living through the hair-loss condition inspired her to help others who may be lost or looking for a cure.Get more advice on Alopecia on her website.
Photo credit: Ashley Coombs