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Coming to Terms with My Hair Loss

It seems silly to be upset about something as small as stray hair. I understand that from the outside it seems vain, but it goes far beyond the flyaway pieces sticking up, the leftovers of what used to be full strands. Hair loss is something I’ve been struggling with for nearly two years, and every day those small hairs are a reminder: a reminder of the doctors I’ve seen, the vitamins I’ve tried, the blood tests I’ve had, and the questions that haven’t been answered.

I’ve tried every solution a doctor, beauty vlogger or hair dresser could suggest for healthier hair: I switched from washing my hair every other day to every two to three days; I’ve tried all natural shampoos, shampoo bars, paraben-free shampoo, damage repair shampoo, double conditioning and hair masks. I bought a different type of hairbrush, I never brush my hair when it’s wet, I get regular haircuts, and I always use a heat protectant when I’m straightening my hair. I even went three months this summer using no heat at all to give my hair a break. I’ve been tested for thyroid conditions, an iron deficiency and everything in between, including a particularly nerve-wracking set of visits to the cancer clinic where I was tested for blood cancer.

For every new doctor I visit, there is always one sentence I can be sure I’ll hear: “It could be stress-related.” Stress does different things to everyone’s body, and maybe it is the reason, but it’s hard to accept that “stress” has been the source of my problem for two years, especially when the doctors themselves don’t seem to believe it even as the words come out of their mouths.

As my mother likes to remind me, I know that the majority of people, especially my friends, are not judging me based on my hair, but it’s constantly on my mind. When I’m sitting across from someone and their eyes wander anywhere near my hair, I feel like they must be looking at those broken stray pieces that I tried and failed to conceal this morning. I’m constantly conscious of my hair and I wish I wasn’t. I’m often told I look good with my short haircut, that I can “pull it off,” and I appreciate that, but if I were honest with those people I would tell them that I would like nothing more than to grow my hair long—it’s just simply not possible. This is my reality.

In 2018 I decided to make a change. I’ve accepted that this is the problem I’m facing and I’m learning to deal with it. Multiple doctors have tried and failed to give me a reason, my bathroom cabinet is filled with half-used shampoo and conditioner bottles, and at this point the only solution I’m left with, other than straight up shaving my head (which I have contemplated many times in the past 24 months), is to accept it. I promised myself that this year I would be positive, and I’m doing my best to keep that promise. I’m positive that my friends and family don’t care what my hair looks like. I’m positive that I have better qualities that far surpass my less-than-luscious locks. I’m positive that someday I will have my answer. As difficult as this has been, I have to be kind to myself and remember that this does not define me, and I need to stop allowing it to do so.

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Julia is majoring in English at King's at Western. She loves Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl and many shows in between, and you can most often find her in the Library or the Student Centre drinking coffee and listening to Hamilton or Mumford and Sons.
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