I began to lose my hair a few months after my 23rd birthday. It was April. I was curling my hair to go to the races when I found a small bald patch on the back of my head, around the size of a 10-cent coin. I was happy, I was healthy, and then suddenly I had a bald spot. What was going on? I spent the entire day trying to resist running my finger over the smooth spot.
After the fourth patch appeared in early August, I booked in to see my GP and he confirmed what I’d already self-diagnosed. I had alopecia. I was given a referral for an “urgent” appointment with a dermatologist, but when I called to book, the phone shaking in my hand, I was advised that I would have to wait nine weeks for a consultation.
Exactly a month later, my thick blonde curls were falling out in chunks. The stress was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I would brush my hair and there’d be three new patches. After every shower, I’d have to clean my drain, blocked by all the hair I’d lost in that 15 minutes. My hair was on the floor, in my sheets. It began to feel like it was everywhere except my head, where it belonged. In just one week I’d lost half the hair on my head, and it was soul-destroying. Still weeks out from the appointment I thought would present a magic solution, I decided to shave what little hair was remaining. It has never come back. I was trying to take control of the situation.