I was a child when my hair first started to fall out. I couldn't tell you how old I was, the first thing I can recall about it was my Mum telling me that I had to have my long hair cut shorter because it was getting too heavy.
I hated my shorter hair. Hated it until my Grandpa told me that when he was a boy he thought girls with bobs were the prettiest. I hated it slightly less after that.
Over the years since then my hair has fallen out, usually in small round patches in various spots around my head. Some not so noticeable, some pretty impossible to disguise.
I've had special shampoos, steroid serums to rub on my head, I've been banned from swimming, colouring my hair and even from brushing it unless it's wet. None of these things have ever made the blindest bit of difference.
I've seen Doctors and Specialists, I've been prodded, poked, had my hair pulled and been quizzed about my pubic hair (yeah, thanks for that memory), but I've never been given any explanation beyond "it's auto immune, it's caused by your own body attacking your hair". The only useful thing a Doctor has ever done to help was to give me the correct name for my condition; Alopecia Areata.
My hair loss seems to be triggered by times of stress, A Levels, moving house, money worries, getting married. I've had bald patches for all of those! On my wedding day my Mum had to spray one of my patches brown to disguise it for me! Bless her, she'd done some sneaky research for me and discovered Bumble and Bumble's Brown Hair Powder spray, which is, quite frankly, the best bald spot cover up ever invented! And I love her for her sensitivity and her desire to make it all better for me.
I've always said my hair problems don't bother me, but if I'm really, brutally honest, that's not strictly true. Of course it bothers me. Children are cruel, they will pick on anything that singles another child out and make them feel worthless because of it. Thankfully, most adults are more understanding. Some of my dearest friends would give me a silent tap and let me know to shift my hair slightly. The way you would for any poor soul with her skirt tucked into her knickers! When my hair is bad, I try not to think about it, but when I do it can truly make me feel wretched.
Although my hair is doing really well at the moment, I have a very high hair line at the back of my head, which means I can never wear my hair up. It's not pretty, but most of the time you can't see it. It will never grow back here, it will always be scarred and blotchy from years of pointless "treatments".
I also find that if it grows beyond a certain length it doesn't look great. So long hair is out for me too.
I've found my own way with my hair. I know what I can do and what I cannot. I am quite "particular" with my hair and have a bit if a tendency to glue it down with hair spray when I go out, but hey! That could be worse, right? I have annoyingly thin, fine hair and at times I've gone a bit overboard giving it extra body using the array of clever little products available nowadays (Schwartzkopft's Powder'ful you've changed my whole life) all because hair with body is not a luxury I've ever been afforded before! But who cares? If I want big hair, I shall have it! Ha! Quite frankly I feel lucky to have hair at all.
Recently a couple of people have complimented me on the blog or Instagram for having "great hair". Throw away (but lovely) comments for some mean the absolute world to me. For many years my wayward hair (and lack of) has been my great shame. To be told my hair actually looks good, I cannot tell you just how much that means to me. I never, ever thought anyone would say that to me. Me?! So I thank you, something so small to you, will be something I remember my whole life.
My hair may get better, it may get worse again, but really? I know now that it matters little. I'll get through. I'm grateful my girls don't seem to have inherited the same condition (and there's no reason that they should). If I could say anything to a person in the same position I'd say hang in there, it's a shitter, but you'll work it out. It may grow back, it may not, but underneath your own treacherous scalp, you're still AMAZEBALLS.