My name is Amber, I am 26 years old and I am truly happy, the happiest I have ever been.
I have a wonderful family amazing friends, and a wonderful special man in my life.
I feel extremely lucky every single day.
But the past year, even though it has been the happiest year of my life I experienced my first type of anxiety and panics attacks.
It was the most bizarre thing. It was almost like everything I had kept bottled up for years had finally come out to surface.
Everything from my alopecia, to my family troubles, to my past troublesome relationships.
My mum has always said, that “you have to face your troubles and your alopecia head on”, in denial I just bottled my feelings away and got on with life thinking I was dealing with things in the most amazing way, surprised at how it didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would.
I wish when I was on my journey especially at the beginning I would have loved a bit of advice. Someone to chat to in private and to listen to my fears who had been through it already.
I am finally ready to share my story and give all the advice I possibly can...
It all started with a small patch at the back of my head, I was convinced it was just a burn from the hair dressers as I used to get blonde highlights. I was sitting in school at class and my best friend at the time was checking out my new blonde locks and found this little bald spot at the back of my head.
I told her to take a picture and there it was, my first bald patch. For a while I had a silly thought that maybe my brother scalped me in the night.
The next day I went to the doctor and they told me it was a condition called alopecia, I wasn’t familiar with what it meant but remembered a friend of my dad’s had it as a result of a traumatic event.
I remember the doctor telling me how normal it was and that lots of girls my age get it and not to be concerned, they told me to get some steroid shampoo and cream and just take care of my stress levels. Never in a million years did I think I would be bald within the year.
At this point in my life I wasn’t stressed, anxious or was certainly unaware of my internal stress or anxiety levels. Funny looking back now, perhaps I was just completely unaware of my inner trauma.
As a teenager going through hormonal changes I was very underweight, I was also dedicated to dancing 3-4 times a week. This along with being very fussy with food meant I wasn’t replenishing or nourishing my body the way I should have been.
Thinking back now it is clear how both my mind and body were under a significant amount of both physical, mental pressure and stress.
At this point emotionally I wasn’t that scared of my alopecia as I couldn’t see the patch at the back of my head, ‘out of sight out of mind’ meant I could hide it very easily both from myself and others.
Honestly, I thought it would grow back very quickly and it was just a little bizarre phase that would pass.
In the space of a few a month’s a patch started to form on the top of my head and my hair started to become increasingly thinner, this is when I really started to worry and when all the treatments started.