One of the many reasons I started my blog was in the hope that, from time to time, I could bring to light topics that I haven’t seen discussed in the online world recently. Today I’m writing about when stress results in hair thinning (or loss) – something that has affected me over the past few years.
I’ve chosen not to share photos of my hair then/now as it’s still something that upsets me. I know my readers are extremely lovely though, so please know that I really appreciate your being understanding about it.
I really hope my writing manages to make my point.
I’m twenty now, but from the age of seventeen, following years of undiagnosed severe anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder, my mental health took its toll on my appearance. With thick, curly and often hard-to-tame hair almost down to my waist, I noticed that it was becoming increasingly easier to tie it up into a pony tail without the struggle of losing my hair brush in my hair along the way (I’m talking Princess Diaries style here). My bed head hairstyles were getting smaller every morning, and the shower drain was regularly clogged after a hair wash.
I went to my hairdresser and he commented on my hair saying how much it had thinned. My friend turned to me at lunch the following week, saying ‘your pony tails have gotten way thinner recently’, and even my grandma greeted me with a ‘what have you done to your hair? It’s lost its curl and volume – it doesn’t look healthy’ soon after. As the comments rose, my self esteem did the reverse.
The great thing about thinning hair as a result of anxiety is you get more anxious about your hair thinning which, consequently, causes it to thin more. What fun!
I started taking vitamin capsules as expensive as a haircut to increase hair growth; I used £25 bottles of shampoo for months in the hope it would get my hair back to the way it was before, but nothing worked.
I started on antidepressants when it became evident that I have OCD, and since then my mental health has improved dramatically and, as a result, my hair has stopped thinning. Whilst it might not be growing back to the way it was before (I’m still getting used to not feeling 100% like myself, even years later), I’m so happy that I realised tackling the root (pardon the pun) of the problem – my mental health – was the way to fix its effects.
I hope that in reading this post you can take away the following:
– if you notice a change in someone’s appearance – whether it’s drastic weight loss/gain, hair thinning or otherwise, please don’t bring it up unless they want to discuss it. Remind yourself that they have likely looked at a mirror recently and are aware of the changes. If they don’t mention it, they probably don’t want to talk about it.
– stress, anxiety and other mental health disorders can have lasting consequences – if you know someone in a similar state, please do make sure they seek help. I’d recommend www.mind.org.uk
– if you’re still stuck in the old days and complain that you can’t see mental health disorders so they don’t exist, this post is literally physical evidence that mental health disorders are real. So please, sit back down.