Losing your hair, like any other significant loss in life, can have serious psychological repercussions. Hair is a major part of who we are and how we present ourselves to the rest of the world. It makes sense that when we start to lose it that we feel diminished or ‘less whole’. It’s important to remember that this is in no way shape or form true.
Strap yourself in for a rollercoaster of emotion, my friend.
Stage 1: Discovery
Someone will say something about your thinning hair and you’ll laugh along because, you know, it’s just banter. Then you’ll go home and stew about it all night – checking yourself out with a hand mirror and puling your hair back to see how far it has retreated.
Stage 2: Soft Denial
“Bald? Me? Pfft. I’m just a bit run down. I’ll start eating better and looking after myself.” Lol. If your hair loss is obvious enough to others that they’re comfortable to hang crap on you, then it’s more than a hair-hiccup. But that won’t stop you from trying to convince yourself that they’re wrong.
Stage 3: La La Land
This is purely a bridge between two stages of denial. It’s where you continue about your business pretending that everything is fine. You’re looking after yourself a bit better (mostly) and you’re looking forward to all your hair growing back so you can resume life as normal. This stage lasts for as long as you let it.
Stage 4: Hard Denial
If soft denial is driven by naivety, hard denial is driven purely by ego – which makes it a really tough nut to crack. You don’t want to go bald so you’re not going to go bald. What you will do though is change your haircut, buy an unflattering hat or two that goes with nothing else in your wardrobe, and sulk.
Stage 5: The Fork
Your hair is falling out and not coming back. Fact. You are balding. You’re not bald. You’re balding. Big difference. But now you have a choice to make. You can keep up the charade and pretend this isn’t happening, or you can face it and act accordingly. This is a momentous moment in your life yet making the decision could take less than a second. You can read more about the two choices here.
Stage 6: Acceptance & Reconstruction
At the fork you will have chosen to either chase the snake oil unicorn and do what you can retain the appearance of having hair, or take a deep breath, be proactive and shave the rest of your hair off. Both paths require effort, thought and preparation (both physically and mentally). There will be discomfort on either path. And it might take some time for you to feel comfortable with your choice.
Stage 7: Born Again
You’re a new you. Some people won’t recognise you and some will be more supportive than others. But it’s your head and your choice so concentrate on the positive vibes and embrace the choice you made. If your change is super noticeable, you’ll need to have that conversation a few times in the coming months – so prepare some witty comebacks.
So, there you have it. Problem solved. Or, can kicked far enough down the road that you won’t realistically have to deal with it again for another five or so years. Well done.