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Alopecia: What it’s like to lose your hair in your twenties?

16 August 2019

Once the life and soul of her social group, Amy Chinnick hid away from life after her diagnosis of alopecia shortly after her 21st birthday.

“I was really into rock music growing up, and going to concerts with my friends. We were always dyeing our hair, buying extensions - all the things that the ‘scene girls’ had,” Amy said.

“For my birthday my best friend and I went to London. I noticed my fringe was starting to thin. I didn't think much of it; I thought I was dyeing my hair too much.

“I started getting bald patches and ended up going to the doctors. I didn’t really have any support, it wasn’t explained properly. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror. It was just horrific.

“I just felt empty. My anxiety would play up all the time and there was always an excuse why I couldn’t come out.

“My dad ordered me a wig. I wouldn’t leave the house without it. But the hardest thing was hiding the fact that my eyelashes started falling out, my eyebrows too. It changed the way that my face actually looked.

“Some friends that I had growing up were really supportive but others… it felt like they couldn’t be bothered to deal with what I was going through. Almost as if they were embarrassed. It was heartbreaking.

“Sick of being ruled by her anxiety and the fear of being judged, Amy eventually found the courage to post a photo of herself on social media in a bid to explain her situation to her friends and family.

“I woke up one day and thought, ‘I’m not letting it control me anymore. I’ve had enough.’ So I posted a photo on Facebook of me without my wig,” she said.

“I remember when it was uploading my heart was beating so fast. Yet people I didn’t even know were messaging me, telling me how strong I was.

“It was a weight off my shoulders. It made me think, ‘why am I worrying so much? Nothing’s holding me back apart from myself.’ That was the moment that I thought ‘I don’t have to hide away.’”

Embrace who you are, and don’t hide away

That one photo was a game-changer for Amy, bringing an overwhelming sense of relief that inspired her to embrace her inner beauty.

“Since putting the photo up my priorities have changed. Before I cared a lot about my appearance, now I care more about being a better person. Where I thought that I lost friends, actually, I just gained better ones,” she said.

“The advice I would give to somebody else going through something like this is just to be yourself. Embrace who you are, and don’t hide away.”

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