Since sometime around mid-June, I started losing a lot of hair.
I mean, A LOT. “A lot” meaning that every day I shed what amounted to a pile of hair the size of a small field mouse. “A lot” that by month’s end we needed to get a plumber out to the house to unclog my bathtub.
At first I assumed it was stress-related. I had a rough couple of weeks in June, brought on solely by me and my inability to process difficult situations like a competent, fully functioning adult. If I am anything, though, I am self-aware, and as quickly as I realized I was flipping out unnecessarily, I worked to try and manage these situations and make some real, effective, long-lasting change in my behavior – see Operation Remove The Stick Out of My Rear.
And it helped immensely. I was reminded that if I’m tired or angry or stressed or happy or whatever, there is nothing that says that I have to charge on through, no one standing over me with a clipboard, checking off on a grid to track how good or bad I’ve been. This path also led me to reading people such as a Brene Brown – pretty much worshiping her book “The Gift of Imperfection” right now, thanks Hixx! – and being more mindful and present. You know, “…the best time of my life is happening right now.” All that good stuff.
Radical self-care doesn’t typically look that radical from the outside. From the inside? It feels plate-shifting.
But none of this seemed to be stopping the hair loss, and since my mood had stabilized and my body in kind, it was time to pay attention to the fact that perhaps something else was a miss.
Especially since when I went to my sister-in-law’s salon to get my hair done, she took one look at my hair and said, “WHAT is going on?!”
Hair loss is a very typical side effect for those who have a thyroid condition/disease like mine. I’m finding myself grateful that I have a lot of hair as I know it’s really only evident to me and my SIL that I’ve lost so much of it. Yesterday I headed off to the doctor for tests. She’s checking the usual suspects, plus is having me take Biotin. I’ve added some Evening Primrose Oil tablets, too, since a lot of thyroid patients have found luck with them when it comes to hair loss.
I’m also washing my hair less – thanks, dry shampoo! – and using this crazy thick hair treatment in lieu of conditioner, thanks to my wise SIL. We cut about two (maybe three) inches off of my hair just to try and curb some of the damage.
Yesterday on two separate occasions someone at work complimented my hair. And, of course, I felt the need to apologize, to in effect question their compliment, by explaining actually how awful and jacked up my hair really is. Which *of course* is incredibly productive, not to mention interesting for the person making friendly small talk on the other end.
One of the things I am (not so) secretly working on is the bridge between being nicer to myself, liking myself, and the things I do to improve myself. Most of this centers on the vanity – namely my weight and appearance. It’s a slippery slope for us folks who genuinely enjoy being a smaller size but battle mightily with past demons who constantly try to get us to equate personal worth with what we see in the mirror.
I have learned that it’s always “another ten pounds,” no matter what weight I’m at, you know? At some point I have to be enough.
And so I suck at taking compliments, and the hair loss thing has been a sucker punch to what has always been a well-fortified gut. No matter what size I’ve been, no matter what state of life, I’ve always liked my hair. Watching a goodly portion of it scatter about my house, to say nothing of the massive wad I end up collecting by the time I’m done getting ready each day, is not only scary but humbling to the ego. Sure, I’m used to and making peace with what my body is and who I am in it BUT MY HAIR. I’ve never had to worry about my fucking hair. And now it’s falling out by the leaps and bounds and it’s making me self-conscious and sad.
Gah. It’s all so silly. There is a lesson in all of this, I know. I may have to even like myself sans the once big Italian hair to which I cling.
There are other possibilities, and my doctor pointed out both the good and the bad. At best I need to have my thyroid meds tweaked or changed. At worst it’s (another) autoimmune disease. None of which need to be the end of the world, though my kingdom for a season in where I don’t have anything wrong with me.
(As an aside, my husband pointed this out when I said it may be an autoimmune disease. He said: “Another?” And I texted back: “Yes. Because I am an overachiever in everything that I do.”)
For now I have to cool my heels and worry about something else, or maybe nothing at all. Perhaps that’s the trick. Perhaps that’s the idea.