My View: Kath Conway

IT started innocently enough. Just a few more hairs than usual on my pillow and hairbrush. Not exactly a matter of life and death but little did I suspect the indignity and agony that would follow.

As I approached my mature middle years, I was prepared (mentally) for the ups and downs of the ageing process but nothing could have prepared me for the achingly, awful experience of losing my hair. I sought help from my doctor, trichologists of varying levels of expertise, as well as hairdressers, counsellors, faith healers and friends.

I spent disproportionate amounts of money on ‘miracle’ cures, therapies, shampoos and scalp treatments and vitamin supplements. I made dietary changes and spent hours on the Internet researching this physically painless condition but one packed with pain emotionally.

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You name it, I tried it. I bought several off-the-shelf wigs which all looked like wigs and made me look hideous.

What I did not do and could not do was accept my condition. Instead, I let it take over my life – with devastating consequences. I lost my confidence and my sense of self-worth. My business took a severe hammering, with the result that my financial situation became very precarious.

I became almost a recluse, eschewing all social invitations and started to shun my friends and even my family. My weight plummeted, which made look even worse. I was desperately depressed.

I would like to say that there was some wonderful ‘Eureka’ moment when I made a life changing decision. Or even more laudable, a moment when I realised that there were so many people with severe and crippling handicaps, disabilities and disfigurements, which made a typical later-life case of thinning hair seem trivial and insignificant. Sadly, I cannot claim such selfless enlightenment.

Instead, there was a gradual realisation that this couldn’t be cured so it must be endured. It was time to come to terms with and accept reality.

Two miserably long and lonely years on, and I think that I have finally turned the corner. I’m not there yet but I am now fighting hard to emerge from the horrendous hole that I had dug for myself. It’s not easy but at least I have accepted the fact that I will never again be able to swing my hair or have an ‘up do’.

I have, instead, a head of hair so thin that it’s almost translucent. But I am now working with my hairdresser to make the best of this. I am not brave enough to sport a bald pate so if/when the day comes, I will seek help from a professional (hang the expense!) to find a wig that is right for me.

Life is too short. It’s a cliché but sometimes clichés turn out to be true. So I needed to ‘get a life’ with or without a thriving thatch.