Abby Andrew, 24, made a Facebook post about her alopecia, and things couldn’t have turned out any better for her.
A childhood ruined by alopecia
She started losing her hair when she was about two years old and was diagnosed with alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out.
Her mother shaved her head when she was three years old as her bald spots grew bigger. The bare spots became more significant than the patches of hair on her head. As she grew older, she became more anxious and concerned about hiding her baldness. She would refuse the house without a wig. She quit the swimming team when she was still a child. She refused to go on rollercoasters because she was worried that she would lose her hair.
As rumors began at her school that she wore a wig, she made drastic efforts to avoid being found out. She avoided interacting with people in her immediate social circle. She would change her wigs only over the summer holidays so she could pretend that her hair grew out. Or that she turned her hair. Although she strived to be more open about her condition at university, she was anxious about opening up to a partner.
Realizing that it is okay
In 2014, when she started dating her first boyfriend, Abby used to sleep in a wig. She did this for the first six months to avoid him finding out about her alopecia. She said, “When I started dating my first boyfriend, I kept it a secret by wearing the same wig every day,”
She started hanging out with him in March 2014 and was too scared for him to see her without a wig. It meant that if she stayed over at his, the wig stayed on. However, by August, she had had enough of the hiding and shared her alopecia with the world. She made a Facebook post, and that’s how her boyfriend found out. She was apprehensive about how he’d react when they meet up next time, but he told her it was cool that she opened up.
Abby avoided dating for a long time for fear of opening up to them. After she saw that her boyfriend didn’t care about her baldness, she realized that her condition didn’t make her undateable. She realized that many men did not care, and her condition served as a conversation starter. She said that her alopecia works as a filter as she doesn’t have to deal with people who will be shallow about it.