I have a secret to share ...
From the age of 12 when I lost all of my hair to the age of 26 ish I always hid my hair loss from others.
When my husband and I first met 14 years ago I wouldn't let him see me without my hair on for the first 2 years of our relationship (our at least I THOUGHT he never saw me) it turns out that every night, as I slept, my trusty old "bed hat" would slip off as I rolled over in bed so my husband had seen me without my hair on the whole time!
What I found really sweet about this, when he admitted it to me all those years ago, was that he never told me until I had already "allowed" him to see me without my hair on. And also, every morning before I woke up he would wake before me and put my hat back over my head so that I wouldn't wake up paniced and embarressed. He's still super sweet that way.
I have been wearing wigs from around 13 years old and I think I have tried almost every type of wig available! Glued, taped, glue and tape at the same time, grip bands, silicone bands etc .... I have worn them all.
My hair loss was a big factor in my anxiety and depression growing up. I just wanted to fit in. I just wanted to be normal (what ever normal is!?) and the fact that I was bald made me stand out even more.
Team all of the above with a neuorological difference that went completely under the radar until just recently (a story for another blog!) meant that I constantly felt like a square peg being forced in to a round hole.
I felt like a social pariah, a wierdo, strange .... different. Feeling all these emotions is no fun and after years of feeling this way it's bound to have an effect on a persons mental health and present itself in ways such as depression and anxiety.
Depression is hard.
Anxiety is hard.
A combination of the 2 is torture.
When change is good ...
Now I know change shouldn't really be all that scary BUT to someone like me change is incredibly difficult. Everytime I needed to replace one of my wigs the whole process left me physically and mentally drained and my anxiety would cripple me.
It would take me forever to get used to wearing a new wig, even if it was exactly the same as the one before. They never felt like mine.
Then, one day in 2011 something amazing happened. I was lucky to be sent a Follea Gripper wig to take a look at, try on, give feedback on and write a blog post on. Man, I was hooked <3
Here's a quick run down of my initial thoughts on the Gripper wig all those years ago ...
- The hair was so soft and light weight. I had been wearing Chinese hair for years at this point and the soft, silky feel of Follea hair was dazzling.
- The base construction. I was wowed by a lace front that wasn't welded (which can feel sharp and scratchy against the skin) that didn't require gle or tape to secure.
- The feeling when I put it on. There was no excess material anywhere and it fit my head like a glove! It felt like a second skin on my head. It felt like me and in this wig I felt so pretty.
- The feel of the silicone against my scalp was comfortable, smooth and secure. There was no movement or slipping and no itchy feeling. As someone who deals with sensory issues on a daily basis this was massive for me. I remember crying.
I knew I had literally stumbled upon something so incredibly beautiful and I knew this was going to be a game changer for me and so many women just like me.
I saved for some time and then purchased my first Follea Gripper wig. That was back in 2011 and I've been Folleas biggest fan ever since <3
A surprising sequence of events...
The years that followed that first "meeting" with the Follea Gripper wig have flown by and as I look back at the progress I've made with myself I can honestly say that I'm proud of myself.
The Follea Gripper wig gave me back my feeling of "self" and then slowly but surely my confidence surrounding being bald and wearing a wig grew. Slowly. Day after day, week after week ....
These days I find myself totally comfortable with my hair loss. I take my hair off in public if I need to (example: a wasp is stuck in my hair!) or want to (example: I'm having a hot flush moment and want to cool myself down faster).
I feel like I am in control of how I present myself to others as far as my alopecia goes. This for me has been life changing.