alopecia areata
Alopecia + Auto-Immune

That Time I Induced My Own Alopecia Areata and My Hair Started Falling Out.

Hello. My name is Angie and induced my own alopecia areata. Feelings alert: This will probably be my most serious post but hopefully my humor will still shine through as I take you through the beginning of my hair loss to the regrowth of it to now.

Alopecia Areata is No Fun.

This is my own story with my self-induced alopecia areata and how I allowed myself to let stress and anger take over my wellbeing so much that I put my own immune system into shock. This is may not be the case with everyone who is facing hair loss whether a bald patch here or there or those with total hair loss, there may not even be a “moment” for them, but for me there was. It rhymes with “incredible stress”…

I didn’t even notice I was losing hair until one day at my sister’s house while watching murder crime shows and her playing with my hair she said, “Hey you have a bald spot.” At first, I thought she was messing with me. Even though we are grown-ups now she still loves to torture me. I waited for her to start laughing like she normally does when she is joking with me but she didn’t. I got up looked in the mirror and there it was. I think my first reaction was more annoyed than anything else like “uh good why do I have to deal with this now too” but as I drove home the fear and the reality started to sink in. I had played with emotional and spiritual fire and the universe was not playing games anymore.

During this time I wasn’t in the best place in my life-career, relationship, spiritually. I’m gonna be honest I was in the worst damn place in my relationship and the only way I could cope was to get so angry that I would pull my own muscles while screaming. I felt dismissed beyond belief and unheard and outside of my relationship I felt like I didn’t belong in my city, my relationship, my life and maybe even my family a little. I’ve always had a seriously hard time with expressing my emotions and the only way I could express myself for a long time was through anger.

I was completely out of balance within myself spiritually and emotionally and I just wanted to trash myself like a rock star trashed a hotel room. I had complete disregard for myself.

After the shock the initial awareness of my bald spot I thought okay no problem I will just take it easy and it will grow back. I’ll meditate do some yoga and change my thoughts. I wasn’t getting the message that this loss of hair was bringing. What happened next was an ever-increasing bald spot and a good amount of hair just disappearing from my life. I didn’t even notice it going, yet again. I wasn’t losing huge clumps in the shower or when I brushed my hair although it was definitely more than the norm but for all I knew when my hair blew in the wind a hundred strands flew off in the breeze. It just kept falling out.

This is me normally… tons of hair. So much so that people used to ask me if I wore hair extensions.

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I did not:)

Here is a little while after we first noticed the patch:

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And this was me at my worst:

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Actually, that little tiny hair growth on top wasn’t there at my worst.. this was me right after my worse when it started to grow back. Notice how shitty my skin was too. That’s because all of this is connected and my body was screaming messages at me that I was still not willing to see.

For Me, My Hair Loss Was a Symptom.

For months my head felt like it was on fire!!! The burning sensation always came from the areas where I was about to or already losing hair. I also noticed my scalp was incredibly dry and initially I thought since my hair loss started in January that it was because of the cold weather. My head was so itchy from the dryness it took me back to that time that little asshole girl gave me lice at summer camp. The only thing that helped the itchiness was washing my scalp with apple cider vinegar and/or using this olive oil shampoo that my Mom also used for her Psoriasis. Once the burning and itching stopped I started to notice my hair follicles would actually hurt. Please note that is the craziest thing I have ever said, but I’m not kidding my hair hurt. When I would run my fingers through my hair the hair closest to the root felt like death, like little needle painful death.

I was also really lucky because my hair covered the bald spots and I was even able to have my cutie hairstyles still.

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I am always on verge of getting bangs again!

If you have alopecia or thinning hair and are looking for an answer to why this happened and how I don’t have that for you. What I do have is my own experience and self-awareness to know how it manifested in my life and hopefully, that will give you some awareness of your own. I won’t even use the word control here because if your hair is falling out it is going to keep falling out. I’m sorry. The damage has already been done, internally speaking, BUT there are stages and in-between the falling out, less falling out, new patch appearing where you can call in the big immune system restarting troops.

I Knew I Was Going to Heal My Alopecia Areata and I Did.

If you want to read more about the incredible strict hair regrowing diet I went on, also loosely known as the AIP diet or the immune boosting diet click here:)

Back to me balding: I had a huge fist full-sized patch (see above) that stuck with me in total for about six months before it started to grow back. Here I am, currently on the hair loss lam.

alopecia areata

It’s currently about 6 six inches long and looks like I am just growing back an undercut. It sticks out of my ponytail and I’m into it. My mom even thought it was a special haircut style. Get with it lady. I also developed another patch right above the giant patch about eight months in and it is currently hanging out there pretending like it’s not gonna grow back.

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In order for my hair to grow back I really had to start listening to the message which had a lot to do with trusting myself and my own feelings which I was not fully able to do because I had just been through a divorce the year before and I probably felt a little like I couldn’t be trusted to make good emotional decisions. So instead of making good emotional decisions, I made bad ones by not really making any at all. Even not making a choice is a choice. I am still learning that I can own my own expression. I am learning finally after thirty-one years that sadness feels better than anger and I am more comfortable expressing my sadness and hurt feelings towards people I love rather than just being a ball of anger. I am also learning that fantasy has no basis in reality and sometimes holding onto the idea of the fantasy you created is really just blocking a reality that’s so good it can feel like a fantasy.

I know that this leftover patch will eventually fill in as well because I am listening to the messages that my body is trying to tell me. I know I most likely will have to jump back on my immune boosting diet but I’m also counting on the Vitamin D coming from the sun this summer to help out. Yay summer! There was a possibility that all my hair was going to fall out and I was going to look like Friar Tuck and be almost totally bald but deep down I knew that that was not the goal of manifesting this hair loss. I cannot say with 100% certainty that this is the case of everyone else who is facing hair loss. I just know that this is my case.

Hair loss is seriously tragic and mortifying. It really takes you to the depths of who you are as a person, trust me. We are also so identified with our hair and appearance viewing hair not only as a comfort but an avenue of self-expression.  P.S. I’m not delusional and trying to provide reassurance to myself because I don’t want my hair to fall out. I mean YES I rather my hair did not fall out but if it does I will just rock fabulous headscarves every day and buy some land so I can become that bald hippie in the woods with all the organic food who takes care of the animals…or I’ll become a punk rocker.

For more understanding about alopecia or your autoimmune condition check out A Holistic Look at Inflammation in the Body.

20 Comments

  • neta

    Hello, I’ve been on AIP for 5 months now. Unfortunately, it didn’t help me at all. I started in December with one spot, now I have more than 10 and 50% of my hair is gone. My alopecia was stable for the first 2 months on AIP and then it started to get worse. Now, I am trying to get off the strict AIP. At this point, I am very depressed and hopeless. The traditional medicine is not working either.

    I am writing this, so people will now that AIP does not work for everybody.

    Thank you

    • greenbananagirl

      Hi Neta,

      I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have success. Yes indeed it doesn’t work for everyone. For me it was not the AIP alone which brought back my hair, but a combination of holistic healing methods as well. Can I ask what traditional medicine you were on? If you want to message me separately (for your privacy) I would love to talk with you. I had to troubleshoot quite a bit this second round.

      • neta

        Thank you for your answer! I would like to message you privately if it’s possible. I was not taking any medications at that time. I was taking multi-vitamins, vitamin D-3, fish oil, and magnesium. In March I started steroid shots, topical steroids, and minoxidil. None are helping. My dermatologist said that she couldn’t help me anymore. I need to buy a wig at this point, as I can’t cover all the spots. It’s difficult to believe that 3 months ago I had a long thick hair. No I pretty much bold. Thank you!

      • greenbananagirl

        Hi Neta!

        I have talked to a few people and the point of those medications is to definitely jumpstart the hair back into the hair growth cycle which has been dormant for a while. Sometimes excess shedding does occur because the hair has already been inflammed and in order to grow new follicles, the old ones have to go. I’m sorry your dermatologist said that most don’t know of other treatments and are only trained don what they know, but don’t necessarily have the real-life experience, like those who suffer from it and do the research. I’m emailed you right now! We will troubleshoot and I’ll give you the whole rundown of what I know from other people who have also gone that route with no success. Don’t give up! rest, but don’t give up!

  • ccbruning

    I couldn’t work out how to reply to your question (finally) but yes! AIP has cured my alopecia. My hair was 80% gone, as well as most of my lashes and half an eyebrow! I’m trying to spread the word here and get others onto it, but the commitment scares them! and not many attempt it 🙁 I send them to your blog – it’s so informative!!
    I never felt so healthy and in-control in my life though, once I was a few weeks into the program. I still stick to a couple of the things…collagen, probiotics…but generally eat what I feel like, in healthy moderation. If it comes back again, I’ll do AIP without hesitation!

    • greenbananagirl

      Hi Charlotte! I love everything you said and it’s so funny I was just talking to my Mom about this tonight- that we are lucky to be so in tune with our bodies that if something is off we know what to do! And yes moderation- that’s the key. I’m the same still sticking to Omega’s, slippery elm and probiotics as well just to keep this body functioning best, especially during higher stress times (which thankfully are about to be even more severely limited). I’m so so happy for you that you have grown back so much and you sound great. I know, yes people are afraid of the commitment which is why all of us can help guide people and help make it easier for them:) Thank you for sending them here! We are all here to help each other! So curious about how long from starting AIP until now to grow everything back!? So exciting!

  • Nancy

    Hi. I just found your page as I have been battling alopecia for a while and was getting depressed and feeling hopeless. I am going to start my holistic journey soon and hopefully get my health and well being back in order. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • greenbananagirl

      Hi Nancy! I’m so glad you found my site then! I have been there with those feelings, so I totally understand:/ Alopecia is a pain, to say the least! It affects every part of you which people don’t realize, it’s not just the hair. It’s your emotional, spiritual, your identity, your appearance, how others see you, how you see yourself, your vision of your future, your upsets, your disappointments, your vulnerability, your strength, it’s a rollercoaster! I am so lucky I had my holistic upbringing to fall back on and was lucky that my Mom was also going through her Psoriasis at the same time- so we had a buddy. And actually, I forgot this until just now (so thank you, you are an inspiration!) I actually started the AIP dit because my Mother was doing a similar inflammation reducing diet (based in Edgar Cayce’s Methods) and I wanted to do it with her to support her. I, of course, wanted my hair growth to come back but I also wanted to make sure she had someone to share her struggles with and hold her accountable. It was an autoimmune buddy system! This is a long-term vision I’m going share with you because you inspired reminded me of this- but I hope one day to have that same type of support buddy system on GBG.com.. Right now I’m the buddy but I think we are all so important and I want you to be seen and have the support we all know we need. Nancy you are on your way and please do keep me posted with everything, reach out any time:)!

    • greenbananagirl

      Hi Charlotte! Isn’t that funny!? We are also so similar! I’m finding that more and more as I talk to people which is of course great news, because it means there is a path to “the other side”! Were you able to grow all of your hair back as well on AIP?

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