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Losing all my hair helped me learn to really love myself fully

Sanah is a honors college student at the University of Texas at San Antonio who is double majoring in Sociology and Communications. She is the founder of a non-profit organization called The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, which works...

Alopecia has made me bald and more confident than ever

It was Spring Break of my 7th grade year when lost my entire head of hair. Each morning, I would wake up surrounded by it. All over my pillow, the sheets, the floor. As I grabbed the chunks of hair that fell off of my head, I couldn’t breathe. My head felt light, and my heart felt heavy.

My dermatologist explained my condition: Alopecia Universalis. It wasn't going to grow back.

As he explained: “Alopecia is a disease that makes your body think hair is a disease, so you are constantly fighting it off. In a way, it’s like you’re allergic to your own hair.”

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I was despondent. With every strand of hair, I had lost a strand of confidence, and I was left with absolutely nothing.

My first move was to buy a wig. My second, sadly, was to begin a life long battle with depression and self-harm. I was bullied mercilessly. From an online BurnPage made about me to a note in my locker titled “50 ways to go kill yourself." I wondered if I should.

But then I realized something else: The only way out of this was to learn to like myself. I wrote myself kind notes to battle those bullying ones. “I am worthy,” I told myself every time I passed a mirror. Those affirmations may seem silly to some, but they saved my life. And when I was 14, I ditched the wig for good.

I used social media and a video to tell others my story and rather than hate, I got love. I got acceptance. I heard others share their own stories of bullying and depression and suicidal thoughts. I had something to share. My own experience could help others. What a miracle it was to see my worth staring me in the face.

Since then, I’ve started a non-profit organization called The Love Your Natural Self Foundation. It’s a organization dedicated to helping individuals build confidence.

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When I lost my hair, I felt like I lost a big piece of myself. For a long time, my Alopecia defined my self-worth. I feel like my life began the moment I let something else define it. Love. Self-love. And pride. I am so proud to be me. I love myself. Without my conditions, I'd never have learned this kind of grace, kindness, and self-confidence. I feel grateful for the journey every day — Alopecia and all.

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