Talking to Friends and Family about Your Hair Loss
Hair loss is a part of life for many women as well as men that impacts the relationships we have with our family, friends, and colleagues. Many people who haven’t experienced hair loss may not understand the challenge of having conversations with loved ones about their hair loss. However, if you’re going through it, I’m sure you know the importance of being prepared both mentally and emotionally for these conversations. Friends and family can be a great support bank you can use when they understand how and when to help.
Female Hair Loss
. For many, hair loss occurred spontaneously and will not re-grow (see alopecia), or they may have suffered a cancer diagnosis and underwent chemotherapy treatments. Women often experience high levels of anxiety as a result of their hair loss; because of concerns around the judgment of others. Many women have tried treatments to help their hair grow. These options may not have worked or they only worked moderately and only serve to increase a sense of isolation and helplessness.
The Psycho-social Problem
Research has demonstrated that the emotional and mental issues that arise after hair loss may be more impactful than the hair loss itself. According to research, hair loss often results in lowered self-esteem, increased depression, and anxiety, perceived lack of self-control, and avoidance of social gatherings. While many people experienced these symptoms in different intensities and with varying duration, a problem experienced by many was the lack of support from friends and family.
Feeling loved, validated, and understood by the people in your life is a vital in keeping yourself happy and healthy in the face of life’s difficulties.
Help from Your Support System
Friends and family must take the hair loss seriously. Women especially benefit from the unconditional support of their closest friends and family to walk through this difficult time together. Additionally, your physician and hair care consultants can provide encouragement and a listening ear. Communicating your feelings to your support group because it is the only way they will know what you are going through, and always remember to tell them what is the best way to help and support you.
You can begin a conversation by sharing how your hair loss began and describing the effects it has had on your life. Make sure to discuss the emotional impact of the hair loss, specifically speaking to the effects on your relationships and your self image. You can explore your reactions to hair loss by thinking through how the stress has changed across time, in different contexts, and with different people.
After you share your side of the story it is then the responsibility of your friends and family members to give a voice to their emotions and thoughts. They may have concerns and ideas that they, too, want to talk about concerning your hair loss. Listen empathically to your loved ones and offer support. Once you have both shared your emotions and reactions, there is common ground to move forward.