My hair has always been my staple – it’s been my crowning glory, literally. Throughout my life I have always experimented with cuts, colours and styles, leading my 10 year obsession with hair and even at one stage influencing my desire to become a hair colourist. Yet now it has become my daily anxiety, something I am constantly paranoid and worried about – and yes, you guessed it, I can thank my good mate Crohn’s for that.
I started noticing a change during my last bad flare up towards the end of 2016. It had been going on for over a month and I was physically unable to digest any food – meaning of course that I could kiss goodbye to any nutrients entering my blood stream. My skin became dry and spotty and my hair started to look brittle, breaking off in weird places and leaving me with an un-wanted ‘layered’ look.
It was showering that really got me. I’ve shared houses with enough girls to know that hair does fall out – more than you would realise, sometimes! I’ll find it on my bedroom floor, on clothes, in my sock drawer; everywhere! I expected that as a normality of life, the human version of a malting-animal, but it was when I would wash my hair that I noticed something was wrong. Chunks and clumps of it were coming out. I could feel heaps of it sliding down my legs as I washed out shampoo and would find it tangled between my hands when applying conditioner. I would notice it in matted piles on the shower floor by the plug, and after a day or two the bin in our bathroom would begin to look like I had created an entire wig of old hair.
In December, I decided to have extensions put in, as my hair had become visibly awful and I was paranoid about my appearance. 7 hours later, I was transformed back into a lioness and genuinely felt like a goddess. Although there is always the risk of extensions ruining your hair, matting it, pulling it out, etc, I knew that I needed something for my self-confidence. And it worked.
Now, we are in February, and I’m 3 weeks into taking Azathioprine. During my initial consultation with my hospital Pharmacist, we went through all the common side effects which I was to be aware of – nausea, migraines, breathlessness, fatigue and hair loss. Hair loss? You had to be fucking kidding me. I’d just paid through my nose to try and re-build my hair following a flare up, and now you’re telling me that it is all going to fall out again? ‘Some people experience it worse than others’ she said, but given the state of my current locks and the fact that I had previously suffered from Alopecia at University (due to stress) I knew I was not going to be in for an easy ride.
That leaves me here, writing this, with noticeably thinning hair. My roots are looking sparse, my hair is broken and I feel like shit about it. Maintaining an image or at least keeping up some sort of attractive appearance seems to be the impossible hurdle for me with this illness, and I’ll be honest, I’m bloody bored of it.
Let’s hope bobs and short hair cuts remain in fashion for the foreseeable future, ey!