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11 Things I Wish I Knew About Alopecia Before My Diagnosis

It's so much more than losing your hair and it's definitely not easy.

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1. Alopecia really has a mind of its own.

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No one really knows what's going to happen when it comes to alopecia. You may lose a 10-centimetre patch or you could lose your whole head of hair. You might get your hair back but lose your eyebrows. It may come back, or it may not, and the best part: if you stress about it, it'll probably make it worse.

2. Your head will get ridiculously cold.

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Hoodies and beanies will be your new best friends, especially when you're sleeping. Also, the first time you get your head wet or it touches a new material for the first time, it will feel super weird but also pretty cool.

3. But you can say goodbye to waxing and shaving.

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This is possibly the best part. No more waxing, no more shaving, and no more prickly little hairs anywhere. If you were into any kind of hair removal, you'll save so much time and money.

4. Your get-ready routine will become a lot simpler.

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In the morning, this also means extra sleep. Seriously. If you love sleep, this is probably one of the biggest perks. You don't have to wash, dry, or straighten your hair. You can get up and out the door in less than 15 minutes, depending on how much effort you want to put into your outfit and other ~grooming~.

5. Targeted online advertising is going to be your new enemy.

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The online advertising algorithms see the word "hair" and suddenly you're getting 1000 ads trying to sell you great hair products or ~miracle~ ways to make your hair long and luscious. At first, it will be hard seeing them but tbh it'll just make you even tougher in the long run.

6. Everywhere you go, people will stare.

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If you decide to rock the bald (kudos if you do!) people will stare. Sadly, right now seeing people - especially women - without hair is a bit of a spectacle. Whatever you do, don't cover up because it makes someone else feel uncomfortable. That's their problem, not yours.

7. You will appreciate more than ever that children have absolutely no filter.

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Or tact for that matter. Be prepared for kids in shopping centres yelling (yes, literally yelling) for their parents to look at you, and then for their parents to get super awkward. It's actually pretty funny if you don't take it to heart.

8. People will assume that you have cancer.

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They won't be afraid to ask about it either. It's an awkward conversation you'll frequently have, and it's not one that ever really gets any easier.

9. And they'll always think they know what's best for you.

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News flash: they don't. People will have no idea what you're going through but boy will they try to pass on any thoughts they have. Most people are genuinely trying to be supportive and they're people you definitely need around, but when strangers start dishing out the advice on your medical condition they only found out existed 30-seconds earlier, that's your cue to check out.

10. It will be hard at times, but you don't have to go through it alone.

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Facebook and Instagram are both great places to find support from people who actually understand how you're feeling. You might never physically meet these new friends but being able to swap stories and experiences can be the most helpful thing in the world.

11. And you can feel normal again.

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Luckily, the world is filled with clever people who have created some amazing products. If you decide to go for a wig, there are different types and styles for all different budgets and if you're nervous or scared of the shopping experience, there are services that come to your house.

You can get false eyelashes that stay in place when you don't have any of your own, and you can even get your eyebrows feather tattooed, if you think that will help you feel good about yourself. Some things are more extreme than others, but each can really bring back that sense of normality just enough that you feel like your "old" self again, which is truly priceless.

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