From my own experience with alopecia I find the biggest help and the best way to deal with the condition is to have an amazing support network around you.
Since the beginning of my journey, I've accumulated an ever growing network of family, friends and acquaintances (those I haven't met in person but speak to online) who help me through my dark days, encourage me when I'm about to take my next step and congratulate me when I've done something I'm proud of.
There is no worse feeling when you're going through a tough time than loneliness. It doesn't have to be that way, however. Confiding your feelings in someone you trust can bring an immediate sense of relief. Even sitting in the company of somebody who understands your struggle can be a break from your own thoughts.
Discovering Be Bold, Alopecia UK, my local alopecia support group meeting and Pretty Bald has encouraged my self confidence, introduced me to new friends and given me information I can take forward and apply in my own life.
Last night, I attended my local Newcastle support group. I've attended this group since it first began back in 2014 when there were just a handful of us having cups of tea, eating biscuits (LOVE biscuits!) and sharing our stories. Since that time I've seen the group grow in numbers and it's been fantastic to be involved with that.
I must admit, when I heard the phrase "support group", I did groan. I didn't want to be sat in a room full of sad people, crying and bringing me down. I have my down days now and again but generally I'm pretty OK with my condition. I wanted to be around like minded people.
I was an idiot.
These support groups are vital in some people's acceptance of themselves. I can see, especially in the cases of those who are currently losing their hair, that their self esteem is at an all time low. They feel alone. Attending group meetings is a massive step to anyone suffering any kind of condition and they do it to progress. We help each other, offer information, advice, assistance and support - obviously!
If you're in need of a sympathetic ear or want to gather information of services near you I would definitely say, attend a meeting. Alopecia UK have a handy section on their website showing all groups that currently meet in the UK, check them out here: http://www.alopeciaonline.org.uk/support-groups.asp
We're here to help each other.
Much love, Kay x