Anna Agnew was solely eight years previous when she misplaced her hair to Alopecia however needs to remind anybody going by the identical battle that there’s “a lot extra to you than your hair or your lack of hair”.
The 22-year-old trainee instructor from Carncastle exterior Larne shared her story with Belfast Dwell for Alopecia Consciousness Month.
Anna, who’s at present finding out a PGCE in Early Years Main Instructing in Liverpool, was on vacation in Gran Canaria when she first began to lose her hair.
Anna stated: “I used to be preparing for a type of child membership expertise present you do on holidays and I used to be dressing up as a cowgirl – my mammy was placing my hair up in pigtails and she or he observed I had a bald patch on the again of my head in regards to the measurement of a 50p.
“Over the vacations we simply observed within the morning that increasingly more hair was on the pillow once I awoke within the morning.
“By the point I obtained again from the vacation and being away for 2 weeks I used to be virtually fully bald so it was very daunting coming house.”
All through major college, Anna wore hats and bandanas till she obtained her first wig.
“Trying again on it, it was terrible however I simply thought it was the very best factor however I do bear in mind going to get it and it being scary,” she defined.
As she moved into secondary college, Anna continued to put on wigs however ensured that her alopecia was “by no means a secret” as she at all times wished to be open about her hair loss to be able to break the stigma surrounding it.
Anna continued: “I had such nice assist from my household and buddies. They might consistently remind me that I’m not my hair or lack of hair and that I’m nonetheless Anna earlier than the rest.
“I used to be at all times a assured little one and if you hear of individuals dropping their hair, it’s at all times normally very detrimental. Clearly dropping my hair wasn’t good however it was by no means overwhelmingly detrimental for me which I’m very grateful for.”
She stated one thing that actually marked a “turning level” in her journey was deciding to go on a faculty water-sports journey at 17 which might require her to go with no wig in entrance of her friends for the primary time.
“I simply did it and it was a large factor for me – it was that actual age the place you’re evaluating your self to everybody and I do not forget that being onerous.
“The primary couple of days of the vacation I didn’t need to be in footage however throughout it, everybody simply handled me the identical and that was the most important factor for me,” Anna stated.
“I didn’t need folks to really feel sorry for me and simply wished to be handled like myself and get on with everybody the way in which I normally did.
“By the tip of the vacation, I used to be in all the photographs and got here house and everybody was nonetheless so supportive which was nice.”
Since then, Anna has tried to embrace her alopecia and unfold consciousness of how your life can nonetheless be superb with out your hair.
She added: “Practically every part you examine alopecia may be very detrimental however I might simply love younger ladies and boys to know that it isn’t the be-all and end-all.
“There’s a lot extra to you than your hair or your lack of hair and it isn’t the tip of the world.
“You need to be assured in your self and you may tackle something.”
Her recommendation to anybody who could also be going by an analogous journey to her is to not lose themselves and who they’re as they lose their hair.
“Individuals are nonetheless going to deal with you a similar however you simply actually must do not forget that if you’re having a day if you really feel sorry for your self, that’s completely alright to really feel like that.
“There’s such an enormous group of individuals on social media so chat to individuals who have had related experiences to you and it actually simply makes all of the distinction.”