Mindset

Benefits of Support Groups

It’s scary to ride a roller-coaster by ourselves, we often want to have a friend or a group of friends to experience the ride with us. Experiencing alopecia can also be quite a roller-coaster and many of us go through the emotional ride all by ourselves with no support. When I started slowly but surely losing my hair 4 years ago, it became chaos in both my physical world but also in my mental world and I had no one to turn to — I was riding the roller-coaster all by myself. Read more…

Stress and Alopecia Areata – What’s the connection?

One of the most common questions that comes up in our online alopecia support group is “does stress cause alopecia?”  I always cringe when I see the word ’cause’ because quite honestly, if researchers knew the exact ’cause’ then they would be able to find a ‘cure.’ I would much rather see the use of the word ‘trigger’ instead of ’cause.’  Learning to look at the four pillars of all autoimmune disorders and how they work may help to unravel the correlation between stress and alopecia areata.  After having alopecia areata for over 40 years, stepping back and looking at these four pillars helped me learn not to look for one specific trigger but start focusing on the whole picture… Read more…

Alopecia: My Story

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Learning to Thrive Series: Angie Tozier Bryan

For Mother’s Day, we had a chance to chat with Angie who tells us what it’s like being a mother with alopecia and how she’s learned to thrive.

Q. How long have you been living with alopecia?

I have been living with alopecia since 2012. I first noticed it right in the middle of my front hairline. I also have diffuse loss all over my head that has gotten progressively worse over the years. I have been wearing wigs/hair pieces since March of 2013. I decided to “come out” about my alopecia and buzz my remaining hair in January 2016 and I currently rotate between looks – I mostly wear wigs at work, scarves or hats when out at other times, and just rock my patchy buzz cut at home. Read more…

To Boost or Not To Boost – The Immune System Explained

Oftentimes when people are first diagnosed, it’s because they find a bald spot which may lead them to believe that alopecia areata is specifically about their hair and the loss of it. However, alopecia areata is more about the immune system than it is about the hair follicle itself.

Certain portions of the human body have ‘immune privilege,’ meaning they are able to tolerate the introduction of foreign substances without eliciting an inflammatory immune response. Our hair follicles (primarily the epithelium surrounding the hair follicles) are part of the skin immune system. Our skin immune system is constantly signaling and talking to keep our lymphocytes at bay — letting them know that they are, indeed, supposed to be there. Read more…

Everything Heals

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Learning to Thrive Series: Trisha Repp Benzing

For our third Q&A session, we had the pleasure of interviewing Trisha Repp Benzing. Please take a moment to read Trisha’s courageous journey with alopecia.

Q. When were you diagnosed?

I was diagnosed at 19. My hairdresser found a small spot on the back of my head. I went to my dr who referred me to a dermatologist. Within 30 days half of my hair was gone. I think the stress of the diagnosis increased the speed of the hair loss. I was devastated. At that age, appearance is very important. I had severe depression for a while, which didn’t help either. My friends and husband eventually helped me realize I was beautiful with or without my hair, but it was a rough time for me. Read more…

Restoring Your Soul

What does it mean to feed your soul? How often do you slow down enough to notice exactly what you need to restore yourself and not just ‘escape’.

And I’m not just talking about a mani/pedi afternoon! (Of course those are great too!)

Taking a moment, as often as possible, to really honestly ask yourself what you need will not only provide you with some relief and satisfaction but a new sense of self and what’s important to you may emerge. Read more…

We are the Guardians of our own Mind

Positive mindset is something we need to feed ourselves with daily. It’s easy to think negative and hard to think positive. Why? Why is it so easy to think of different scenarios that are bad for us?

For me there is only one word that fits — fear. Since this is a guest post for us with alopecia, I take it as an example. It’s been very easy for me to feel fear, and it’s because I’ve been feeding my mind over a long period of time — even during the school years — and it’s not easy to make it go away, it’s a bad habit. Read more…

4 Myths I Didn’t Need To Believe About My Chronic Illness

In an ideal world, we’d all support our body’s miraculous ability to heal itself and develop new cells through our lifestyle choices. Whether through the food we choose, physical activity, the amount of rest we receive, or even the conversations we have, everything would either contribute to our ongoing good health or inhibit our body from being well or healing.

This is even true when it comes to autoimmune disease. Often, when a person is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, medications are prescribed with little to no explanation about the disease and how our lifestyle impacts that condition. Read more…