I finally managed to overcome my hair loss. Just like that. All it took was one phone call. Not shaving. Not getting buff. Not a new girlfriend. Not even the encouragement found within this forum. (These are all great, but, for me at least, did not provide instant gratification) In short, it didn't take a healthy dose of confidence or a new-found sense of normalcy. All it took was a drastic change in perspective. This isn't exactly a new concept around here, but , like so many others, I wasn't able to achieve it without extra persuasion.
I'm a young guy (23). My battle was always centered around my age, and how unfair it was that I was being denied a trait possessed by the vast majority of my age group. I was convinced that if I'd started losing my hair ten years from now it wouldn't be such a big deal. I felt like my youth was being stolen away from me. I feared ridicule by my peers, rejection by women, and all the other things one could possibly dread as a result of MPB. I was always depressed and overly self-conscious. In short, my quality of life had become severely limited.
Then I got the phone call... It was a female friend from college. She called me at 4:30 this morning because she couldn't sleep and wanted to talk. Long-story-short, she found out on Friday that she has breast cancer, she's going in for a mastectomy on Tuesday, then starting a round of Chemo shortly thereafter. She didn't seem nearly as apprehensive as I would have anticipated, and she talked about the impending operation as though it were something minor like a tonsillectomy. Was I hearing her right? She's going to lose a breast! Isn't that a big deal? Worse, she might die from all of this! She didn't once mention the fact that she is only 21 and thus much younger than the normal age for breast cancer. The worst part to her was the fact that she was going to lose her hair... She was sad because she's going to lose her long, gorgeous brown hair. She said, more or less, that she wouldn't feel like a woman without it. And that's when it hit me.
I am a man. A MAN, DAMNIT! And men go bald. It is a simple fact of life. People expect it. It's not life-threatening. The only drawback is the preventable, reversible, self-imposed psychological damage. To society, the loss of my hair in no way lessens my masculinity. On the other hand, society in general creates a huge association between breasts, long hair, and femininity. As a man, being dealt the bald card is no more substantial than being dealt a certain complexion, height, metabolism, eye color, etc. You are still perfectly capable of living a happy, normal life. Feeling weak and tired all the time, wanting to throw up everything you eat, feeling disassociated from your gender... those are IMO legitimate reasons to be unhappy.
HOW did I ever manage to let something like hair loss put a damper on my happiness? Oh... wait... now I remember. Because I was/am some combination of shallow, selfish, and self-absorbed. I'm not saying that I will walk the straight-and-narrow from here on out. I'm sure I'll have my days. But I know that, with my new-found perspective, I will never again be capable of self-pity regarding my hair, regardless of any comments, looks, or rejections.
I guess this post really goes out to all of you who might still be struggling (even deep down) with losing your hair. I KNOW it's not easy. I don't expect this story to affect as it did me, simply because it is so personal for me. This wasn't designed to be some chain-letter guilt trip and nothing I've suggested is in any way ground-breaking. I just wanted to share how I arrived at my conclusion. So...
All summed up, it could be SO MUCH WORSE. I know I sound really self-righteous, but this is what worked for me... stop worrying about your hair, and start being a better friend/spouse/sibling. Use the energy you put into worrying about your appearance to help solve an actual problem. Life can take a lot of things from you, but the appropriate perspective will ensure that you don't live in fear of loss, making you a much happier person all-round.