Hey how are you doing and welcome to this forum. I suppose I went through something quite similar. When I first noticed I was losing my hair, I guess I was around 23. I looked in the mirror and could see the front thinning out. My suspicion is that it had been happening or at least noticeable for a while and that i just hadnt paid any attention to it.
My hair thinned in a really diffuse way, so there was no recession really of note, it just sort of all got thinner on top to the point that when I was about 27 there was more scalp than hair and i knew it was time to do something about it. So while on holiday in Budapest I shaved it down (it was November, snowing and that was abaptism of fire!!) I had an initial feeling of relief to have taken control of the situation but then went through a real sort of mourning period recognising the fact that I was in my mid 20's and bald.
I really think this is all about stigma. When I look or looked in the mirror, I would focus exclusively on the fact that I had no hair on my head and just a horsehoe shadow. I ignored completely the fact that I am tall, athletic build and have a warm disposition. What it is so important to remember is that as far as other people are concerned, you are the sum of your parts and your hair is a tiny one of those. Whilst you may not be able to grow an afro anymore
you can tone up, work on your confidence, continue to be a nice guy and I suspect very little will change.
HAng around. This really is a great place to be.