HAIR LOSS & THE 5 STAGES OF GRIEF
Hair loss can have a devastating effect on your emotional well being and self-esteem. The trauma and psychological stress caused by hair loss is rarely acknowledged or taken seriously, especially for women, because there is a general lack of awareness of hair loss in females. Society typically accepts the inevitability of male baldness but fails to acknowledge that women can also suffer from the same plight. For women there is a correlation between their hair and perceived beauty, for example a woman’s hair is considered her ‘crowning glory’. You may have also come across the saying ‘a woman’s hair is her beauty’. All of these saying contribute to the fact that it is intensely distressing when women experience hair loss because it effects how she perceives her attractiveness.
There is no denying that hair loss is an awful experience for both men and women. When you lose your hair you are loosing a function of your body that is used to cultivate your image, so when your hair goes, it can throw your life into crisis and grief. Part of you that was once there is now missing, so it is likely that when you experience hair loss you will go through the five stages of grief:
Denial is the first of five stages of grief. Denial helps you to cope with the loss of hair. If the hair loss is gradual, denying that it is happening soothes the inner turmoil and prevents you from having to confront the issue and find a solution. Rapid hair loss on the other hand can cause shock because it is sudden and surprising, so the brain handles this by pretending that it is not happening, postponing dealing with the situation to a time when you are more equipped psychologically.
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process because it enables you to release the emotions and confront the fear caused by the loss of hair. Feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, despair and fear are triggered by hair loss and manifest in anger.
- Disappointment – whether it is the first time you have lost your hair, or you have experienced frequent hair breakage, your mood will be effected and you will probably feel sad.
- Embarrassment – Hair affects your physical presentation, so losing your hair can leave you feeling self-conscious, ashamed or awkward. Also, obvious hair loss can be ridiculed/joked about by your peers, causing embarrassment and humiliation.
- Despair – When you experience excessive hair fall, you might feel like you don’t have any options in terms of hair styles. A general feeling of hopelessness and not knowing what to do next can prevail.
- Fear – losing your hair is a fearful experience because it is wrought with uncertainty and beyond your control. You do not know if the hair loss will stop and to what extent it will affect your physical appearance.
Once you have worked through the emotions caused by hair loss, through the outlet of anger, you will then try to do anything to save the hair that remains, to mixed results. The bargaining stage involves sourcing solutions that will prevent further hair loss. Maybe you will stop washing or combing your hair in an attempt stop hair loss. Anything that involves tugging or pulling your hair might be avoided to preserve the hair you have left. Should hair loss persist, bargaining might converge with desperation, wherein your judgement is clouded, and you indulge in peculiar remedies.
After bargaining, our attention turns to the present situation; persistent hair loss or hair loss that has stopped, leaving you with uneven hair lengths or even baldness. Whatever, your current hair loss situation, an element of grief will be involved as a result of the loss. The hair that was once there is now gone and mourning the loss through a feeling of depression is part of the healing process.
This stage is about accepting the reality that our hair has actually gone and that you have to start again from scratch or work with the hair you have left. Recognising your new ‘hair reality’ helps you to cope with your situation, whether that means finding a new way to style your hair, sourcing wigs, weaves or extensions or researching credible hair loss treatments, such as ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy 3 Month Treatment Pack. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion stimulates the flow of blood around the scalp and revitalises hair follicles which improves hair production, extending the anagen (growth) stage of the hair growth cycle, restoring hair growth, making hair thicker and stronger whilst reducing hair loss. If hair loss is not treated it is likely to get worse.