Back in November, it was the Delta strand that took me down.
I can’t remember if I wrote about it. Thoughts I may have felt inclined to share are likely not to have left my murky brain and the muddle it sat in for those few weeks of sluggish despondency and achy everything.
Three months later, and right on cue if Google searches are to be trusted, my hair started falling out. By the handfuls. Two handfuls at a time. So much that I stopped washing my hair too often because I couldn’t bear to watch it fall. So much, that I was embarrassed for anyone to notice the tangled wads of damaged, fallen hair left in the bathroom trashcans, in the shower, and on the floor. So much.
It was horrible, and I know I am not alone in speaking of this weird, crazy symptom that strikes even the healthiest of us. I’d joined Facebook support groups to seek the fastest cure, and discovered others who’d fared far worse than I. Amidst other Covid stories of depressing isolation, terrifying hospitalizations, and untimely deaths, my fate was not one to complain about. At least Covid hadn’t left me alone, admitted, or dead.
But it did leave me feeling ashamed of my head. Embarrassed, insecure, ugly. All the yucky feels. A few people who saw me out and about not long after the mass shedding commented kindly on how dark my hair had become. That’s because the blond fell out, I wanted to tell them. I got sick, and all the pretty blond (sun-damaged, really) strands fell out in masses until I thought there would be no more hair left on my head.
What would I look like in a wig? Should I rock the bald like cancer patients do? Don a biker headband for 8 months? Do I even look good in hats? These thoughts would ricochet in my head every single day. With every dreaded brush of the hair, I thought about how I would look without it. So I wouldn’t brush it. Unbrushed, my hair began to dread itself.
I spent about 3 months hiding this stress away, and wearing my hair tight, back and up so no one would notice how bad my hair loss actually was. Back in March, at the peak of my hair loss, it was all I could do but weep as my favorite hairdresser trimmed the terrible sad locks that were left. He comforted me, and told me my hair would be shining and full again one day.
Eventually, I decided I couldn’t keep stressing about it. I’ve accepted that 2022 will be a summer of healing. And if that’s the theme for these passing sun-coated months, then I’ll take it. My hair will grow back.
Like most things that torment us, this stage will not last forever. It is only for now. And I can handle tough, unpleasant tormenting things if I understand they are only for now.
I can handle it, yes, but I still don’t like it.
So to speed up this growth, about twice a week, I massage moringa oil through my scalp and onto the ends. I lather my head with oil and sleep all night like that, scenting and staining my pillows with the earthy fragrance. My hair is unbecoming when it’s oily, but I don’t care if the oil helps with the healing. The next day, if it happens I don’t wash the oil out immediately and my neighbors see me walking around in my oily-headed state, so be it. We all have our secrets. Perhaps they are secret oily heads too.
Hand in hand with acceptance, I’ve also been on a steady diet of Biotin, Collagen peptides, and time. I practice positive thinking as I massage argan oil shampoo into my scalp to strengthen and restore. As I do, I tell my hair I love it, that it’s beautiful, and I thank the strands that stayed.
Does giving my hair a pep talk actually stimulate growth?
Who knows. But it stops me from crying and makes me laugh at myself, and THAT keeps my mindset buoyant. I believe my own thoughts, after all, and the positive self-talk keeps my mood optimistic, which means by default I approach everything else that needs my attention that day with optimism too.
Now, at the end of July, I’ve stopped worrying. My hair has also stopped falling out and wispy new fly-aways can be seen sprouting amongst the old. The brittle broken pieces have softened, and the once dull and flaccid mane now has a summery sheen and waves to it again. Hurray!
Time does heal all things. Patience and good-for-you everythings – these all play their part in the onward upward motion we strive to feel.
Is the point I’ve woven into this story evident yet? In case it was missed, here it is:
What was once broken has been repaired. What has been lost has regrown.
When we replace “Covid hair” as the ailment and insert our choice of hard experiences we’ve endured, we’ll find that the road to recovery could be built with many of the same tools. Maybe not with vitamins and oily-head remedies, but with time, patience, positivity, and gratitude. These are my go-to tools for most defeating circumstances and they reboot me every time.
Maybe we cannot replace all which we’ve lost or the much-loved and precious things that have been damaged.
But in time, by doing the right things we know to do, by practicing patience and positivity, and by being grateful for what we still have, we will regain our strength.
We can focus on the regrowth, and watch ourselves recover fully and shine again.
My stories are pretty good.
Christy NicholsAuthor | Life Purpose & Book Coach | Curator of Transformational Experiences | CEO at Venture Within | Purposeful Travel AdvocateView LinkedIn Profile
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