Hair loss and Self confidence: How it affects our relationship in the bedroom.
Hair loss can leave your self confidence fractured if you let it. There’s no doubt that hair loss can have a severe impact on your confidence. In addition to hurting your self-esteem, hair loss can also trigger depression, anxiety, and other emotional conditions.
“Studies on the psychosocial impact of hair loss have found patients’ self-esteem, body image and self-confidence to be negatively impacted,” Dr. Shani Francis, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and director of the Hair Disorders Center of Excellence at Northshore University HealthSystem in Illinois, told MNT. “Known psychosocial complications include depression, low self-esteem, altered self-image and less frequent and enjoyable social engagement.”
“Hair loss in a woman is so emotionally devastating that it can trigger a wide range of social and emotional issues that can negatively impact healthy daily living and overall quality of life. I have heard of women that retreat from social situations, have diminished work performance, and even alter their healthy living – avoiding exercise, overeating, not treating other medical illnesses – due to their hair loss,” said Dr. Francis.
“For a women, the hair is the crown, a symbol of beauty/pride. It is typically what a woman identifies with as being feminine or attractive to a mate. If this starts to diminish, it can be devastating to a woman’s identity and self-esteem, especially when affected at an early age. For older women, hair loss is perceived as accelerated aging and women have to deal with a sense of loss of virility and sexual attraction to their mate as well.
“Due to societal perception differences, it is much more emotional for women, as there is limited cosmetic acceptance of a bald woman and increased societal pressure on a woman to be attractive. The negative quality of life is likely worse in women.”
How it affects our relationship in the bedroom.
Hair loss triggers depression, anxiety, and low self esteem. If you are depressed, it can be hard to be mindful and present with your partner in the moment. Emotional trauma that goes with alopecia can prevent your body from responding physically.
People tend to experience sexual dysfunction when they are depressed. Hair loss can result in feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety, which may foster increased anxiety about sex. When this feeling of depression and anxiety is entertained, it leads to reduced sexual enjoyment for yourself and your partner.
One thing depression does the best is to make you feel less connected to your partner. When you are feeling disconnected, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about your partner. Lack of connection can impact intimacy as well as many components of our interactions.
“The whole process of sexual arousal starts with the ability to anticipate pleasure, which is lost with depression,” says Frederick K. Goodwin, MD, who serves on the scientific council for the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. “People who are depressed are locked in the moment of their suffering.”
My Story: ‘From Fighting Self-Pity To Conquering Self-Confidence, My Life With Hair Loss’
Paromita Gupta, 30, shares how she conquered self-pity and triumph over psychological effects like depression and low self esteem that comes with hair loss.
I was born and brought up in Darjeeling. My father worked for a tea plantation company. When I was just four years old, I moved to Kurseong town to pursue my studies as my father’s job demanded him to move from one place to another. I have suffered on the health front since my childhood. My parents would always take me to different doctors for one illness or the other — from flu to fever. But nobody could actually diagnose what was wrong with me.
I would have been around 10-years-old when I figured out that something was not normal. One day, I woke up to large clumps of hair on my pillow. In the days to come, my hair would fall off like anything, while combing, bathing, sleeping, it just refused to stop. Eventually, in a period of few days, I was rendered completely bald. Since childhood, I did not have the slightest idea what was actually happening to me. From Allopathy to Ayurveda, I recall trying everything but to no avail. After the medicines yielded no results, I eventually had to resume school the way I was.
As I studied in a co-education school, I remember being mocked by students, particularly boys, for my looks. They would laugh behind my back and giggle in groups discussing what suddenly happened to me. This shattered my self-confidence. I would lock myself in the washroom and cry inconsolably. I stopped taking part in school activities like quizzes, debates, and other activities that I once used to be interested in. As there was no end to the miseries, my parents left no stone unturned to find me a specialist who could diagnose the disorder.
So, we were able to find one in Siliguri who diagnosed me with ‘Alopecia Areata’—a condition that causes hair to fall out in small patches, which can be unnoticeable. These patches may connect, however, and then become noticeable. The condition develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. For some people, hair grows back and never sheds again, but a relapse happens in most cases. It happened to me.
My hair would grow back and then come out again, however, not entirely. Small patches of hair remained on my scalp, the rest come off. I was told to shave it off entirely as it didn’t look good, but I refused for the fear that I would never be able to regrow this hair. After passing my high school, I moved to a different school for a change.
However, the experience turned out to be horrible. Everyone stared as if I was some creature from a different planet. It made me so uncomfortable and I didn’t know the way out. I was helpless and feeling left out. I had a condition that I had no control over. And I had no solution to my situation. Over time, my family and I moved to Kolkata where I started consulting another specialist. After examining my health condition, he assured me that my hair would grow back.
To my surprise, the treatment began to show results at the desired time. Hair growth was significantly visible when I started my college life. I regained my lost confidence and all the insecurities faded away. However, the results came with a cost. I was frequently subjected to painful injections on my scalp and consumed medicines that made me nauseous. But all is well that ends well, I thought. Living with a head with hair was something I was not used to, as far as I can recall. I was so used to being bald that sometimes I forgot I had hair on my scalp.
At times, the doctor used to tell me to get the haircut done, a stark reminder of my transformation. After my master’s, I shifted to Bengaluru for an internship where I had my first proper haircut. Life seemed to return to normalcy but little did I know what was coming ahead. In 2016, I encountered a relapse. While living in Bengaluru, it was not feasible to visit my doctor every now and then. So I had to deal with it all by myself till my hair fell off completely once again. That’s when I decided to shave it off and quit my medicines also. It was not an easy decision, of course, but had to do it for my own mental peace. One good thing around the time was the place I was living in.
People were sensible enough to understand a person’s worth beyond looks and did not judge. In the meantime, I got a new job and made the organisation aware of my medical condition. I used to dress up in simple jeans and round-neck polo t-shirts to get the minimum attention from people. One day, I decided to don dangle earrings to the office. Soon after, I began receiving compliments from my fellow colleagues, which overwhelmed me.
During this time, I consulted a therapist to help me in the process of accepting myself the way I was. People still do pass comments on my appearance and ask me questions like “Do you have cancer? Did you donate your hair in Tirupati? But they do not bother me anymore, I rather try to educate these people and make them aware of my condition. Now I can proudly say that I have come a long way from where I stood before and in a much better space.
Note: The discount code for week is DEPRESSION. It expires 28/05/22
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