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When I was ten years old, my grandma was putting my hair up in a bun for my ballet practice and she noticed a few small bald spots in the back of my head. That was when I learned that I had alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that mistakenly attacks hair follicles. I didn’t have control over it. All I could do is get steroid shots in my scalp once a month to help with growth, but it was never guaranteed. I saw multiple doctors all over the west coast and even in Japan and all they could tell me is that there is no cure and it’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life.

The doctors told me that stress is definitely a big cause of it but the alopecia ended up causing me more stress because I was ashamed, embarrassed, and it became my biggest secret. From 8-18 years old, I lived with a big secret, something I would hide from everyone but my immediate family. Luckily, I have thick hair and I was able to cover the bald spots, but there was a point in high school that I had lost about 30-40% of my hair. This was caused by stress and because of an unhealthy relationship. At that time, I didn’t really know what being “depressed” meant, but looking back, I was most definitely depressed. A lot of you guys might think that this “secret” I lived with is not that big of a deal, but to me, it was. Imagine not being able to put your hair up, get your hair done, constantly having to make sure that your bald spot wasn’t showing, it was a big deal to me- especially, during my insecure teen years.

I’ve always been a very happy + positive person and although I was going through this very difficult time, something told me that I was going to get through it and it’ll get better… and it did. It all got magically better when I changed my perception of my uncontrollable autoimmune disease and accepted it.

I remember like it was yesterday when I moved to Arizona to attend ASU and told a new classmate about it. That was the moment I freed myself from this world of embarrassment I lived in for the last 10 years. From then on, I chose not to hide it, accept it, and live my life. Since then, I haven’t suffered from hair loss. I’m sure there’s a lot of other factors to it, but to me, I like to see it as the fact that it was my perception that changed it all. It’s my biggest life lesson I’ve learned thus far and I think a lot of people can learn from this too.

We all go through unfortunate life events and situations that are out of our control, but it’s up to us to stop being so hard on ourselves, to do our best and free ourselves. As I’ve gotten older and more confident, I’ve learned that majority of the time, we’re all in our head and what may be a big deal to us isn’t such a big deal to others, so why make it a big deal?  It’s up to us to change our mindset and live the life we want.  Did I get lucky? Sure, but I still think the power of our brain + our mindset can change a whole lot of things and that’s what I want everyone to get out of me sharing my story.

Although I openly talk about it now, I’ve never publicly talked about it like this. This blog post was still very difficult for me to write, but I knew it was time to share this. Thank you for reading. xx