My name is David. I am 26 years old and live in Boston, Lincolnshire. I have had alopecia areata since I was 22.
I first noticed my alopecia with a small bald patch on my chin but I didn't know anything about alopecia areata so I just ignored it.
When the hair loss became advanced, I started to worry that something was seriously wrong. I felt that my health was in danger as I had no idea what was going on.
The first time I went to the doctors I spoke with a female GP and she was really nice and understanding. She explained to me what alopecia areata is. She showed me photos of what could happen in the future and referred me to a dermatologist. Later on, I had less positive experiences with doctors. Another GP told me that there wasn't anything that could help me and just told me to go home and have some hope my hair might come back one day. I was really upset with the doctor as I felt he was really dismissive of how it was affecting me.
I was referred to a dermatologist and she gave me some creams but they didn't help me. I also tried steroid injections which worked for a short period of time.
I continued to lose my hair over two years and later on lost my beard, eyelashes and eyebrows. I am currently losing my body hair.
The biggest struggle for me was when I started to have really big patches on my head that I could no longer disguise. Another big challenge was the period when I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. At that time, I felt that I looked horrible. Last year I became depressed.
I knew at some point that I needed to accept my alopecia. I started a YouTube channel where I started talking about my experiences with alopecia and this really helped me. I encountered lots of positivity from messages and people asking me for advice. The fact that I can now help others with alopecia makes me feel somehow that the tough times were worth going through.
My advice to anyone struggling with alopecia would be to love yourself. Once you're ok with yourself, you'll understand that other people love you and admire you because of who you are not because of how you look.
I've never attended an Alopecia UK support group or event but I would like to one day!