My name is Scott. I'm a 35 year old man and I have had alopecia areata for 23 years.
It all began at the age of 12, following a move to secondary school. It started with a small patch on my head, the size of a 50p piece, but soon escalated to full hair loss over my entire body.
The first two years at secondary school were really tough. I was bullied by teenagers and teachers alike. I tried out a new treatment that caused my scalp to go red and itchy.
Then my parents moved to Paris and I had to leave my friends. It turned out to be the best house move ever made. When we moved I was in a very low place, I would not go out without a hat, except school where I was not allowed to wear one. I would try to grow any hair I could to cover up the patches but this turned out to be harder than first thought. My parents would try to support me whenever possible but it was hard for them when my way of handling things was to just bottle everything up.
My first day at school in Paris was….interesting. I went to an international school for children from all over the world where you were judged for who you were and not what you looked like. There were people at the school from different backgrounds. People accepted you regardless of your race, religion or hair colour. It was an educational 4 years for me not only in terms of my GCSEs but my mental health as well.
It was here that I learnt to ignore what people say to you and focus on being me. As long as I stay true to that then it does not matter what people say to you. There are plenty of other people in the world that do not judge, snigger, point, laugh or discuss my hair and I would prefer to spend my time talking to them rather than trying to defend something that does not deserve to be attacked.
These days I occasionally have some hair growth on my scalp but it grows sporadically and is in constant rotation between growth and baldness. I know this can be quite typical for those of us with alopecia areata.
The whole point of me writing this was to try and give inspiration to some of the young people out there with alopecia. I remember how hard I found dealing with my hair loss at times. I want to let them know that it does not matter what people say to you. If you believe in yourself and stay true to who you are, good things will happen. The future will not always be hard and it will get easier. It is great that Alopecia UK shares stories and images of those who are living their lives to the full whilst having alopecia. I wish I could have seen these stories and images 23 years ago.
I met my girlfriend 14 years ago and she became my wife 7 years ago. She is my best friend and it took her 6 weeks to notice I even had bald patches! My eldest daughter is 16 years old and I am proud that she has learnt through me that a bright outlook on life, and living life as she chooses, is massively important for a happy future. My youngest daughter is now 15 months old and I hope she will grow up sharing a similar bright outlook and be happy.
As a teenager with alopecia I always worried that I wouldn't find love. I worried that nobody would find me attractive. I wish I could speak to my younger self and tell him everything will be ok. Because everything is ok now. If fact, life is great. And life turns out to be great for many with alopecia. Your alopecia can be something you can live with happily. I am proof of that. And I know Alopecia UK is in contact with many other people who live great lives despite of their hair loss.
I hope me sharing my story helps to inspire other young people. Thanks for reading.