Hair and Health: the Origins and Emotions

“But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her. . .”
I Corinthians 11:15a

My hair was my best feature. I knew that. I like my eyes most of the time, but they didn’t compare to my hair.

To be fair, my hair did drive me absolutely insane sometimes when it wouldn’t cooperate with how I was trying to style it, but I loved it.

I will 100% admit I was and still am incredibly vain regarding my hair. I have had a full head of hair since birth. I had more hair at 1-hour old than most babies have at 1-year. I considered the color beautiful – a mix of brown, red, blonde, and some black. I even didn’t mind the white hair I found last year. It reached down to my hips and had a natural wave. My hair was so thick, I had to get it thinned twice a year or the headaches from the weight would be unbearable.

Why am I using past tense?

Well, on my birthday, I developed an insanely high fever. My temperature runs about 96.6 F on any given day. For 8 days, I had a fever of 103+ F. Meds weren’t controlling it well at all. Herbs weren’t helping much. I ended up in the ER twice for dehydration to the point they thought I had a blood clot. Got my first CT scan. That was confusing.

End of October/beginning of November, I was started whining to a friend about my scalp hurting. I even booked a massage hoping that would help. It did not. My head felt tender. Washing and brushing my hair nearly brought me to tears.

Mid-November, I started noticing my hair was shedding more than usual. I had to dump an entire bottle of chemicals down my shower drain to break up the hair the sieve didn’t catch. I started muttering about my thyroid being out of whack again, still whining to that friend of mine. Then it started coming out more, and I wondered if I needed to make an appt with someone to check for cancer or something crazy like that.

Then, I saw the mom of an old teammate post about her daughter’s hair loss. They actually did talk with a professional about it. That high fever I had? Yeah, my teammate had one too for about the same length of time. Apparently, the stress on the body caused by that fever caused our hair loss. It’s actually pretty common with long, high fevers; but neither of us had ever experienced the fever.

On the one hand, I was super relieved to know the why. Our timelines match, so I have no doubt that’s what caused my hair loss. I started eating a lot more kale and spinach. But the hair kept falling out and I could feel depression trying to sneak back into my head.

Yes, I know. It’s only hair. It should grow back. But when you’re used to your hair essentially being your trademark, the one thing about you that others admire, the loss of that hair gives your self-confidence a major hit which leads to other issues.

My old teammate lost about 80-90% of her hair. I had more hair to lose, but I’m at about 75% hair loss now. Putting it in 2 braids seems to help a little, but each braid is about what 1/3 of a braid used to be.

So, obviously, I started doing a lot more research on my own. The articles say in about 6mo my hair should be almost back to normal. I honestly don’t think that will be true in my case.

Vitamin D seemed to be important, so I started taking those pills again.

I switched my shampoo an herbal combination, not just peppermint or tea tree alone. Supposedly it’s all-natural, but there are enough words on the label I don’t recognize to believe that.

Another friend had been losing her hair due to a different health concern, so she shared her findings with me. Rice water was the biggest help for her, though it did take about a month for her to see positive change.

My collagen was delivered today, so those will be added to my daily regimen.

I know the Bible verse at the top is kinda sorta taken out of context. The context surrounding the passage deals with males trying to go with cultural norms, but Paul was telling them that’s not the norm in the body of Christ, the church. The rest of the passage was basically reminding the church of the culture of the day with head-coverings and veils vs no head-coverings and veils but telling men that yes, women can pray and prophesize in the church.

That being said, even Scripture says it’s natural for a woman to have long hair. (Scripture does NOT say short hair on a woman is a sin in and of itself! Just throwing that out there.) So, I think it’s perfectly fine for me to be upset that my hair is falling out. If my hair being long is supposed to be a glory to me, I can be upset it’s lost.

What’s not ok is me basing my sense of confidence or rating physical appearance on my hair. I didn’t quite realize how vain about my hair I had gotten until this happened. I think we can be proud of something, but when that pride and vanity becomes too big or too important, too defining, that’s where it crosses the line into wrong.

I can be proud of an accomplishment, but when I brag about that accomplishment or expect instead of just accept congratulations or compliments regarding that accomplishment, it’s too much; the line is crossed.

To continue my saga, my mum didn’t quite believe I had lost as much hair as I did until she saw me with my hair in braids, and the back of my scalp was visible, which is unusual for me. She also noticed her hair was shedding more than usual, as was my dad’s. They both had high fevers too, but not for quite as long. Dad’s only lasted 2 days. Knowing how upset I am about my hair, and seeing the difference, she ordered some fancy shampoo for us to try on the recommendation of a friend of hers who went through this last year.

Fingers crossed!

Where I was going with this original post was to basically: it’s ok if you experience emotional and/or mental upsets over something others don’t understand. You can’t let the upset dictate your life. You may need to consider if that something – like hair loss – should really hold the level of importance in your life that it does, but you shouldn’t feel ashamed that you prioritize something others don’t.

Coming soon: Hair and Health: the Reasoning of Treatments

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