Saturday 3 December 2016

‘It's absolutely horrific to feel physically sick when you look at yourself’ Irish woman pens open letter about the struggles of alopecia

In just two months, 28-year-old Claire Fullam has almost three quarters of her hair.

Published 13/07/2016 | 14:36

Claire pictured at her wedding last summer. She has since been diagnosed with alopecia areata and has lost 70pc of her hair.
Claire pictured at her wedding last summer. She has since been diagnosed with alopecia areata and has lost 70pc of her hair.

An Irish mum has opened up about her struggle with alopecia, which has seen her lose almost three-quarters of her thick red hair in just two months.

  • Go To

Claire Fullam (28) penned an open letter about her diagnosis, which she said has shattered her confidence and made her feel “physically sick” to look at herself.

In the letter, the Dublin mum of twi writes about the hardships that have come with the diagnosis and why she’s decided to share her experience with other sufferers.

 

'I feel ashamed for being sad, for being worried and for being vain'

Eight weeks ago, I found out I had alopecia areata and it’s been a very, very hard pill to swallow. I can no longer hide it. It’s reached the point now that I’ve had to wear a wig. Since the beginning of the summer I’ve lost 70pc of my hair and it’s still falling.

 It's absolutely horrific. To feel physically sick when you look at yourself, to be constantly nervous that someone will notice, to look down at your lap in work and see it covered in your own hair. When your five-year-old daughter asks you why you have holes in your head...it's humiliating and terrifying.

To have your husband rub oil onto your bald spots at night isn’t nice, even though he’s been there for me through thick and thin.

 I think the uncertainty of the condition is the most overwhelming part. To go to bed at night wondering how much will be on the pillow in the morning - you don't want to fall asleep. The unknown is sickening.

Claire, who suffers from alopecia, pictured in her wig from Donnybrook Hair Club
Claire, who suffers from alopecia, pictured in her wig from Donnybrook Hair Club

I know there are much worse situations that I could be in, believe me - I understand. But when  people remind me of that it almost takes away from my grief.

I feel ashamed for being sad, for being worried and for being vain.

 For the past two weeks I've been telling anyone who'll listen and it has really helped me. I feel in control for the first time in weeks.

Am I looking for attention? 100% - I need all the attention I can get. Attention, help, advice or even just good wishes. I am trying to remain hopeful that my hair will grow back.

Claire pictured with her son Elliott (19 months) before she began to lose her hair
Claire pictured with her son Elliott (19 months) before she began to lose her hair

One of my main reasons for opening up about this is to shift my focus from the grim reality that is alopecia.

To do something positive, which I'm finding hard at the moment. I have set up a Facebook page and a Snapchat account called Claire Balding, which is a tongue-in-cheek way of tackling this horrible thing.

Claire wears a wig from Donnybrook Hair Club
Claire wears a wig from Donnybrook Hair Club

I always thought my hair was my thing, but actually it’s not. There is so much more to me than that. I’m still myself, just balding.

For more information follow Claire on Facebook

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Life