The Mighty Logo

The Emotional Impact of Losing My Hair

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’m not sure why. Why it’s so emotionally difficult every single time it happens, but it is. And it never gets easier.

Every time I wash my hair and have handfuls of it remain behind in my hands, tangled in knots between my fingers, my stomach drops. Every. Single. Time.

It’s been happening, to varying degrees, for almost two years, yet it still gets me, like a punch in the gut.

For some reason, it’s not as hard for me when it remains behind, attached to my brush. But when it’s wet and straggly, coming out right in my hands, during the very normal, pampering act of washing my hair, it’s always hard.

It feels like my heart stops for a moment, and then beats in double time. I stare at my hands, at the limp, wet hair, with tears in my eyes and fear in my gut. It’s a visual and tactile reminder of what I try so hard to ignore and distract myself from.


That I’m pretty sick. That my body is lacking the ability to nourish such a basic thing as hair. That something is wrong. And that the doctors don’t know why this is happening. Prednisone was the assumed culprit, until the hair loss continued happening even when I wasn’t on it for a long while.

It’s not a vanity thing at all. In those moments, when those clumps of wet hair are stuck to my hand, I desperately want them off my hands as quickly as possible. I always panic, rapidly trying to peel the wet strands off my fingers, heart pounding as they get knotted and cling to my hands.

And as I look at the wet, straggly masses of hair that I hastily smeared against the edge of my tub, I have an overwhelming urge to sob. It’s a feeling I never would have thought I would have.

Especially not for something as nonessential to living as hair.

Yet, the pain, fear and uncertainty go so deep. Like a slap straight to my soul.

It sounds so dramatic. These words I’m using. These feelings I’m expressing. So dramatic that I keep wondering if I should edit this so I don’t sound ridiculous. But these feelings are my reality when this happens.

When I’m not in those moments, like right now, I feel silly and quite confused as to why have such a powerful, painful response to the hair loss. I don’t understand why it’s so emotionally crushing in those moments. I just know that it is.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Kwangmoozaa

Originally published: June 14, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home