I’ve been losing a lot of hair recently, and while I don’t know exactly what is causing the loss, I have a guess — a medication I take for migraine prevention. It’s a rare side effect, but I’m in a support group for those taking said medication, and there are a lot of women who have lost hair. But apparently it’s reversible once you’re off the pill.
I first noticed it when I put my hair up in a ponytail. There was hardly any hair to put up; it was so much thinner than my usual thick curls, and I started to panic. For a while, I had been complaining to my best friend that my hair hadn’t been curling like it used to, but I blamed that on one of my conditions being discontinued. I thought I just needed to find something comparable, and it was just taking a while.
At night I would scroll through pictures where my hair was voluminous and curly, just months ago. The medication was the only change, and the problem with stopping the medication was not only would I see an increase in migraines but also not be protected by another side effect — appetite suppression and weight loss. I have a terrible eating disorder, and while the pill doesn’t always stand up to that, it helps greatly, and I feel like I need to be on it.
I feel so stupid and vain. Sometimes I say it’s just hair, right? But it’s not. I’ve always felt like my hair is a big part of me, a big curly, beautiful mess. But I’ve also worked hard to get to a weight I’m comfortable with, one where I’m not constantly calling myself fat.
And I just don’t want to go there again. I’ve always been so miserable at higher weights, and I know that’s the opposite of what I preach on my blog and in my columns (body positivity, etc.). I always see the beauty in others but never myself.
Honestly, I think it would be better if I just stayed on my migraine medication because if I start gaining weight that could trigger my eating disorder and a depressive episode and I’m not willing to go through that right now. It might seem like I’m being dramatic, but the last time I went through a bad depressive episode, I was constantly suicidal and ended up in two hospitals, away from my family. My kids were young then; they’re not now. The stakes are higher, and I have more responsibility. I’m not ready to fight my brain again, which told me repeatedly to kill myself.
I feel much less confident about my thinning hair, but I suppose I can learn to deal with that. It’s not the same as going through a depressive episode. I just hate that those are my choices. And maybe they’re not. I see my PCP on Tuesday, and I’ll bring all of this up. Maybe there are more options that I’m not seeing or know about.
But I’m seeing now it’s more than the hair on my head or the weight on the scale.