Today I am using social media as a platform for honesty, story-telling, and bravery. Hiding this issue has only made me more insecure. Plus, this should answer any questions as to why I will be looking a little different in the next few months of this year.
I am balding. Severely.
Two weeks ago, on a late Thursday night, I took a shower, did the normal routine of brushing and blowdrying my hair, but then noticed that two handfuls of hair came out on my brush.
The more I brushed, the more hair came out.
I checked myself into an ER. I spent hours and hours in the hospital with a doctor, therapist, different dermatologists, gynecologists, every type of "gists" you could fathom. I had every type of blood test, eye test, lady part test, everything! I had to wait. Waiting for my test results was probably one of the most terrifying things I've had to do.
My results came back normal.
"Jackie. You are exceptionally healthy. But, I have to ask you, have you been highly stressed or would you say you had or have depression?" the Doc asked.
"Yes." I hesitantly replied.
"This must be new-onset Alopecia Areata." he answered.
**Alopecia Areata is hair loss as a result of high level stress, depression, and can be a delayed physical reaction of a mental sickness upwards of months at a time.
Depression. That sick son of a bitch.
The truth is, my friends: I have had an on-going battle with severe depression since I was 19. Once my brother William died, my spirit spiraled down. Thing after thing began to happen. Toxic relationships, homelessness -- you name it, I lived it.
For six years I have fought this demon over and over again. Few of my friends know, but for the most part, this is something I've kept to myself.
The closest I can describe it is: crawling into a dark hole, lying there; left alone feeling suffocated and strangled by your own thoughts and anger. Every year is different. Some better, some worse. Healing takes time, money, and honesty. I cope by spreading as much love as I know even possible. I volunteer, pray, I hone in on strengthening the relationships that mean most to me, and I live an honest life. I also sing! And dance!
At the very beginning of this year, depression hit me the hardest. Without going into much graphic detail, I wasn't too enthusiastic about existing anymore. I simply had no motivation to. There was no stamina, no love nor any energy left in my soul. I went back to my therapist, who I had been seeing for the about two years, called up a life coach, and made vital steps in turning my life around. My friends really were the ones who pulled me out of the dark. Literally having to drag me out of my bed and pushing me back into an audition room. Force feeding me. Calling me every five seconds. Giving me tough love. They saved me.
My year also turned out for the best. I immediately booked a touring contract in Singapore. Then traveling all of South East Asia, a life changing trip to Iceland, a summer contract doing Miss Saigon, being the Maid of Honor at my best friend's wedding and it's not even Halloween yet! This year has been near perfection.
But this hair loss thing? Whew. It hurts. It hurts me bad. Inside and out. That hole that I used to climb in? Looks quite cozy this week. It really fucking sucks, especially as an actor?! We spend hours marketing ourselves merely just on our physical appearance. What the fuck am I gonna do? I never knew that my emotional state of the past few years could be so taxing on my physical body. But this is so real -- I am living proof of it.
Nine months after thinking I had overcome my depression, physically being impinged has been the most shocking and frustrating. I've never felt happier, and yet this bullshit came up to almost remind me of the turmoil I went through. The delayed reaction to my mental health reaffirmed to me that continuously working on your spirit is vital.
Yes. My hair is still falling out.
Every shower I take, I lose more and more. Panic attacks about my career happen every other day. Looking in the mirror hasn't been fun, and my scalp needs a break from wearing hats constantly.
This is why I'm posting this very public blog. This has only been happening for two weeks and I have lost 75% of my hair.
At this rate, I don't know what the next week will hold.
I am going to have to start wearing wigs. In fact, I already have one ready for when the rest of it falls. I might even grow the balls to bust a Jessie J. up in dis bitch and shave it all off. Who knows? I may have to take a poll. :)
No more hiding. No more shame!
Sure, I'm balding. Shitty. And the situation really fucking sucks. But sometimes, in the realm of bigger problems that I don't have, it doesn't.
There is an abundance that I am incredibly thankful and happy for --you have no idea. I have my life. God. My family. I have an on-going circle of friends who have been my backbone. My equity card. An apartment in New York. All Harry Potter DVD's. Come on! Now, I have an opportunity to shed light on my own battle with depression. And baldness.
Maybe someone, somewhere can relate and see that you're not alone.
I have complete faith in the Lord that this will make me stronger.
I will get through this.
You better believe I will. There will be tough days. There always are. But I am certain there will be wonderful days.
Keeping positive is obviously on the list of my priorities. Concentrating on the good.
Also, buying hats! If you know of a cute one, you betta send me a picture of it!
If you've read to this point of my blog, I deeply appreciate you. Thank you for taking the time to take a look into my world for a few minutes.
And if you see me walking around, yeah boo thang, das a wig.