Shaving her head after suffering from alopecia for a year was the step Carlisle mum Jodie Philips took that helped her to regain control over her life.
Believing that, by removing what remained of her hair, the autoimmune condition could no longer dictate how she felt about herself, Jodie now feels so much more empowered, that she has decided to speak openly about the condition, so that others will not suffer as she did.
Trolls on the street
It’s not just from within the safety of their homes, that trolls can hurl uncalled-for abuse – Jodie would encounter them on the streets of her home town.
For some reason, strangers felt that Jodie needed to know their negative and judgemental opinions about her appearance. Between the insults, and the sense that her femininity was under attack, alopecia has not been a kind infliction.
Making the best of a bad lot
Reconciling herself to the condition – which grew worse over time in spite of steroid cream which was prescribed to encourage regrowth – she has become more confident about talking about it openly and sharing her experiences. Some good that has come from her experience is that others have contacted her to share their experiences, and this has given them all the support they need to get on with their lives.
While Jodie still has bad days and good days – she freely admits that sometimes she just wants to hide away – she has developed some coping strategies. Shaving her head was one of them, but she also has a wig, that she wears sometimes, and sometimes she doesn’t.
She also takes the time to count her blessings – she has not lost her eyebrows or eyelashes, and her hair does grow back, if slowly. For others, alopecia can mean a total loss of all hair.
A support group on Facebook has been helpful to her in her most difficult times; but most of all, being a mother to Oliver, 4, has given her the resolve to keep going. After all, she says, simply, “he doesn’t care if I have hair or not”.