My Body's Natural Stress Response Only Makes Me More Anxious

My Body's Natural Stress Response Only Makes Me More Anxious

It is truly hard to lose your hair when the media tells you that women with thick hair are the beautiful ones. Women with thin or balding hair are often hidden from the media.

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Stress...it might be the only constant in our lives. And how we deal with it can change, but how your body deals with it, is often out of conscious control.

I have an anxiety disorder. This means that tasks that most people do not find stressful or anxiety-inducing can and do make me anxious. I get anxious over buying groceries or taking a shower. I obsess over what time to go bed at night and in what order I should do my chores in.

My anxiety is pretty bad and I am working on it. But my body has a natural response to chronic stress: it makes my hair fall out. I don't mean I pull my hair out; that is a conscious response to chronic stress although it is equally as important.

I notice that my hair falls out when it feels more brittle, won't get as soft in the shower, and clogs up my brush more quickly.

My hair began falling out when I had my eating disorder at the age of 13. At the time, we (as in my family, doctors, and myself) all thought my hair was falling out due to a lack of nutrition, which was probably partly true. I thought once I recovered from the eating disorder, my hair would gain back thickness and stop falling out; this didn't happen.

My hair is thin. It wasn't when I was little but after puberty, it became thin. But it does get thicker and thinner depending on the level of stress I am under.

It is truly hard to lose your hair when the media tells you that women with thick hair are the beautiful ones. Women with thin or balding hair are often hidden from the media. Hair care commercials show hair thicker than humanly possible and talk about how to get your hair that thick. Hair loss commercials talk about how you can regrow your hair. Having the hair you currently have is never acceptable.

I have often been embarrassed about my hair. It is hard to do certain hairstyles with my hair because I don't have enough of it. I would love to dye my hair a crazy color, but I can't risk the bleaching process.

It is time for the media to stop making people with thin, balding, or no hair feel as though they are less or not beautiful. Hair does not define beauty.

I have decided to take a stand against my negative self-talk towards my hair and towards myself. I have spent a great deal of money on hair thickening serums and special hair care products and all that accomplishes is to make me stressed about how much money I am spending.

I am working to have a positive outlook on my hair. While some days I just want to shave my head, and that might be a super cool fashion statement, I cannot let my stress win.

So I like to look at the little victories. A little victory for me is that I know my hair falls out when I am stressed; therefore, I can recognize when life is becoming overwhelming and I need to take a step back.

For all of my readers with thinning, balding, or no hair... you're beautiful! You're perfect. And you do NOT need to spend money purchasing hair care products that are not even proven to work. Just flaunt your differences because they make you, you. And I will try to do so, too.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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