Coping with balding at 19.
January 20, 2008 6:59 AM Subscribe
I'm losing my hair at 19 and I'm becoming an emotional wreck. A different person. How do I cope with this and become my old confident self again?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (56 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My hair started to slightly thin at 18 but I was never overly concerned about it. I had a girlfriend who thought I was the best ever and I managed to not let the issue really bother me. However, during and after the stressful breakup of this relationship it rapidly picked up the pace (it really did speed up all of a sudden, it wasn't just a change in perception because I was suddenly without someone to tell me I was cute all the time) My hairline receded slightly and it just generally thinned out on top a lot. I used to have very thick hair and now it is more stringy-like. Judging from a few people in my family, most of it will probably dissapear. I'm the only one I know of though that started so early.
I started using Rogaine, not with the hope of anything growing but just in an attempt to slow it down a bit. I'm aware the only other thing that might work is Propecia, but I'm not about to use that stuff. Too many weird side effects. The long term ones aren't even fully known. I just don't want to go there. Wigs and transplants and all that weird stuff are out of the question.
Unfortunately, I really started to think about it. I constantly look at my hair in the mirror. Worry about it. I absolutely hate it.
I began searching for support online. Found all the advice of "just shave it when it starts looking weird and be confident!" All the girls that said bald men could be sexy. Confidence and personality matter. I felt relief. But only for a second.
The truth is, I'm one of the guys that the "shave it, but only if your head isn't a weird shape" comment applies to. I have a big ridge at the top of my head. It's basically pointy. My past girlfriend noticed it by touch and would lovingly joke about it. People always go "woah, weird..." when I comment about it and they feel it.
I cut my hair down to a 4 just to try to judge the shape of it, convince myself it wasn't as bad as it felt. I put a bunch of gel in it and matted it down just to judge the shape (I know, I know) And, sure enough, I resemble a conehead. On top of that I'm a skinny white guy.
That brings me to where I am now. I feel uglier than I ever have and I feel hopeless about the future. The fact is I will become less and less attractive through thinning and if I shave it off I have a good chance of looking pretty weird.
I've always felt reasonably attractive other than the times I was suffering some bad acne in highschool. I know I'm a decent looking guy. I was never the perfect 10 hunk, but I've always been attractive enough to draw some attention from the occasional lady and then win them over with my personality. All the girls I've dated have been decently attractive, with the last one especially being just absolutely gorgeous. I'm not shallow either. I value personality a lot and I'm aware that looks can only get people so far.
However, I feel that looks DO matter and thats why this is distressing me so much. Especially at my age. I know people will say "everyone is different and likes different things and find different people attractive." This is only true to a degree though and I feel its naive to deny this. I know I've heard of research that shows people usually end up with those that are of similar general attractiveness. Yes, theres some leeway to account for personality and circumstance. Yes, some people have fetishes for 400lb women. But in general, I feel its accurate to say people usually bat within their own league. And I've also heard, and found, that in general, NOT EVERYTIME (I really hope I don't piss people off), that more attractive people are often better adjusted, more comfortable in their skin, have healthier relationships etc. I'm talking in generalities, I definitely don't mean everyone. I'm not a shallow person. I just want to attract girls I find attractive, but I feel I have to be able to attract them somewhat physically before they can find out I'm a great guy and before I can judge if they're good people themselves.
I feel like I wont be able to attract the caliber girls I'm used to; both personality and look wise. At least it will be A LOT harder. I feel like my youth is being stolen from me. And I feel like theres absolutely nothing I can do about it. Almost every other guy I know has a full head of hair and is free of this burden. I remember how it felt to be like that. I should be enjoying my much clearer skin and working out and becoming MORE attractive, not slowly spiraling downward. What the hell happened to my prime? I'm also pissed about my head shape. At least if I had a normal attractive looking head I could go gracefully and probably not damage my look too bad. I really just want to fall in love with someone who I'm physically attracted to and who I think is the coolest person ever and have the feeling be mutual. I feel like this is going to be a lot harder to find and that really bums me out.
I know there's nothing I can do about the hair. But how do I cope with this? How do I feel attractive again? Most importantly how do I feel hopeful for the future? I know I don't look too bad now but I feel like my clock is ticking. I don't want to be that guy who freaks out every time some hair falls out. I also know that since I'm losing some looks I need to be even more confident and charming and funny and whatnot, but how can I be confident when I don't feel attractive or desirable? I'm not proud of the way I look anymore. I've tried positive talk but I just feel like I'm lying to myself. In all honesty I'm becoming very obsessed about this and I can feel myself becoming very depressed. I'm not usually a sad depressed person. I don't want to be this way at all.
I know this is a common problem. I would love to hear some stories from people who have gone through this at a similar age. I've just never felt so shitty about myself in my life and I can only see the tunnel getting darker.
I'm sorry this is so long. And I'm sorry if I sound like an insecure whiny wussy man. I'm not usually like this. Every hardship I've encountered in my life I've pushed through full throttle and with optimism. My acne. I had some bad social anxiety in dating situations that held me back for a bit. But I knew these were things I could overcome and I eventually did. With this though my rational brain is telling me, "this is the rest of your life buddy, say goodbye to the great times and hello to some major hardship and romantic difficulty."