I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about three years ago and I am still trying to find out how to live with this condition. But a massive turning point for me was the day I decided to shave all my hair off my head.
I have a hypersensitive nervous system and so my skin becomes very sore and painful with touch and even clothing. But what is not often known is that many people, including me, feel pain from hair movement on their head. My scalp was constantly red and sore and I couldn’t tie my hair up because of the pressure on the scalp, and even lying on a pillow would move my hair about and pull and hurt my sore head.
So one day I found myself staring in the mirror holding some hair clippers imagining how it would feel to just shave it all off, half scared of people’s reactions and half excited by this daring and bold idea. My pain and annoyance with this hair, which now seemed a burden and only there to please others’ need for me to look “normal,” gave me the courage to go for it. Before I knew it that hair was a pile on the floor.
I had never felt so liberated and free in my whole life. It felt cool on my scalp and that first shower was an exhilarating mix of emotion. My kids said I looked cool and what surprised me is I could see my face in a way I never had before with nothing to hide behind. I felt bold and beautiful. For the first time I had adapted myself for me and no one else. I put my needs first and loved the result. I am different, I am not like other people, I have special needs to be happy and cope and for once I felt proud rather than ashamed or guilty. I was just being openly me, Lisa, the fibro warrior fighting for her life, for a life.
I don’t often explain to people why I shave my hair off and if I do they rarely understand, but that’s part of accepting this life with fibromyalgia. Most won’t ever get it and I’m glad because it means they haven’t had to. What I need to cope in life is for me to get it, to do anything I need to feel that bit better or to cope that bit better. By letting go of other people’s expectations of how I should look, I became a little easier with myself and free. It’s a gift to myself in a difficult life and I hold my bald head up high more than I ever did before.