My first blog. Eek, that’s exciting (scary)!
I wasn’t sure what to write for my first blog, but figured I’d just start typing and see what happens!
Whilst looking through old photos I am reminded of all the things that I’ve done throughout my life. I thought that when I started my job at the micro:bit foundation I became this brave independent woman, travelling the world and becoming more confident with myself, but actually, I was already doing all of those things. It is funny how I dress down most of the great things that have happened throughout life, I almost disregard them, because who cares about what I’m doing or have done!
2020 has been a year of change for me personally. Covid 19 reared its ugly head and stopped me in my tracks. I usually travel a lot, and my mind would be racing at 100mph trying to organise my life, look after my children, the dog, the house, look out for friends and family, exercise, and keep up with my volunteering roles. All of that stopped and I found myself at home all the time with my 2 children (and the dog), trying to home school as well as work, not able to see or meet up with anybody. Crazy times! I know it has been tough for most people during this global pandemic and we’re far from over it, but for me personally it’s allowed me to take a step back, reflect and take the time that I need recharge and grow.
Backing up 12 months…
I’ve had a stressful year. Lots of things have happened, and when in isolation I’m sure they’d have been quite easy to manage, and to be fair to me, I did cope with it all quite well until I started losing my hair. The thought of losing all of my hair was all I could think about. Day and night I would look at myself in the mirror, take pics of my hair, ask my kids to take them for me.. I’d go to bed every night worried that when I woke up, I’d have either no hair at all or very little. I’d check my pillow, the plug holes, clothes, chairs, the car. I would count the strands in every clump that fell out, I’d cry a lot and look up the styles and costs of getting a wig. I’d tell anybody that would listen to me, often feeling like they didn’t really care (I know they did now), ‘it doesn’t look that bad’ was what I was always told. I know that’s what you should say, you should be encouraging and positive, but I just knew how bad it was and I really wanted somebody to acknowledge how hideous the situation was. So, feeling very alone in the world and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel with the situation I decided that I needed to make an appointment with the doctor, maybe I needed some help with my mental situation. I’ve never really struggled with anxiety or real stress, but I was definitely in a dark place. As usual my local surgery only had an appointment 3 weeks away, so I begrudgingly accepted and decided that I would probably be bald by the time I got to see a doctor, and even then I wouldn’t get any treatment or support for weeks after that..
I decided to try some meditation, I have heard great things but have never done any myself, and I used to scoff at the idea that meditation could really help. I downloaded an Audible book called ‘Mindfulness’ by Dr Danny Penman and Prof Mark Williams, deciding to listen at night before bed.
I went all the way through the book listening to 30 mins a night before the actual meditations started, I had been getting a bit frustrated before then if I’m being totally honest. ‘The Body Scan’ really helped me relax, I felt myself drifting off to sleep, the most relaxed I’d been in a long time. From there I started to practice mindfulness daily for a few weeks, I even set up a mindfulness session for other friends at work who I thought might enjoy it. We’d join a video call without video (or sound for everybody other than me) and I’d play the chapter. It only took 15 mins max out of our day and we’d meet twice a week. This was the start of my hair recovery.
The doctor’s appointment came, and I cancelled a few days before because I felt like it was going to be a waste of the doctors and my time. I must be on deaths door to take an appointment as there is bound to be somebody in more need than me.
Practising meditation and cutting down on my alcohol intake did wonders for me, as did my hairdresser. Now, when I say hairdresser, I mean my new hairdresser… I am not a regular at the hair salon and I’d say that I probably visited one maybe once a year. They’d always be randomly chosen and I’d only go out of some loyalty to my hair. I would expect wonders, and never get it. I have always hated my hair so why would I look after it? I met a lovely lady called Nelda, I told her about my situation, and she was so kind. She had various suggestions for me including rubbing vodka on my scalp! I didn’t do anything that she suggested as I was still losing clumps and I was worried, so so worried about causing the scalp more stress unnecessarily. After my first appointment where she acknowledged that I was shedding a lot of hair (but it was slowing), and that it did look a mess, and that it was going to take a good few months for it to grow back…I left feeling great actually. I immediately made another appointment. 6 weeks later, after continuing my mindfulness, my reduced alcohol intake, and a general awareness of the need to be kinder to myself… I went to my next appointment. Nelda confirmed that my hair was indeed starting to grow back. I had little tufts of hair, measuring around 2cm. I could feel it when running my fingers through my hair. I would do this a lot.
A lot of things happened in 2019. I split up with my boyfriend, that was really, really, hard. I’m still hurting, and I don’t know when that’ll stop. I had an operation, and I was crazy busy with work and travel. My kids are my absolute world, and they helped me so much more than they’ll ever know. Always ready to give a cuddle, or make me a cup of tea :).
My hair is growing back now, and it’s not like it was before. It’s curly! It’s going to take at least another year before I have a full head of hair, but I’m not stressed about that now.
Work is calmer, and I’m becoming more confident. So, I’m actually loving it a lot more (if that’s even possible). I’ve even started doing webinars with my good friend Katie. Something I never thought I’d be doing.
I’m looking forward more. I have a 10 year plan, and woe betide anybody that tries to get in my way.
Life is for living, and I plan on blogging all about it!!
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New hair growth.