When Brittany Myers was just a little girl, her mother noticed that her hair was falling out while she was brushing it. After several test screenings and by the process of elimination, doctors diagnosed her with alopecia at just 7 years old.
Alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. Now at 33, Myers is raising awareness during Alopecia Awareness Month, when many people with the condition take to social media to share their stories.
“[Alopecia is] not a sickness. It’s not caused by stress. It’s simply a function of the body that we have no control over,” Myers tells Yahoo Beauty. “Throughout my childhood and into early adulthood, I would only have a missing patch of hair here or there — sometimes more and sometimes less,” she says. “When things were good, I didn’t think about it much. When things were bad, I worried a lot about one day losing all my hair.”
Myers overcame her fear of becoming bald when she was 26. One missing patch of hair grew bigger, so with the help of a stylist friend, she saw this as a sign that it was time to reinvent herself and her look.
“Back then, I never imagined it wouldn’t grow back,” she says, “but I’ve been bald ever since.”
Myers says meeting other women with alopecia has been “hugely beneficial.” She explains, “It helped me begin to see the complex beauty in the baldness, in the challenge of it all, and finding that comfort over time helped me to shift focus away from alopecia and baldness.”
Other women like Myers are sharing their inspiring journey with alopecia on Instagram, including powerful photos that illustrate how they’ve handled hair loss.
When discussing her resilience, Myers says, “Part of being strong is coming to terms with the fact that these are the cards I’ve been dealt. We’ve all been dealt something. I realized not too long ago that once you stop caring so much, once you stop focusing on it all the time, the rest of the world does too.”
She continues, “So much freedom comes from acceptance and letting it go.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Bald, Beautiful: Meet 7 Women Empowered by Having No Hair
- The Moment I Shaved Off the Hair I Would Otherwise Pull Out
- What It’s Like to Want to Pull Out Your Own Hair