“It’s stress – your body is trying to tell you that you are you stressed.” The gaping bald spots at my temples and crown revealed themselves faster than I could register that something was not right. I looked at myself in the mirror – grief staring back at me. “I’m OK…we’re OK…” I looked down and cradled my body as if this long overdue nurturing could convince my scalp to stop attacking itself.

The damage was done. Quite honestly, we had been here before, repeatedly. I didn’t arrive at this state of being after a few months of severely stressful situations; when I reflect back over my life and medical history, my doctor’s notes are riddled with the same phrases, “stressed,” “feeling anxious,” “experiencing acid reflux.” In my teens I asked my doctor to put me on birth control to regulate my menstrual cycle after too many times of my period showing up whenever it felt like it. I didn’t understand it then the way that I do now, but at the time, my doctor connected my irregular cycle with stress – beginning at age 15. At twice that age, it finally clicked. I had a 52-day cycle and that was not normal.

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