May 23, 2012

7 Things You Can Do to Deal With Hirsutism

Because there is often no way for modern medicine to “fix” hirsutism for good, you should not be afraid to start contemplating living with this forever.  I promise it gets easier.  I have spent this month outlining how hirsutism is investigated and what could be causing it. 

So, regardless of the outcome of your tests, here’s what helped me, and therefore is my prescription:

  • Understand what is causing the hirsutism.  It gives you peace of mind, and helps you see that it is a bodily quirk, a genetic lottery, and has always been beyond your control.
  • Don’t be afraid to try the different treatments out there.  Even if you don’t plan to be taking medications forever, being able to say you’ve tried everything also helps you to realize this is not your fault; it is out of your hands.
  • Family support is wonderful if you have it, but often they cannot fully understand what you’re going through, so find a place to interact with other women with similar challenges, and listen to their experiences.  And if you can’t find one or feel intimidated by the ones out there, do what I did and create your own place.  There are other girls and women looking for those like them all the time.  They’ll find you.
  • Similar to the above, talk about your hirsutism, even if only to yourself.  It helped me to have this blog, and women like me that I could share with.  A diary is another good option if you’re more comfortable with it.  Sometimes I imagine myself making a defense in front of a mirror, the same way people fantasize about receiving an Oscar.  You really can talk yourself into acceptance over time, and might even make you want to talk about it with others.
  • Spend your energy helping others.  This could be returning the support of other hirsute women you meet.  Maybe you could volunteer for the less fortunate.  Maybe you know of a friend who is going through a tough time.  Focusing on making them feel better takes your attention off your own problems.  There is nothing quite so rewarding as relieving the burden of someone else.
  • Nurture and take care of yourself.  Be proud of your achievements.  Pursue new experiences.  Challenge yourself.  You may never be able to celebrate your hirsutism or wear it with pride as some women do.  And that is okay.  You are not obligated to show off your beard, just as other women are not obligated to shave theirs.  Body positivity goes both ways.  Feeling good about yourself as a whole helps you to see that being hirsute is just another tiny detail about what makes you you, the same way your height or the color of your eyes is just a tiny detail unique to you.
  • Cultivate spirituality.  Not wanting to make anyone uncomfortable or risk alienating anyone, I try to avoid turning this blog into a platform for my beliefs, but I am also helped to cope by trying to foster a relationship with God and an appreciation for why things are the way they are now, as well as the hope for the future.  Regardless of what you believe, looking at “the bigger picture” helps keep your own problems in perspective.

I hope that this month's series of posts have covered the main points.  I tried to think of what would have benefited me when I was searching for answers, and what I could have liked to have known then. 

And please, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me!  I allow anonymous comments, and I won’t publish them if you tell me not to.


Anonymous said...

Hi Al, i totally agree with your post.
When i discovered my hirsutism, i had the incredible impulse of doing something for the others.
I don't know why. I thought that my life was miserable, but it's not miserable at all, it's only hairy. I live, i breath.
So i wanted to help other people.
I joined an association and i work as a volonteer in hospitals.
It really helps me.


Carly said...

I think this series has been so helpful and generous. You are putting things out there that, as you know, weren't there when people like you and me started growing the hair and freaking out about it.

Thanks for all you do!

Allerleirah said...

Maria - I wish I had learned that early on, myself. I think I wasted a lot of time locked in my own mind, feeling sorry for myself, and not realizing the positivity that I could bring to the lives of others. Having that power does not depend on how we look, and it's wonderful!

Carly - Thank you! I really hope it helps someone.