Losing My Hair Was The Best Thing That Happened To Me

My name is Katrien and I am the new CEO of Faithful to Nature. My team have encouraged me to share my story with you, in the hope that its uplifts and inspires those that are feeling challenged in anyway.

Growing up in an Afrikaans, conservative society it was impressed upon me from a very early age that getting married and having children was of the utmost importance. It appeared this was only achievable as a girl if you were Barbie pretty and

very thin. Like many girls I grew up with body, food and self-esteem issues. I was always competitive, trying my whole life to be a better version of myself and to be the best. It’s exhausting. You never really reach a stage of contentment. Once you achieve one goal you just reach further.

After many years of working on this, at the age of 34 I reached I point where finally I felt pretty. I had Botox, fillers and hair extensions, and I was very hungry.

What I didn’t realise, even though I always tried to be a good person at heart and kind to those around me, is that I was testing myself badly.

I never measured myself by the standards I had for others. I measured myself against a different crazy set of standards whereby only my appearance, performance and my great career counted. My heart and my mind were left undervalued and uncared for – especially after years of working 12-14 hours days. It was hectic, working 14 hours a day and squeezing lash fills and gym in between.

When It All Fell Out

At the age of 38, I was working in London as head of brand for Vodafone UK. I was very proud of what I had achieved, but moving to a new country all alone and having to perform at your max and look your best was becoming incredibly stressful. At the end of my time at Vodafone I started getting very tired, I used to always wake up early, like 5am, pray, run and then work a 12-hour day. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was exhausted all the time.

My hair started thinning, I had lesions(sores) on my head and in my ears. But I could still hide it, so I carried on. In the space of 6 months, it all finally caught up with me – all my hair had fallen out and I was covered in sores from my scalp down to mid-waist. I looked sick, tired and disgusting.

Then I was made redundant at Vodafone. What followed was the most traumatic 2 years of my life. Stuck in the UK not being able to work, waiting 18 months for a VISA that didn’t come. I ran out of money, I lost everything, including my hair, any self-esteem I had left, and sadly many friends. When you struggle and suffer, sadly friends sometimes think this is contagious, so they step away. I also became super sensitive and was in complete victim mode, so I also made some mistakes. I was in a very (very) bad place. Everything I had built my life on was gone.

Growing From Strength To Strength

Fast forward to returning to South Africa, needing to look for a job. Most of the sores had cleared, so I was OK to do interviews with a wig and lots of makeup. I saw the opening at Faithful to Nature and applied. I remember looking at Robyn (founder of FTN) on social media and I made the gut choice to go wigless – completely bald by now – for the interview with her. I just knew she would appreciate the authenticity. I was extremely grateful that I got this position.

When you lose everything, you are forced into introspection. You are forced into humility, authenticity and appreciation. For much of my journey I looked at my past, fabulous (although at times very superficial) life, and longed for the days where I had beautiful long hair, was thin and had a great wardrobe all propped up with Botox, lashes and hair extensions. I started to realise how wrong my approach to self-worth was.

At Faithful to Nature, I wore my wig in the beginning, scared of not being accepted. One afternoon after a long week, I just took the wig off, it was itching and hot and irritated the remaining sores on my scalp. A colleague said, “You look beautiful without your wig” and then another and another. Everyone started giving me advice on products and treatments. In about a week of internal struggle, I showed up at the office, walked into the warehouse with no wig. The staff started clapping.

What a very special moment, one I will treasure for the rest of my life. The joy I found in authenticity. They appreciated WHO I was, not WHAT I was. I have never put the wig back on.

 

I started using products from Faithful to Nature, such as Fire Tonic, turmeric tablets, collagen, shea butter, and CDB oil to name a few. My health started improving significantly. In January this year I did veganuary and my skin and health improved even further.

At the end of February, I was finally diagnosed correctly with Lupus which is an auto immune disease. The reason eating vegan made me healthier is that meat based products are like poison when you suffer from an auto immune disease. CBD oil has been proven to even alleviate symptoms of AIDS and cancer, so not strange that it improved my health significantly. I also have a heart condition and suffer from very bad circulation, something the CBD also fixed – no more swollen feet or bags under my eyes!

I now use conventional medicine in addition to all the wonderful natural products. My skin has cleared completely, and my hair is slowly growing back. I have gained weight from the conventional medicine and it bothers me, but I would rather be healthy than thin.

The strange thing is – I’m almost sad to get my hair back. It allowed me to be vulnerable in a way I am naturally not. It also allows you to see if others are sincere. I could not have dreamt for a job that would have supported my journey to self-discovery of authenticity, truth and health any better than FTN has. What a privilege. I am grateful every day for the struggles I have had, and I can look back and know that even though it has been unimaginably tough, I am all the better for it.

 

13 Replies to “Losing My Hair Was The Best Thing That Happened To Me”

  1. Hi Katrien.

    What a remarkable story. Yes, we women do that to ourselves. Try to change who we are for people who do not matter in the greater scheme of things. Just trying to be yourself is sometimes very hard. After my 2nd child, I have decided to embrace my curls and not straighten it anymore. It took some time and some really bad hair days (even today sometimes), but I have excepted that. And I’m so glad I did.

    You are a much more beautiful person with your painted head than with your full head of hair!

    Good luck with the Lupus. I think you are in the right place now.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed with Lupus and the hair loss is extremely upsetting but it is what it is. I’m going to be rocking awesome scarfs soon and maybe get brave enough, like you, to bare my baldness. Take care my Lupus friend .

  3. What a wonderful story. I can identify with all those absurd requirements and pressures put on women to fulfill that Barbie doll persona. It took a fatal motor vehicle accident turning from model to monster, leaving me dead for days, to turn my life around. This journey took at least 10 years to physically recover to where I am today. From that experience, I became kinder, learnt new values, tolerance, compassion, a deeper sense of being and an awareness with Mother Easth.

  4. I emphasize with you and keep on distancing yourself from this debilitating illness until it is just a bad memory. You inspired me to share my experience. I was diagnosed with SLE in 2004. Hair loss, butterfly rash, brain fog, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, butterfly rash covering my whole face, burning red eyes and severe allergic reaction on my body paired with welts. It was hell on earth. Then began the search for the mystery. What is wrong with me? After visits to Dermatologists, Doctors and medical schools I eventually received a diagnosed from a specialist and was prescribed all the horrible Big Pharma medication. I read up on SLE, contacted the Lupus Foundation and fell further into a depression realizing that this disease could eventually take my life. As you mentioned, the meds had it’s own side effects and I became a prisoner of my own fears. At the end of 2005 I made a mental decision to escape the terrible reality and stopped all medication, broke the chains of bondage and verbally told myself that this disease is not going to ever be part of my existence again. I stopped empowering the beliefs attached to it and removed anything remotely attached to SLE from my life. I have never ever looked back and I have never had any symptoms other than a mildly positive Titter on the ANA bodies in my blood test results. To all the women out there that have been diagnosed with Lupus. Go holistic, change your diet to predominantly plant based, make use of the wonderful natural healing products FTN has, become the captain of your ship and love yourself again. This disease is not set in stone and there is a beginning and end for everything in life. The mind is the most powerful tool there is and your body needs all the help it can get.

  5. Katrien,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I lived in London for 11 years before coming back to South Africa so I have a good idea of how your mindset can change from one of love and listening to your body to one of pushing yourself or just dealing with it! I think you look beautiful both with and without your hair and I think we need more women sharing their stories because it gives us so much more opportunity to support one another. We can be strong and fabulous and vulnerable all at the same time. Keep proving it!

  6. Well I can relate to every one of those ludicrous necessities and weights put on ladies to satisfy that Barbie doll persona. It took a lethal engine vehicle mishap abandoning model to beast, leaving me dead for quite a long time, to turn my life around. This adventure took at any rate 10 years to physically recoup to where I am today. From that experience, I wound up kinder, adapted new qualities, resilience, sympathy

  7. Your story is truly inspiring and I thought I would share my story with you. If we can heal ourselves naturally instead of being subject to using a lot of chemical substances which in the end only cause irreparable damage to our bodies, we have paved the way for other people suffering under outdated conventional treatments.
    I suffered for a long time without knowing I had Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I always had pain and inflammation in my body. Eventually in 1995 I was diagnosed with Lupus by one of the best Physicians in the country. I had been working at that time in a highly stressed and responsible position in Government, which added to my misery stress and pain. The doctors had no medicine to cure this horrible disease and I was subjected to treatment with chemotherapy and cortisone for years until 2008. By that time, I was already unable to work after my bone structure became like breadcrumbs and my back, knees and ankles broke spontaneously- the result of being on pharmaceutical drugs for 12+ years. I had to have 4 back surgeries, knee replacements, 2 neck surgeries and ankle surgery. By 2011, I was practically bedridden and on 26 different drugs orally, including morphine. My husband saw that I was despondent and very depressed- my body could not cope with chemo and all the drugs anymore. He came into the home one day with full extract cannabis oil and told me that this was my last hope. He fed me with it daily and within 6 months I started to see the light again. My body was changing rapidly. I started taking less painkillers, was off morphine completely. By year 2 of using the oil, I had weaned myself off all the drugs and had no more symptoms of SLE. I was not even taking painkillers for my back pain. I have been on Cannabis Oil for almost 9 years now and I am getting better by the day. My life was changed by this plant which I now call God’s Herb. I am convinced that auto immune illnesses are merely a CECSD-Chronic Endo Cannabinoid System Deficiency and I thank God daily for giving us everything in nature to heal us of which Cannabis Oil is the best! ?

    My current dosage:
    20 drops per day, 10 in the morning and 10 at night.

    There is no need for prescription medications any more except for blood pressure meds which I have to use because of kidney damage caused by certain medications prescribed for a too long period. My microbiome system suffered extensive damage as well because of the continuous longterm usage of pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs used , but I have now learnt how to create a healthy microbiome system in my gut through eating mostly the best raw, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds that I can lay my hands on, also loads of Omega rich fish and free range chicken meat. I hardly eat red meat due to my overly sensitive gut. I also take Kefir and fermented veggies on a daily basis as probiotic to ensure that the good bacteria in my gut do their work properly. For supplements I use Vitamin D3 and MSM.

  8. What a beautiful, inspiring story – we are so often bound by the expectations of others, set unrealistic goals for ourselves, and lose our true selves in the lives that were not meant for us. Live your best life as YOU. Well done Katrien.

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