When Ashleigh Alqotaibi from Sheffield, England met her first boyfriend in December 2013, things got off to a good start. But the happy times didn't last long and soon all the couple did was fight. Eventually the constant stress of the relationship began to take its toll on Ashleigh's health.
In November 2014 the 22-year-old was shocked to discover a small bald spot on her head about the size of a coin. She was concerned but decided to ignore it thinking that it would simply grow back. But the bald spot remained. Ashleigh stopped using her hair straightener and began coloring the spot with black mascara to hide it.
Her thick, dark hair was getting thinner each day and in the shower she noticed thick clumps falling out. Most mornings when she woke up she would find entire bushels of hair on her pillow. She went to several doctors and was finally diagnosed with alopecia, a form of hair loss directly caused by emotional stress. It's also a condition that doctors can do little to treat and Ashleigh's hair continued to fall out even faster. By February 2015 she was 95% bald.
Ashleigh became desperate and even started to consider suicide. "With every strand of hair that fell out, a piece of my confidence went with it," she remembers. Doctors strongly advised her to reduce the stress in her life. It took Ashleigh a while, but eventually she connected the dots. It was the relationship with her boyfriend that was causing her hair loss.
"Looking back, I was unhappy in my relationship, but it took a while to link the silly arguments I was having with my boyfriend with the clumps of hair falling out every day. He wasn't the right person for me, I felt stressed trying to deal with his insecurities and controlling behavior. But, with it being my first relationship, I was reluctant to break up with him," she explains.
But in the end Ashleigh did leave her first boyfriend. A few months later she met another young man named John Robinson and gradually opened herself up to the possibility of a new relationship. And, amazingly, her hair began to grow back.
Today Ashleigh again has a full head of thick, healthy hair. She believes with all her heart that it was her relationship with John that helped to bring it back.
"There is no denying that once I got rid of my stressful relationship and replaced it with a happy, healthy one my hair started to grow again. My hair could still fall out at any time, but with John by my side, I know that my love life will never be the cause of stress again."
In June 2016 Ashleigh and John got engaged. It's great to see that a happy relationship with a loving person can bring back not only a head of hair, but also the desire to live.