What if you woke up one day and realised you have gone blind , The thought itself is terrifying isn’t it ?
It was July 2016 , while going to bed , my thoughts were the usual like any of you – school , friends , life and more . However when I woke up , I realised I could not see anything through my left eye . My parents rushed me to the hospital where after an eye test , the doctor prescribed me spectacles and other regular examinations. My gut feeling was very strong that there was big trouble just round the corner . As we waited for the reports , we bumped into an old acquaintance who was also a Neurologist . After hearing about my issue, he suggested that I might have a condition called Multiple Sclerosis . A word I could not spell at the time let alone accept it. He suggested we get the MRI and various other tests done as soon as possible . Of course when we hear such a strange word,the first thing you do is google . As we did, I felt my heart sink with fear . A word of advice to those reading, google your symptoms last and find the right doctor first . Your condition of constipation can become colon cancer when you self-analyse through google .
Once the tests were done and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was confirmed , I was prescribed high steroids and gradually my vision returned . Thankfully It was a temporary loss in eyesight and we could detect MS at the nick of time . On studying further I realised it was a lifelong condition – people had become disabled or bedridden when left untreated. It affected your brain and spinal cord which in turn controls all your organs – so the symptoms will keep varying over time and impact your whole body. Over the years I faced many such symptoms – temporary loss of vision , chronic constipation , extreme fatigue and so on. My hope to recover was squashed when I realised there was no proper cure for this. I was treated like a guinea pig with medicines on clinical trials (that are not yet approved) .The first trial drove me straight into the emergency room and was by far the worst , the second one was a tad bit better and by the fourth trial , my body had started to respond. Amidst all this , I was constantly walking on eggshells and living in a state of mourning for a life that could have been and is turning out to be . Eventually it did take a toll on my mental health and anti-depressants were on the list of prescription.
This continued for two years , seeing your child suffer is the biggest nightmare for a parent . Hence in 2018, they decided that I had to be brave and get out of this vicious self-destroying web , convincing me to move overseas on my own for higher studies .I was terrified , I was literally pushed out of my nest yet I wanted to do it to save them from seeing the trauma I was going through.
My life in Dublin did see scary episodes of my MS now and then . I would cry to my parents over video call but they were helpless. I was 8000 miles away and all on my own . Thus started a journey of self – love & management . I learnt to manage my condition on my own , I started to accept that this is how my body will function and it was my duty to treat it kindly rather than add more despise to it . As I came back to India , I was a different person – more resilient , healthier yet not confident .
The toll on my body and high steroids did not just affect my mental health but also my hair. I suddenly started to notice eyes moving to stare at the crown of my head rather than my face . The questions turned from my career and life to more inquisitive ones about my hair. Along with it came a stream of suggestions on the benefits of coconut oil , yoghurt hair packs etc . Of course I could have explained the story of sclerosis and steroids but over time I realised people found It easier to judge than understand .
Thus I setout to find a solution for this and stumbled upon hair toppers .
A magic tool to help people suffering from hair loss or in simple words a wig.
After I started using it , my life took a U Turn , I could look confident , be confident and talk to people on stuff that mattered. I wanted to share this secret with those who suffered with hair loss and do my bit to make at least one soul happier.
Soon began my entrepreneurial journey with NYW Hair – an affordable and luxurious hair extension brand . While other brands selling such products focused on luxury and vanity , I drove the product with a focus on enhancing confidence and hope .It has been a year into our journey , and though, in the beginning there was not much encouragement, I have now earned great support and respect as I reach out to more women and hear their stories .
The issue of hair loss might seem trivial to some , those who have will know how deeply it can effect you . From broken marriages to unemployment , the stories get more heart-breaking as you reach out . My heart swells with pride , each time a woman messages me and conveys her happiness that she is now more confident and focused on her life than before due to these hair toppers . It might just be a cover up of an underlying issue , but isn’t it better to cover up and work on your troubles and talent rather than garnering unwanted attention and comments . In our country , a bald man walking on the road would seem normal and will not catch your attention but what if you see a bald woman ? You would stop for a second , your eyes would lock and you would wonder what happened to her . Some might admire her courage yet the fact remains that she is analysed and pondered over a condition that maybe she could not help of.
In the past three years , my MRI tests have come clean and MS has been dormant. The bigger reason for it could have been my shift of focus from “on what my life has turned out to be” to what I can actually make of it . As I cross each milestone , my driving force has been fear of what if it recurs and I get confined to a room ? So I seize each day as if it were my last and give my best to what I do.
My story of strength clearly taught me a few things – focus your time and energy on making yourself better , the cosmetic changes will definitely help in creating a finer self however it will not work until you decide to work on your inner self and face challenges with a sense of courage and entitlement . Everything else will eventually fall into place .
(Hita Prem is a recipient of the Karnataka Women Achievers Award and the Founder of NYW, a leading hair extension brand in the country. Based in Bangalore, at a mere age of 25, she has learnt the art of loving yourself and the importance of shaping your mind. her organisation also donate a great share of their profits for the education of girl children and this year, she would be closely monitoring and sponsoring the education of a child so that she never gets to give up on her dreams, ambitions and choices)