This article is going to concentrate mostly on the second form of wig anxiety, since the first form is the one most familiar to everyone and the one most likely to fix itself with time and patience. This is not a real clinical diagnosis.
Wig anxiety is a real thing and it can manifest in a couple of different ways.
- A very common manifestation of wig anxiety that is particularly common among new wig wearers is the concern that everyone knows you’re wearing a wig. This is not true. This anxiety usually fades over time as you begin to realize that most people have no clue you’re wearing a wig. (And if anyone does notice, they tend to be fellow wig wearers, which is actually kind of a cool way to meet friends and share styling tips.)
- A less talked about, but just as common, form of wig anxiety is the concern that there is a “perfect” wig out there somewhere but you just haven’t found it yet and this PERFECT wig is the magical solution to all of your problems. Since this wig most likely doesn’t exist, it can (quite understandably) cause distress to individuals actively in pursuit of it.
- medical hair loss and / or chemotherapy-related hair loss
- a history of buying dozens of wigs from stores all over the web and in person (usually in a relatively short period of time), but ultimately keeping very few – if any – of them
- there is a frantic, highly anxious, and amped-up pace to their purchases and e-mail correspondence
- an undertone of sincere dread permeates a lot of the correspondence
- they usually send a wide array of questions about every aspect of dozens of wigs in the store, usually without any purchase resulting from the correspondence
- this last bit doesn't offend me at all – but it gives me a lot of insight about the fact that these women spend HOURS researching hair and that they don’t enjoy any of it. So they are obsessively doing something they kind of hate doing! This lack of joy is a big part of the problem!
Here’s what I’m getting at: picking the wrong wig is not an earth-shattering decision and should not be a terrifying thing, especially if you can exchange it!
I want to have a genuine conversation about this with you that may seem counter- intuitive coming from someone who is trying to sell you stuff. However, I do not want to take advantage of people who are in pain. (I like being able to sleep at night.) So, please hear me out on this.
You should not buy ANYTHING until you are at peace with this and the anxiety about this is no longer part of the equation. I say this because as long as you are anxious about it, you will not be happy with anything you buy, even if it looks perfect on you.
Please do yourself a favor and do not invest money in hair until you take a step away from this and investigate why you feel so anxious. (Remember: I’m talking to type #2 anxiety people, which are tougher cookies to crumble; type #1 people are generally anxious for fairly straightforward reasons.)
I would hate for you to continue to spin your wheels – or worse, throw a lot of money at the issue – and come away dissatisfied.
I see women do this all the time and they waste hundreds of dollars on hair when the issue was that their expectations just didn’t match reality. Oftentimes, women don’t even know exactly what it is that they don’t like about a certain wig. They just know it isn’t THE ONE.
I am absolutely of the mind set that to be happy with any emotional purchase (including hair) you have to be calm when you buy it. To reach that state of mind, you should try to think about answering these things (for yourself, not to me):
What are you looking for?
What are you expecting this hair to do for you?
Why are you placing so much importance upon this?
Is there anything that is preventing you from just having fun with this?
What makes the wrong wig “wrong” – specifically and NOT emotionally?
And why would buying the “wrong” wig be such a catastrophic event, especially if all the things you’re looking at are similar in terms of color and cut?
I think it’s cool if collecting wigs is fun for you and a hobby. I collect wigs too and I don’t see anything wrong with that at all! Where things get wonky from my perspective is when it seems to become a chore or something very high stakes. Shopping for hair should be a fun thing, a way to play dress up and enhance your look, even if it IS for medical reasons. (Heck, it’s ESPECIALLY true if you need it for medical reasons! That's when the mood boost really counts!) This should not be a sudden-death, winner-takes-all wig face-off, like the Highlander for hair where “there can be only one.” Unless you’re extremely poor (which, just keeping it real, most of the clients shopping here are not), then this should be an adventure! Embrace it with open arms!
How to determine if this is you: This should be FUN. If you find yourself OBSESSING over wigs and you are tormented over the decision as if it’s life or death, then you probably have this form of anxiety. Another dead giveaway for most forms of anxiety are physiological symptoms: sweaty palms, tightness in the chest, shallow breathing, frequent urination that is inconsistent with other disorders or conditions, sleeplessness, teeth-grinding and tightness in the jaw, and restlessness are all fairly common.
What to do about it: The moment it ceases to be fun is when you should take a pause and reflect to see what’s up. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING when in this state!
Go for a brisk walk! Exercise is fabulous for anxiety.
If you have mobility limitations, then another great idea is to unplug from the internet, TV, and all forms of social media for at least 24 hours to unclutter your mind and collect your thoughts. Social media has been heavily linked to increased depression and stress levels in many different independent studies over the past ten years. UNPLUG if you feel stressed like this. I swear you will feel a difference in 24 hours and it will be amazing. The key is to tune out the media – especially social media and the news – for a full day. It’s really difficult to do, but once you do this, even once, it is a very eye-opening experience!
If these short-term, inexpensive solutions do not work, then you may want to consider consulting with a trained professional or counselor. (Honestly, you may want to do this anyway in combination with the above!) There’s absolutely no shame in this! Sometimes it’s nice to talk to an impartial person about the things that worry you so they can help put things into perspective for you.
The benefit: You will be much more clear-headed when you go into making this purchase, you will spend less money over time, and you'll end up feeling much better, ultimately, about yourself and what you buy. :)