Model who suffered months of ‘horrific’ hair loss and seizures is inspiring people to embrace their differences

After months of ‘horrific’ seizures and hair loss, Caitlin is working as a model (Picture: Brett Watson/@brettphotography37) Caitlin Leigh was plaiting her long brown hair when she noticed a chunk of strands fall into her hand. Over the course of a few hours she had a 10p sized patch of hair missing. As the days went on that patch grew, Caitlin’s hair tangled, and the matted hair would come away in her hands. ‘It was a difficult time as I had no idea why it was happening,’ Caitlin tells ‘I found myself getting increasingly agitated at the sight of my hair falling out.’ Caitlin was diagnosed with alopecia areata, but doctors couldn’t predict how much more hair Caitlin would lose. ‘I would absolutely dread washing my hair,’ she says. ‘The aftermath was just horrific.’ One week later, Caitlin had her first seizure. Caitlin before her hair loss (Picture: Picture: Caitlin Leigh) Feeling stressed about trying to hide her hair loss at a friend’s birthday party, Caitlin’s entire body began to shake and she quickly lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital, where, in the space of six hours she had eight more seizures, with no memory of each one. For the next 11 days Caitlin continued to have seizures, eventually having 20 seizures in a day – all while her hair was falling out. Caitlin was confused, scared, and feeling entirely disconnected from her own body. Soon Caitlin began to lose eyelashes, her eyebrows, and nose hairs. In the space of a day she had lost massive chunks of hair (Picture: Caitlin Leigh) She decided to take control by shaving her hair. The decision was scary for someone who, like so many of us, had grown up in a culture that said long, flowing hair was feminine and beautiful. But with the buzzcut came an unexpected heaping of confidence. Shortly after going for the chop Caitlin had a fall following a seizure, which finally led to her diagnosis: non-epileptic seizures, which are triggered by Caitlin’s brain feeling overloaded. (Picture: BrianRolfephoto) ‘Although it is thought stress plays an important part in these attacks, people can have these seizures at times when they do not feel particularly stressed,’ Caitlin explains. ‘I certainly don’t always feel stressed, in fact I can be having a really lovely fun filled day. Yet my seizures will continue to happen.