Hello. I haven’t posted in a while, though I’m not sure why. I have had lots of ideas and reasons to post, but I simply haven’t found the energy or the time. It’s a busy period at work at the moment before the summer holidays draw their way in so perhaps that is why. Today, though, I wanted to open up a little about how I’ve been feeling.
A few weeks ago, my CBT ended. I was sad and disappointed to not have the face to face chat each week with my therapist, knowing that I wouldn’t be judged and that useful advice would be given. I’m not going to lie, I’ve found it difficult sometimes to apply the CBT that she provided. I went back to the doctors and was prescribed citalopram, as when I had fluoxetine it made me feel sick and ill. I did this in the hope that it would give me a helping hand in feeling better whilst I practised applying the skills I’d been taught. I’ve been taking them for a couple of weeks now and don’t feel any different.
I know what triggered this depression and anxiety. I have never blogged about it and rarely open up to people about it. But today, I will.
A few years ago, a hairdresser went savage on my hair. She destroyed it. My beautiful, blonde dyed locks that everyone complimented me on was gone. I had to dye over it a dark, dark brown that really made me look washed out and pale. Gone was my lovely sun kissed glow and I looked as miserable as I felt. Paranoia kicked in; I was constantly worried that the awful hair would come back if the dye faded, so I would dye it over and over, until it was positively black.
A year or so later, I wasn’t entirely miserable but I still disliked the way I looked with black hair and my friends also told me perhaps it was time to bite the bullet and get back to a decent hairdresser to go back blonde. Little did I know that even a year later I would still be battling with my self esteem and my appearance.
The first few times I began the lightening process, I hated it. Because my hair was so over-processed and ruined from all the at-home dying, my new hairdresser said that it would take a long while to go blonde healthily. So it went brassy, ginger and then yellow. Eventually, it got a better, but every now and then, there would be issues with brassiness and gingerness and banding where the black dye was growing out. It was a complete nightmare for me.
IT’S JUST HAIR, RIGHT?
Now, this is the real part that has affected my mental health.
The hair drama definitely triggered the initial anxiety but it’s what is now left of me that I am struggling to cope with. I used to look in the mirror and feel confident, fling my hair over my shoulders and galavant with my friends every weekend. I used to take selfies and go shopping and enjoy hair and makeup. I was always the life of the party!
Now some days I don’t have the confidence to even leave my house.
Every time I look in the mirror I see something different about my hair, either it looks too light, too yellow, too orange, too dry, too broken, too brassy, too patchy, too streaky…. the list goes on. It would be something new everyday. My boyfriend grew so tired of my tears as I cried when it was time to get ready for an event. I feared every day that my friends would say WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOUR HAIR?! YOU LOOK A MESS! So I stopped going out as often. I preferred darker restaurants and bars to walks in the park where I could hide away.
Every now and then my boyfriend will show me old pictures from last year and I’ll think, oh my hair looked nice, why was I so upset? There won’t be any recent pictures of me now because I have stopped taking them.
I think the most frustrating thing is that I used to be so happy and carefree and something SO small, like my hair, has left me like this. Most people would be able to just move on, but for me, it’s a cycle of constantly seeing a hairdresser, telling them it’s wrong (I have lost 2 hairdressers due to this) and asking them to re-do it or change it each time. Nothing I see in the mirror pleases me anymore. It’s almost like I have body dysmorphia and I’m not seeing what everyone else can see, because nobody has ever commented on my appearance negatively. There’s no way that three professional hairdressers can make such a mess of my hair. One salon manager said in the nicest way possible that he felt that I had problems mentally with the way that I looked because I was never happy leaving the salon.
This blog post may seem to you like nothing and you may think I need to just get a grip. I know there are problems way worse; people are suffering with grief and loss, or an eating disorder. However I will tell you this. It may have been something as small as my hair that triggered my mental health but it doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. I have panic attacks about attending things I used to enjoy. It has made an impact on how well I do my job. It has impacted relationships with my friends and my family. It has made a huge impact on how I view myself. I feel rather brave posting this blog because I have always been scared to tell the truth about what started off my anxiety and depression in case someone told me it was pathetic, or not a bad enough event to make me feel this way. However, I have written it now and that is that. Perhaps it’s a step forward in the right direction for me.
PS featured image is a photo I took when on holiday in Croatia. It is near the harbour in Novalja on the Island of Pag.