I cut this off the back of my head yesterday.
Depression doesn't have a lot of visible symptoms, but that right there is one of mine. Day after day of unwashed, uncombed hair, convinced that no one will notice if I just pull it up and cover my greasy, knotty tracks with a head band and messy bun and the tried-and-true aesthetic of "I AM WEARING WORKOUT CLOTHES SO THEREFORE I MUST HAVE COME FROM THE GYM, CAN YOU NOT FEEL MY BURN?"
Between the amount of time I spend piling on the dry shampoo and extra hair spray, getting the shower and actually washing my goddamn hair would probably be a timesaver, but then I'd have to fully confront all my other self-care failures: the weight gain, the muscle loss, the unshaven...everything, my neglected skin and nails. And I'd have to argue with the mean little voice berating me for spending money on nice shampoo. I could shave my legs if I changed out the razor blade, I think, and the voice immediately tells me "you don't even deserve a new razor blade."
And so another day, another ponytail.
I went to brush my hair yesterday because -- oh the irony -- I had a therapy appointment. I've started working with someone new, but she already knows enough about my bullshit I figured she'd wouldn't be fooled by the week-old rats' nest. And that's when I realized chunks of my hair were matted and tangled beyond repair.
I went to therapy with them still attached to my head, and showed them to her when the self-care subject came up. "I'm going to have to cut it off," I said morosely.
"So you'll cut it off," she responded. "You'll get a cute new haircut and that's that."
It's a little thing, really. just a couple snips of hair, could've easily happened to anyone with superfine hair after tossing and turning too much in bed one night, or getting it tangled against the neckline of a coat. (Why does it always do that?) Plenty of people don't bother washing their hair that often anyway. Plenty of people decide long hair isn't worth the hassle anymore and cut it off. A cute new haircut and that's that.
But I couldn't shake the embarrassment that this was something I'd done to myself, to the hair that I've always loved and taken care of, because... ???
(Mean voice: Because lazy. Bad. Gross. Dumb. And so on.)
"You have an illness." she reminded me. "You are managing it."
She brings this point up a lot. A chronic pain sufferer will always have good days and bad days, and I wouldn't get angry or blame them for having the bad days. I wouldn't blame a cancer patient for losing their hair, why I am I blaming myself for medication side effects, or for actually having physical symptoms in the first place? I wouldn't blame a diabetic for a diabetic coma, why I do I blame myself for not realizing my medication wasn't working last June?
(Mean voice: OH DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THAT ONE.)
I'm not sure what I'm going to do about my hair. Maybe nobody will really notice the missing chunks. Maybe I'll get some layers, or maybe I'll just have to go shorter for awhile.
But today I will wash it. And comb it. I'll probably put it back up in a ponytail, and that's okay. That's manageable.