Disclaimer: This post talks about OCD, anxiety and suicide. If you are affected by this post then please seek professional advice and support as I am not a trained medical professional.
Many of us feel great after we’ve been for a haircut or when we’ve had our hair styled by someone else. I know I do. Take last week as an example, I went to my normal hairdressers and wanted a change. I always want a change when I go to the hairdressers because I feel like a different person when I walk back out. I feel more confident in myself – but not for the reason you think.
Having OCD and anxiety makes contact with others difficult – think shaking hands, hugging or touching other things other people have touched. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but sometimes it’s still difficult when my hair is touched by someone else. I don’t know why – it’s just how my brain works now. Of course I haven’t always had these difficulties which is the most annoying thing.
But despite all of this, I love getting my hair done. It relaxes me and challenges my OCD. This all pushes me to recover and normalises the behaviour for me again. It’s normal to get my hair done, but my brain doesn’t see it that way. The more I do it, the easier it becomes. I just have to learn again and I am.
Going to the hairdressers also helps me get out and talk. Talking really helps with my mental health problems. If I talk about how I’m feeling then it helps. Obviously I don’t go into detail but my regular hairdresser Amelia always asks how I am, how my university course is going and how my blog is going etc.
It’s a chance to offload not only my hair, but also my thoughts and feelings. I don’t feel judged when I’m in the chair, I feel free. Maybe it’s because I’m getting my hair chopped off, but maybe it’s because I feel that once I leave the chair then it’s gone – yes my hair and the thoughts. It feels like they’ve been chopped off and dyed too.
We haven’t talked about anything deeper, but should that be a hairdressers role – to talk about mental health and get feelings out in the open?
It’s everyone’s responsibility to strike up a conversation – a family member or friend, or even someone you see every couple of weeks or months. We can talk to anyone – and it could be and should be our hairdresser or barber. There’s no shame in talking because it could save someone’s confidence and save someone’s life.
So I also feel confident when I walk out of the salon because I know I’ve talked to someone and I know I could if I ever needed to about my mental health. The more people that are willing to talk, the more feelings are shared – and that could help more people see talking as a way to cope.
Hairdressers often see the back of our heads, but if they look up and if you look up too you’l see them in the mirror and you CAN talk to them. They aren’t just a hairdresser, they are people too. They see numerous people in one day and probably know countless life stories and they are used to it.
My hairdresser knows a lot about me and I know a lot about her because we talk.
It is a great remedy for getting your feelings out into the open.
Many of us turn away in fear – we don’t know what to say or what to do.
But just know we should be talking and it’s okay to talk – even to our barber or hairdresser.