The Tangles of Depression | Teen Ink

The Tangles of Depression

December 1, 2017
By MegAshley BRONZE, North Platte, Nebraska
MegAshley BRONZE, North Platte, Nebraska
4 articles 5 photos 1 comment

As I laid there thinking about the past few weeks of doing what seemed like absolutely nothing productive at all, sulking in my depression and low self-esteem, and noticing every flaw of my being, in which I had caused for myself, I started to worry. Normally, people might see worry as a negative thing, but for me, in that moment, it was exactly what I needed. My depression lead me to worry and worry lead me to realization, and eventually motivation. That may sound a little odd, but let me explain.

I had been in an awfully bad depressive episode for the span of about three weeks. Within this period of time, I didn’t take care of my physical or mental health very well. I would spend all day sleeping, eating, or doing nothing besides thinking. I isolated myself from everyone, and spent everyday by myself, with the least amount of social interaction I could possibly get by with. Along with the lack of care for my mind, came lack of care for my body. Exercise never occured, as I would rarely even get off of my bed. I would either eat way too much or not at all. I wouldn’t shower, brush my teeth, or brush my hair. I didn’t take care of myself, because I truly didn’t care. My depression stole my motivation and self-love.

The consequences of my self-neglect were far from unnoticed. I had a large amount of weight gain, and three weeks of not properly washing or brushing my hair left it damaged and knotted beyond repair. I never realized how much of an impact my hair had on my confidence before I thought about the possibility of having to cut most of it off. I spent the next couple weeks of my life trying to get back into the normal routine. Within this amount of time, I started to notice how badly my hair was damaged, but was so scared of cutting my hair short that I tried my best to ignore it or fix it somehow. I would wear my hair up in a completely ratted bun, just trying to forget about it.

Eventually, I realized that this was an issue that wasn’t going to just disappear, no matter how long I ignored it for. One day, I was riding in the car with my mom on our way home from a doctor’s appointment, and I just looked at her and told her I needed to go get my hair cut. We didn’t waste much time talking about it. Neither of us wanted me to change my mind, so we went to the hair salon straight away.

I walked into a hair salon that day and met a complete stranger who wanted so badly to help me feel better about myself again. She was kind, understanding, and so helpful in making me more comfortable with the idea of short hair. I had fairly long hair for quite a long time, and I couldn’t imagine myself with short hair. I thought it would somehow lower my self-esteem, but I was so very wrong!

When I left that hair salon, I left with more than just a new hairstyle. I had more confidence than I had had in a very long time, motivation to take care of my hair and my overall health, and I finally just felt excited to get my routine back on track. In the end, I absolutely loved my short hair!

This experience definitely didn’t put an end to my depression or my issues with self-confidence, but it helped me build the motivation that I needed to get back to taking care of myself and getting back on the right track towards happiness. After all of this, I have a completely different level of understanding for self-care. I learned that physical health and mental health are so closely related, that prioritizing both can dramatically improve how someone feels overall, and also, that things that are outside of my comfort zone aren’t always bad.

Change can be so amazing, even when it seems scary, and your worries just might be your much-needed motivation poking through.

The author's comments:

This was a tough time in my life, but I overcame it and ultimately grew from it. I felt it was important to share my experience, in hopes that someone else may gain something from it too.

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