LIFESTYLE

'I Brushed My Hair Today For The First Time In Four Weeks': An Emotional Glimpse Into Life With Depression

'When you are depressed, the little things are the hardest.'

09/05/2017 16:38 BST | Updated 09/05/2017 16:55 BST

A woman who has depression shared an eloquent and incredibly moving Facebook post, detailing her struggle with the mental illness.

Katelyn Marie Todd bared her soul online, speaking of how depression greatly impacted her personal hygiene levels, to the point where she hadn’t brushed her hair for a month or cleaned her teeth for a week.

She also urged people to look out for, and be patient with, loved ones who have a mental illness.

Her post, which has received more than 100,000 reactions on Facebook in a matter of days, has helped hundreds of people feel no longer alone in their struggles.

On 7 May, Todd shared a black and white photo of herself brushing her hair.

In the caption, she wrote: “I brushed my hair today. For the first time in four weeks. It was matted and twisted together. It snapped and tore with every stroke. I cried while I washed and conditioned it, because I forgot how it felt to run my fingers through it.

“I brushed my teeth, too, for the first time in a week. My gums bled. My water ran red. I cried over that, as well.

“When I got out of the shower, I couldn’t stop sniffing my hair and arms. I’ve avoided hugging people for a while, because I never smell good.

“I always smell like I’ve been on bedrest for a week. I have no clean clothes, because I’m too tired and sad to wash them.”

Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with young people, pregnant or post-partum women, and the elderly being most affected.

Symptoms typically include: low mood, feeling exhausted and having less energy, finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, loss of appetite or eating too much unhealthy food, sleep disruption and difficulties in concentrating.

Todd gave a deeper insight into what it’s like to live with the mental illness.

“Depression isn’t beautiful. Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes and a sore body from sleeping too much,” she wrote.

“Depression is having three friends that are only still around because they have the patience and love of a saint. Depression is crying until there are no more tears, just dry heaving and sobbing until you’re gasping for your next breath.

“Depression is staring at the ceiling until your eyes burn because you forget to blink. Depression is making your family cry because they think you don’t love them anymore when you’re distant and distracted.

“Depression is somatic as well as emotional, an emptiness you can physically feel.”

At the end of the eloquently-written post, she urged others to “be easy” on friends and family members who are struggling with the mental illness.

“And please, please take them seriously if they talk to you about it,” she added. “We’re trying. I swear we’re trying.”

Her emotional outpouring resonated with many, including other people with depression who said her post made them feel less alone.

Sandy Smith commented: “Such true words. Everything I have experienced and spot-on truth. Thanks for sharing. Made me feel not so alone. Let healing hands hold you as you get your strength back beautiful lady.”

Kelsea Authenrieth added: “Good job! When you are depressed, the little things are the hardest. You are doing amazing.”

Useful websites and helplines:
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk
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