Depression Cues and Clues
(This is a version of an excerpt from an article published in the Healthy Hairdresser section of the December 2014 issue of MODERN SALON.)
Those who have faced depression or walked along the edge say that you can try to keep yourself from falling into the chasm.
- Recognize the signs. Shutting people out of your life is a red flag. So is not caring about your appearance, especially for someone in the beauty business. “When you stop loving the things you love, that can be an indication,” Minnesota hairdresser Cindy Monten says. “It can happen slowly. The year I didn’t plant a garden, I told myself that I was too busy for that. But I’d never been too busy before; it had always been therapy for me."
- Do not self-medicate. Turning to alcohol, drugs or other addictions to soothe your mental pain will only make things worse.
- Seek help. “Find a doctor who will really help you, not look at you for 15 minutes and say, ‘Bipolar,’” Monten urges. “I also advise people to see a hormone specialist for an evaluation.” In an emergency, even a hotline can light your way; Patrick McIvor, artistic and techniculture director for Goldwell found help that way.
- Get exercise. Go for a run, do some yoga, shoot baskets. To have a healthy spirit, your body needs to move.
- Don’t shut out people. Ashley Jael, a hairdresser at Pigtails and Crew Cuts in San Marcos, California, battles chronic fatigue syndrom and fibromyalgia. During her lowest point, she closed herself off from people. “Then I was just listening to voices inside my head,” Jael says. “I was overwhelmed and had thoughts about self-affliction or driving off the side of the road. That’s when you need someone else to change your perspective.” Monten agrees. “Allow yourself to be loved,” she says. “I don’t care who you are—you have people who love you.”
- Help others. Reaching out to help someone else may get you to step away from your own troubles and, when you help someone else to find the sunshine behind the clouds, you might find it yourself as well.
- Call upon your faith. Jael says her Christian faith is key to keeping her centered and hopeful.
- Embrace imperfection. “We’re supposed to make people look and feel beautiful,” McIvor says. “I once told a doctor that if I do 100 people and 99 are happy, I’m miserable about the one who isn’t. He showed me that I was giving myself nothing more than a checkmark for all of the guests I’d made happy.