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depression and hair dye

docbrite recently wrote in her journal about the ridiculousness of something a guy had said. He "announced that someone of his acquaintance claimed to be depressed, but he knew she couldn't really be depressed because she had just dyed her hair. Apparently if you're really depressed, you don't dye your hair or even brush it; you just sit around letting spiders build nests in it."

It got me thinking about depression and hair dye, both of which I have some history of.

When I was sixteen, I dyed my hair red with Kool-Aid, just for fun. It was just a nice tint to my dark brown hair. I did it in the morning before my parents woke up, and when my mom got up, she was angry, mostly because I had some red blotches on my skin from the kool-aid. She also thought dyeing my hair funny colors was a punk thing and that punk was trying to make yourself look like trash. We got in a big argument and I tried to run out of the house, but she wouldn't let me get my jacket so I ran out without it (it was early winter) and ran over to Tom's place. I came back much later in the day, with the red blotches washed off (they weren't exactly long-lasting, silly mom) and having borrowed a jacket from him. Mom had written me a long agonizing letter

The next time I dyed my hair was several years and several hairstyles later. It was mid October, I was 22 I think, and living with Tom. It was inspired by my finding my first gray hair. I thought, I've wanted to experiment more with hair dye. I should do it long before I start getting gray streaks, because I don't want to cover up my gray streaks when I get them. I want to have cool gray streaks like my mom, who started going gray fairly young, though it was a slow process.

I decided the first thing to do was green streaks, something I've long wanted. I bleached streaks in my hair and dyed them green. I liked it. The thing was, there was no such thing as permanent green hair dye, so I had to redo it regularly. And I don't like being high-maintenance.

So a few months later I decided to dye my hair red-brown for Valentine's Day, with permanent dye. I figured with the green faded, the red brown would just be a little browner. It turned out okay, a simple dark brown with a different tint to it than my natural dark brown hair, but the leftover green gave my hair an odd yellow glow in the sunlight (instead of my hair's natural reddish glow).

I decided the next thing I would do was dye my hair black, then bleach red-brown streaks into it. It was June 2001. I did extensive tests with strands of my hair and free hairdye I got from special mail-in offers I found on the Internet. One Saturday evening I had done my last tests and had a plan. Late that night, when Tom had gone off to a friend's place to watch a movie with some people, I dyed my hair black. It was very late and I decided to do the next bit the next day. I went to bed.

The next morning I was woken up by the phone call telling me that Tom was dead (More about this is recorded elsewhere in my LJ). I never did dye the streaks. I decided to let the black grow out naturally, and show me the progress of my mourning, the time passing since Tom had died.

A little more than a year later (September 2002), my depression had been building up. I felt like my life as it was had been taken away from me and replaced by a different one which I didn't like as much. I wanted to do things to try and cheer myself up. One of them was to dye my hair bright red. I did this oddly, though, on purpose. I didn't properly bleach out the black. I just dyed the red over it, which didn't effect the black part much. So I had bright red hair from the roots down several inches then fading down into black. It looked pretty cool, actually. And I still had my mourning hair, I just brightened up my what had grown since then.

That looked cool, that is, until my roots had grown out a lot and I had three shades of hair instead of two, the roots of which, despite being a nice color, looked dull next to the bright red. So, a few months later, I gave myself tabby-cat hair in different shades of brown and red-brown, by braiding my hair and painting the edges of the braids with different dyes.

This looked cool but a bit messy, so after while I did some more dyeing in deeper shades of brown with some red, with the goal of it blending into my roots and the plan of growing out the dye and returning my hair to its natural color, which I had always liked. It's just so fun to play with hair dye. But I was finished. My hair would return to its natural beauty.

And that is pretty much what happened, aside from some non-permanent dye once for Halloween. Meanwhile, I eventually got over the depression, with the help of medication and friends.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
that was a totally cool story. thank you for posting that
Mar. 11th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
That's beautiful. I am so glad you came out of it OK.

It is very hard to tell how depression will manifest in a particular person. Some people sleep a lot, some don't sleep at all. Some people get quiet, some people get loud and drunk and get thrown out of bars.

Now and then I put various shades of henna in my hair. The effect is subtle. I like how it doesn't really hide my silver hairs (which are increasing in number), but it transforms them.
Mar. 11th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, your henna'd hair is lovely. But you know what I think already, my sweet.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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