Poor Hygiene & Going to the Salon: A Paradox

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It’s been  just over a week since my psychiatrist raised my Prozac dose, and that I’ve been using my light box for 45 minutes to start, and then 1 hour the last 2 days. I feel a little better, but not much. My insomnia still troubles me. If it didn’t, I’d probably have trouble getting out of bed.

It’s been 2 weeks since I showered, and on Tuesday, my husband washed my hair because I couldn’t do it myself. I did manage to wash my privates (I’d like to repeat that I won’t sugarcoat my experience with bipolar), although it was much more difficult to do than the last time (which was before my most recent shower). That difficulty in doing what was previously a simpler task makes me tend towards going through ECT again, after all. Especially because on most days, my husband still has to help me get dressed.

However, we have a short trip planned for the weekend after Valentine’s Day. We’ll be staying at a bed-and-breakfast for a few days just to get away and relax. I’ll make my decision when we return. I’m hoping that between now and then, my depression will improve and that I won’t need ECT.

The procedure itself isn’t bad. The entire process of going to the hospital and all the prep they do — which is a good thing — is a huge pain, though. (If you’re interested in what I go through on ECT days, please click here.)

I haven’t been completely idle this past week, probably because I’ve had extra hours in my day, due to the insomnia. Anyway, I’ve blogged daily — writing is therapeutic for me; finished a crochet project — also therapeutic; saw my therapist on Friday; and went to my salon appointment yesterday for a brow wax, mani/pedi, and hair color to hide the gray lol!

This seems counter to not taking care of my hygiene, but going to the salon is part of my self-care. For the hour or so that I’m there, I’m pampered, and until my next appointment, I feel somewhat good about myself. I know it’s weird because I don’t particularly care how I look otherwise: that my hair’s a mess, that I wear sweats and a t-shirt every day — on the days I change out of my pajamas.

I’ve been going to this salon since they opened in 2004, and am friends with the staff, who knows I’m bipolar. So the visits are also a way for me to socialize. They always ask about my well-being and actually care. The owner has repeatedly invited me to visit, even if I don’t have an appointment, just to hang out. I would take her up on this, particularly on the days my husband works from the office, but he’s the one who drives me to the salon. I’m not yet comfortable taking the train by myself.

Do you care about your appearance and/or have trouble maintaining basic hygiene when going through a depressive episode?

via Daily Prompt: Tend

23 thoughts on “Poor Hygiene & Going to the Salon: A Paradox

  1. I find those salon relationships (haircutters/ aestheticians/ waxers etc) are so unique and important. There’s an interesting (maybe one-sided) intimacy behind them. I hope that your mini-vacation is truly relaxing and enjoyable!

    1. You’re right. I l always make it a habit to see one particular stylist at the salon. As for the getaway, thank you so much! <3

    1. Thanks. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I’m also working on not cancelling plans. I’ve been doing well, except for my dentist appointment—cancelled twice lol!

  2. I try to maintain basic hygiene unless I’m really sick and it’s just not possible. Caring about appearance totally goes out the window. But self-care is always good to try to fit in.

  3. I have a lot of difficulties with basic hygiene and it makes me feel like crap a lot of time to not be able to do better–I do not let my spouse help me, nor anyone else, since they are too much stimuli to process so I would not be safe if I focus on them and then do not have the brains to manage getting into and out of a tub or other similar. The shower is unsafe since the giant noise of it messes with my balance and tolerance, so I can’t do it. I did bathe last night and that was great and makes me feel good for as long as it lasts. Too often I sort of can’t find my body due to the electricity in my brain from getting cooked–I can feel some of it, but not feel attached to it. I wonder if the ECT is similar. Getting electrocuted felt great to me, the white light and whatever version of death, then anticlimactic when I didn’t stay dead, then there were bad results longerterm in function and feeling cut off from the world. What is ECT like for you? I am unsure if you have written about it or are willing to.

    Good for you if the salon helps you–whatever works is great.

    1. I’m sorry you have such difficulties. It must be frustrating.

      I did write a series about going through ECT treatments from my depressive episode in October & November 2016. You can find them under the About menu, if you’re interested.

      As for the actual procedure itself, I can’t describe it because I’m under general anesthesia. I doubt that it’s anything like what you experienced because the charge is very small—just enough to induce a seizure. I’ve been told that the anesthesia lasts longer than the ECT. And I’m under anesthesia for about 15 – 20 minutes. The only trade-off is long-term memory loss.

      1. Huh. I will have to read what you wrote befopre asking you questions that you probably answered there. I find that when i have convulsions I stay conscious and the discharge of energy helps me greatly. maybe that is what they are trying for, but anaesthesia would not suit me. I’ll read it and see what questions I have. Thanks.

  4. I sometimes struggle with hygiene when going through episodes. It’s a struggle just to get in the shower. Between my bipolar and fibromyalgia, I’ve gone days without a shower. It hurts just to even stand in the shower.

    I hope you have a great mini vacation and that you are able to relax and just enjoy your surroundings. 🙂

    1. I imagine it’s especially tough with the fibromyalgia. Thanks for sharing, and for the well-wishes! 🌻

  5. Oh my God, yes. Depressive episodes have me lying around in bed all day, and I feel bad for not being productive. It’s a double whammy. Glad you found another safe space in the salon and that you’re doing so well taking care of yourself. I hope I find a place like that too.

  6. I don’t care about clothes, makeup or shower when I’m down . I was worse before but now at least every third day. Took me a long time to get there

    1. A light box is used, usually during the winter months, to help alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder or, SAD. It emits a light that simulates daylight, and you sit in front of it for a certain amount of time, either prescribed by your doctor, or per the light box’s instructions. I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. 😊

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