While many people romanticize depression, conjuring an image of someone languishing bedside, an unlit cigarette draped between their lips, the reality is much bleaker and less sexy. One hair stylist is currently going viral on Facebook for brushing out and saving her client’s hair, hair that depression nearly took from her.
Kayley Olsson, a stylist from Iowa, took to Facebook this week to detail a moving encounter she had with a 16-year-old client suffering from depression.
“She felt so down and so worthless she couldn’t even brush her hair,” Olsson wrote, “She told me she only got up to use the restroom.”
She continued to explain that her client starts school soon, and asked her to just cut all of her hair off because she couldn’t deal with the pain of combing it out. Olsson refused to accept defeat, and did all she could to salvage her client’s hair.
“A CHILD should NEVER feel so worthless to not even want to brush their hair,” she continued, “After being here 8 hours yesterday and 5 hours today we finally made this beautiful girl smile and feel like she IS worth something! Her last words to me [were] ‘I will actually smile for my schools pictures today, you made me feel like me again.'”
It’s a moving post, and it has resonated with thousands of viewers (it has amassed 65,000 shares at time of writing.) The comments are overflowing with supportive, loving words — and many people are sharing their own experiences with depression or their loved ones’ experiences.
“That happened to me a couple of years ago,” one user commented, ” Terrible feeling. Unfortunately I didn’t have a hairdresser like you.”
“This was a beautiful thing for her to take the time to help this girl,” another agreed.
Around 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, NIMH reports, so this anonymous teen definitely isn’t alone. There was another viral Facebook post just months ago about a teen struggling with depression who also could not bring herself to brush her hair.
Olsson’s act of kindnesss may not have cured her client’s depression, but it did make a positive impact on her life — and by sharing it she helped to de-stigmatize the common illness and to encourage others to speak out.