17-year-old Katelyn Marie Todd posted a picture to Facebook brushing her hair last week that has been shared over 200,000 times.
Of course, it wasn’t the picture that caught people’s attention.
In the caption, Todd explains that she hadn’t brushed her hair in four weeks due to her severe depression, and she talks about the experience, and how emotional it was for her.
“It was matted and twisted together,” she writes, “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.”
She then goes on to talk about her depression itself, defining what it means to her. “Depression isn’t beautiful,” she continues, “Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much. Depression is having 3 friends that are only still around because they have the patience and love of a saint…Depression is making your family cry because they think you don’t love them anymore when you’re distant and distracted.”
It’s a moving post, and it has resonated with hundreds of thousands of viewers. The comments are overflowing with supportive, loving words — and a number of people with depression are sharing their own stories with Todd.
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 she definitely isn’t alone.
In an interview with Today, she spoke about the viral post.
“I had thousands of comments saying my post helped them in some way and it feels really amazing,” she said. “The most important thing that I got from the whole experience was the idea that I was not alone.”
Her post allowed thousands of others to realize the same.