Anyone who's struggled with depression knows just how debilitating it can be. Even getting up in the morning can feel impossible. That's why this story about a woman's hair, matted into a thick mass from spending months in bed—and the stylist who worked for hours on end to detangle it—is resonating deeply with so many people.
In a recent post on her Facebook page, stylist Kate Langman described meeting a woman a month earlier who came into the salon where she works: "I saw this woman pulling every product off the 'All Soft' Redken line. When I asked her if she needed any help, she began to tell me her story."
The woman explained that she suffered from depression, and hadn't been able to leave her bed for six months. She wasn't washing or brushing it; and instead tied it up in a bun. Over time, it became "so matted that it felt like she literally had rocks on the back of her head," Langman wrote.
Langman told the woman to put the products back on the shelf, and set up an appointment with her for the next day. But the woman didn't show. Two weeks later, she called the salon to schedule another appointment, only to miss that one too. "At this point I figured she wasn't going to ever end up coming in," Langman wrote. "It actually, kind of, broke my heart."
But a few weeks later, the woman walked in. She said she had finally made it out of bed again, and asked if she could get her hair done that day. "I didn't care how late I stayed, I wanted to make sure she got taken care of," Langman said.
In most cases when hair is so knotted, the advice is to lop it off, she explains in the post. But the woman wanted to keep it long, if possible, and Langman was committed to doing whatever she could to make her feel a little bit better.
It took more than eight hours to cut, color, and style the woman's hair—including four and half hours just to comb out the knots. "All of this time, I'm just telling myself to keep going...that this is going to be all so worth it," Langman wrote in her post. And it was.
"By the end of this service, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and I could see her cheeks get rosy pink from the excitement of not only being able to run her fingers through her hair again, but she felt herself again," Langman says.
To date, the post has close to 23,000 shares and 103,000 likes. Langman hopes her clients gets to see it too, because she has a message for her: "I want her to know how great, wonderful, kind, loving, and how strong of a person she is. And not only those things, but how beautiful she is... she deserves nothing but happiness... and I'm so thankful and so grateful I got to help with her first step."
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In the comments, others have been sharing their own experiences with depression, and relating to that common feeling of not being able to face the day. As one Facebook user wrote, "Depression is awful. So many times you WANT to, you just CAN'T. Getting out of bed is a major accomplishment. ... What you did for this woman, your patience and understanding most likely meant the world to her."
If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with the condition, here is some info on ways you might be able to help.