I suck at hair. As an artist it’s the one area I just don’t understand and don’t have the patience for. Whatever female magical power women are supposed to come with that makes them patient at trying to manipulate the thousands of dead cells pouring out the top of their noggins must have skipped me. I kept it simple- cute little V shaped bangs and shoulder length hair. Nothing fancy but the V bangs gave it enough of a different look that complimented the sharp features of my face and was easy to maintain.
I’m girly. I’m a much girlier person than most would guess. I’ll spend an hour or 3 putting makeup on, and managing my outfit accessories can take just as long. But I fall flat when it comes to giving a shit about the process of hair. If I have to touch a curling iron or hairspray I will immediately bitch about how it’s taking too long and that my life is over and I hate everything. I also can’t seem to figure out how to coordinate the movements of my arms while looking into a mirror. I can’t make the connection in my head and with the results being mostly 3rd degree burns and eye injuries involving bobby pins, I just brush my hair and lie to myself the rest of the day.
And then I lost my hair.
My V bangs became thin and gaps developed which looked terrible and reinforced the fact that life wasn’t even going to let me have a moment of relief with just looking not homeless. It was going to have my mental state in an uproar and my physical appearance in a sad state as well. I simply brushed my bangs to the side and ignored my head and avoided all mirrors.
But then I started to look like a nuclear fallout victim, with large areas obviously missing chunks of hair. Once it escalated to the “overworked and underappreciated washed up soccer mom” state, I knew had to act. I felt like hell on lithium and I wanted to at least lie on the outside and be able to look like I’m holding it together perfectly. Problem was the only hair style I ever loved on me was a 2 foot tall death hawk. The style isn’t the problem, the association was. That was Typhoid’s hair.
I fear her more than any other aspect of my bipolar disorder.
So when I started toying with the idea of shaving just one side of my head to give me the look I really enjoyed, the death hawk when it wasn’t up, I started to worry that she was popping back up again. Typhoid is me, not an actual persona or personality switch, she’s still 100% me, I address her as a separate entity on purpose, it’s a safety mechanism. Mania LOVES itself, it’s a drug. When you’re high on drugs nothing feels bad at the moment, and if nothing feels bad then what’s the problem? Especially if that euphoric high comes naturally. Who wouldn’t love to be on cocaine, ecstasy, and good vodka all at the same time for weeks on end, naturally?
Mania feels good but just like a drug there is a crash and it’s absolutely devastating.
I have to keep her separate in my mind as a way to help control the possibility of a hypomanic state creeping up on me without me knowing. It’s a safety measure. Typhoid doesn’t just pop up, she slowly creeps her way into existence and I have to take all measures to make sure I’m not having symptoms that are red flags that she might be coming if I don’t do something.
So once I started having the thought of shaving the side of my head I started to panic because associated that hair style with her and I’m deathly afraid of her.
After about 3 months I finally broke down and did it. The hair loss was just too much and even though I was off lithium at that point my head was going to take a year or two to recover. I wanted to feel good about myself again but I wanted to make sure that that was truly my motivation. I didn’t want to go 2006 Britney Spears on myself.
I still feel like I’m still discovering who I am as far as my tastes go. I don’t feel like I really started exploring who I was, as in who I am completely separate from my disorder, until I was diagnosed and started really separating who I was from what the disorder causes me to do. I wasn’t into the same things as I was before- music, movies, people, everything was different. And I think I ran away from any semblance of my previous life and style because I associated it with Typhoid. I’m finally coming to accept what was part of my mania and what was actually me and it turns out my personality is much different but my tastes haven’t strayed too too far, they’ve just evolved.
I still like darker things, I just like them with a smile on my face now.
I no longer fear my haircut, as silly as that sounds. It not the haircut I feared, it’s the reasoning behind it. I now know that it’s just a haircut I wanted because it’s low maintenance and looks good on me, not Typhoid’s claim over me.