of (always) haircuts and mental illness

I’ve written before about my hair as sort of an homage to the characters/people who mean the most to me. Most recently, my hair was a white-blonde, fluffy homage to my deeply beloved Aziraphale of Good Omens. 

I wanted it to be real, you see.

I always want it to be Real: this being anyone but me.

Because who am I? (What’s your story? What’s your deal?) Today I am already sweaty and it’s just been from the pursuit of a bagel. I am already behind on my marathon training. I am ashamed of the belly and hips I see in my mirror. I order too much take-out, because it makes me feel ANYTHING. I have this stupid zit on my chin and I cannot stop poking at it.

(I feel I must confess to you, always, bear with me.)

I am in the middle of a moderate-to-severe depressive episode and I spent most of Thursday and Friday evenings crying my wobbly little eyes out. I feel regret. I feel guilt. I feel shame. I feel broken. I feel like the core of me is inherently rotten and bad, and I fear that I cannot fix it. I am on new meds and, so far, I am just extra sleepy. I return to therapy (again, again, always, always) tomorrow afternoon. Some days I want to give up and I am scared to ask myself what that really means.

Hello, again. My name is Dani and I have bipolar II disorder. To lazily quote e.e. cummings, I carry it in my heart. Some days I feel it in every single step I take. It is consuming and terrifying and deeply painful, this thing I have. And, again, I don’t tell you this to make you feel sorry for me. I just wish I’d known, you know? So, I want you to know. Especially if you’re struggling as well.

I feel quite nearly defeated by my illness this week. (But GodDAMMIT, as I type this, “Rainbow Connection” starts playing on shuffle and fucking fuck, Kermit, I promised.)

I promised.

I love you. I promise.

I’m sorry.

Oh, right, this was supposed to be about hair.

Yesterday my roommate shaved my head. When I look in the mirror now, I cannot pretend to be Aziraphale or anyone else. I am forced to contend with the possibility that I might actually just be Me, here and forevermore.

And I am mourning the loss of Aziraphale on my head just as I have mourned other losses in the past year. Honestly, I’m afraid. I’m afraid to love myself, exactly as I am, because it feels like a trap. I don’t know if that makes any sense. To love myself feels like lulling myself into a false sense of security. Because I shouldn’t be allowed to love myself until I’m BETTER, right? Until I’m more successful, more talented, thinner, stronger, smarter, BETTER.

I am really tired.

Let me tell you my hope, my plan:

(I do this shit every week. Sunday-Dani is an eternal optimist.)

Tomorrow I wake up at 6 am. I do something, anything, physical, not as a punishment, but as self-care. I shower while my coffee is brewing; my current Bath & Body Works scent is Daydream, thank you very much. I feed my cat, the sweetest, goodest Clementine. I write my words. Sometimes my words about immortal beings kissing, sometimes my words about depression and hair, sometimes (I hope) new words.

Nighttime makes me sad, so I want to spend the morning in the sun.

So, if you’re up at 6 am tomorrow, feel free to shoot me an accountability-text. I really am going to try.

I promise, Kermit. I promise, Dani. I promise, friend.

I promise, Aziraphale.

We can’t give up now.

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