It is not much of a secret how millions of people in the world suffer from depression. In fact, in the United States alone there are about 16.2 million adults who have had experienced suffering from at least one major depressive episode in a year. Despite the staggering number of people affected by depression, it seems that there are still numerous people who do not know how depression works.
Unbeknownst to most people, depression has a powerful control over one’s mind. Depression often fills one’s thoughts with negative thoughts such as insecurity, second thoughts, and anxiousness. Because of this, there are ‘simple’ things that people with depression could not find the courage to do, making trivial tasks such as getting up from the bed, washing oneself, or even going out seem to be a herculean task.
A perfect illustration of how depression works is the case of a teenage customer who came into a beauty salon in Iowa. The 16-year-old girl who was suffering from depression came with tangled matted locks that looked like it has not been brushed for years.
Kayley Olsson, the 20-year-old stylist who was working at the Capri Waterloo attended to the troubled teenage girl. According to the young but wise hair stylist, the teenage girl asked her to simply cut long locks. Being a person who is not fond of giving up, Kayley offered to untangle the teenage girl’s locks. Her unforgettable and one-of-a-kind encounter with the 16-year-old girl suffering from depression was detailedly posted on her Facebook account.
“Today I had one of the hardest experiences with my client who I am keeping anonymous, I had a 16-year girl come in with who has been dealing with severe depression for a few years now. She got to the point where she felt so down and so worthless she couldn’t even brush her hair, she told me she only got up to use the restroom.”
Kayley shared how depression ate up the 16-year-old girl to the point that she had lost her sense of self-worth. The strong feeling of worthlessness made activities such as brushing her hair seem to be a pointless activity.
“She starts back at school in a few weeks but she has her school pictures today. When she walked in she told us just cut it all off I can’t deal with the pain of combing it out, she called herself worthless for it. It honestly broke my heart and we tried everything we could to keep this child’s hair for her! “
The teenage girl came into the salon to ask for her long locks to be chopped off. After learning about her story, Kayley could not bring herself to cut all of the teenager’s hair. Instead, she and her co-hairdressers did their best to untangle her locks.
“At the end of the day, I want this to be a lesson to people. MENTAL HEALTH is a thing, it affects people all around the world and of all ages! PARENTS take it seriously don’t just push your kids off and tell them to get over something they legitimately can’t. A CHILD should NEVER feel so worthless to not even want to brush their hair.”
Kayley would like to call the attention of the public and, at the same time, educate them about the reality of depression. Just because you cannot see it does not mean that mental health illnesses are not real. People are simply different from one another, and for depressed people, there is no such thing as a ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ task.
Wanting to do something that would make the teenage girl feel worthy of herself, Kayley dedicated a total of 13 hours in order to smoothen years worth of tangled locks. And as they say, everything that is worth the wait is worth having! After spending two days inside the salon, Kayley and her colleagues successfully transformed the girl’s messy hair into a beautiful golden crown of glory.
“After being here 8 hours yesterday and 5 hours today we finally made this beautiful girl smile and feel like she IS worth something!” Kayley shared the good news on her Facebook account. More than her craftsmanship, Kayley is genuinely happy to know that she was a part of the reason why a young lady who had not smiled for years finally did.
On Kayley’s last update, she shared the last words the 16-year-old girl had for her.
“I will actually smile for my schools pictures today, you made me feel like me again.”
Kayley’s touching post garnered more than 75 thousand shares on Facebook. People across the internet commended the young stylist for going beyond her duty and by choosing to be generous with her time and understanding with the teenage girl.
Marida Sapichino, a Facebook user praised Kayley for her life-changing compassion. “Such a wonderful thing to do for this young lady YOU truly don’t know what this can do to her future. AMAZING Bless YOU <3”
Jennifer Marchigiani, another Facebook user said, “Bless you for taking this time to help this poor girl. Glad someone made her feel like she WAS worth something including time and effort.”
There are millions of people suffering from depression. And in every 12 minutes, a suicide due to depression occurs. Though depression is one of the leading mental health illness, it doesn’t mean that it is undefeatable. Sometimes, all it takes to beat depression is a human connection: a listening ear and a compassionate heart.
If Kayley and her fellow hairdressers chose to just go with the haircut that the depressed teenage girl wanted, a genuine smile would not flash across her face. Without Kayley’s apparent concern, the young girl would never know that someone cares about her. Without Kayley’s dedication to smoothen her hair, the teenage girl would not know that she is worth it.
The next time you see someone has such difficulty accomplishing the simplest of task choose to be like Kayley and reach out. Reach out to him and ask how he’s doing instead of shrugging his nonchalance off. What do you know? Perhaps it is a life you are saving.
Photos via Kayley Olsson | Video by The Doctors
[If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Here’s what you can do when a loved one is severely depressed.]