A Facebook post that candidly depicts what it’s really like to live with a mental health condition has gone viral.
Katelyn Marie Todd, a 17-year-old with depression, uploaded a photo of herself brushing her hair on the social media site recently. It was accompanied by a heartbreaking post that opened with one simple line: “I brushed my hair today.”
Hair brushing may seem like part of a daily routine, but for Todd it was a major accomplishment. She goes on to explain in her post that this is the first time she has used a comb in four weeks due to her depression.
“It was matted and twisted together. It snapped and tore with every stroke,” she wrote. “I cried while I washed and conditioned it, because I forgot how it felt to run my fingers through it.”
Todd then detailed how the mental health condition can affect people’s day-to-day lives and the way they take care of themselves.
“Depression isn’t beautiful,” she said. “Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much.”
Todd isn’t alone in her experience. More than 300 million people worldwide are living with depression, according to the World Health Organization. The condition can drain a person’s energy and cause major fatigue, making simple routines like brushing your hair or teeth feel like an excruciating task.
The post, which has received over 200,000 likes and 270,000 shares, ended with some advice to those who are close to someone with depression.
“Please be easy on your friends and family that have trouble getting up the energy to clean, hang out, or take care of themselves,” Todd wrote. “And please, please take them seriously if they talk to you about it.”
She also promises that those dealing with the condition are often just doing the best they can ― and it’s the little victories that matter the most.
“We’re trying,” Todd said. “I swear we’re trying. See? I brushed my hair today.”
As part of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re focusing on treatment and the stigma around getting help. Check out our coverage here and share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.