“You made me feel like me again.”
When Kayley Olsson met her 16-year-old client for the first time, she was met with an odd and heartbreaking request. The teenager (whose name has been withheld from the story) arrived with hair so dirty and matted that she was incapable of combing it. Several years of depression had resulted in neglectful personal hygiene habits and apathy, but with school picture day approaching, the teen knew she had to make herself more presentable.
Out of options, the teen asked Kayley to simply cut off her hair since she couldn’t handle the pain of brushing it out.
However, the hairdresser refused to take such drastic action, instead spending 13 long hours over two days to fix the damaged hair and gift her client a haircut she could be proud of.
Kayley posted about the experience on Facebook, showing the profound toll that mental illness can sometimes take not just on a person’s appearance, but on their sense of self-worth and pride.
The overwhelmingly positive comments have served as a sounding board for those who have found themselves fighting the same battle that this teen girl has.
Speaking to Inside Edition, Kayley said the long process was certainly worth it for both parties. “When I got the last knot out of her hair, I looked at her and said 'it’s all out' and we cried happy tears,” Olsson said. “When I showed her the final result in the mirror she said ‘I am going to smile in my school pictures. You made me feel like me again.'"