This Schizoaffective’s System for Washing Her Hair

This Schizoaffective’s System for Washing Her Hair

My schizoaffective disorder used to make me afraid to wash my hair, so weeks would go by when I didn’t do it. I thought of it as occasionally washing my hair. Now I take a bath every day, and I take a shower and wash my hair once a week. I brush my hair in-between times and I now have a system that enables me to keep on a regular hair-washing cycle.

Finding a Way Around My Schizoaffective Disorder

My schizoaffective disorder still makes me terrified about washing my hair–I can’t even give you a reason for my fear. But I’m able to take on the task once a week with help from my husband, Tom, who offers motivating encouragement. I usually wash my hair on Saturday, when he gets home from work early. This weekend, I washed it Sunday–one of his days off.

Here’s the routine. I set out the clothes I want to wear and the towel I will use to wrap around my head in a turban after I get out of the shower. Then Tom gets the shower at exactly the right temperature. (I have trouble doing this and it’s a big stressor for me.) After I’ve checked the water temperature, I hop in the shower. Tom lies down in the bedroom, which is near the bathroom. I shout out to Tom everything I’m doing. “I’m washing my face,” I yell. “Yay clean face,” he yells back. And so on. And when I get out of the shower, Tom congratulates me. Throughout the whole process, he’s like a cheerleader. I need one–my hair is well past shoulder length.

I know this might sound lame, but it’s what I have to do to keep my schizoaffective anxiety in check. Of course, I wish I didn’t need Tom there just to take a shower. But I do. It’s self-care.

My Schizoaffective Anxiety Didn’t Used to Make Me Afraid to Wash My Hair

I used to be able to take a shower without Tom there for a period of time back in my running days. I took a shower and washed my hair every day after my morning run. But I used to do a lot of other things that, because of worsening schizoaffective anxiety, are so difficult for me now. I don’t know why this happened. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older, or what. But schizoaffective anxiety has robbed me of so much. I can’t even be alone, largely because my anxiety makes it hard for me to concentrate on a book. This is a problem, because I’m home alone most of the day while Tom’s at work, though I often visit my family home a few blocks away.

Still, if I need Tom to help me get the shower temperature correct, that’s what I need. I’m so lucky to have his help. Maybe in the future, I’ll be able to get it on my own, even if I still need Tom in the apartment for the shower. It all takes little steps.



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