I’m sitting here, swollen lip submerged in warm saline water, because I decided a $50 piece of metal and some pain would cure my depression.
I do bizarre things to my appearance when I’m unwell. I’ve cut my bangs, twice, in the midst of what neurotypicals would consider a mood swing. The first time, I handed my girlfriend a pair of dull kitchen scissors and told her I wanted to look like Krysten Ritter. I didn’t.
The second time around, I opted for a professional as the enabler of my poor decisions and wound up spending two hours in a rather uncomfortable salon chair on a rainy Friday night. I ditched my natural blonde, once-dyed pink, then-dyed brown hair for a short black bob, bangs and all. I resembled a shorter, overweight, less attractive version of the Jessica Jones star. I thanked the hair stylist but immediately regretted my $200 spontaneity once I got to my car. About three months and three hundred lost bobby pins later, I vowed to remain sans-fringe for the rest of my life. To this day, I have kept my promise.
Like I said, changing my appearance has become an unhealthy coping mechanism of mine and although I now allow my hair to do as it wishes, there’s something about getting a needle shoved through parts of my face that I find therapeutic. One day I was doing laundry and as I rotated my clothes to the dryer, I decided to get my eyebrow pierced. I had never wanted an eyebrow piercing and how my brain comes up with these ideas I will never know. It lasted maybe two months. Luckily, my anti-body modification parents still don’t know about it.
A year later, about four and a half weeks ago, it happened again. This time, a lip piercing. I had also never wanted a lip piercing but I suppose the lack of serotonin flowing through my bipolar brain craved endorphins and reckless choices. My best friend and I walked into the same piercing shop as I had gone to prior and within ten minutes I had a bar of surgical steel thrust through my chapped bottom lip.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t cure my depression. It only made it difficult to eat sandwiches and I now have a growing stash of straws.