Why I wear my hair like this right now…

The old woman was a witch shadow – hair like matted spiderwebs, hooded ’round darkness of features, eyes like glittering jewels.

Frank Herbert

Hey, Lovelies.

So, I want to talk about hair.

Ah, I’m sharing another of my great secrets now.

You can tell a lot about my state of wellness by how I wear my hair.

Right now, I am a bun-on-the-top-of-my-head kind of gal.

Each morning I wrangle it more or less into a neater version of the thing I went to bed in.

I look relatively respectable, right?

Looks can be deceiving!

My hair has been in a bun for almost two months.

I’ve washed it 3 times over that period. While it was still in a bun.


It’s a secret few people understand. People like me, with chronic fatigue and long periods of being bed-ridden know. So do people with severe depression. When you lie on your hair for extended periods without brushing it, or when you stop habits of daily personal grooming, hair can matt together.

In fact, hospital matted hair, depression matted hair and nursing home matted hair are documented conditions, and they are more common than you might think. If you are very unwell, or if you go through periods of depression, low energy, or high stress and anxiety, you may not have the energy or the headspace to keep on top of maintaining your hair. The longer your situation goes on, the worse your hair matting will become.

I have very long curly hair. When I became ill recently and ended up in hospital the first time, I popped my hair in a bun to keep it out of the way of all of the cables and things that were monitoring my heart. It stayed like that for a week or so.

Then, when I was home and finally found enough energy to stand up in the shower unassisted, I couldn’t lift my arms long enough to brush out the knots so I could give my hair a proper wash. After a few minutes of unknotting I’d trigger chest pain, so I’d pile it all back into a bun, and hope I felt better the next day.

Eventually I realised that it was going to be a while before I’d have the energy (and lack of chest pain) to get those knots sorted.

Meanwhile, I ran fevers. My old friend Lyme reared its ugly head and I suffered heavy night sweats, drenching my clothes, my bedding, and soaking my hair. Like sticky spiderweb it matted together more and more. Each time I found the energy to tackle it I could only ever do part of the job. Tangles grew upon tangles. When you have limited energy, major hair unknotting becomes a low priority.

Now, even if I take off the band holding my hair on the top of my head, the hair stays in place. It’s clean, but it’s also a tangled, matted mess.

I’m no stranger to this. In the past thirty years this has happened a dozen times. In the end I’ll find the energy and get it sorted. Or, I’ll take a razor to it and hack it all off. I’m not decided yet on which way I’ll go.

I know, some of you will suggest that I just go see a hairdresser and have them sort it for me. Simple. Except that it isn’t. That would still take hours in a chair. Plus getting there and getting home. Plus COVID risk. And I don’t have that kind of energy just yet.

I’m not letting it get me down. In fact, I took some hilarious pics for you. LOL, no-one can ever accuse me of being vain. Thank goodness my business does not rely on me needing to be some kind of glamorous influencer.

These pics show my massive recent progress. This is my hair now when I take off the tie and tease it out with my fingers. You might be appalled but I am thrilled. It’s not all stuck on top of my head. Slowly, it’s beginning to release – in ways that will make it easier for me to restore it back to curls again.

My technique? Clarifying shampoo to help strip out sweat, grime and anything else that’s sticking my hair together. When hair is dry again and most of the stickiness is gone, use my fingers to gently finger comb small sections. When a section has had enough knots and loose hair removed, brush it and then secure the newly unknotted hair in a plait or tie to prevent it re-tangling. When hair is mostly tangle free, wash gently with more clarifying shampoo, condition well, and comb out in sections with the conditioner still in the hair. Rinse in cool water, and then let it dry.

Celebrate, and rest up. Try not to let it get that bad again.

Chronic illness and other hair-matting calamities. They’re not for the faint-hearted.

Take care of yourself today. However you can.
Love, hugs, and hairbrushes, Nicole xx
PS – see that one little plait of unknotty goodness? That’s called progress!!!
PSS – for all my entrepreneur friends who will be mortified at my latest potentially brand-damaging post? Take a chill pill. My people get it. We are a community of sensitive souls, many dealing with illness, all doing our best. I’m sure my community will take real over highly edited any day. This is my real. I won’t ever apologise for that.

Hi! I'm Nicole Cody. I am a writer, psychic, metaphysical teacher and organic farmer. I love to read, cook, walk on the beach, dance in the rain and grow things. Sometimes, to entertain my cows, I dance in my gumboots. Gumboot dancing is very under-rated.
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16 thoughts on “Why I wear my hair like this right now…

  1. Thank you for sharing your authentic self and being honest with us. You are so right, that people on so many levels can relate to this post.
    I am a sufferer of depression and was at the point where I was having my hair shaved so I didn’t have to deal with it. It was just too much to think about. Than pandemic came & my hair grew out. I was left with a decision…start shaving it again or do something different that still wouldn’t require much upkeep. Well, I went with Dreadlocks and I am so loving my decision. They are low maintenance, great for depression hair. Yet they give me an extra bit of sass on the days that I feel like interacting with the world around me.
    So embrace what your hair wants to do and what you feel like doing with it. Remember hair & you, it’s a relationship to be loved and nurtured but must be mutually beneficial 🙂

    I’m loving it Nicole. I’ve always admired your sass. <3

  2. Ahhhh Nicole how fun and brave …was doing a comment y’day about the yoga for seniors and saying it should be called yoga for recovering ‘Super diva dazzler witchy types…’ and was going to wish you loads of fun youthful laughter and mischief…deleted it…and then you pop up today with a smile full of fun, youthful laughter and mischief..you are an inspiration ..hadn’t thought about matted hair being part of hospital stays , depression and illness….sending you all the love.and a rainbow of glittery silvery sparkles..xxx

  3. LOVE THIS. Especially enjoyed the pix and the “PSS” message. Well played.
    I gave up the struggle and cut mine off. I hate it but it’s liberating. Eh, it’s hair – it grows.

  4. Look at that smile! Thank you for sharing and being so fiercely honest and open- something for us to all strive for! ❤️👍🏻

  5. Do what you can when you can. When you can’t, don’t. That’s the message I’m hearing. You know what you can and can’t do, and you’ll do what you need to do to get through. You are so inspirational! Thank you for all you do, and I will keep you in prayer.

  6. I hope you feel well enough soon to tangle more with your hair and other more interesting life things. I once spent a month in bed with a bad ankle break and a non-working wrist and no showers allowed. I wore two ponytails on either side of my head to avoid a lump against my head when I leaned back, and one day I didn’t need the hair ties anymore because my hair had just become those two shapes. So greasy and gross! It was glorious the day I could finally get in the shower!

  7. Adorable long curly hair with gorgeous matting going in untamed directions. A message of authenticity that has great beauty. I am loving my grey undercut that has given me room to love my hair and have a no time for hair balance in my day

  8. What I love most of this, you still have hair and so much of it (mine has got so thin, didn’t think was a thing but here I am so it no longer has the strength to matt as it once did). May you not get *any* of *those* messages/emails and btw I love this post.

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