Schizoaffective Anxiety Makes Me Afraid to Wash My Hair

May 21, 2018 Elizabeth Caudy

Schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid of many things, and one of them is washing my hair. Learn how I deal with schizoaffective anxiety that makes me afraid.

I have schizoaffective disorder, and my schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid to wash my hair. It's not because I hate showering, per se, although I do prefer a nice hot bath. I have long, thick hair, and it stresses me out to wait for it to dry. I hate using a blow dryer, too. Here's why schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid when I wash my hair.

Why Schizoaffective Anxiety Makes Me Afraid of Having Wet Hair

Even though I prefer baths, I like to wash my hair in the shower. It's just so much easier that way. But once the rest of me is dry, I have to confront the wet mass of hair. I've never liked using a blow dryer, and I have to admit I'm a little afraid to use one because I'm afraid I'll blow a fuse or electrocute myself. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I get in this zone when my schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid and in my head, things like that seem plausible.

So I let my hair air dry. That's supposed to be better for your hair, but I do it because, as I said above, I'm scared to use a blow dryer.

But it's a pain to sit around and wait for my hair to air dry, too. I know I don't really have to "sit around and wait for it to dry." I see plenty of people go out with wet hair. And I don't really have anywhere to go most days--I've cut off lots of options (Isolating Myself Because of Schizoaffective Disorder and GAD).

But even my apartment can feel threatening. My schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid to walk around my apartment with wet hair because I'm fearful I'll drip water onto an electrical cord or a power strip. Again, as my husband has pointed out, my towel-dried hair isn't dripping wet. Still, I quarantine myself to my couch for the first two hours I'm waiting for my hair to dry. I watch a movie that I put in the DVD player ahead of time. That way, I only have to worry about pressing "play" on the remote control. I also read books and magazines and I journal.

I May Be Afraid to Wash My Hair, but I Do It Anyway

I bathe every day and I wash my hair anywhere from every other day to at least every four days. As much as I hate washing my hair, I love having it clean. I'm overweight from the medication I take for my schizoaffective disorder, so I want to look as nice as possible. I've even started wearing eyeliner.

I'm due for a haircut. I'm going to tell my hairdresser to make my hair as short as possible but long enough so that I can still wear it in a ponytail. My husband keeps suggesting I get a pixie cut, but short hair is harder to style than long hair and I don't think it would look attractive at my weight.

Schizoaffective anxiety makes me afraid. It is a bummer. I know a lot of people with mental illness don't like to shower. Please share your stories of difficulty with bathing or washing your hair in the comments.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2018, May 21). Schizoaffective Anxiety Makes Me Afraid to Wash My Hair, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

May, 25 2023 at 9:04 pm

I have OCD, and a lot of my intrusive thoughts and compulsions are about my hair. I pull my hair out, but what relates to this article is I am afraid of washing my hair because I have intrusive thoughts of when my hands get wrinkled from being wet they are softer, and I imagine them getting cut all over from washing my hair. For this reason, I can’t wash my hair normally. I always wash my hair in a separate shower from washing my body to avoid any unnecessary time to get my hands wrinkled. When I am washing my hair I wear plastic gloves and I use hairbrush to wash my hair. I just picked t the shampoo on the brush and act as if I am brushing my hair. This fear also makes me afraid of swimming because I don’t want to touch my hair, and I feel embarrassed every time I use the back of my hands to push hair out of my face.

May, 26 2023 at 3:04 pm

HI, Brooklyn-- Thanks for your comment. I am sorry you struggle so much with OCD and washing your hair. But kudos on finding creative ways to do it anyway! I know that's not easy. I wish you well. Elizabeth

April, 10 2023 at 3:35 am

Hi my name Jessie I can’t get in to a shower or bath my anxiety play up lot and very high I am on pill to help and watching stressed me out me is there any other way of watching hair instead of shower and I can’t get down the stairs too

April, 10 2023 at 2:09 pm

Hi, Jessie. Thank you for your comment. I'm wondering if you could wash your hair in the sink. The sink faucets in my apartment are too low, but maybe that's something that would work for you? I hope that helps, Elizabeth

Victoria Malloy
March, 19 2022 at 10:46 am

As a child I loved taking showers and washing my hair, I still do. But when I turned 13 years old I had bad depression and anxiety that lasted on and off for years. Showering, mostly washing my hair become a big trigger for my anxiety. It came out of the blue. Since then, it started to created this fear for washing my hair or showering. I’m not scared of water or having wet hair, I think because it was my main trigger for my anxiety I was afraid everytime I did wash or shower my anxiety would come, so I mentally brain washed myself into thinking it will happen and it took control of me and my thoughts. I never thought I was normal because I felt I was the only one going through this weird situation but now that I’m a lot older and I’ve done some reading, it happens to a lot of people. So, I no longer feel alone anymore. I felt some much relief. I’m 29 years old now and i still deal with it on and off. Some days are perfect but some days are not. On those hard days I face my fears and do it. A panic attack might happen but I’ll stop and breathe, trying to change my thought process and I’ll just go back to showering or washing my hair. My hair has always been very long since I was a child and as much has I wanted to cut it all off during those really rough times, I didn’t. Thank you for sharing your story! People like you have helped me and continue to help me everyday. Mental illness is something we live with on a day to day basis. It is who we are, as much as we don’t like it or try to hide it, it’s us. I’ve been battling with it since 13 years old. I also take antidepressants, been on them my whole life practically. The goal is just trying to live with them and accept it, as much as we don’t want to, you need to. We are so much more stronger then we think, we are in control. You can overcome anything, it’s definitely hard and feels impossible but you can, you just need to believe!☺️🙌🏻

July, 4 2021 at 7:10 pm

I do not like to shower because I am afraid of an intruder. When I do clean I take a bath, with the bathroom door open. I dry my body and the whole bath before I step out so I do not fall if there is an intruder. I have shaved my head for some time because hair makes my skin crawl, yet I'm depressed and don't trust myself with a razor to shave my body.

July, 5 2021 at 2:12 pm

Dear Samantha, Thank you for your comment. I don't shave my body hair either, partly because I don't trust myself with a razor. I am sometimes afraid to bathe, too. I only take a shower when my husband is home. I take a shower once a week to wash my hair. Otherwise, I try to take a bath every day. I hope you have someone close to you to talk to about your fears of an intruder. I have my own fears, and even though I know they're irrational, I can't shake them. Thanks again, Elizabeth

January, 23 2021 at 9:57 pm

i know i’m very late for this post but it was very comforting to not feel so alone with my paranoia about showering and especially about my hair being wet. when i was little i was also very scared of hair dryers and didn’t use them for years until i started working in a salon. my grandma used to put a towel over my shoulders so i wouldn’t have to wrap the towel around my head and my hair was only getting the towel wet if anything. or i’d sit with a fan blowing close to my hair. once i started using volumizing products and products in general in my hair, i’ve noticed it dries MUCH faster. plus, self care, right? :) i hope you’ve found some peace in these struggles, sending so much love your way 💖

January, 11 2020 at 2:10 am

I am 68 years old. These past few months when I wash my hair, i'm fine but when I do to rinse it and my hair, water and suds all face into my face, I panic. I cannot breathe and feel I am going to smother. I plan on getting a short haircut soon. I have been using dry shampoo this week and its not near as clean as it would be if using real shampoo. This is new for me. I was abused by my mother for my entire childhood and even when grown, she tried sabotaging anything I did good. She was happy when i got pneumonia and nearly died....she was never a mother to me and caused me much anxiety my entire life as she threw we out of the house each time my dad went away on business trips. She was a very cruel person. She used to tell me to kill myself and told me she wished she had aborted me but she said in those days nobody did that. I have much depression and anxiety from her and have been hospitalized many many times starting in my teenage years. Now I am nearly 70, I wish for once, I could feel normal and not feel this depression and anxiety. I no longer take meds....they made me worse.

June, 2 2018 at 4:38 pm

I had a thing about washing that was tied into if I washed and changed clothes regularly my washing machine would break down quickly. I was really anxious if that happened about having a new machine plumbed in and installed. Then it got to be habit that I would bathe very infrequently and strip wash every 5-7 days.

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