The Mighty Logo

What Shaving My Legs Means for My Mental Health

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Have you ever sat and thought about how weird it is that humans are here when there were once dinosaurs? Or about how evolution managed to give us opposable thumbs from fins and strip us naked from the fur which had developed as a defense mechanism from the cold, harsh winters? It’s weird.

People are weird.

How is it that we got these awesome thumbs, but got illnesses with no cure? One theory (Wilkinson, 2017) for the loss of fur is that it was an adaptation to become more streamlined and thus more capable of escaping danger at a quicker rate.

Maybe that’s why I shave my legs so often when I play The Single Girl’s Game. So I can slip out of someone’s bed more easily and without notice. And maybe that’s why I can’t drag myself from my own bed when I’m in a bad place. Perhaps, because I’m so down and demotivated I can’t shave my legs, that is why I can’t get out of bed to even force myself to the bathroom or to feed my cat or myself. The hair on my legs is pulling me down, making me less capable of escaping the danger that is my head and the mischief that it wreaks when I’m unable to keep it in check every second of my waking existence.

Maybe that’s it!

Maybe that’s what I need to do when I’m unable to function: shave my legs!

Obviously shaving my legs will not make me feel better, but it flowed quite nicely, I thought. It’s also something of a metaphor I guess. When I’m having a bad day, the things I struggle with most are the things that make me human: going to the bathroom, showering, brushing my teeth. The three things I do first thing every day: make myself feel more human, more alive! Anyone who claims a shower does not make them feel more spritely has never been hungover, nor have they been so depressed that they couldn’t have even told you when they last bathed.

The small things like that are the things that just give you a little nudge in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong. Shaving my legs is a mountain of a task on a normal day, let alone on one of my bad days. But when I shave my legs on a good day, it instantly turns in to a confident day, so maybe shaving my legs will become synonymous with doing those small things on the bad days.

Perhaps when I meet up with family members and they notice I’m a little out of sorts, I’ll be able to say in a small voice, “I’ve shaved my legs.” And they’ll understand that that translates to “I’m having a bad day, and I’ve pushed myself a lot to even be here, so please don’t challenge me. I’m having to fight my anxieties constantly, and it’s a hard enough battle without having to explain to you why I’m broken in front of others.” It would be code so I didn’t have to feel anxious or embarrassed if there were other people outside of my support circle around; my circle would involve me whilst allowing me to silently exist and take things at my own pace.

I shaved my legs today. I shave my legs every day, even when I don’t.

In a world of evolution where I have evolved to live with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and be prone to intensely delicate emotional variations and anxiety which makes me constantly overthink myself and also doubt my own existence, I shave my legs every day.

I have evolved.

Shaving my legs is an evolutionary strategy for survival.

My emotions are extreme. I shave my legs every day when I rationalize, take a deep breath and count to 10.

When my head goes in to overdrive and doesn’t allow me a moment’s peace, I shave my legs by finding something healthy to override those thoughts and play a more pleasant and enjoyable song a little louder than the conundrum my head creates.

It’s been found (Wilkinson, 2017) that shaving one’s legs can lead to a greater value of one’s self and a happier life.

(And occasionally a very pleasurable sensory experience).

Wilkinson, J, 2017. The Theory of Bullshit, Common Sense & Soft Legs, Nowhere, i.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via andriano_cz

Originally published: October 24, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home