Oct 31, 2022

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You’re Not Alone – Mental Health Matters

mental health, personal, The Anxious Creative

photo of a hairstylist standing in front of sink bowls, they are wearing a toolbelt with combs and shears sticking out, arms are crossed and holding a pair of shears. text below reads "the importance of caring for yourself as an entrepreneur"

Ever felt like the universe was out to get you? You aren’t alone! As they say, when it rains it pours and life has felt extra messy recently. So in this post, I’m sitting down to talk about mental health. 

Keep reading and you’ll walk away knowing:

  • The moment I thought my world was imploding

  • How to embrace all your emotions

  • The importance of community and accountability

You’ll know that even when the world feels like it’s crumbling down around you, you’ll be able to get through it.

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How to Care For Your Mental Health in Business

In true Dawn fashion, I’m gonna be honest with you, friend. Life is throwing it all at me right now. It really feels like one thing after another. 

I’m at that point where I really just wanna throw my hands up and scream for it to stop. I just wanna coast! I’ve had enough of these moments!! C’mon universe, can’t I get a break??

You know what I’m talking about, right?

And while I wish I could just run away, I know I’ve gotten through times like this before and I’ll get through it again. I just have to meet this head-on and tackle it. 

So I thought it would be the perfect time to tell the story about when I felt like my world was imploding. It affected me physically, mentally, emotionally, and personally. 

I know I’m not alone in these stories, so I wanted to share it with you in case you needed to hear this right now. 

The Biggest Moment of My Career

I was 16 years into doing hair. In school, they teach you about heat reactions where chemicals and mineral buildups or other things can have an adverse reaction. 

I’d only seen it happen once to a coworker of mine. Two foils turned into ovens on her client’s head. It was a really terrible situation to see, but it had never happened to me. (Talk about foreshadowing.)

Fast forward to being about a year and a half into a brand new city. I had moved to Calgary and was working alone. I didn’t have any hairstylist friends to connect with. 

I had a long-time client come in and within 10 minutes of putting the lightener onto her hair, she made a comment that it was getting kind of hot. I laughed thinking she was talking about the scandalous conversation we were having. 

Until she mentioned that her neck was sweating.

I leaned toward her and it felt like I was standing in front of an open fire. It was so hot and I could hear her hair crackling, my stomach instantly flopped. 

I rushed her to the sink and rinsed out her hair. Silently screaming inside my mind as I stared at the palest yellow of hair. I just couldn’t believe this had happened.

I took her back to the chair with the biggest pit stains ever. As I combed her hair it came off with it and I immediately thought I was going to vomit. 

I didn’t know what had happened. All I could do was sit down on the pink couch that was in the salon. My dog, Leroy, came over and sat on my lap, he could tell how stressed out I was. 

To say that I panicked feels like an understatement. I felt SO horrible. I had never told my clients about heat reactions because there was such a minimal chance of them happening. 

Now I don’t take any chances and thoroughly explain the risks with my custom consultations. Communication is so important during these unexpected situations. 

But I really want to focus on the mental health aspect of it, because I spiraled HARD. 


I was terrified. Here I was, new to the city, wanting to make a name for myself and I was terrified of being found out as a fraud. 

I felt like an imposter. 

I had just moved to a new city, I was working on my own, had my own salon in downtown Calgary, I was just starting my education – all of those things were scary enough and then all of a sudden this happens!

And at that time, I was still in the mindset that if I was going to teach and educate other hairstylists, I needed to be perfect. I could never make a single mistake. 

I felt like if any other hairstylist in the city found out that I messed up this girl’s hair, (which, in reality, I didn’t. It was something very much outside of my control that happened) I would be made out to be the fraud that I was. 

So I went completely overboard, went too far above and beyond to try and compensate for the mistake I thought I had made. 

I put in $2000 worth of extensions in her hair – that she ended up taking out within 2 weeks. I did weekly hair treatments. I gave her over $200 worth of hair product. Told her to text or call me 24/7 and I’d be there for her. 

I wanted to do everything I could, not only to take care of her but to control my perception. And I ended up spiraling so hard. 

Is it ironic that I could have been in LA at a photoshoot with Cosmoprof instead of dealing with this disaster? Yeah, probably!

This was the one client I couldn’t reschedule and I thought that was the universe telling me I wasn’t meant to go. 

I try not to, but sometimes I imagine what would have happened if I had gone to LA instead of staying. 

So I bent over backward to try to make it right for her and it got to the point where my mental health and anxiety were so bad that I had to take a day where I didn’t answer my phone. 

Pushing Yourself to the Limit

I had been doing so much that I ended up throwing my back out and had to go to the walk-in clinic to get a shot in my butt to relax my muscles. 

It was at that moment that I realized I was pushing myself to the limit. 

Anytime I saw a text pop up on my phone I would have an instant panic attack. My body was so used to seeing a text from her and reliving the horrible moment. 

So January 30, 2016, is when her hair melted off and August 30, 2016, is when I ended up in the hospital with a stress-induced panic attack. 

And for those 8 months, I hid. 

Despite living in a city with several million people, I was so terrified that if I went anywhere, I would run into her. 

And it made me go into a really dark place. I couldn’t get out of bed, I would go to work and go through the motions, and then come home and cry. 

I felt worthless. I felt like I had faked my way through 16 years of doing hair. Even if I thought of all the people who I had done amazing things for, I felt like that was all just a fluke and luck. 

Finding Your Self-Worth and Value

The aha moment didn’t happen until after I was in the hospital throwing up every 20 minutes for six hours. 

I went to a reiki specialist who mentioned that the solar plexus chakra is right in your stomach and that’s where your self-worth and self-value are. 

And it was like I purged the fear. From that day on, I started to slowly rebuild my self-worth and value in who I was and what I did. 

I started to realize that one single moment didn’t define me. Even if it did take a huge toll on my mental health. 

So if you’re struggling with something, or something has happened, and you feel like it’s defining you. If you’re clinging onto that moment, I’m not going to prescribe anything to you, I’m not going to try to fix it, or tell you that it’s going to be okay. Because honestly, it sucks. 

I want you to know that I get it. I understand that. All you can do is just be in it and live it. It sucks. But I don’t doubt that you will make it. 

Something that’s really helped me is having a community of people that support and understand me. That’s really the whole purpose of why I do what I do. 

Sure, I have courses about business, but they’re grounded in belonging and being a part of something. Because let’s be honest, we know what to do most of the time, we just don’t do it. 

The biggest thing that helps us do the things we know we need to do is community and accountability. 

I want you to know that being here, right now, you have a community. You’re not alone in what you’re feeling. There are others out there who felt this way and are feeling it right now. 

You don’t have to put on a happy face, you don’t have to pretend everything is okay all the time. But you do have to move through it and I know you will move through it. 

So, I wanted to share that with you, friend. Because I nearly quit completely. Not only quit my business and my work, but I was feeling done with life and I’m so glad I pushed through. 

Those deep, dark moments of depression and anxiety are terrifying. And if you’re feeling that right now, I want you to know that I see you, I feel you, and you are not alone. 

Thanks for being such an integral part of my community and a safe space for me to share these vulnerable moments with you. 

I want to invite you to send me a DM over on Instagram @dawnbradleyhair, reach out, you don’t have to go through this alone. 

Until next time, friend. 

Let’s be besties?

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

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