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Inside an Anxious Creative Mind

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I have a very complex relationship with my mental health. Though it’s never really waived, coming to terms with this relationship made it a lot easier to live with. I view my mental health the same way that I view my physical health. That it has taken me a lot longer to accept it for what it is: something that I have to live with and carefully manage.

As a young man growing up in a small town in the southwest of England, I was severely bullied because I was gay. I actually had no idea that I was different from those that seemed to already know something about me. It wasn’t until later in life that I would become comfortable with it.

In primary school, I was told that I’d never do anything with my hands by the very teachers that were supposed to be encouraging and nurturing me. I always knew I was creative — again, something that made me gay in the eyes of my bullies. Little did I know, it would be that creativity that would make me into the man I am today.

I chose to never look back at those early years as a guide to my future.

I moved to London in 1995 and very quickly realized that I’m an individual that thrives due to the people around me. No man is an island. Instead, team work makes the dream work.

I have an infectious sense of humour (so I’ve been told) that would take me places, as well as a knack for creating hair that people seem to enjoy. I was good at something and loved it with a passion that has driven me ever since.

I also realized that keeping my ego in check would continuously be the best thing for me and my struggle with mental health. Because of this, I’ve tried to be as open as I can, knowing that the positive management of my wellbeing is the best thing I can do.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle on a weekly basis. And sometimes, it all just seems too hard. But, those days are met by days where everything and everyone makes it all so worthwhile. Now when I struggle, I look back at what I have achieved and am enveloped by a sense of peace. I remember that I am stronger than I think.

I was once asked what I’d tell my 16-year-old self, and without a doubt, it’d be to not believe what they say you are. If I wasn’t a hairdresser, I am not sure I would still be here. So, I thank my lucky stars that I found something that gives back as much as I put in.

Adam Reed
Adam Reed
Adam Reed is a published hairdresser and salon owner who also acts as Global Ambassador for L'Oréal Professionnel and GHD.