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Anxiety/ depression while grooming. Maybe I need a break?

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  • Anxiety/ depression while grooming. Maybe I need a break?

    I am 21. I have been grooming for 21 years. I am a fairly good dog groomer. I know what I am doing at least. Lately I have really been struggling. I had depression and still struggle. I also have high amounts of anxiety. I feel grooming isn't helping.... which sucks cause I love my job. Or at least I did. Now a days all I see are my flaws. I am so concerned at being the perfect groomer. All I see now are stray hairs. Even though my clients love my grooms all I see are flaws. Even though there is nothing wrong with my grooms. If I make a mistake or do something wrong I will think about it for days at a time. Its just getting too much. Am I the only one who does this? A couple of days ago I did a housecall. The dog was a old border collie with skin and hair issues. I couldn't get a comb through the belly.... so I shaved the dog. Even though I wanted to save it. I cant stop feeling like im just not good enough. That maybe people need to just take there dogs elsewhere. I don't know how to recover from this anymore. Please tell me im not alone.

  • #2
    Do you have anxiety/depression while NOT grooming? I am still new to grooming, and I feel like absolute **** most days. Like I'm never going to be as good as someone else. Like I will never be as fast, or as talented, or never be able to stand out and be unique. BUT I was depressed before I started grooming and no career in the world is going to make me not depressed. So I remind myself that it's my illness that is making me so hard on myself, and that I just need to do the best that I, myself, can do; not the best that my boss can do, or the other girls being trained. I just need to do what I can do, and it's obviously good enough or I wouldn't have a job. Then, I concentrate on what I know I'm good at. For example, I am very patient and gentle with the oldies we get in the salon, and my topknot scissoring skills are getting better all the time.
    That being said, if now you're only depressed and/or anxious while grooming, it might be a good idea to do some refreshers. I love watching technique and handling skill videos, and looking at all the great grooming boards on Pinterest. There are some awesome blogs that have really helped me with my skills, too. Then I make sure to practice what I'm learning. It feels great to know that you're getting even better at your job while making your clients (dogs) feel better, too. Since you've been at this for so long, there might not be too much you don't already know, but I really have gained a lot from watching videos about calming methods and massage. I also like very detailed breed-specific videos. I just watched one on scissoring schnauzer outlines that was really interesting to me.

    And don't feel pressure to stay in the industry just because you've done it for so long. If grooming makes you unhappy, it might be time to change careers. When I get really panicked about my job, I remind myself that no one is forcing me to groom. It's my decision to stay, or to leave. I sure hope you feel better! Even though I haven't been grooming long, I think I understand how you feel. It can be a struggle to work in an industry where you can never really learn it all.

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    • #3
      As the queen of typos on this board I believe you might have meant to say you've been grooming for 2 years and you're 21.

      If that's the case then you are right on target for being hyper critical of your work and questioning your skills. I'd be willing to bet that all of us have had days such as you've described. However., these are usually just days and not prolonged periods. If you are truly depressed you need to get some professional/ medical help. Depression is a disease and needs treatment. If, however, you are just beating yourself up because your groomers eye has developed in advance of your manual skills ( fairly common) then the suggestions cited above are lovely.
      None of this is meant to diminish your feelings but to try and put it in perspective. We so often work in isolation that we can get lost in our that's snd can let these run away with us. Get to a conference/show snd meet your peers. Being around fellow groomers - of various skill levels and abilities - helps bring things into balance.

      Please let us know how you're doing. We're all here for you.

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      • #4
        how long have you been grooming?

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        • #5
          I was obsessed with my work when I first started. Had some rough days. I slowly got over it, because I need to make a living. This isn't work I'm doing only for fun. I need the money. No money means no food, no place to sleep. It's that simple.
          Nowadays I could care less about the fact that some groomers are better than me (and of course some are worse). I do the best I can. I pay my bills. I keep studying and trying to become better. Takes time to improve! Can't force yourself to suddenly be the best.
          If you need to make a living, just do the work the best you can, then go home -- or find another line of work. You're young. You can start over. If you don't need to make money, then quit if it's making you so miserable. There are plenty of groomers out there who will be more than willing to take your clients.

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          • #6
            I am a newer groomer (2 years) and I too have anxiety issues. I am extremely critical of my grooming. Like you, all of my clients tell me they love the way I groom their dogs, but deep down I still have a lot of insecurity and feel like my grooms are not up to what I deem acceptable. I have had anxiety for a number of years (way before I started grooming) and I am on medication which helps me tremendously. But there are still days when my anxiety overtakes me. Today was one of those struggle days for me, but I have learned that I have to take the time I need when I get home to "chill out". I just try to do my very very best everyday. This is why this board is so awesome, you will always have wonderful support. All the best to you.[emoji106]🏻✂️[emoji3]


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              I have been grooming for 6 years, and while I am critical of my work I found after a couple years I had to let things go to be productive. Nothing is truly perfect and you have to accept that. Sometimes when I get frustrated and start to "pick" at the groom too much, I tell myself no, take a step back, and look at the dog as a whole, and tell myself "good enough, the client won't see every hair like I do, and if they do see something out of place I will fix it." Also know that you can't perform miracles. If the cut the customer wants doesn't look great because of something like coat type or condition, there is nothing you can do except educate the customer on what would be best. They may not go for it, but that means they are happy with what they get.
              I struggled with depression and anxiety for some years and I got help and learned coping techniques. You can change your mindset, you just have to learn what to do. If this is something that affects you at all outside of work, talk to someone.
              If these feelings are only brought on by your work, step back and reevaluate. If this is not the industry for you, you can make a change to better yourself.
              All in all, you have to do what is best for YOU. Whether it means starting over, or learning to look at things differently.

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              • #8
                Yes, you do need to take break from grooming once in a while, just to take a breath and pamper yourself, recharge and get back to work.
                Yes, you do want your grooms to be good, really good, but do not obsess trying to make every hair perfect. If the owners like it, leave it at that. You, as a professional groomer might see hair out of place here and there, but they see their furbaby, freshly groomed, with cute face and smelling nice.
                If you work for yourself, you can control your workload, so say no to dogs that stress you out, refer them out. Be best groomer you can, continue learning, but do not beat yourself over being perfect.
                Good luck and remember you are not alone.

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                • #9
                  Breathe

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                  • #10
                    I have a very good friend who struggles with bipolar, she is a perfectionist and very much the same. We talk on the phone almost every day ( wear headsets while we groom) I reason with her over seeing the dog as a whole and more importantly considering that it's better to stop and have dog done sooner with few stray hairs then make them stand that much longer. Make yourself a cute sign that reminds you it's all about the experience. The good thing about perfectionist is you will never send a dog out in hack job, even what you think is your worst will be good.
                    Another positive is that critical eye will motivate you to keep learning, practicing and develop new skills.
                    I don't know if your familiar with any of my work, but every picture I post I could critique 10 ways to Sunday, yet I view it as learning experience for everyone. I recently looked at old picture from only 6 years ago that I was so gosh darn proud of, wow do I now think they are bad. Was I a bad groomer back then? Or am I just better now? As my clientele gets older, my grooms get worse, because they are fidgety, sore old grandpa's that don't need me to nit pick at them.
                    Get up and step back, or put dog on floor. If you can still see something while they happily run about- then yes fix it. But only nit pick on the face, that's what people look at anyways.

                    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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