By Allison Downs
Mental illness is a pretty taboo subject. People are afraid to talk about it for many reasons: a lot of stigma surrounds it, many people are wrongly judged and shamed because of it, and mainstream media has either glamorized and romanticized it or added to the stigma surrounding it. Well, I’m going to talk about mental health, what it’s really like, and how beauty and fashion have helped me through my mental health struggle, particularly depression and anxiety.
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for a few years. I was only recently diagnosed when I finally found the courage to ask my doctor about my symptoms. Depression has continuously made me feel apathetic and hopeless, anxiety has made me feel restless and nervous, and both have had a huge impact on my overall mental and physical health. Because of the stigma that’s always surrounded mental illness, I found it unbelievably difficult to talk about. As time progressed, my mental health slowly deteriorated. I followed the advice of several people to find self-care routines, but everything that everyone suggested never seemed to help, until…
In my senior year of high school, just a few weeks before prom, I watched my first beauty tutorial. I experimented with different makeup brands and different looks until I discovered a routine that I genuinely enjoyed. I struggled with anxiety and depression for four or five years until I found an escape: makeup. Among other hobbies, like singing and writing, my daily beauty routine often helps me forget how hard it is to wake up in the morning and make it through the day. Even though I have self-care habits that work for me, I still have bad days. Who doesn’t? But having self-care habits often make those bad days a little better.
If you or a loved one struggles with mental illness, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255). Your (toll-free) call will be confidential, and is directed to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline offers general information about mental health and locates treatment services in your area. The helpline is available at 1‑877‑726‑4727, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.