I’ve said this before: makeup has become quite a big part of my mental health. It reduces my anxiety to know when out and about that my makeup is on point. But on some days nothing helps, and I’d pay anything for a mirror that would show anything other than my own face.
With depression, I have ‘all right’ days and ‘ugly’ days. On the days that are all right, I can leave the house with at least some level of sense that nobody will be puking when glancing at my way. On the ugly days there is absolutely nothing I can do. Depression is making me feel shit about myself and everything around me so no matter how much products I smear on myself, in my eyes I still look like I just slithered out of a swamp.
And nobody else can see how I feel inside. That’s the worst thing about mental illness. I almost wish I had a horrible rash or I could wear a cast so that everyone would know that everything isn’t exactly peachy sterling over here. But no. Nobody knows. Unless I tell them. And that’s not how I’d prefer it. I’d prefer it that people would just magically know.
Also, I’m not telling this so that I could have my inbox filled with people telling how gorgeous I am. That’s not what this is about. I especially hate it when men who I hardly know take my self-deprecating humour as a sign of *~ this girl just needs someone to tell her she’s beautiful ~ * and they end up arguing with me and trying to get me to react in a way they’d prefer until I’m ready to embrace the nearest cactus.
Honest to god, I’m only telling this to demonstrate how much weight does your mental health bear in your perception of things. It doesn’t always need to be as dramatic as feeling like I’d be better off dead. It can affect the simplest things, such as perceiving how I look. It’s nothing to do with what someone says or does. It’s just about how I feel that day.
I do know that I’ve got an issue with how to perceive myself. For a long time I was so used to seeing myself through the lens of achievements and performance that nothing much else fit within it. When trying out clothes my first reaction is to think ‘this looks good on me’ rather than ‘I look good in this.’ Of course I will be the first to tell my friends how beautiful and gorgeous they are when they come out of the fitting room.
Because that’s the way it should be shouldn’t it? I look good in this. Not ‘this piece of clothing looks good despite the unfortunate set of events of me wearing it.’ It’s a complete mindset full of perceptions and prejudices that you carry with you everywhere unless you try to change it.
Depression isn’t the best time for self-improvement because depression likes to make me feel shit about myself. Depression has changed my body. First I wasted away because of it. Now my antidepressants have caused me to gain weight. I’ve had to chuck out clothes that I have no chance of fitting into anymore.
This is something I’m not used to because at one point I kept going down clothes’ sizes. Never mind that the weight loss was the result of stress and I’m closer to a healthy weight now. I’m 5”7 and could fit into size four at one point.
Nurses at the ward didn’t make it easier at times either. I had to be weighed weekly, and despite being a perfectly healthy weight each time I remember how one of them said when I stepped onto the scale: “Oh, you’re heavier than you look.”
Cheers Karen, would you like to hop on next?
It’s not easy to argue with depression. The motherfucker seems to always have the last word. I can try though. When I get a strong emotional reaction when I see myself, I try to think it logically. Is it me thinking this or is it because I’m having a bad day? Of course it always doesn’t work and I end up having a nice relaxing lie-down underneath the bed, but recovery isn’t something that happens overnight. As I’ve found out.
You can only take one day at a time. One moment at a time, as it comes. Once I have more all right days than ugly days, I’m starting to have the last word which is my only goal as a snarky motherfucker.
And anyone who thinks that depression has hijacked your mirror and makes you look like a swamp thing, join me in the * ~ changing room of attitude ~ * and repeat after me:
I look good in this.
I look good in this.
I look good in this.