Welcome to a new series on my blog. This isn’t a review series, or even a tips and tricks type of series. It’s more of one where I take a look at makeup and beauty from a slightly journalistic and editorial standpoint and write my thoughts on the topic at hand. The comment section is an open place for added dialogue to discuss the topic as I think they are topics that should be talked about more. This edition is focused on mental health and how makeup ties into it for myself. If you’d like to read the whole post, just hit the “continue reading” button below.
So, in the beauty community, there are many high profile people that openly claim to have struggles with things like anxiety and depression. I’m not going to decide if they do or not, instead I’m going to go from my own experiences and leave some advice for people who feel they might be struggling. As a bit of background information, about 13 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder. As with any illness, it exists on a spectrum and mine is on the more intense side of it all. Thankfully, with a lot of therapy, self-growth, and the right medication combo, I’m currently in remission. On top of this, I also struggle with panic disorder and anxiety problems. My anxiety manifests in a few different ways, but one of my biggest struggles are larger crowds and I do struggle to do things like grocery shop or go to the movies. I work with an absolute wonderful therapist and we’re working on those issues.
So, with all of that hanging in the balance, makeup plays an important role for me. It’s a bit of therapy that I can do at home. I get to sit down, and create something. I get to tune out the negative in my life for an hour and focus on myself. I get to shape my image into something that reflects how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling particularly down, I can do a darker look to express that. If I’m feeling happy or over the top, I can go crazy with color. I can experiment with crazy ideas and that’s ok because when I’m done, I can just wash it all off.
On the flip side, there is an intrinsic need to wear makeup to disguise that something is wrong, and many people feel that way. They paint on a face that makes it look like everything is ok and they really are struggling. To some people, that’s admirable that a person can get up and put themselves together to face the world. But wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could accept that some days we need to be without that warpaint?
To some people, they feel ashamed of how they look and makeup is a way to make them feel like they look better. I get that. I 110% get that thought process. Shame is incredibly hard to deal with and for most people, it’s easier to just cover it up. There’s a level of vulnerability involved in dealing with that shame that they feel, and you just don’t get past that by saying “Yep! I’m cool.” For me, I’m still struggling with it and I’ve read a couple of books on it and I’m in a group that focuses on shame. The way I approach makeup is part of how I deal with my own personal shame, and it’s a part of my mental health. I feel that if I do it, others out there must do it as well. It’s important to talk about it. There’s a great Ted Talk by Brene Brown, who has also written some amazing books about shame, that I’m going to link here. I suggest watching it if you have some time to spare.
There is nothing wrong with turning to makeup and beauty as a way to deal with things going on in your life. It’s a great therapy, but if you do feel you are struggling with some other issues, I have some advice. Please seek help. Don’t try home remedies. Don’t listen to gurus or youtubers that tell you that things are fine and you can just deal with it. Please see a professional. There are resources out there that will help you if you lack the money to get into therapy or get medications. NAMI is a great resource. You can also call around to different therapists and see if they do a sliding scale fee. Many groups do or have access to funding to help people get help.
Why is this important to me? Because the beauty community likes to focus on drama and the pretty colors and there is a deeper meaning to all of this for some people. I want those people to know they’re not alone and open a discussion on it.
Do you have struggles like this? Do you feel that makeup is a therapeutic outlet for you? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what others think on this topic and if you have suggestions for other topics, leave those below as well!