*Disclaimer* – I am not a trained medical professional and this alternative therapy should not be used solely in place of professional support and advice. If you are struggling with your mental health then please seek professional intervention.
Many people may say that girls wear makeup to attract other people. Others may say it’s to get noticed and get attention. For me it’s different because my mental health problems don’t make me feel attractive. I don’t want to be noticed or get attention when I’m having a panic attack. Some may say it acts as a mask for what’s really underneath. Again, I’d disagree with this. Makeup has become an alternative therapy for me – it’s for myself and not for others.
Do you have something that makes you feel better instantly?
For me one of these things is makeup. It’s another way for me to cope. It doesn’t and will never act as a mask for the thoughts and feelings going on inside. Makeup can’t help that really and it can’t exactly shield me – but I feel better. I feel more relaxed. I feel like I can focus on my physical appearance rather than what I feel like on the inside.
When I put on my makeup I’m making sure I look good on the outside and in turn it helps with the racing thoughts that are going on, on the inside. It seems like a silly thing to say to some, but honestly it does work. For those of you that don’t know I have health anxiety, social anxiety and OCD so my mind is full of worry and obsessive thoughts a lot of the time.
Putting on my makeup takes these thoughts away for a moment. I’m not concentrating on them and I’m not attaching any meaning to them as I’m making sure that I feel good on the outside. It’s not narcissistic at all – it makes me feel better and that’s all that matters right?
I like to think of it as a colouring book. I do use a colouring book sometimes to help with my mental health problems. Many of us have coping strategies to help with our mental health problems. Some of these are traditional things that we have learnt from psychological therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I do use some of these techniques but mostly I use alternative techniques that help me like meditation.
Importantly, makeup is not a total escape as after I’ve finished applying it the thoughts do come back but it’s an escape for a little while and that’s enough to suit me! It takes around 15 to 20 minutes for me to apply everything but those minutes are a blessing as having racing thoughts is no fun at all!
Even going to buy makeup keeps my thoughts at bay too which is great!
I have to admit that it wasn’t always like this, but gradually I’ve come to love makeup and beauty and it’s slowly become something that helps stems my mental health problems for a little while!
It makes me feel “normal.”