When you are experiencing depression or anxiety, your appearance will not be a priority, instead making it through the day could sadly be your goal. However, if you begin to make a little effort you might see that overall you feel a little better.
When I was at crisis point, with trembling hands and being constantly nauseas, wearing make up was not an option. In fact, my anxiety even dictated the way I dressed – I had to wear tiny crop tops in the middle of winter because overheating made me panic. At this time in my life, I just couldn’t even think about dressing nice but once I got a little better it made a world of a difference.
“You look healthy”
I think this may have been the best compliment that I ever received. After spending with the way I looked conveying the chaos inside my mind, I finally looked normal. I had gained some weight, curled my hair and put some make up on. This positive feedback reinforced that spending time getting ready was worth it.
I noticed that on days when I felt too anxious to put make up on, or if I had to scrape my hair up, that I would feel a lot more down. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in myself, so of course, that would have a detrimental effect on me. However, when I felt more confident this really boosted my mood.
If you are clinically underweight you need to gain weight – you will look better. With depression causing lack of appetite and anxiety having symptoms of nausea and vomiting, losing more weight than is healthy is a common experience. You are not going to look like yourself if you look sick from starvation, so force yourself to eat three meals a day until your appetite goes back to normal. I actually wouldn’t have noticed that I had lost a significant amount of weight if my clothes hadn’t started to fall off of me, or if people close to me hadn’t pointed it out – I just wasn’t focused on how I looked. But once I got back to a healthy size, I looked and felt much healthier.
Make a change
This might seem trivial in your recovery from mental illness, but a new hair cut or style could really make you feel a lot more confident. If you are struggling, you should be open to trying anything that could help and a new look might make you feel happier. This also gives you something positive to focus on and think about. Recovering from illness is a very transformative time in your life, making a change of appearance quite fitting.
Dressing for anxiety
My irrational thoughts made me think that high neck tops would suffocate me, therefore, I had to strictly wear low neck tops that weren’t too tight. This ruled out the majority of my wardrobe and I had to wear the same four tops on rotation. I had hoped that this fear would go away, but I still struggle with it, so I have bought a lot more clothes that I will actually be able to wear. I have to resist buying things that I like but that I know I can’t wear. If you get too hot, like me, try out this spray which will cool you down.
So if your anxiety means you have to wear clothes that meet specifications, just roll with it – buy new clothes that look nice so that you feel good. Or if you get too warm like I do, take a vest top with you when you go out so you can change into it if you get too hot. A good tip is to lay your clothes out for the next day if you predict that you will be anxious, this means you can just get up and get dressed which removes any worries over what to wear – and means you won’t panic and put something random on. Making changes like this might not be ideal, but it will allow you to live your live as normally as you can.
Not only does jewellery look nice, but it is such a good distraction from anxiety. Wearing a ring or some bracelets provides you with things to fidget with and take your mind off or your worries. If I’m feeling especially anxious I’ll be weighed down by my watch, bracelets and earrings and it’s a good coping mechanism.