The Black Dog’s Spell

It was World Mental Health Day when I started writing this, but with a hectic work and freelance schedule and a 16 month old constantly getting sick from day care 🤒 – my writing took the back seat…in any case, I found my voice on this and feel it’s relevant, my intention is to address the weird symbiotic relationship that creatives, the Beauty Industry and mental health seemingly have…

Firstly I’d like to state that I have battled with the black dog, my earliest memories of poor mental health date back to when I was 8 and by 15 years old my 5’7 frame was 38kg and I almost became one of the grim statistics of Anorexia Nervosa, which of all mental health disorders, has the highest mortality rate in Australia – and I understand why…

Being a makeup educator I come across more makeup artists than the average, and are no longer surprised by the high percentage of makeup learners with severe and debilitating mental health disorders – it seems to come with the territory!

The link between creativity and psychosis has been well researched and documented with most psychologists and genealogists agreeing that creatives are more likely to be predisposed to mental health disorders.

And so it is with some understanding and experience when I say that I can see that the beauty industry can be both problematic and profoundly healing for mental health.

I think there are worse problems in the world than cute boys and girls posting pics of themselves on social media, but there have been some worrying findings…Now ‘Selfitis’ or the ‘Selfie Syndrome’ [the obsessive need to post selfies] is a recognised addiction of varying levels, but with posting selfies there also comes the reward of how many ‘likes’ the post receives which triggers the reward centres in our brains to light up as if we’re junkies: and how you look in selfies will influence the likes.

Add to that the Facetune, photoshopped non reality of instagramable imagery we devour everyday and in short, it’s made us even more obsessed with looking ‘amaze’!

Great news for the Beauty Industry 🤑

The Selfie Syndrome: According to the California State University: Excessive use of social networking may be connected to psychiatric problems:

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Depression
    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    Hypochondriasis
    Schizoaffective and Schizotypal Disorders
    Body Dysmorphia
    Voyeurism
    Addiction

Dr Natasha Cook dermatologist recently posted an insightful piece on ‘fillerexia’: the new dysmorphia fuelled by selfie syndrome, cheap accessible fillers and the normalisation and glamorisation of over enhanced features. With the pursuit of physical perfection being ‘a’ priority and the cosmetic filler train pumping clients full like never before, Dr Cook is urging clients to seek out cosmetic practitioners with ethics and integrity, like herself, to make informed and unbiased decisions for clients seeking fillers.

Not great huh? But it’s not all doom and gloom… Cosmetics can make a hugely positive impact on our confidence and moods – for me it’s a form of creative expression and is such a huge chuck of who I am.

On her road to recovery, an artist, a friend and battler of mental illness said that putting on her makeup each day was helping her find the way back to her life before her psychotic episode.

I’ve heard ignorant pseudo experts label us as ‘manic’ and ‘troubled’ as they try to cover their uncomfortableness with the whole topic.

Suffice to say, I’ve felt and watched poor mental health affect the lives of many creatives (and non creatives alike) and believe that like many ailments, with treatment it can be improved, you can even go into ‘remission’ – but for that to happen, we must drop the bullshit stigma that surrounds mental health and start normalising it by having open conversations 🖤

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