When it comes to depression and anxiety, it’s not only panic attacks and crying jags. There are also many aspects of a person’s life that are affected by mental health disorders, including personal hygiene. Instagram user Grace is shedding light on those things while still addressing the bigger picture of what life is like with depression and anxiety, through humorous memes.
“I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression since I was a freshman in high school,” the 22-year-old meme master tells Yahoo Beauty. Eight years ago, Grace was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. “I always felt very alone in behaviors and coping mechanisms,” says Grace, who just got her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
But thanks to Instagram, things started looking a little brighter. “It wasn’t until just this year that on the Explore page of Instagram I discovered memes that were about mental illness that I could see relatable behaviors depicted in, and that also made me laugh and feel more accepting of my mental illness.”
Inspired, she started her own account called @Moonchildmemes and learned the art of memery. “I started my own account as a creative outlet to express what I have experienced and use humor as a coping mechanism,” she says. Grace never imagined that so many people would find her page and think it was funny. As of now she has more than 1,400 followers, even though she’s posted only 22 times. But each of her memes is hilarious and eye-opening.
Her accurate illustrations include a “Half-Assed Summer Makeup Routine,” in which she wrote next to a picture of powder: “Powder foundation that looks like legitimate cake when I first put it on my face but looks FAB when I start to sweat which is immediately.”
Next to a bronzer compact she wrote, “A f*** ton of bronzer so people think I actually leave the house and get some sunlight.” And under a photo of a hair bun, she wrote: “A messy bun to hide the fact that I haven’t washed my hair in 4 days.”
A meme detailing her summer wardrobe shows that she relies on harem pants because of weight gain and “flowy tops that are unflattering,” which she says she wears because of “anxiety and body dysmorphia.” Then there’s the old sweatshirt with crumbs and stains that never gets washed.
Sure, we’ve all had makeup and wardrobe days like that, but this is what Grace and others suffering from depression and/or anxiety go through on a daily basis.
And her memes are striking a cord with others. “I have been getting amazing, unbelievable responses,” she gushes to Yahoo Beauty. “People have been reaching out to me in direct message saying that the memes have made them laugh and that it’s the first time they have discovered an account that actually portrays real behaviors related to mental illness that they go through. I am still shocked at how many people are able to take comfort in the pictures I post and find that it helps them come to terms with their mental illness.”
Like all social media fame, though, Grace’s has come with some negative attention. “Of course there are people writing negative comments suggesting I’m ‘romanticizing’ mental illness or ‘glorifying’ it,” she says. But she insists she’s just taking her personal experiences and “putting them out in the public.”
“Mental illness can be humiliating, especially when you can’t take care of your personal hygiene or do simple tasks such as painting your nails,” she says. “Those are the things people don’t really talk about, and I wanted to bring them to light.”
Not only is the account helping others, Grace says she’s benefiting from it as well. “I have tried so many things to help cope with my mental illness — I even talk about them in memes on my page [such as] ‘Things I Thought Would Cure My Depression (but Didn’t)’ — but I never had a creative outlet to be able to express myself and connect with people experiencing similar things,” she says. “Saying I ‘make memes’ sounds so silly, but it’s actually a really fun and cathartic experience.”
She adds: “I do put a lot of time and thought into my posts, and it makes me so happy to see how much other people enjoy what I make.”
One post she is particularly proud of is called, “S*** That I’ve Been Meaning to Do but Haven’t Because of My Depression.” It shows dirty makeup brushes with the caption: “Clean my dirty ass makeup brushes that haven’t seen soap since 2015,” and a text icon showing 24 unread messages with the caption: “Actually respond in a timely fashion to people’s texts so I stop losing friends.”
“I have gotten the most overwhelming response to that one — and also the most negative comments,” she says, “but I find it very representative of what my whole account is about and what I’m going through.”
Read more from Yahoo Beauty + Style:
- Woman Brushing Her Hair for the First Time in 4 Weeks Shows Impact of Depression
- Why More Men Need to Speak Out About Depression
- Millennials Are Obsessed With Self-Care, Thanks to the Internet