When it comes to depression and anxiety, itâ€™s not onlyÂ panic attacks and crying jags. There are also many aspects of a personâ€™s life that are affected by mental health disorders, including personal hygiene. Instagram userÂ GraceÂ is shedding light on those things while still addressing the bigger picture of what life is like with depression and anxiety, through humorous memes.
â€œI have suffered from severe anxiety and depression since I was a freshman in high school,â€ the 22-year-old meme master tellsÂ Yahoo Beauty.Â EightÂ years ago, GraceÂ was diagnosed withÂ major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. â€œI always felt very alone in behaviors and coping mechanisms,â€ says Grace, who just got her bachelorâ€™s degree in nursing.
But thanks to Instagram, things startedÂ looking a little brighter.Â â€œIt wasnâ€™t until just this year thatÂ on the Explore page of InstagramÂ I discovered memesÂ that were about mental illnessÂ that I could see relatable behaviorsÂ depictedÂ in, and that also made me laugh and feel more accepting of my mental illness.â€
Inspired, she started her own account called @MoonchildmemesÂ and learned the art ofÂ memery. â€œI started my own account as a creative outlet to express what I have experienced and use humor as a coping mechanism,â€ she says. Grace never imagined that so many people would find her page and thinkÂ it was funny. As of now she has more than 1,400 followers, even though sheâ€™s posted only 22 times. But each of herÂ memes is hilarious and eye-opening.
Her accurate illustrations include a â€œHalf-Assed Summer Makeup Routine,â€ in which she wrote next to a picture of powder: â€œPowder foundation that looks like legitimate cake when I firstÂ put it on my face but looks FAB when I startÂ to sweat which is immediately.â€
Next to a bronzer compact she wrote, â€œA f*** ton of bronzer so people think I actuallyÂ leave the house and get some sunlight.â€ And under a photo of a hair bun, she wrote: â€œA messy bun to hide the fact that I havenâ€™t washed my hair in 4 days.â€
A meme detailingÂ her summer wardrobe shows that she relies on harem pants because of weight gain and â€œflowy tops that areÂ unflattering,â€ which she saysÂ she wears because of â€œanxiety and body dysmorphia.â€ Then thereâ€™s the old sweatshirt with crumbs and stains that never gets washed.
Sure, weâ€™ve all had makeupÂ and wardrobeÂ days like that, but this is whatÂ GraceÂ and others suffering from depression and/or anxiety go through on a daily basis.
And her memes are striking a cord with others. â€œI have been getting amazing, unbelievable responses,â€ she gushes to Yahoo Beauty.Â â€œPeople have been reaching out to me in direct message saying that the memes have made them laugh and that itâ€™s the first time they have discovered an account that actually portraysÂ 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.â€
Like all social media fame, though,Â Graceâ€™sÂ has come with some negative attention. â€œOf course there are peopleÂ writing negative comments suggesting Iâ€™m â€˜romanticizingâ€™Â mental illness or â€˜glorifyingâ€™Â it,â€ she says. But she insists sheâ€™s justÂ taking herÂ personal experiencesÂ and â€œputting them out in the public.â€
â€œMental illness can be humiliating, especially when you canâ€™t take care of your personal hygiene or do simple tasks such as painting your nails,â€ she says. â€œThose are the things people donâ€™t really talk about, and I wanted to bring them to light.â€
Not only is the account helping others, Grace says sheâ€™sÂ benefiting from it as well. Â â€œI have tried so many things to help cope with my mental illness â€” I even talk about them in memes on my page [such as] â€˜Things I Thought Would Cure My Depression (but Didnâ€™t)â€™ â€” but I never had a creative outlet to be able to express myself and connect with people experiencing similar things,â€ she says. â€œSaying I â€˜make memesâ€™Â sounds so silly, but itâ€™s actually a really fun and cathartic experience.â€
She adds: â€œI 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.â€
One post she is particularly proud of is called, â€œS*** That Iâ€™ve Been Meaning to Do but Havenâ€™t Because of My Depression.â€ It shows dirty makeup brushes with the caption: â€œClean my dirty ass makeup brushes that havenâ€™t seen soap since 2015,â€ and a textÂ icon showingÂ 24 unread messagesÂ with the caption: â€œActually respond in a timely fashion to peopleâ€™s texts so I stop losing friends.â€
â€œI have gotten the most overwhelming response to that one â€” and also the most negative comments,â€ she says, â€œbut I find it very representative of what my whole account is about and what Iâ€™m going through.â€