We are constantly judged by our appearances; outfit choices do say a lot. I know that it’s a very harsh statement, but it’s a shallow reality. Our fashion choices are like costumes that we choose to wear which portray to the world who we are as a people, and how we are feeling. Often if we are sick or feeling down, we cover up this up by putting on makeup, accessories, and a put together outfit. We can also wear very natural colours and basic pieces to blend in with the crowd, or alternatively loud, statement pieces to stand out.
Recently, I’ve been told that my style has become very basic, in a negative way. I took this very offensively, since it came from a friend who had previously admired my style, and who is suddenly no longer impressed at all. After thinking about this conversation for several hours, I realized that maybe I’ve become too used to playing it safe, because I care too much about what other people think. Just because everyone at [my] school dresses very plain, doesn’t mean I also need to. I am able to wear whatever I want at school, yet I feel so restricted. For some reason I’ve started to feel discomfort in being the one standing out in something slightly overdressed, and to avoid this discomfort I’ve stuck to more basic and casual outfits.
The connection here to mental health is not to avoid something just because you feel a little bit uncomfortable, because it will stop you from doing what you want to do. This is especially true of people with anxiety. The only way to move forward is to face these uncomfortable situations constantly, until they no longer feel uncomfortable.
As for me, I’m going to try to pick out outfits in the morning thinking only about myself, and what I think and feel, instead of what others will think.
About Elena B.
Elena is a 21 year-old college student, sales associate, and volunteer living with depression and generalized & social anxiety. Formally diagnosed with social anxiety in high school, Elena has struggled with it for the majority of her life. During her first year of university she experienced high levels of anxiety and had her first major depressive episode, which was followed by another the following year. Since then she has been recovered and focuses on her recovery daily. She currently runs a tumblr blog, where she shares inspirational quotes, images, and tips to help others with their recovery. Follow Elena’s story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog.