When I began this Mental Health Awareness Month series, I wanted to include as many different diagnoses as possible. Along those same lines, I wanted to convey the messages through different mediums. This series, shot by Kesley Moorefield (@justkesley), with hair and makeup provided by Jonathon Sierra-Weaver (@jonathon_sierraweaver) and Mirna Andrade (@mirnamaybe) of J Alexander Beauty Team, is a visual representation of some of the ways mental health disorders can manifest. With out them and the other models (credited below their respective photos), this series would not have been possible. I won’t be writing much to go along with these photos other than a brief snippet of what they mean to me, as I think there is more power in them than anything else I could write.
This shrink wrap effect is as close to being able to describe what it feels like for me to have a panic attack as I can imagine. I feel trapped in my own body and mind. I feel like I’m suffocating and there’s no way out.
Looking through this broken glass symbolizes the feeling brokenness that comes along with mental health disorders all too often. You try everything to “get fixed” but still feel broken. It also symbolizes the invisible wall I put up and few can break through. It’s hard to let people in when you can’t even figure yourself out most of the time.
Yasmeen is conveying the idea of being trapped in your emotions. As someone who struggles with a mood disorder, these photos show the battle that can often ensue when you feel like you don’t have control over your own thoughts and emotions. Your own mind is no longer yours and it can be incredibly hard to take back control.
Maren’s photos hit very close to home to me personally in regard to anxiety about the future. She is unable to see the future or anything in front of her. She’s blindly living her life and conveying the anxiety and depression that can manifest from constantly being “tied up” in your own mind and thoughts.
Mariah’s photos use bandaids to symbolize the attempt to temporarily fix what you are going through. Our society as a whole puts a premium on keeping your self together, even if we truly aren’t ok. We’re rarely reminded that it’s ok to not be ok. She’s also showing the frustration that comes with the feeling of needing to constantly keep your self together and patched up to fit into societal norms.
These photos of Joy show the struggles that come with eating disorders. It is very easy to hold ourselves to unrealistic and unhealthy ideals of beauty due to constantly being inundated with media showing us the “ideal” body. We are all worth so much more than any number on a scale or measuring tape could ever explain.
The magic pill that just doesn’t exist. Kesley visualizes the struggle that comes with being medicated for mental health disorders. Its so much trial and error and can make you feel worse than you could ever imagine. These medications can easily lead to a loss of identity even though they should make you “better”. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic myth about psych meds, there’s no catch all “chill pill” to fix everything.
Thank y’all so much for your continued support and giving me a platform to share meaningful work. Although Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to an end, the conversation shouldn’t. I plan on integrating mental health and self-care into The Mixed Review on a more regular basis along with my usual reviews and other pieces. Can’t thank y’all enough.