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Lash Art for Mental Health

Mental health awareness is so important, whether you are a parent, partner, friend, neighbour…

With today’s environment being so stressful and mental health being a hot topic it’s interesting that it is still so taboo.

Dealing with severe anxiety myself for in excess of 25 years, where I am unable to travel further than 20 mins from my home, having family with anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and depression I wanted to do something, anything to help raise awareness. Lashing is my “mindfulness” so it made sense to use this skill.

I gave myself, what I thought, was more than enough time, 6 months, to do a series of lash art pictures depicting emotions of mental health, I only just made the deadline. As far as I am aware, no one has done a series of lash art before and certainly not on the subject of mental health.

There were many challenging aspects of this series, not being a photographer myself was difficult and the main one was that I accurately portrayed such a sensitive subject, That I made sure each picture was worthy of the title of the series. Did I really think I could pull this off?

Picture one is about anxiety and depression. Anxiety is worrying about the future, but depression is worrying about the past. It means that you can be oh so tired but yet still unable to sleep.

Picture two is about the struggle of not being able to speak about how you feel, knowing that the YOU have the key to unlock the words but just not being able to.

Picture three, shows what the world sees, the happy smiling face BUT when that same person looks at themselves in the mirror, the broken mirror, there is sadness, tears, troubled thoughts.

Picture four shows the words that often go around one’s head that you can only see if you are looking closely, paying attention, really caring to see.

Picture five is full of possibilities. It shows that even though some days are too dark to cope, others have hope, laughter, love. It shows that your mental illness is LYING to you when it says there is no way forward. DONT BELIEVE THE LIES

Awareness is key in our society, where over working is normal, skipping lunches and breaks are every day occurrences and booking just one more client.

How can we step out of this trap and ensure we don’t drown? We can certainly help ourselves to ensure we minimise the stress we have in our working life. We can take responsibility for our health with a few simple things that we cannot underestimate.

The power of exercise, drinking water, regular healthy snacks, ensuring you have lunch breaks and remembering to say NO to that extra client, it may mean more money, but if you burn out you won’t be earning anything. If your mental health has gone beyond these simple steps, a trip to your Doctor, talking, expressing how you feel and not being embarrassed to ask for help is imperative.

There is no shame in medication, whether it be long term or just until you get back on your feet, of course there are many avenues to securing help and all that information is just a few keyboard taps away.

social media gives us easy access to others beautiful work but often makes us feel less than worthy. Most mental health illnesses affect the perfectionist more and when we are always striving to create what we perceive as the best set ever on social media and to our peers, this can seriously damage our self-esteem. Yes it’s important to do your best but to also be happy with your best as well.

Anxiety, depression all other mental health illnesses are lying to you when it says you cannot possibly get better, be better, be worthy! Remember, you have survived 100% of your worst days, that’s pretty good odds!

The whole project was a King Family affair, Model Harriet King, props, encouragement and hand models Elspeth and Mark King. Lashes, makeup, hair, photography Claudia King. Editing Hanton

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