“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to shop.” ~ Bo Derek
I named this blog Make-Up and Mirtazapine because it is brought to you by the combined effects of beauty products, the medication mirtazapine, and my shiny new iPad.
In other words, I feel that my recovery has been fueled in equal parts by medication, psychotherapy and retail therapy. And that’s what gave me the gumption to start writing.
People talk about retail therapy flippantly. It’s seen as something frivolous, but I think it’s underrated.
A few months ago, back when I was very poorly, I had a particularly gruelling two and a half hour session with my psychiatrist. During this period I was spending near enough all of my time in bed, in the dark, reading about serial killers on my phone. Why serial killers? I really don’t know. I just kept reading about them, compulsively. So, anyway, after this session I decided to treat myself to a tablet computer, so that I’d have something bigger to read this stuff on.
I intended to buy a little cheap one, but the iPad was just so pretty. So I bought that instead.
I’d never been very interested in Apple products before but I discovered that the most beautiful thing about them is that they just work.
With the iPad, I switched it on, and it did everything I told it to do. Just like that. I’ve never once had to worry that I was annoying the neighbours by yelling at it like I have with every other piece of technology I’ve ever had.
So then I busied myself with this iPad, seeing how it worked, setting up my iTunes account, downloading apps. And before I knew it I hadn’t looked at anything to do with murderers or terrorists for a whole week.
I’d been looking at pretty things, like the Art Circles app, and searching online for work by my favourite photographers instead.
And the more time I spent doing that, the less I focussed I became on how depressed I was, what a terrible person I’d become, and how little I thought life was worth living .
A friend then suggested a trip to our local shopping centre. It’s pretty quiet on a weekday, and I did have to leave the house sooner or later. So we had a shopping day out.
The theme of the trip quickly became spontaneity. I tried to get a hairdresser to bleach my dark red hair blonde. She refused, so I got a make over at the Chanel counter instead.
Those little things honestly made a huge difference. Being spontaneous seemed to give me a burst of energy and the make over made me start to feel a smidge better about myself. I have a nice, shiny face to look at in the mirror, rather than the sullen, gloomy, unwashed entity that I’d recently been facing.
I ended up spending a small fortune that day. I bought the make-up, had my eyebrows done, and got some Ted Baker heels, new pajamas, and this Guess necklace:
But it is was worth it. It really made a difference.
I think that you really do buy into a mood, a mindset or an image when you purchase certain things. And, while yes, I know that this image is most often coldly constructed by marketing executives, in clinically minimalist offices, I found it helped to accept those for a while.
Chanel’s sophistication, Ted Baker’s quirky cool and the playfulness around the branding of Guess, were helpful outlooks to borrow while I was slowly working at rediscovering my own.
Back when I was engrossed in those serial killers I read an article that tried to explain why there were so many psychopaths on the rampage in the sixties. There was a bit on illicit drugs use, which talked about how LSD expands the mind, so that people who’ve taken it no longer see the world in the same way as most others do. If you’ll excuse my taking the analogy, I think that’s something like what needed to happen with me.
Depression and PTSD shrink your world and limit the focus of what’s going on in your brain. They make both tiny. I needed something that was completely removed from the cold and the darkness that I was trapped with in there to help me to start to break free.
I’m not trying to say here that a pair of shoes and a new foundation were all it took to dramatically cure me. Far from it. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the aid of medication and psychotherapy. The mirtazapine especially saved my life.
I’m just saying that I think a little retail therapy also helped.