Teen creates makeup looks that convey what mental illness feels like: ‘This hit home’

Rilyn Johnson is using social media to discuss mental health issues. 

Johnson uses makeup to personify different mental illnesses on her TikTok jrilyn. The teenager has amassed over 145,000 followers on the account where she shares her own experience living with depression and anxiety. But Johnson has recently turned her efforts towards using cosmetics to encapsulate what these conditions really feel like. 

“I have been struggling with several mental illnesses for a few years and makeup is how I express myself,” Johnson told In The Know. “Doing this makeup series helped me share what I was feeling and I did my best to convey what others were feeling too.” 

Johnson has done looks that illustrate illnesses like generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.

@jrilyn

I got a lot of requests for this and it is honestly my favorite #anxiety #fyp #mentalheath #mentalillness #makeup #MUA #makeupartist #foryou #forupage

♬ original sound – Jrilyn

To capture the feeling of major depressive disorder, Johnson paints a giant black line across her face. On one side she wears ordinary blush and eyeshadow. But on the other, she draws a bag under her eye. She writes the words, “tired, empty, ugly, skinny, stupid, failure, sad, useless, broken” on her forehead and cheek. The makeup captures the heaviness of depression and how someone who looks otherwise normal could be harboring deep and complex emotions. 

The video received 644,000 views on TikTok. 

“I’ve never seen a more accurate visual description,” one person said

“That’s really well done,” another said

“This hit home because I feel like this almost all the time,” someone added

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