How To Look Great (When You Feel Terrible) – Issue 1


photo by Kylie Madrid

Sketching can be a good way to make yourself feel better.

by Kylie Madrid, Staff Writer

In truth, how mental illness or substance abuse influences someone goes beyond the more commonly discussed effects mentioned during Suicide Prevention Month or Red Ribbon Week. What people not afflicted by either don’t see is the ugliness; the smell of someone who hasn’t showered in weeks, a person with Bipolar Disorder experiencing a manic episode and not sleeping for days, or the humiliation of an ex addict when videos of them high resurface on LiveLeak. 

Dignity is a basic right that is more often than not denied to the “damaged goods” of the world. Part of recovery is grappling with bodily effects caused by physical and mental trauma, and the issue is that that aspect is rarely addressed in mainstream media. 

Showering: Showering can be difficult for different reasons, so the first step would be to determine what about showers is hard for you. Consider your emotions. Do you feel panicked? Tired? Irritated? Is there a reason why you feel that way? Unfortunately, that’s a question I can’t answer for you, but I have a few ideas: 

  1. If you feel anxious, panicked, scared, or paranoid: try to make yourself and your surroundings more comfortable. Opening the shower door a few inches, showering in a bathing suit (or in clothes), stepping out of the shower for a moment. Distracting yourself may be helpful, some people like to sing or think or think about what they have to do that day.
  1. If you feel unmotivated, tired, or sluggish: try to make the task easier, and focus on motivating yourself to complete it. Traditional methods, like rewards systems, may be better for you. If not, there’s (SFW) Shower inspiration on TikTok, and EBay is always good for hunting down rubber ducks. 

– Alternatives to showering: If taking a shower isn’t possible, I’ve included a list of alternatives! Feel free to combine two or more options if you feel up to the task. a. Body showers (10 mins): With soap and water, wash areas of your body that tend to produce an odor. Wipes also work well for this, if water is not available. b. Deodorant (2 mins): Wipe away sweat, and wash armpits with soap. Dry, and apply deodorant. 

  1. Changing clothes (5 mins): Try to change undergarments somewhat regularly, even if you haven’t washed your clothes. A new set of clothes can help you feel more comfortable, even if you haven’t showered. 
  2. Dry shampoo: Dry shampoo is great for cleaning your hair quickly and without water. The alcohol or starch in the shampoo absorbs the grease in your hair and makes it look cleaner. 
  3. Sink wash (5 – 20 mins): Wash hair in the sink. If you have long hair, it would be best to put something between your hair and the bottom of the sink. 


Finding your personal style: ie. the fun part. Dressing how you feel comfortable might help give you a sense of control. Some people prefer to stick with an aesthetic, and if that sounds like you Pinterest or DePop may be good options for you. Local thrift stores have a wide variety of clothes to choose from, and usually come at substantially discounted prices. 

Low effort looks: Putting out clothes the night before can save you some time (and panic) in the morning. Avoid clothes with lots of zippers and buttons and spring for more comfortable, effortless options like college sweatshirts. 

– Bad day clothes: Go out of your way to buy clothes for “bad days”. Whether it’s baggy clothes, funky graphic tees, or cosplay, whatever helps you feel better should be somethat that you take into account while shopping.