Today, we are going to be mixing mental illness and lingerie. Depression is a very comment mental illness that can be circumstantial or a lifelong battle. Even if depression is a lifelong battle, like other illnesses it can go into remission and then surface again.
My seven signs are based on personal experience. While some these signs can be caused by other things, such as weight gain or a significant change in personality, they are also possible signs of depression as I have both witnessed and experienced in my own life. The key to these signs is deviation from the norm: the significant change from common lingerie habits to alternative actions and inaction(s).
Someone who is depressed may…
1) Wear the same lingerie for days on end without washing in between wears. It could be a bodysuit, bra, or pair of underwear. While bras are often worn several days in a row, it is considered unhygienic to wear the same underwear multiple days so most women don’t do it. However, changing takes energy – choosing what to wear takes energy – and often there is no energy. Someone struggling with depression often finds the simplest of tasks, such as changing and self-care, too difficult to manage on a daily basis.
2) Wear only the most comfortable options. The last thing in the world someone depressed wants to deal with is physical discomfort. There is already a boatload of emotional discomfort, stress, sadness, anxiety, etc. going on so a comfortable outer shell is paramount. This is often regardless of appearance: a usually fashionable maven may turn towards cotton undies, bralettes, and sweats to keep discomfort at a minimum. Tight lingerie may be shunned because it ‘reveals’ too much. When depressed, people often want to hide or cocoon away from the world. Their lingerie choices reflect that.
3) Stop wearing fancy lingerie or lingerie that requires a larger effort to put on such as corsets and garters with stockings. I use the term ‘fancy’ as a catch all for what you deem to be decadent lingerie – taste is quite individual. However, someone depressed will often stop wearing anything elegant, decadent, or especially beautiful as it feels like an attack on their very dark, insular world. That stuff is too bright, too fun, too happy, and too pretty to reflect the turmoil inside their soul. They may also feel especially ugly while depressed and wearing pretty stuff can actually make one feel worse: like dressing up a Chucky doll in a bridal gown. Lingerie that requires additional effort may not be worn as putting on a corset or stockings takes energy that they just do not have.
4) Stop wearing lingerie at all. I have mentioned how much effort getting dressed and making choices is when you are depressed. it is like a Herculean task for little reward. When depressed, some people may stop wearing lingerie all together. This might be hard to notice as they usually will not walk around naked: rather, they may gravitate towards loose-fitting clothing to hide their shape and the lack of foundation garments.
5) Stop buying lingerie or significantly increase buying. This is a two-sided coin as different people have different coping mechanisms for depression. Buying lingerie is sort of like eating food: some people starve themselves and some binge. Abstinence can be a result of poor body image and lack of energy to invest in anything. Binge buying can also be a sign of poor body image and someone’s repeated attempt to buy happiness. If there is a significant change in lingerie buying frequency (that is not related to money), then it may be a sign that their mood has significantly altered. I tend to buy lingerie like I eat comfort food: it substantially increases as my mood drops.
6) Purchase unusual styles of lingerie that do not reflect their usual taste. This must be based on the person’s own habits. Changes may include moving from fitted to baggy, colourful to plain, or structured to unstructured. There also could be a change from minimal-coverage to full-coverage or from transparent to opaque: both symbolizing a desire to cover up and hide the body. There is nothing wrong with baggy, plain, unstructured, full-coverage, and opaque lingerie. The significance is in the change.
7) Stop hand washing lingerie that had been previously hand washed. Self-care is incredibly hard when you are depressed and it is not uncommon for individuals to stop taking baths or stop brushing their teeth. When taking care of yourself is so difficult, extending extra care to delicate garments is often impossible. Lingerie that might have previously been hand washed and hung to dry may find itself thrown into the washing machine instead. Machine washing takes less effort – it expends less energy from the person’s depleted reserves.
These are simply seven signs that there may be a larger issue at work than a simple change in behaviour. If you notice several of these signs in someone you love, then trying being extra supportive and sensitive to their needs. ❤