My Mental Illness Makes Me Feel Ugly

February 20, 2016 Hannah Crowley

Have you ever felt that having a mental illness makes you ugly -- not just imperfect or slightly flawed, but soul-deep, glaringly, hideously ugly? I have. It comes over me in waves of revulsion and self-loathing. When I scrape my hair back at night or catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror window I feel ugly. Every day I take off my makeup and find another wrinkle, another blemish, or an additional hint of age. And it terrifies me. I see the puckered white-purple scars on my arms and legs, the chapped skin on my lips. I see somebody who it is impossible to love. I wonder if having a mental illness makes me ugly?

Mental Illness Robbed Me of My Self-Worth

Or does my mental illness make me feel ugly? I have problems with how I look. Years of battling anorexia doesn't help. Some days, I simply feel ugly. Read this.

Suffering with a mental illness from a young age distorts all perception of identity; it robs us of our self-worth, self-confidence and self-fulfilment. Hating the vessel leads to self-inflicted physical and mental flagellation. So many times I have found myself chanting the mantra “I am not good enough,” pulling and scratching at my skin, wanting to escape from my prison of inadequacy. And so I starve, self-harm, or hide myself away from the world, not daring to expose myself to the judgement and pity of my peers.

But Golda Poretsky reminds us that:

Beauty shouldn’t be about changing yourself to achieve an ideal or be more socially acceptable. Real beauty, the interesting, truly pleasing kind, is about honouring the beauty within you and without you. It’s about knowing that someone else’s definition of pretty has no hold over you.

Society and Mental Illness Doesn't Make You Ugly

The world is full of remedies designed to make us more physically appealing. We spend our entire lives being told that in order to be of value, we need to adhere to specific, image-cultivating rules. But we don’t. It’s as simple as that. If a person’s self-worth is reflected by their physical beauty, it can do nothing but deteriorate over time. Love, real honest love, can never be measured by the strength of our societal masks -- and we are all worthy of love.

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APA Reference
Crowley, H. (2016, February 20). My Mental Illness Makes Me Feel Ugly, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Hannah Crowley

Natalie Beevers
March, 9 2019 at 2:40 am

So honest and open Hannah. Hope to see you writing again about your journey.

December, 18 2015 at 12:45 pm

Beauty is being yourself. Ugly are those that judge, are self righteous, greedy, slanderers, self seekers, warmongers, liars, etc.
I am trying to get my mental strength back. To those that feel like they are above others it is time we just ignored them, or tell them to F off when they are pushing too far.
You got to be you. God didn't create us to be clones. We are different. Difference is what makes the World turn.

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