A young woman suffering from mental health issues has highlighted her plight through a series of selfies – to show the effects of the ‘silent killer’.
Law student Celine Ballantine says she has felt “unhappy” with “dark thoughts lingering” in her mind since as long as she can remember.
To highlight the physical toll of her battle with depression and severe anxiety, Celine took four selfie snaps which showed how her mental deterioration affected her physical appearance.
The pictures, taken over a four-month period, show the 19-year-old struggling to keep up with her make-up application and with her hair lank and skin greasy.
The teen posted the pictures on social media just over a week ago (Sunday 4 March) mid-way through a two-week course of treatment at a mental health unit and has been inundated with positive comments about the battles of mental health.
Celine, who is currently studying in Hull, East Yorks., said: “I think it is difficult for any other person to tell why you are depressed and I decided to take these selfies and post them.
“People say we cannot see mental health – but I don’t agree. The pictures I posted show how gradually mental health has physically affected me and worn me down.
“I decided to post them after I looked at the pictures of me at the hospital and it just didn’t look like me – I couldn’t even recognise myself, it is a silent killer.
“I’ve had depression in my early teenage years, like 13 or 14, and there are things that make it worse like a relationship break-up or other things.”
Celine, who is now an outpatient at Cygnet Hospital Harrogate, North Yorks., and is continuing treatment, says the catalyst was when she split up with her boyfriend.
She said following the break-up she felt unhappy, unmotivated which enhanced “dark thoughts” in November last year.
She also felt people would stare at her because she thought she was overweight – and started obsessing over female body builders and how good they looked.
Speaking about the posted pictures, Celine said: “It can be seen in my hair and make-up that I just could not be bothered to brush anymore – because what was the point?
“You need to take care of yourself and make effort – and you give up yourself.
“And it can be seen in the smile, that is in all four photos, but which gradually becomes more and more of a cry for help.”
Celine has sought refuge in her two beautiful horses which she owns and says her parents have been more than supportive – however she felt “incomplete”.
She said: “How can it be possible for a person like me to be so unhappy with their life? I owned two beautiful horses which have played a significant role in helping me cope with my depression and anxiety.
“My parents have been more than generous and support me in every possible way – but I feel I really am alone over here by myself.
“I felt as if it is almost impossible some mornings to leave my bed because at the end of the day – what was the point? Nothing had a purpose.”
Celine is one of around 80,000 children and young people who suffer from severe depression in the UK.
Asked what she would say to anyone else struggling, said: “Until you’ve experienced mental health or understand it, it is awful.
“I’ve had people yell at me and say, ‘Just get up’ – but the truth is for anyone else that has experienced anything similar it is not that easy.
“However, it is nothing to be ashamed of and the help is there.”