I was only in my mid 20s when I noticed a faint vertical wrinkle between my eyebrows. I don’t think it was noticeable to others, though. And sometimes the wrinkle would almost disappear in my eyes, too. Really, it depended a lot on the mood I was in. You see, when I was depressed, stressed, and/or frustrated and angry I’d often squint. As I’d squint, my eyebrows grew closer and the wrinkle deepened. When I was happy and bright, my eyebrows lifted and grew further apart, pulling the skin almost ironing out the line. Mood alone did the trick.
I have bipolar disorder, and as years passed, it worsened again. Anger and frustration, and occasional depression were frequent. My squint of “agony” showed itself more often. With that, the wrinkle deepened further with time.
Eventually my mood improved yet again, thanks partially to treatment and a much improved life situation. Happiness and joy, or even elated hypomania/mania, came like the springtime blooming of flowers and fresh air. Suddenly my eyes opened wide again, and they sparkled brilliantly with the sun and the returning warmth. My skin grew rosy and soft. Even that wrinkle between my eyes again grew fainter. My wide smile became a primary focus, not my strife. I walked with a skip, I even danced a bit. Jokes and wit came out of my mouth spreading joy to others in my presence. I flirted with men from 16 to 75. I’d challenge them to guess my age, and inevitably their guesses made me 10 to even 15 years younger, in some cases. And I felt younger! Though my 30s had seemed wasted in mental distress, my early 40s took them back and gave me another chance.
Those with bipolar disorder know that when moods are “up” (or stable) they often eventually fall. Mine fell and rose again and again. The depression brought me down not only in spirit, but in every way possible. That pesky wrinkle deepened, and my smile reversed direction. Even my hair began to thin. I gained weight. My skin grew dull. My eyes were no longer bright. It only took a matter of months before my appearance of 30 raced forward in years in a mad sprint.
Too many years of illness has eventually taken some permanent toll. That wrinkle now seems permanently set. Even when I put my fingers on my forehead and pull in opposite directions, a faint line still remains. So what did I do? No, I didn’t get Botox, though I guess I could. I took the cheaper route. Bangs! Hide that sucker! What can’t be seen sort of doesn’t exist. Not just to others, but also to me..
I guess I should consider myself lucky that the wrinkle between my brows is the only one I have at over 45. Perhaps genetics has helped with that. However, it is very clear that happiness and joy can be the best and cheapest face lifts. I now brush my cheeks and paint my lips in rose and smile widely again. People see my eyes sparkle with relief. My walk again takes on the look of a dance or a bird flight.
For all of my readers, please take good care of yourself. Never lose hope. Happiness will return, or it can be found again even if it takes some work and patience. Or for those without depression, but serious stress, lighten your load as much as you can. Such lightening pulls everything upwards. Joy changes perceptions of self and others. Bring on spring!