Why I Put On a Full Face of Makeup as a Spoonie // Chronic Illness and Beauty!

Hi guys!  Happy Friday 13th – hope it hasn’t been unlucky for you!


This is a subject I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while.  I think people often wonder why I would do a full face of makeup if I’m not leaving the house, or if I’m feeling really ill and struggling with it.  Firstly, if I’m really unwell (with my ME and fibromyalgia), then I’m generally stuck in bed in my PJs, not going anywhere or doing anything.  I remember when a PJ day watching TV in bed used to be really fun and relaxing…but that was when it was a choice, not a result of physically being unable to do anything else!

After a long time of being very unwell and often bedbound (it’s been almost a year for me since I got much worse), you begin to almost lose your identity and everything that used to make up who you were.  I used to think of myself as reliable, efficient, hardworking, always there for others.  Chronic illness takes away a lot of your personal attributes…  Reliable?  Not a chance!  I have to cancel about 90% of any plans I make because I’m simply too unwell to go.  Efficient?  Nope.  I spend most of my time doing nothing more useful than watching TV or sleeping.  Again, no choice – ME makes even standing difficult, never mind getting something like cleaning or work done.

Hardworking?  I’d love to be… sadly I am on long term sick leave from work as my body simply can’t get out of bed reliably every day, never mind get to an office, sit upright all day and actually do something useful that requires concentration!  Always there for others?  Another thing that has changed.  I can still be there over the phone or in supportive texts, but can’t meet a friend for a post-work chat and a glass of wine.  I can’t invite them over for a relaxing dinner to cheer them up.  Sometimes I can’t even reply to their texts until several days later, when I’m actually awake and ‘with it’.


Now that I’ve lost many of the qualities I prided myself on as a person, it’s up to me to figure out who I am.  What can I offer others?  What is left that I can still enjoy?  What hobbies am I still capable of indulging in, or challenging myself to get better at?  At the moment, the answer is sadly not much.  But one thing that has consistently sparked my interest, cheered me up, made me feel better and sometimes even inspired me is makeup.  Something so frivolous…unneccessary…a luxury… but something I can still enjoy, something I can still DO!

On my worst days, I can still scroll through Instagram and see what’s new in the beauty world.  What trends are going round, what people are loving.  On good days, I can take the chance to sit and do my own makeup; trying new applications, new looks, doing something that ultimately makes me feel and LOOK better!  With makeup, applying it can take as long as I need.  There’s no rush, there’s usually nowhere I have to be.  It’s time I can spend feeling like the old me.  The ‘real’ me.  I often take breaks throughout doing my makeup, sitting or lying down for a few minutes between each step.  Although it’s not easy, and it tires me out, the end result is worth it.  I look in the mirror and see someone who can still DO something, still create something!  I can see a glimpse of the girl I used to be.


That was one of the main inspirations behind starting this blog.  Although I’m honest about my illnesses on here, I spend much more time talking about what I’m passionate about, makeup and beauty.  I like to think that you readers don’t just see me as ‘that girl who’s chronically ill’, but as a fellow makeup junkie who will tell you about new products and let you know which beauty box is worth subscribing to!

Wearing makeup for me personally is not about hiding anything.  It’s not about pretending I’m not ill or putting a fake front on for people.  It’s about doing one of the few things I can still do for myself, and feeling good about myself in the process.  Makeup makes me happy, pure and simple.  I have a lot of spoonie friends who also love anything beauty related and I know they feel the same.  We’re not trying to hide our pain and disability, we’re trying to let the old us shine through, even if just for a short while.


One thing that makes me sad is that so often, fellow chronically ill girls will wear makeup or do their hair for a medical appointment, and will instantly be dismissed as being ok just because ‘they look fine’.  I know girls who have turned up at A&E or emergency care wearing cosmetics (sometimes because they just happened to already have it on before getting bad enough for hospital), and have been told ‘well you look ok, you can’t feel that bad’.  If you ever see someone looking great, in perfectly applied makeup, don’t jump to assumptions – listen to what they say instead of just how they look.

feeling shitty looking pretty tee

[I saw this t-shirt on an online friend the other week and it just sums me up perfectly!!]

For those of you who are not chronically ill, I really hope this helps you understand why I spend my preciously small amount of energy applying makeup.  For those who are, I hope I’ve helped convey some of what you think and feel.  If you have different reasons and motivations, do please let us all know in the comments box!  I’d love to hear what makeup and beauty mean to you!

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14 thoughts on “Why I Put On a Full Face of Makeup as a Spoonie // Chronic Illness and Beauty!

  1. carol Tomlinson says:

    Its the middle of the nite and ive just read your post, I too spend alot of time in bed very tired all the time ive lost my identity i think because of alot of reasons, I thought it intresting what youve said,thankyou xx

  2. kateiscoveting says:

    Hiya Katie, I absolutely adore this post! It sums up exactly how I feel & what I go through too. I wasn’t born with a chronic illness but it developed after an accident I had whilst working in the emergency department of a hospital hoping to become a fully trained nurse. I had to leave my job & training. I’ve been struggling with my illness for almost five years now & I get so fed up of people telling me “Ooh you don’t look ill” just because I put a bit of lippy & mascara on! I’m in constant pain & have severe mobility issues so some of my illness can be seen but nobody sees the pain I have to go through every single second of every day & night. People need to be a bit more thoughtful towards others especially those who are suffering with chronic illnesses.
    Great post 🙂
    Kate x

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Aww thank you so much! I’m really glad you liked it. I’m really sorry to hear about your accident and illness and that you had to leave your job & training. Life is unfair sometimes! 😞

      I’ve been told so many times that I look well (or by one consultant after they found out about my ME, “oh well you look pretty perky”!) I had to tell him it’s cuz I had a full face of makeup on!! Lol. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend xx

      • kateiscoveting says:

        Hiya Katie, yes I had a great weekend thankyou. How was your weekend?
        Your post showed me that I’m not alone with these frustrating comments. I will continue to wear makeup whenever I want to! I always enjoy reading posts from other spoonies.
        Yeah life has been rather unfair to me but I’m trying to adjust & keep positive. Having a chronic illness is extremely challenging but we have to make the best of a bad situation. I always try to remember that there is always somebody worse off!
        Have a great week 🙂
        Kate x

  3. Heidi says:

    Hi Katie, this brought tears to my eyes as I’m exactly the same! I’ve had Fibro & arthritis now for over 20 years & accepting it has been hard. I still make an effort when I leave the house, & most days at home (except when I’m too poorly or hit by fatigue). I too love my beauty as its what I did before I had to give up working, and always go out in makeup!
    I started my blog as couldn’t work anymore and wanted to continue my passion, it’s an outlet, time switched off from my illness. Even though it can affect how I work, I don’t let it rule me and beauty…is something in my blood.
    Fab post! Spoonie hugs,
    Heidi x

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Heidi! Aww thank you so much for reading and commenting… although sorry for making you cry 😀 !! Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell for such a long time, it must be really tough, I’m the same, I’ve always loved makeup and I don’t see why I should have to stop just because I’m ill – I may feel awful but I don’t have to look it lol!

      Well you should be really proud of you blog, it’s gorgeous! Lovely, bright photos 🙂 I’ve just followed you on Bloglovin xx

  4. Melinda says:

    I Love your site. Will be reading more on here as of today. I will post my site with you,and I hope to share the why’s and what’s of FM. Get well!
    melindee.wordpress.com( I blog here!)

  5. Louise says:

    Hi Katie,

    I was only diagnosed with Fibro and Sjogrens Syndrome this year but had known something wasn’t right for a while. Aches and pains I put down to work just weren’t going away and I was constantly exhausted, no matter how much I slept. Sadly, no matter how poorly I feel, I have to get out of bed as I’m my mum’s main carer. I’m in love with makeup and I think without that part of me, I’d probably lose it. My mum is terminally ill with cancer and has dementia on top so life is a constant struggle. Doing my makeup is relaxing to me and about the only enjoyment I have left in life. I totally get where you’re coming from.

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Louise! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 I’m really sorry to hear about your diagnoses. That must be SO tough alongside caring for your mum. I really feel for you! Well done on staying so positive. I’m glad you still enjoy doing your makeup. It’s a bit like therapy isn’t it? So relaxing and enjoyable, and a bit of time just for you/self-care. xxx

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