'Your mental health does not define you as a person, nor does it define you as a competent professional.'
A 27-year-old lawyer in Toronto recently went viral with some refreshingly authentic content when she shared her very honest morning routine as someone with depression. Henna, who goes by @18hens on social media, became relatable to many on the internet through the TikTok video which has been viewed over 8 million times since being shared earlier this month. "This is my very realistic, non-aesthetic morning routine as a lawyer who is depressed as f**k. Took me half an hour to get out of bed, so I was very late this morning. I admit I washed my face to wake up, but didn't brush my teeth," she says in the video.
"Too lazy for a base routine, so I just mix some foundation with moisturizer. My latte also exploded in the microwave, very on-brand. I have to contour my face to hide the fact that it's so bloated from drinking last night. I'm really not doing well, please don't judge me," Henna continues, as she walks viewers through her morning routine. "I can't bring myself to give any more fu**s than I do. So I'm putting my hair up millennial style. Okay, none of that clean girl slicked back bun shit. Honestly, though, I don't care how depressed I am. I will not wear my hair in a ponytail like that."
"I put on some earrings though, good for me. I'm wearing Crocs to work because I'm sad. Please don't ask me why there's Tupperware on the floor. Okay, have a nice day," she concludes the video. Speaking to BuzzFeed about what inspired her to make this video, Henna said: "As someone who struggles with taking care of myself, I have never been able to relate to trending 'that girl'/ 'aesthetic' lifestyle videos. I wanted to share my realistic morning routine in hopes that those like me would feel less alone and less ashamed of themselves. For the last year, TikTok has simultaneously been my escape and my journal. It was a way to express myself and my creativity—something that helps me feel in tune with the person I really am underneath the façade of being a put-together professional."
@18hens It is what it is #pizzazz #vlog #morningroutine #thatgirl #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #lawyer #lawyersoftiktok #korean #restock #coffee #sustainablebeauty #pov ♬ Pizzazz - Akintoye
"Filming and posting content became something I genuinely look forward to waking up to. And when waking up in the morning felt even more impossible on the bad days, it became natural to use content creation as a means to get out of bed and do something I truly enjoy," she explained. "I have been struggling with high-functioning depression and anxiety for over 10 years now. I find that when I’m not glued to the bed or confining myself at home for days on end, I am over-working myself to feel 'productive' and 'successful.' The fear of failure is a double-edged sword — on the one hand, it debilitates me from functioning at all, and on the other, it fuels me to overcompensate and function at a higher capacity than I can emotionally handle."
Addressing the overwhelming response to her video, Henna said: "As an anxious girlie, to say that I was overwhelmed with the response is an understatement. My stomach was in knots and my palms were sweaty for days. Millions of people saw me at what I perceived to be 'my worst.' I began to worry about whether my reputation as a young lawyer would suffer from this as well. I sat on my couch for countless hours reading through thousands of comments. Most were amazingly supportive. Some were ignorant, to say the least. It truly makes the depression feel lighter knowing that so many people know what it's like to be chronically depressed while working in demanding professions. While I was a law student, and even now as a lawyer, it is rare to find people who will admit to their weaknesses."
@18hens This was my first shower in 3 days btw sue me #vlog #morningroutine #thatgirl #ontariolife #coffee #madeforyou #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness ♬ made for you - renforshort
While there were some hate comments, Henna shared that most of them don't bother her. "I did, however, directly address a reoccurring sentiment that my mental health makes me an unreliable lawyer because it speaks to the very message I am trying to get across—that your mental health does not define you. Your mental health does not define you as a person, nor does it define you as a competent professional," she explained. As for what advice she'd give others who are experiencing mental health issues while working in a demanding job, Henna said: "Medication, therapy, and living an active/healthy lifestyle are important, but the reality is that these things are not necessarily accessible to everyone."
@18hens Reply to @knutpernilsen so yeah 🤷🏻♀️ #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness #lawyer #lawyersoftiktok #ontariolife #toronto #vlog #pov #pizzazz #earthday ♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy
"Medication, therapy, and living an active/healthy lifestyle are important, but the reality is that these things are not necessarily accessible to everyone," she continued. "My advice is to start small—take it day by day. Romanticize the little things in life that you do get to enjoy. For me, it was filming and posting silly little videos of my life online. Give yourself a reason to get through the day, whether it’s a quick lunch with your friend or trying a new recipe that looked interesting to you. These small acts of resistance are important in feeling like you have some control and a choice in how you get to spend your days. Self-care takes practice, too. The more you intentionally do something you want to do rather than doing things you have to do, the easier it becomes to visualize a future where you actually look forward to your life."