An open cracked makeup foundation with 3 individuals 2 smiling and one in the center upset in the mirror.

How NMOSD Affected My Favorite Hobby

I remember being 12, hiding in my mother’s room, and using all her makeup without her knowing. I wasn’t good at it at all, but after years of practice I became better, and it became my passion.

My favorite hobby: applying makeup

All my free time went to creating new makeup looks. Whenever I was upset, i’d turn to makeup as my therapy. Just sitting alone, with my music on and doing what I loved was free therapy. Whenever I was bored, I’d pick up my makeup palettes and start creating!

There was always a reason to start doing my makeup. Within my family, I earned a reputation for being one of the makeup artists and I loved it. Being appreciated for my talent was so valuable and heart-warming.

My goal in life was to become a makeup artist part-time to pursue my passion alongside focusing on my legal studies. However, that all fell apart when suddenly, my health started deteriorating.

How NMO impacted my hobby

My attack was in 2021. I had just turned 19-years-old and it came on pretty fast. It progressed rapidly and I lost all my independence. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t swallow, had slurred speech, extreme vomiting, tremors were severe, had the worst pain throughout my whole body, double vision and so so much more.

Once I was put on treatment, (steroids through IV and oral steroids for 6 months) things progressively got better but the tremors were still present. The weakness in my arms was still present and so was the blurry vision. I had to get a glasses prescription. That meant I didn’t have the ability to do my makeup as I did before my attack.

Now, I don’t have the talent I did before. I can’t do anything that requires detail, for example, carving out my eyebrows (which I was most known for), doing eyeshadow with precise details. No matter how hard I try, it doesn’t look as effortless as it did once, that’s because it isn’t effortless to do anymore. I try to keep my makeup minimal which genuinely hurts me, because it’s my favorite thing in the world to do. It made me feel pretty too, and ever since gaining weight because of the steroids I feel like a different person. I’m not the same Hali as I was once.

Exploring new hobbies

Sometimes I just wish it was possible to go back in time to cherish the moments I long for now. Doing my makeup is not my hobby anymore, it’s not my therapy anymore, I don’t get excited for nights out because I know how tiring and stressful getting ready is with my tremors and weakness in my arms. By the time I’m ready, my arms and my back hurt so bad that i’m contemplating on cancelling. Along with that, the tremors have their own mind, one day they’ll be in control and the next they’ll be full blown. So I never really know what to expect, planning anything is just a hit or miss at this point. I need to find new hobbies that also don’t cause me problems, something that is relaxing and doesn’t require skill or strenuous activities.

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