I’ve known Mildred since I was 16. At first she was a kind of comfort in a confusing and lonely world. I struggled to fit in as a teenager but with Mildred I was never truly alone. She introduced me to some of the most damaging and dangerous behaviours including self-harming, eating disorders. Thankfully these are behaviours I have managed to leave behind thanks to therapy. There have been times when we’ve not had contact for many months at a time, but I guess I know she’ll never truly leave me. Just when I believe that the connection between us is gone, she returns just to remind me that she still has a hold on my life.
Mildred is my depression.
My beautiful cousin at Jo’s Clothes has been a tremendous support (along with some other amazing people in my life). She encouraged me to give Mildred a name, to make her less of an obscure concept and more something I can talk about. We chose Mildred because she’s as ugly as she sounds. Plus ‘dread’ is what I feel each day when I’m forced to live with her.
Mildred is the voice in my head that tells me there’s no point. The voice that tells me I shouldn’t bother to shower, wash my hair, put on my makeup or wear pretty clothes. That I don’t deserve my beautiful clothes. The voice that tells me no matter what I do to my physical exterior I’ll always be a failure. When Mildred is around life is a constant battle. It’s a battle just to get out of bed, to get myself to work and keep the house in order. Tasks like walking the dog become unmanageable and I want nothing more than to curl up in a ball and hide. It becomes impossible to socialise with my friends. If you know me when I’m well, you’ll know that I’m a social person and thrive on spending time with my friends and family. I’m loud, confident and like nothing more than making people laugh. When I’m ill this is all taken away from me.
After six beautiful months of clarity and happiness, during which I was able to wean off my anti-depressants, she came back. She stripped me of my ability to think and my ability to do my job in the way that I know I can. I had to take two weeks off work. Everything slipped in that time. I listened to Mildred and stopped bothered with my appearance; hence the lack of anything outfit/clothing related on my blog or IG in the past few weeks. I stopped talking with nearly all but two close friends/family. I feel like I’m just beginning to come out the other side of it now. Today I got up, showered and applied my make-up. I chose a pretty dress and a pink scarf for my hair. Shoes to match my coat. This is me. This is me, fighting back against Mildred’s attempts to suppress my personality and my style. Appearance/clothing isn’t the be all and end all; I’m about more than that. BUT it’s a massive part and without those things I don’t really feel like me anymore.
I’m going to push myself to record my outfits daily on my IG. If nothing else because I know it forces me to make an effort; I’m way too vain to be posting photos of me in my slubs 😉 Expect to see more of me over the coming weeks. Mildred might not be done with me, but I’m done with her….