Thursday, 24 September 2020

How Dressing Up Again Is Helping Me Find Myself

The last couple of years have been hard. I've shared a bit about my chronic illness here on my blog but for anyone who doesn't know I have a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia so I am in 24/7 pain mostly in my legs but now also other parts of my body. I also have a chronic fatigue condition called myalgic encephalommyelitis or ME which means I battle constant exhaustion everyday, this can also cause pain, headaches etc. To sum it all up, its been really bloody hard.

In 2019 I was just trying to survive it. Trying to get on with life as I dealt with this constant pain and fatigue but really just existing. I would get up each day just to spend it trying to distract myself from pain and fatigue only to go to bed in the evening and prepare to start all over again in the morning. I put on huge amounts of weight, lost friends, my job and pretty much everything that made me me.

But in 2020 I said enough was enough. This wasn't who I was and it wasn't who I wanted to be. Yes, I didn't have a huge amount of control over the pain in my body but I did have control over how I felt about it. I've spent most of this year so far figuring out who I am now as a disabled chronically ill woman, as well as who I want to be and discovering the parts of myself I'd lost. I'm not sure I want to be exactly who I was pre chronic pain and fatigue but there are huge chunks of me I've been trying to get back.

One of those big parts of me that I had lost was my love of clothes and fashion. Being in pain all the time and completely exhausted it's hard to find the energy or drive to make an effort. I started reaching for the most comfortable things in my wardrobe to help with the pain and because it was easy. Combine that with the weight gain, low self confidence and depression, I soon found myself dressing in a way that made me feel awful.

Now I'm not saying putting on a pretty dress solves all of life's problems and for some people it really doesn't make a difference, but for me it's a big part of who I am. For as long as I can remember I have expressed myself through my clothes and I guess, in a way, that's exactly what I was doing. I was expressing my pain, exhaustion and depression through easy, oversized, frumpy clothing.

A few months ago I started to realise I didn't recognise myself anymore. This wasn't me and it certainly wasn't helping my pain or my low mood. And so I started to rediscover myself through clothes again. I began dressing the way I used to, choosing pretty dresses over stretchy clothing and doing my make up and hair. I've even started getting dressed up just to work at home and found I am way more productive and happier because of it.

It may sound frivolous but it has honestly made such a difference. I feel like I am getting the old me back which has, in turn, pushed me towards my old goals. I started writing seriously again, getting out the draft of my novel and starting to plug away at it. I've redesigned my blog, sent out articles and in September I start my Masters in Travel and Nature Writing.

They say you should dress for the job you want and sometimes I think this is so true. I am dressing for the person I want to be; a writer, blogger and pretty dress wearer who can follow her dreams despite chronic illness.

A pretty dress won't solve all my problems but I feel I am on my way to better and I'm definitely dressed for the journey.

What I Wore:
Dress - Nomads Clothing | Shoes - Joules (Similar Here


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