I thought long and hard about whether or not I should post this post. I feel like there is still stigma around when it comes to mental health. But with the Time to Change adverts on TV all the time, a lot of effort is going into campaigns making it more acceptable to talk about personal mental health issues. Anyway, this isn’t even the topic of this post. This post is about the time I met Andre Leon Talley.
He gave a lively talk about his life and career – his work for fashion magazines including Vogue, and for Andy Warhol. Not a single mention of America’s Next Top Model, even though I am sure most of the audience (and me) knew him through that.
Afterwards he took the time to answer questions from the audience. He complimented a lot of the girls asking questions on their outfits, which was cute. Anyway, I had a sudden idea for a question and got up. They passed me the microphone. I said –
Last year I was really unwell, and I ended up in a psychiatric hospital. I took my favourite dress, a beautiful summer dress. I didn’t wear it at first, but then I thought, whatever, I am just going to wear it! So I walked up and down the ward in my dress – until my therapist told me she thought I had a personality disorder because of the dress. She thought I was histrionic – attention seeking. So I stopped wearing the dress. Could you think of a good response to my therapist?
I don’t know what he said first. My face felt very warm and I was shaking. But he then said – wear the dress. And told me I had lovely hair.
Later when I went to take the picture with, he said again that I should wear the dress.
The dress I was talking about was this by the way. A jersey maxi dress from Monsoon. I wear it all summer because it is so nice and comfortable.
I felt very exhausted afterwards, but also somewhat empowered. I had gotten over my shame and literally stood up for myself. I had been open and honest and myself in front of my peers.
For the record – I went to hospital to get a lot of psychotherapy over a short space of time, so I wouldn’t miss too much work. I went voluntarily. I wasn’t sectioned and it wasn’t a closed ward. That one was next door.