Vix Meldrew is a thirty-something, award-winning Lifestyle Blogger who has done some pretty cool shit: travelled with her blog; went VIP at a Festival; appeared in magazines; interviewed in a documentary and once got a like on an Instagram post from Charlotte Tilbury.
Victoria Jones, the gal behind the blog has done some pretty mundane shit: worked in a call centre; took her class to the Science museum; spent £12 on a week’s groceries at Aldi and keeps chopsticks from the Chinese in the bathroom cabinets in case any guests need to surreptitiously chop up their poo because they’ve blocked the toilet.
But these two people are in fact just two facades of the same person. The Sasha Fierce to Beyonce. Except far less sassy and musically talented. And also, in my case two facades that just *feel* like separate people.
Learning about my mental health diagnosis and researching into the after effects of trauma (family problems, grief, bullying, career failures and relationship failures) all contribute to a state of depersonalisation – or the feeling of not knowing one’s real self. This conspired to make Victoria Jones feel like an unlovable, unsuccessful life failure. So when Vix Meldrew came along, and with her a few years of good fortune, well, I, Vix and Victoria – we just couldn’t put all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
This isn’t uncommon in people who suffer with anxiety disorders. In fact, ‘depersonalisation’ is one of the top three symptoms of a mental health disorder. It’s where people can feel devoid from themselves and not recognise their behaviours, emotions and experiences as happening to them.
This is often how I feel about me/Victoria/Vix.
Vix gets praise for her writing work on a daily basis. Victoria was told she was a mediocre teacher on a daily basis.
Vix gets girls asking for her wardrobe items. Victoria once got told she shouldn’t buy a pea coat because she would look like, ‘Phoebe Buffay if Phoebe was a sack of potatoes.’
Vix can give talks, advice and coaching on all things blogging. Victoria can’t tell the Deliveroo man the correct flat number.
It’s hard for me to see myself as Vix sometimes because Victoria has such a strong past of nothingness and failures whereas I can see that Vix is living a life of opportunity, financial fortune and good health.
Sometimes it’s actually easy to keep them separate. Vix can be confident, self assured and ballsy because she can be a persona and if people don’t like her, I can imagine it’s not me. She can always revel in the compliments about her success – thrive off them even – because it doesn’t make Victoria conceited.
But viewing myselves in this way is problematic as it is a symptom of an anxious mind that I want to try and overcome.
Symptoms of depersonalisation include feeling like you’re looking at yourself from the outside or that you observe your life as being a dream. This is often how I feel about Vix.
It’s odd, but when people say to me, ‘oh I saw you went there with your blog’, I always say, ‘oh did I?’ or if they say, ‘you were nominated for that award, weren’t you?’ my immediate response is, ‘was I?’. That’s because I subconsciously don’t believe any of it has happened to me.
I don’t enjoy my opportunities as much because it doesn’t feel like it’s happening to me. I bat off compliments when I’m feeling more Victoria than Vix. I lose self belief, time and time again because I view Vix’s successes as separate from my own.
Sometimes Ben will come home and ask what I’ve been up to and I’ll tell him about the brand collaborations I’ve secured or show him the exciting PR package that has come through the door and he’ll say he’s proud of me and it’ll immediately not feel like it’s happened.
It’s a perverse form of imposter syndrome where instead of Victoria feeling like an imposter, she feels like Vix is the imposter.
SO FUCKED UP, right?
If this has been this way ever since I started my blog, how do I meld(rew) the two together? Why is it important that I do so?
It’s important because if I am to be a success with my blog, my creative outlets and my business, it needs to be purely down to me. If I win a collaboration, I need to celebrate. If I get a book deal, I need to be proud of myself. Equally, if I fuck everything up and accidentally call Zoella a cunt and get extricated from the community (which I’d never do because Zoe is da bombe) then I need to be responsible.
It’s also important for my self image and worth. I can’t hide behind different facades when I’m not feeling myself. My journey to self acceptance needs to involve accepting that what makes me and what makes me BLOODY BRILLIANT is that I am all of the things Victoria is and all of the things Vix is.
It means I need to stop putting Vix on this pedestal as the one who has people praise her, compliment her work, wish her success and realise that it’s me.
It also means that I need to deal with the underlying mental health issues that leads this to happen regularly.
What I need to get better at realising is that Vix/Victoria and I are one and the same.
It’s me because I am real. I am a real person online and offline. And the person I am online is really no different from the person offline too.
I am what you see on Instagram, with the blurry mirror selfies and the not quite pulled together outfit.
I am what you glance at on Twitter, the unfiltered, witty and sarcastic personality that will send out compliments and Ru Paul gifs willy nilly.
I am what you read on this blog – honest, successful, talented (just not musically, remember), stylish(ish), ambitious and knowledgeable just as much as I am the tired, often lazy, passionate, nurturing and silly person I am in real life.
I am Vix. I am not two different people. I’m just me and I need to accept it.
If you suffer from similar symptoms as described above, then my go-to resource for anything mental health is the charity Mind. Click here for more information on depersonalisation.