#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'Self Care' by Amy @amysselflove

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Self Care

So with it being Mental Health Awareness day this week, it made me think about how I manage my own mental health issues

I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder back in 2014 I think it was and diagnosed with Depression back in 2010. Since 2010 I've had some pretty epic downs; I've been suicidal, I've called Samaritans about 15 times since then, I've self harmed, I've used certain 'methods' to self destruct that weren't drugs or alcohol, I've cried a LOT, I've lost who I was, had major identity crisi's and just generally been mentally unwell

I've lost friends, I've isolated, I've introverted, I've hidden away, I've closed myself off, I've detached from a lot of things including certain emotions but I've learnt about myself

Since 2014, I stepped back from my life and needed to figure out who I am, what I'm about, what I believe in, what my passions are, what I'm interested in, what I thrive on, what makes me mental illness worse

I'm still doing this in a lot of ways but I'm also a lot stronger and I know my triggers more so I DO want to get my social life back, become the girl who was the light in a room again, learn to let myself go a bit more. It's all learning

For me, self care is about learning and all the above. It's not all face masks and bubble baths. It's learning what helps you short & long term. It's understanding what to let go of in your life, it's learning WHO you are

Therapy was my favourite form of self care and I would recommend it to anyone! Seriously. I learnt so much

The main thing I have learnt is that life isn't always happy and full of positive vibes. It's messy, hard, upsetting, tough, beautiful, tragic, inspiring, hectic, harsh, kind... It's full of contradictions but we're here, guys. Living it. Be proud of that.


Written by Amy Connor
Follow Amy on Instagram  @amysselflove





#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth is an ongoing project/campaign/series which invites you to speak and share your truth, unapologetically. For more info click here

Do you you want to get involved? You can write a long post, a short post, an essay, a word, or even just an emoji alongside a photo, or record a video and share it using the hashtag '#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth'
OR
you can send it to me on unapologeticallyelly@gmail.com and I'll share it here.


The words expressed in #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth belong to each individual participant.

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'There are days where it’s easy, and there are days where it’s really freaking hard' by Alexandra @tealtoesxo

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There are days where it’s easy, and there are days where it’s really freaking hard; the easy days I have to take and live them to the fullest, which really just ends up wearing me down and I end up getting sick with a virus or the next endo flare starts sooner then expected, cause I bit off more then I could chew.

My endo was always at the forefront of my life to be honest, when I was growing up I would miss school, sleepovers, mall dates with friends, school dances ect ect. The fact my Adeno was so out of control I would walk from my bed to the bathroom while wearing a tampon & pad and still have blood running down my leg.

Fast forward a handful of years and 2 magical babies later; I FINALLY got a hysterectomy! I was 29 years old, we kept my left ovary though to prevent HRT; However I am still peri menopausal. It was never the pain that phased me. It wasn’t the main concern or issue I had. It was the amount I would bleed, friends telling me about their 3-5 day cycle and I was over here like “WHAT?!” 16-24 days was my “normal” so thankfully for my hysterectomy I haven’t had a bleeding cycle in almost 2 years; and the first time in my life I am not anemic. To be completely honest, my endo effected me but it never EFFECTED me. If that makes sense, I guess because I was so used to it, it was just normal.

That was up until about a year ago; a year ago I started having some really odd symptoms happen. Like everything else I started to track it and the symptoms were 28 days apart....so it was something hormonal. What I wasn’t prepared for was the approval of my suspicion of endo coming back, yet this time it’s on my lungs and diaphragm. As we all know, endo effects 1 in 10 women. TE endo effects 0.6-1.2% of the 10%. When I figured it out and had my specalist agree with my suspicion, refer me to a nook dr who wasn’t even taking patients, and I got an apt within 3.5 months; that’s when I started to take this disease seriously. It’s now come back to effecting my everyday life.

It was a great 2 years of no periods and little pain...but here we go again on this next journey 💛



Written by Alexandra Mackenzie
Follow Alexandra on Instagram @tealtoesxo.



#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth is an ongoing project/campaign/series which invites you to speak and share your truth, unapologetically. For more info click here

Do you you want to get involved? You can write a long post, a short post, an essay, a word, or even just an emoji alongside a photo, or record a video and share it using the hashtag '#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth'
OR
you can send it to me on unapologeticallyelly@gmail.com and I'll share it here.


The words expressed in #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth belong to each individual participant.

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'Schizophrenia Deconstructed' by Sara @sara_yk_

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Schizophrenia Deconstructed

On June 26th, 2013, after being cured of 35 years of suffering from schizophrenia, I left my apartment wearing my new custom-made t-shirt that boldly declared “I Beat Schizophrenia” on the front. I then went to the local print shop to print out a business card sized photo I had made stating that I was no longer insane. I walked proudly up to the clerk and asked her to laminate it for me.

“That is true, you know” I told her, smiling. Her face figured itself into a look of uncomfortable fear. She remained silent as she performed the task. I was oblivious to her discomfort as I paid for the service.

I went about my day, joyfully enjoying my freedom, reveling in my newfound sense ability. The whole world was a new place for me now that I could see, hear, and think without the constant interference of hallucinations and delusions. I walked around Milwaukee’s east side casually enjoying the small shops, stopping for a coffee, and walking by the lakefront. After a few hours, however, I did become aware of people staring at me. I noticed the aura of space that I was given, the odd looks, and the strange confusion in anyone I interacted with. It began to roll through me that there was no context in the culture of psychiatry in the United States for someone being cured from a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.


After a few weeks it became clear to me the very real confusion, misunderstanding, and complete lack of comprehension that I faced as a person claiming to have been cured of psychosis. Being a schizophrenic claiming to no longer suffer from schizophrenia only made me seem more schizophrenic due to the current culture of  psychiatry. I was drowning in the fact that the stigma of being psychiatrically disabled would not cease so easily with a t-shirt and a self-made sanity card. I suffered heavily from survivor guilt after seeing a schizophrenic man talking to himself on the bus. I couldn’t escape the injustice. I became despondent, isolated, frightened and sad.


Desperately Seeking Sanity

In late 2012, I was suffering horribly from hallucinations, auditory and visual, as well as dangerous delusions that usually involved taking my own life in order to appease the voices. I had resisted taking daily antipsychotics and multiple offers from psychiatrists for electroconvulsive therapy. During this time, I was on a desperate search to find a different way to manage schizophrenia. I read many books, and researched everything I could about the history of mental illness, the birth of diagnosis, mental illness in other parts of the world, and the rise of pharmaceuticals until I came across the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer. He was a psychiatrist in the 1950’s who began treating schizophrenia, severe alcoholism, and other psychotic conditions with large doses of niacin. His work was pushed out as Haldol and other antipsychotics became available. At this time I had nothing to lose, so I set out trying to find a doctor who would facilitate Dr. Hoffer’s treatment.

After much searching I found a small, local clinic with a doctor who was willing to treat me with niacin. Dr. Fox was kind and willing. It was incredibly fortunate that I found a physician who was familiar with Dr. Hoffer and orthomolecular therapy. We began treatment. I was told to prepare for a 6-month period of serious detoxification in which I would become very ill. Within the first month my symptoms began to fall away, one after another, like a building collapsing in on itself. First the auditory hallucinations vanished. I was astounded at how incredibly loud the world was without the constant interference of the voices and white noise. Then the visual hallucinations went. I experienced severe vertigo as my eyes adjusted to never having seen accurate depth perception before. The physical illness also began to set in hard. Nausea, sweats, pain, weakness… the fact that I was experiencing such progress kept me going.

The delusions were the last to go. When thinking of how the senses and the brain process information, it all made too much sense. The delusions were built around faulty sensory input via the auditory and visual hallucinations. The brain naturally creates a narrative reality to explain what is being experienced through the senses. Once there was no erroneous input for my brain to interpret, there was no need for the delusions. My progress was undeniable and beyond anything I expected from any kind of treatment for schizophrenia. As we neared the 6-month marker for the detoxification to be complete, Dr Fox asked me if I was willing to talk about my experience with niacin treatment and be a case study that he could present to colleagues in the field.

At that time, I declined. I was free from the suffering that had haunted me my whole life. I was finally free. I was not eager to be held up in front of the same psychiatrists that had prescribed me dangerous medications and wanted to subject me to electroconvulsive therapy. I was not a science project for them to gawk at. I am a human. I wanted my life, symptom-free, I wanted a fresh start, and I wanted to experience everything I could with my newfound freedom.

The way I was viewed and treated when I got my freedom and stepped back out into society is what made me rethink my decision to share this amazing gift of real health. Not for doctors, not for psychiatrists, not for a research paper, but for others like me. Telling my story as a patient is an act of empowerment. I would not give that power back to the system of psychiatry so easily. I decided that if I were to tell my story, I would tell it my way, from my perspective, and it would exude passion, authenticity, emotion, and humanity. If there is anything that the current industry of psychiatry is in dire need of, it is a large injection of humanity. This is how I came to create my presentation Schizophrenia Deconstructed (see video below).


The History

I began hallucinating at a very young age. I can remember hearing voices and seeing my toys move by the age of five. I suffered severe early childhood trauma, including my mother attempting suicide when she was seven months pregnant with me. Her version of the story is that I kicked her from inside her belly just as she was about to slit her wrists. She always says that I saved her life. My version of the story is that at that moment I became a fighter, destined to survive. Once I was about 3 years old, my mother and I were in a stable home, but the abuse continued until I was 8 years old. I will not retraumatize myself by going into details. I do believe schizophrenia became my way of coping with my reality.

My parents have told me stories of my absolute hysteria when they would try to tell me that there were no voices, and that my stuffed animals were inanimate. I remember my father trying to calm me down by telling me there were no monsters in the closet. I replied to him that I wasn’t afraid of monsters, I was afraid of the people living in the sink, the walls, and climbing on the roof. I was born in 1977, so ADD and autism hadn’t been invented yet. I was considered a very odd child. I tested off the charts on most standardized tests so my teachers in school left me alone to do my advanced work. I didn’t have many friends and lived in my own world of terror and confusion. I had my first suicidal ideation at age 9. I was taken to emergency rooms with fits of temporary blindness. At age 11, I ended up in a psychiatrist’s office. I very quickly sensed the societal dangers of being so different and I very quickly learned to lie to doctors.

Adolescence was a painful and lonely time. My hallucinations and delusions became more terrifying. I began to self harm (not to be confused with cutting behavior) in order to invoke endorphins to obtain some relief from the chaos of my senses. At the age of 16 I attempted suicide for the first time. I took a lethal dose of painkillers and tricyclic antidepressants. I still was not admitting to anyone that I heard voices or had strange or frightening thoughts.

Adulthood proved to be more challenging in maintaining my ruse and I was caught in a full-blown psychotic episode. I was diagnosed with just about everything — bi-polar 1, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, schizo affective disorder — and I was told I was severely mentally ill. By age 19 I was on social security disability and fully took on the identity of an insane person with no hope for a future. I was also prescribed many, many medications. I ended up in the system at Milwaukee County Mental Health. I was drugged against my will, I was put in restraints multiple times, I was treated like an animal, and I was threatened with electroconvulsive therapy.

At age 21, I was put on stipulations, which means I was court-ordered to take my meds and serve three months inpatient at County. Two days before I was to show up for my sentence, I fled the state of Wisconsin. I was terrified I would be forced to partake in ECT. I waited out my time and returned home. I escaped the system, I took myself off most of my medications, and at this time, I decided to try to make a life for myself away from the walls of County, as well as the walls of my diagnosis. I practiced diligent self care, stayed in therapy, and went to college. I was a successful student, I began working in social work at youth shelters and began my master’s degree in counseling psychology.

I have been called a “high functioning” schizophrenic. I completely reject that notion. I lied extensively to protect myself and my career. I am also a white woman with benign features and the ability to speak. Language is a gift that not all people afflicted with schizophrenia have. We live in a racist, ableist society, and I used my privilege as a shield. Schizophrenia is a horrendous illness that does not discriminate in severity. With factors such as race, discrimination and ability at play there is no way to measure true potential except by a grand void of loss. I used my intelligence to hide my illness and become an adequate con artist so as to not end up back at County. There is no place in my story for “high functioning,” there is only fear of getting caught. I worked with children. I was training to be a therapist. I was excelling in every area of my program and precociously fighting for a “normal” life. Living in such fear was a destructive, shameful, self-harming lifestyle. I’m not “high functioning.” I was surviving with the tools I had.

In 2011, I was outed to my grad program by another student. The student worked as a receptionist in a mental hospital I stayed in over winter break. I did successfully file a HIPPA complaint, but the damage was done. The repercussions of that incident were swift and within six months I was barred from completing my degree.


Transformation

The aftermath of being discriminated against by a university is what led to a severe decline in my mental health and my voracious search for answers. I found what I was looking for. I found Dr. Fox, and I also found I had to face myself. After being free of all hallucinations and delusions I then embarked on a therapeutic journey to treat the underlying trauma that schizophrenia so capably protected me from.

Most of my most severe delusions involved saving children. There were babies in garbage cans, children stuck under cars, in walls, crying to me from vents and sewers. Then the code breaking would begin. I had power in my hallucinations to save those children. I had signs, colors, letters, patterns, and voices to guide me. Once I was cured of my sensory malfunctions, that power was gone. There were no magic codes to break and that child was me. I was fortunate to work with a therapist from the local VA. My PTSD assessment clocked in at what the VA team sees with returning combat vets. I suffered from nightmares, sleep disturbances that included harming myself in my sleep, feelings of not being real, detachment, rage, and endless mood swings. Niacin treatment is not a quick fix and it is pertinent to address the underlying trauma. The only time I wished for my hallucinations back was while unpacking the nightmare of my life without the maladaptive protection of delusions that I was used to. All my motivations for behavior suddenly changed, and I had to reconstruct myself, my identity, and learn to finally heal from lifelong trauma. It was a delicate yet beautiful time. I will always strive to maintain my mental health, as every human being must do. As I look back on my story and how I got to BE, I am eternally grateful to be alive.

Then, with the support of Dr Fox, I created Schizophrenia Deconstructed. I am proof that the paradigm of the industry of psychiatry must be shifted. I stand tall as that proof for others who suffer from schizophrenia. We have presented the show several times for practitioners in the mental health fields, and have received validating reviews. As I say in my performance: I don’t have all the answers. I am here to challenge what you think you know about mental illness. The ignorance we have been fed is our only enemy. It is time to expand our views of how we treat emotional distress and psychiatric disability. We only have to step through the doorway. My story is not a miracle story, it is a story of blindness, ignorance, and dangerous science within the industry of psychiatry. I am fighting with every ounce of my soul to be a part of the paradigm shift that is so desperately needed. Variation equals evolution, and to deny that is to deny the advancement of the human race.



Article written by Sara Yelich-Koth Originally posted on Mad in America - Science, Psychiatry and Social Justice
"Sara Yelich-Koth is a writer, speaker, social worker and mental illness advocate. She created Schizophrenia Deconstructed as a presentation in 2014. She also wrote an autobiography about schizophrenia. Sara has a degree in philosophy and studied master’s level counseling psychology."

Follow Sara on Facebook @saraykemotionalsustainability and on Instagram @sara_yk_



#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth is an ongoing project/campaign/series which invites you to speak and share your truth, unapologetically. For more info click here

Do you you want to get involved? You can write a long post, a short post, an essay, a word, or even just an emoji alongside a photo, or record a video and share it using the hashtag '#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth'
OR
you can send it to me on unapologeticallyelly@gmail.com and I'll share it here.


The words expressed in #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth belong to each individual participant.

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'I’m young and I’m chronically unwell but I am living my life' by Lauren @endobunny

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Living with multiple chronic illnesses is hard. It is SO damn hard. As if the physical symptoms weren’t enough, your emotions are effects too.

There are days when I feel so down and sad about my health, the future or even going through treatments. There are days when I feel anxious about what’s going to happen next, going out to social events or having invasive procedures.

But then there are the days where I feel happy and overjoyed because I have accepted that if this is meant to be my life and my path to go down, then I’m going to make the most of it. I don’t care what other people think of me or how they judge me. I am no longer forcing myself to explain, reason and justify anything to them.

I’m Lauren, I’m young and I’m chronically unwell but I am living my life. I am raising awareness to show people what it’s really like.


Written by Lauren Tugwell 
Follow Lauren on Instagram: @endobunny where she shares what it’s like living with multiple, invisible chronic illnesses. You can also read more by Lauren on www.endobunny.wordpress.com

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth is an ongoing project/campaign/series which invites you to speak and share your truth, unapologetically. For more info click here

Do you you want to get involved? You can write a long post, a short post, an essay, a word, or even just an emoji alongside a photo, or record a video and share it using the hashtag '#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth'
OR
you can send it to me on unapologeticallyelly@gmail.com and I'll share it here.


The words expressed in #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth belong to each individual participant.

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth - 'Speaking our truth is part of self-care' by Elly @unapologeticallyelly

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It's #WorldMentalHealthDay peeps. And I'm gonna start by saying that you can speak truthfully about your mental health today, and every damn day.

For most of my life, I went out of my way to hide, suppress, ignore and dismiss my truth in order to "fit in" with a profoundly sick society, and this was so harmful.

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ What's Your Story?

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I'm starting a thing! An ongoing project! A campaign! A series! Or all of the above? Call it what you like.

I've been a big fan of the hashtag 'Speak Your Truth' on Instagram for a while now, and since I came across '#SpeakYourTruth' I have used it in everything I share. Those three words have really inspired me and pushed me to keep speaking and sharing my truth. It's made me more open and honest, and more aware of what's real to me. The hashtag currently has 135k posts! So, my conclusion is: I am not the only one who is a fan.

Unfortunately, often we don't even think to speak our truth or of how important it is to do so. We usually just go about life, rushing and floating busily, without really thinking. Some of us even go out of our way to hide, suppress, ignore and dismiss our truth in order to "fit in" with a profoundly sick society, and this is so harmful. I am guilty of doing this; I silenced myself and dismissed my truth for most of my life, and it wasn't until I broke down and was forced to face it that I realised how powerful speaking my truth is, and that it's important to do it unapologetically too. What I mean by this is that we should share our truth without apologising for doing so. For a while, I found myself saying "I'm really struggling with my mental health at the moment" followed by "Oh god, I'm sorry" I was actually apologising for being honest about my reality. We shouldn't feel that who we are and what we are going through is so wrong that we have to apologise for it ~ it's kinda like saying sorry for just being me and taking up space. This is why I like the word "unapologetic" ~ it's a powerful word, and I believe we should embrace it. Be unapologetic in existing and taking up space. Be unapologetic in speaking your truth.

"In a time of universal deceit...telling the truth is a revolutionary act"
(George Orwell) 

Speaking our truth is so so important; it is empowering and can lead to wonderful beginnings. It's the foundation of a healthy life, and it can often lead to a "me too!" Our truth then becomes a shared experience; a reminder that we're not alone and that actually, we are part of a community of "me too's".

The above has inspired me to start this little project/ campaign / series / whatevs you wan to call it, babes.


The project/campaign/series: #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth 

Every time I share a truth of mine on my social media channels, I'm going to add the hashtag #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth and also share it on my blog www.unapologeticallyelly.com

I'd love it if you could get involved. I would like to invite you to speak your truth too; you can join me and take part by speaking your truth with the hashtag #UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth. You can get involved by writing a long post, a short post, an essay, a sentence, a word, or even just an emoji alongside a photo, or you can record a video, and either:

1) Share it wherever you want ~ on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Whatever you are comfortable with.

OR

2) Send it to me via private message or email.

However you get it to me, I'll then share your post on www.unapologeticallyelly.com and on my social media channels.

If you post, please use the hashtag '#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth' and tag me so I can see it. Tag me, send me a private message or email me with your truth via the following:


Please note, I will only share your words if you have given me permission to do so ~ once I've seen your post, I'll message you directly to ask if you consent ~ if you want to be the only one to share your truth, that's okay too. You don't have to agree to me sharing it also. On the other hand, if you don't want to post yourself but you'd like for it to be shared, you can also message or email me and I'll share it. Just let the truth out!

Tag others too so everyone can get involved!

Thank you for being here.

Eek! x


Join the Tribe:


#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth - 'Speaking our truth is part of self-care' by Elly @unapologeticallyelly

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'I’m young and I’m chronically unwell but I am living my life' by Lauren @endobunny

#UnapologeticallySpeakingMyTruth ~ 'Schizophrenia Deconstructed' by Sara @sara_yk_

Monthly Reflections 2018: Goodbye September, Hello October

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Looking back over September, and forwards to October:


I AM...PROUD OF

I'm super proud of how I've been managing my health. I'm doing well with following the endometriosis diet, with therapy, with emotional regulation, with processing emotions and feelings and thoughts, and events. I'm loving doing regular exercise, and I'm slowly (rather than rushing!) figuring out what I want. I'm prioritising self-care and my health, and damn, I've never been so proud of myself. I'm prouder of this than I am of graduating with an honours degree. True story. 

I'm also proud of myself for finally returning to my beautiful blog, and for getting started on writing my memoir. A book. About my life. The good, the bad, the ugly and the healing. And I'm so proud of myself to have started this process, I've been wanting to do this for years and now, I've finally started. This is where I begin.


I AM...LETTING GO OF

The need to fit in with society and do what society expects of me. I'm doing me from now on, and working on not letting societal pressures take over my life. This is something that has been coming up a lot for me lately; the need to be like everyone else. I must add that, I will always be working on letting go of this wish to fit in; we're programmed, from birth, to fit in, so I know it'll take some time, but I'm aware and I'm working on it.






* CARE * Whilst waiting for my weekly therapy session yesterday, this quote popped up on my Pinterest ~ "After years of trouble making - drug taking & experimenting with every part of my life. It seems the most radical thing you can do today is care for yourself & other people!"  (Judy Blame) Ain't that the truth!? Tell people you're doing therapy and they look at you like you're crazy. Tell people you're not drinking alcohol and it's like "Waaahhhh!?" Tell people you're on a special diet and no longer eat gluten, dairy, soya etc because it makes your endometriosis worse, and you're seen as difficult. Tell people you're usually passed out by 10pm every day, and you're seen as boring. When you no longer do what society regards as "normal", you're radical. Stop to chat with the man living on the street and you get looks from the general public. Tell people you're on antidepressants & antipsychotics, and they look scared. Tell people you're focusing on your health and not focusing on career, making more money, buying a house, getting married, or having kids, and you're seen as a tad weird. When I worked, studied and partied hard day & night, failed to eat properly, drank every day, lived with my abusive partner - Nobody looked at me differently. I was doing what society regarded as "normal". Then I broke down and was forced to live differently; to pause and take care of myself, and society made me feel like a failure. When did looking after ourselves & others become a rebellious act? It's a basic necessity. How did we get here? 🖤 #me #selfie #thoughts #selfcare #health #emotional #selfdiscovery #society #love #like #live #life #different #words #normal #sober #mentalhealth #therapy #beautiful #photooftheday #picoftheday #girl #crazy #mad #woman #invisibleillness #pressure #rebellious #fucksociety #speakyourtruth
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Also letting go of the need to say yes to please others! Fuck that noise. If it's not good for my heart, body, mind and soul, then it's a no from me. Even if I just feel like saying no, it's a no from me. There is power in saying no. There is power in being selective about what you let into your life and what you spend your energy on. Your time is valuable. If it's a no from you too, say it!


I AM...GRATEFUL FOR

The women in my life. I wouldn't be here without them. From my support worker, to my therapist, to my mum, to my best friends, to the inspirational women I follow on social media, to the female authors that inspire me to keep writing my story, to Dr Christine Blasey Ford for sharing her sexual abuse story with the world this week.

"You're not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage."

(Alex Elle) 

In the last 30 days, I've also felt grateful for:

  • The sun shining through my window in the morning
  • Finding beauty in every moment
  • For being a passionate individual
  • Walking around beautiful London 
  • Feeling more stable 
  • Being able to witness my brother's emotional growth
  • Surviving
  • Being such a sensitive person 


I AM...INSPIRED BY

Frida Kahlo. Like most people I have always been interested in Frida's work and words, but it wasn't until now ~ and learning a lot more about her ~  that I felt so inspired by her. This post I shared on instagram last month properly summarises how I feel about this incredible woman.





* WHAT A WOMAN * We got to experience the Frida Kahlo exhibition "Making Her Self Up" at the V&A this weekend, and it was beautiful. And emotional. What inspires me most about Frida, is that she was very vocal about her beliefs, her morals, her feelings, through her art, her words, her relationships and her style. Her whole life was a statement. I used to be so silent about the important things, I silenced myself to make others comfortable. And that's something that took a lot of work and time for me to change. Reading about Frida and being in the presence of her art, photos and beloved belongings, reminds me to always be vocal. To never be silenced again. Frida inspires me to speak up and take up space, and to always stand by my values & beliefs, no matter what others think of me. All she wanted to be was herself and she didn't care what others thought of her. I think that's such a beautiful fuck you to a sick society. 💃 #frida #fridakahlo #woman #power #identity #makingherselfup #v&a #art #inspiration #love #life #live #strong #beautiful #queer #femme #communist #unique #beauty #magic #real #human #humpday #words #wise #emotional #sensitive #speakyourtruth #feel #london
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Rachael Bland has inspired me to own and keep sharing my story. Rachael was a journalist and presenter for BBC Radio 5 Live. That's not how I found out about Rachael though, I found Rachael through the 'You, Me and the Big C' podcast. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2016, and following on from her diagnosis, she created this awesome podcast with two other fabulous ladies, who also have or have had cancer.

Rachael @bigclittleme, alongside her co-hosts Deborah James @bowelbabe and Lauren Mahon @girlvscancer, talk about life with cancer. I don't have cancer but I can reallly relate to a lot of what these ladies talk about; they're women in their 30's and 40's talking openly & honestly about going through a really tough time, but still trying to laugh along the way. And well, same here! They not only share their stories, but they also talk about loved ones, money, body, love, sex, pain, death, and the positives of living with a serious illness. YES; there are positives! It's really a wonderful listen and I highly recommend it ~ check it out by clicking here.

Rachael sadly died by cancer in September, but her legacy is going strong. She's done so much to raise awareness and give hope to others. And I want to do the same with mental health and endometriosis. And I'm so grateful to her for starting this podcast and reminding me that I'm not alone in my struggles; there are many women out there going through some tough shit and well, we're badass. Thank you Rachael.




I AM...ENJOYING

Music: I'm currently obsessed with 'Dakota' by Stereophonics, and 'Never Mind' by Dennis Lloyd.

Podcast(s): I've been listening to the 'You, Me and the Big C' podcast for a while now, I'm particularly loving the 'About Death' episode. This podcast makes me think of a beautiful book called 'The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying'. It's a good 'un. One thing that's guaranteed in life is that we are going to die one day, why do we avoid talking about it so much? Personally, I think it's time we start making friends with death, so that we can live a better life.

Another podcast I'm loving at the moment is 'Kalki presents: My Indian Life'. In this podcast, Kalki Koechlin and guests share their personal stories of what life is like for young Indian adults in the 21st century.

I only recently discovered this podcast, but I've already devoured all the available episodes.  It covers extremely important topics, such as gender inequality, body positivity, transsexuality, child abuse, sexual and physical abuse, identity, class, sex, and more. I've found it inspiring and uplifting, but it can get quite raw, heavy and emotional, so please please do tread carefully. I listened to it over a few days and did take breaks when the conversation got too upsetting. Consider this a recommendation with a trigger warning, and please be kind to you.

This month I also enjoyed Episode #53 of the Goodness Chick's podcast ~ "When We Learn The Value Of Silence And The Awesomeness Of Our Potential." In this episode, Erin Lawler Patterson talks to someone I love and who inspires me daily, my dear friend and co-warrior, Dominique de Marné. They talk mental health, the power of silence, labels, finding comfort within ourselves, changes, life! Need I say more?!


Book(s): 'Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder' by Rachel ReilandThis book is the author's story about life with Borderline Personality Disorder, and as a fellow woman with Borderline Personality Disorder, well, this is a special book for me. And as I am now working on my memoir, I thought it would be a great idea to return to Rachel's words.


Words: Laura Jane on saying 'no' ~ I needed this article this month. A much needed reminder on the power of saying no. I've always been a "I must say yes and please everyone" kinda person. I have been working on using the word 'no' for a couple of years now, but it's still a struggle and a reminder like this article by Laura Jane Williams is always a yes from me!

"Lately I’m less Fear of Missing Out – FOMO – and more JOMO: the Joy of Missing Out. It’s not that I want to engage with the adventure of my life any less than I did before. It’s more that I say no so that my “yes” actually means something. My yes has to be earned. My yes has value."
(Laura Jane Williams)


WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?

I've learned (and continue to learn) that there is so much power in listening to my intuition. I'm trying to connect more with my intuition and my inner power; it's there and I'm aware of it, but I need to work on turning up its' volume. My intuition needs to be louder than my programmed need to fit in to society.

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to profoundly sick society"
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)


MANTRA(S) FOR OCTOBER


"It's ok to live a life others don't understand"
(Jenna Woginrich)


"Trust that your inner-knowing is leading you in the right direction. The best is yet to come"


"Detach from needing things to work out a certain way. The universe is perfect and there are no failures. Give yourself the gift of detaching from your worries and trust that everything is happening perfectly"




See you next month! x
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