Tick, tick (the unspoken)

Tick, tick-

Two years since I knew something wasn’t right, I knew- just not what.

I thought I deserved it.

Deserved what? What was wrong?

Two years since I cried, I cried, I cried until my sadness, my hatred turned to sheer emptiness- a void (where a whole heart should have been).

You were my Valentine in the pouring rain- you were the rain, on Valentine’s Day.

I knew I was meant to want to talk about you, to share smiles of memories of you- but I only knew two things; I knew tears; I knew silence.

I never understood why I cried- I couldn’t put the words to it, but I knew the feelings. I ignored the feelings- for those that were meant to be. You said I deserved it- you made me believe I did.

You kissed me under the bright lights of the city- Oxford Street station, I’ll never forget. I didn’t want to. You knew I didn’t want to- but I was meant to want to.

I said I had to go- I didn’t. I needed to escape. I ran through the city lights until I had no breath left in me- and then I cried. And I cried, and I cried.

I didn’t always know what was wrong, but I knew it was wrong.

I did what you said. I followed your every command- I allowed myself to get wrapped up in you. Heck, I even felt. I felt things I didn’t understand, because how could I be so wrapped up in you- wrapped up in something that made me feel so bad, so hurt. Was I obsessed? Was I hooked on the hurt. But it hurt- I hurt so, so much. How did I feel so hooked, yet so hurt?

It wasn’t you who made me stay. It wasn’t safety, or all the things we were meant to be. It was your lies. It was your manipulation. It was the blurring of the lines. It was the guilt you put on me for living, for breathing for just a moment without you.

Nothing seemed to make sense. I cried about things I had no care for, to people I did care for. Maybe I didn’t care about those things I made myself care about, but the things you did, said? They made me feel things I didn’t understand, things I couldn’t explain; I thought I deserved it all. I cried about things I didn’t care about to people I did care about to make me feel safe. They were all that protected me. You never protected me.

I wish I could be brave.

If I was brave would I have gotten a sticker? A pretty sticker to go on my pretty face like at the dentist? Maybe, I’d have gotten a sticker- but not a sticker like that. A sticker not from you, but because of you (a healing sticker).

I wish I could be brave.

I wasn’t brave.

If I was brave, maybe I could have stopped it. Months and months more, months and months more and when I was finally brave? Months and months after that.

It’s been months and months after now- It’s been two years. You like to play games. I like to have nothing to do with you. You like to play games, and I don’t know when they’ll stop.

Even when you stop, when will you go?

Two years on, and you’re not go. Two years on, and you’ll never go. Haunting.

Tick. Tick.

An explanation

Love always,

LOVE Summit 2018: #LushPride

I have never felt pride like the pride I have felt over the past few days, surrounded by the most phenomenal LUSH employees.

By pride, I mean the word in two senses; Proud of the people around me and myself for all we’d achieved; Proud of who I am and who I love.

The theme of the LUSH Summit this year was love. Centric to Valentines and purely about compassion in all senses, this week was the perfect chance.

I was actually at the Summit for work, and I quite possibly had the best job ever; being an ambassador in The Queer Cafe.

What is the Queer Cafe?

The Queer Cafe is a safe space created by Lush, working with LGBT+charities. It was pitched to Lush employees to be a safe space in which all LGBT people could be themselves and get involved with campaigns that resonate in their hearts heavily.

Upon the outcome of my application, I recieved this info on ‘what to expect’:

“Installations from different areas of LGBT+ rights and wrongs across the world including digital rights, blood donation, LGBT+ rights and the law, pronouns, culture etc.

What was my job?

To educate, to empower, to campaign. All as relevant as the other.

I was able to maintain the environment, introduce the spaces and workshops, and assist visitors.

Areas of the Queer Cafe:

  • The bathroom installation (Sign Of Love)
  • The bathroom installation (Blood donation)
  • The Queer Library
  • Th Workhop area
  • Criminality- Egypt
  • Digital Rights – Egypt
  • Digital Rights- Jordan
  • Polari
  • The Pansy Project- Paul Hartfleet
  • Latin American and intersectional LGBT
  • Mermaids UK- The importance of pronouns
  • LGBT art

What things did I get out of the Queer Cafe?

I left with so, so many lessons. With information I did not know before, with conversations with wholesome people in my heart, with everlasting connections and friends I quickly grew to love.

A main thing I took away was the people. The people I worked with were truly wonderful, but also the people I spoke to made me feel amazing, and I left with so many people in my heart. Speaking to others like myself empowered me. Speaking about personal struggles and worldwide issues filled our hearts to the brim. The feeling was unexplainable.

One thing that really stuck with me was a question I was asked: “What is LGBT? What does that mean?”

As I welcomed a man who’s first Lush Summit it was into the Queer Cafe space and spoke to him about his life, he stopped me mid way and asked me what Queer meant.

Admittedly, I was incredibly shocked. A man in, maybe, his forties (?) did not know of the existence of LGBT folk. I explained to him in detail, and touched on the struggles and rights faced, and I did it with pride. I could tell that when he became informed, he was uncomfortable- I could see it in his body language- but I informed him with a smile and he thanked me.

Though, as I spoke with ‘confidence’, I was more anxious than ever before, and as I mentioned previously, quite frankly in shock, I kept speaking with pride and that’s what got me through. However he felt, he thanked me. However he felt, he walked away educated. However he felt, I was the one who educated him. And there’s no feeling quite like that.

Actually rather frequently, I got emotional. Sometimes, it was hard and the emotion was raw struggle. Sometimes, the tears were of pure joy. I was shaken up, but talking about these things was my job.

I also met some of the most amazing people. A huge thank you goes out to Soph and Jen for overseeing it all and looking after me, and Jessie for looking after me too. Yesterday I took ill in the morning and though I battled through, they did all they could to look after me and help me be in less pain etc. Aside from these lovely people, I made some fab friends too. A huge shout out goes to Hamzah for being a total babe and Matthew for sassing my life. You are both phenomenal. I also have to mention the lovely Ellen from Mermaids UK who I had some wonderful conversations with, Mara Keisling, and Bisi Alimi.

I left my final Queer Cafe shift feeling empowered, inexplainably so. This opportunity has been the biggest honour.

A more detailed post on the areas of the Queer Cafe is coming very soon split into two more sections. Part one wil be about the exhibitions, and part two the workshops and talks. Following this, I will talk about other areas of the LOVE Summit, too.

I hope this has made you feel as much pride as myself.

Love always,

Happy Pancake day! Lent for vegans (and those aspiring to be)

Happy Pancake day everyone!

And I mean everyone, because this recipe is inclusive of myself and all my vegan pals- it’s my favourite thing to do.

Not only is it Pancake day today, but my five month Veganniversary! Who needs a valentine when you can give compassion to the planet.

On the first day of the year, I spent it with my good pal Izzy (a non vegan, but now veggie… yay!) and we decided for breakfast (very late) to make pancakes…. and they were delicious.

Since I’m vegan and had been for a few months then, of course, we looked for a vegan recipe. It was actually my first shot at pancakes as a vegan so it was more than excited (and not disappointed).

We adapted the ‘Genius Kitchen’ recipe to ensure they were just how we liked them, but it truly was a good base point so full credit to them for the idea.

Here’s our recipe for the vegan pancakes:

INGREDIENTS

  • 140g flour (or 1 cup in American terms)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 225mls of milk alternative (my favourite for the recipe is almond, but oat is definitely the second yummiest and any will work!)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Now you’ve got all of your ingredients, it’s time to make pancakes.! This recipe is for good old fluffy pancakes (the best). I’m sure they can be adapted to thinner ones by spreading the mixture yourself or using another recipe but I love them this way so I’m happy with this. I could never master fluffy pancakes as a non vegan, so why now?!

METHOD

  • Preheat your pan to a medium heat
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients together
  • Mix your dairy free milk and oil together
  • Mix together your two mixes until smooth
  • Spritz your pan with a little dairy free butter or oil (I find the sprays work best for this purpose)
  • Pour your marvellous mix into the pan. It will be a fairly thick mix so not naturally spread.
  • Once the bottom layer is cooking beautifully and the thick mix above seems firm enough, flip! I haven’t found it easy to flip in a fun way, but I never did so before easier…. spatulas are safer, but whatever floats your boat!
  • Keep cooking and turning until cooked to your liking
  • Enjoy with your favourite topping!

I’d also love to give you all some topping ideas:

  • Sugar and lemon- a classic
  • Biscoff spread
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Dairy free chocolate spread. I find the best one to be meriden’s cocoa and hazelnut butter as it’s similar to Nutella and as much as I love Sweet Freedom, they tend to be too rich for me.
  • Bacun (meat and egg free) and maple syrup
  • Vegetable gravy- my friend Adie introduced me to gravy on pancakes last year and I fell in love.
  • Raspberry coulis and fresh mango
  • Passionfruit coulis and desiccated coconut

There are a million and one other topping combos but I love these few the most.

Mixing in vegan cheese whilst it cooks is also gorgeous! Although it doesn’t melt quite as well as normal cheese, if you get Tescos mozzarella style cheese, it is wonderful.

Pictured: Myself and Izzy yesterday making these pancakes

OTHER LINKS BETWEEN VEGANISM AND LENT

I have a lot of people in my social network, and readers, too, that want to either go vegan or reduce meat and dairy from their diet. So why not lent? Isn’t it a perfect chance to do so?*

*DISCLAIMER: If you suffer from an eating disorder with restrictive eating habits I do not recommend cutting food groups out for the sake of restriction. I have an eating disorder and it took me longer than I wanted to go vegan because of safety and wanting to do it for the right reasons. I have found veganism has allowed me to thrive, but I went vegan in a good mindset. Please put yourself first and only go vegan when it is safe for you to do so.

My friend Kajal went Vegan for lent two years ago. We did think it was only for lent at the time, but once vegan, I promise, you’ll never want to go back! That was something I realised when I went vegan (though I did have ‘for life’ in mind when doing so).

The history behind lent is using up all of a certain kind of food (those being thrown into pancakes these days) – so why not, instead of restricting yourself from chocolate, crisps etc, go vegan? Choose compassion- for both the animals, environment and yourself. Continue nourishing your body with good foods- vegan style.

Veganism has improved my attitude towards food a lot but generally, I find I feel physically better after eating, too, and if compassion doesn’t tempt you there are so many more health benefits.

Lent is the perfect opportunity to make a snap choice and go vegan, and I highly recommend you do- as Kajal did, and me later on- you won’t go back.

If I didn’t go vegan 5 months ago, I surely would have for lent. I’m glad I did before, but I hand this to you: here is your chance to take the leap into a world of compassion.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and consider making a positive impact by sending out a message to our toxic meat and dairy industry- the swap for even one bottle of plant milk, or a veggie meal a week, will do a world of good.

Love always,

Candidly me (poem- by Lauren Curr)

via Prompts- Daily post (candid)

DISCLAIMER: This prompt was from January 22nd, but I only discovered The Daily Post today and wanted to write about it, even so.

Candid

It’s funny how

the vulnerability

of one’s insecurities

opens up confidence.

A void of feelings

one would never

otherwise

know, open to

the net, the world, from another.

Perfection.

We strive for

perfection.

But who would have

ever known what

perfection

even was;

even is?

Self guided,

we critique.

We know our way

and probably

don’t make it-

on time,

where we want to be,

with whom,

on the route we planned.

What is

perfection.

By another,

we accept

whatever route

we are shown,

unknown.

Unknown, but loved,

carefree,

enjoyed.

When you take

a photograph

of your face

we strive for perfection.

Angles, lighting, background…

Must be

perfect.

Self guided.

I take a picture of you,

one picture,

and there have been better,

theoretically,

if the pegs are fitting

into the holes

of societal expectation,

perfection.

But I

guided you

today,

guided your camera,

your angles, lighting,

and the goal of

perfection

has changed.

Perfection,

faded into want

but not need.

I look good,

maybe not

complete,

on the ‘gram,

or other networks,

but good enough.

Raw,

I am good enough.

You see my vulnerability,

you see my beauty,

you see me.

I came across this candid from the other day and instantly hated it: I think, maybe, that was hatred towards EDS, ME, Fibromyalgia and all the other chronic pain thrown at me. I laugh to keep myself cheerful, but another dislocation after 6 days being slightly-more-able-bodied-than-before hit me hard, emotionally. These disabilities have changed my life, my future, the goals I’ve worked towards. Upon reflection, I have decided I like it. I can’t change my disabilities, and every day I’m learning how to live with them. I’m fed up of being unable to walk, I’m fed up of pain, but I am disabled and have to embrace that. So, I guess this is a kind of acceptance, preaching love, post. #disabledanndcute #myalgicencephalomyelitis #fibromyalgia #ehlersdanlossyndrome

A post shared by Lauren Curr (@laurbethanyc) on


When I saw the word candid, I automatically thought of photographs. I love taking candids of people, but don’t get many taken of me. Upon that, I’ve occasionally thought- is it because I’m ugly? But that has nothing to do with it. I also have realised that, in candid photos, I’m a lot less picky; if I see a photo of me I didn’t know was being taken and it’s relatively okay, I’ll probably share it. It’s a raw, pure memory of a good time. No filter on my life. It may not be a flattering smile, but I’m making memories, that’s what I’m doing, and it’s a moment out of being totally consumed by societal expectations and Instagram focused. Don’t get me wrong, I love documenting my life. I run a blog, for crying out loud, but sometimes you will be so in the moment photos won’t be the first thing on your mind. Sometimes, you’ll be so in the moment, they will- neither of those makes your memories less worthy, or valid. I feel like candids share a lot more of my vulnerability, but sometimes, that makes me feel more confident. I may have some tummy showing but when I look so happy, that shouldn’t be my primary focus so sharing these picture is empowering. That’s what this poem is about.


Personally, I think it’s powerful as spoken word. I did infact record myself reading the poem last night, but as i’m ill I feel like the tone of my voice isn’t as versatile as I would have liked, so am going to record it again soon, and sure, it’ll be included here. I do hope you guys like it.

On the note of spoken word, I’m going to below link some of my sources of inspiration when it comes to spoken word;

Button Poetry: https://m.youtube.com/user/ButtonPoetry

Rachel Wiley: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFOTqTicvY

Everybody’s free (to wear sunscreen): https://open.spotify.com/track/1TQ6a2NEA8LmKfgf0yeBvT?si=yfKzCxQ5QuiGCHAJJ7722A

^ The above was something I only discovered a few days ago when my fave person, Aida, sent it to me. I forgot to listen to it on the day she wanted me to but on my break the next day, we listened to it together and I now swear by it. I definitely will be listening over and over again.

Love always,

To the future

Exciting times are ahead of us. Today something huge has changed on this blog I perceive as my pride and joy….

Here at Stories Can Make Us Fly, we are no longer a .wordpress site!!! Though I have kept my site on wordpress as I personally do love the layout and find it extremely easy and convenient to use, today my own domain has been invested in, so the leap from storiescanmakeusfly.wordpress.com to storiescanmakeusfly.com has been taken. This is extremely exciting for me. I know it’ll open up a few doors. Plus, it’s something I have wanted to do for a while.

I wanted to do it in the summer; in November; in December; for the new year… but I just couldn’t commit. In January, I mentally planned taking this leap, but yesterday, the day I told myself I would, I didn’t. Today, I’ve been thinking about it non stop. I came on here to write, with it out of my mind, and the little notification encouraging me to take that leap appeared… and I fell for it. Though ‘falling for it’ sounds negative, I infact do not mean it in a bad way. It encouraged me to take that leap, and indeed, I feel gooood.

So, anyway. I took the leap, and am now very proud to announce my place on storiescanmakeusfly.com

This post is a short and sweet one about the domain change, but more will be coming in the very near future, so don’t worry!

Oh, and, I don’t believe I’ve had a chance to show this off in a post on here…. but the lovely New Lune designed me a new icon and header for the site before Christmas… and I love it. It encaptures everything I feel relevant to my blog and generally makes the site look waaaaaaay more aesthetic, so I am very happy!

Header:

cropped-img_2137.png

Icon:

cropped-img_2177.png

I aspire, going forward to be positive continually- even if I just impact one person’s life from positivity, talking about mental health/disability, or someone reads my rambles about living an ethical lifestyle or even considers changing due to it, I will be very happy.

|I’ll be back with more, and more interesting things, soon!

Love always,

img_2470-2

The harm of ‘diagnosing’ Trump (end the stigma around personality disorders)

Mental Health. An aspect of health slowly being spoken about more and more (thank goodness). We truly are getting somewhere with the stigma around mental health, but that seems to exclude many aspects of mental health.

Although there still a huge stigma around them, people are gradually understanding depression, anxiety, even suicide, but there’s one particular mental illness that is still, very heartbreakingly, misunderstood; personality disorders.

Recently, people have been commenting more and more on how they believe Mr Wotsit (he doesn’t deserve to be called by his real name on my page) is mentally unstable, and particularly, that he may have either NPD or BPD. This is significantly detrimental to people who genuinely suffer with personality disorders on a daily basis.

Good Morning Britain, a morning mainstream topical show, spoke recently to a mental health professional about Trump. Although I didn’t catch the whole interview (and honestly, if I did it would have upset me too much), the interviewee suggested that, not only was Trump mentally unstable (and as a result making the decisions he has done), but specifically diagnosing the man- may I add a man he does not know and and is observing from afar*- with Borderline Personality Disorder.

*Of course, you can comment on him from afar- comments on his actions and facts are great. But diagnosing a mental illness? Not cool.


What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is a condition that usually is a result of some form of abuse or trauma. Borderline Personality Disorder, or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, is “a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is frequent dangerous behavior and self-harm.” BPD patients carry a high risk of suicide, and treatment for BPD is very specific and targeted. Borderline Personality Disorder is not ‘curable’, but it is both treatable and manageable. It will follow you round for your whole life however managing the condition will allow periods of stability.

Key symptoms of BPD are:

  • Craving of validation
  • Outbursts of emotion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Self destructive behaviours
  • Intensity in relationships/ ‘being clingy’
  • Forgetting things
  • Unusual triggers
  • Getting upset about things easily
  • Bad at self care
  • Promiscuity
  • Impulsiveness

These symptoms are often jokes about but they’re serious and a result of the personality disorder. They should not be taken lightly, or mocked.

My personal example of the stigma around BPD is easily shown through my lack of care co-ordinator. Despite being under the care of the crisis team for months, I have not been given a care co-ordinator yet, since there is no one ‘suitable’. The issue is, not many people have experience with targeted BPD care since only 5% population suffer with BPD (a fair number lower than people with, for example, depression) and due to the stigma, many professionals will not want to train in personality disorder care. Even those trained sometimes will decide to not ‘treat’ you from fear, caused only by media demonisation of people suffering from the illness.


Now, who knows what Trump could be suffering from. Behind the scenes he could have BPD, he could have depression, he could have an array of health conditions, but I ask you this: how do they impact his presidency?

Whether Donald Trump himself suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder or not, I have one main issue with this public diagnosis: It’s being used as an excuse.

If someone has BPD, unless it’s made public and wanting to be discussed, it’s hardly anyone else’s business, so why are the media making it? They are blaming Trump’s totally inexcusable actions on a totally unrelated illness.

I, myself, have BPD. Of course, everyone suffers from different symptoms, but even if you have the most out there, severe symptoms, you couldn’t blame actions like the ones trump is taking out on illness. Do you see me being racist? Homophobic? Threatening to build a wall? Essentially declaring World War Three? No, you don’t. Do you know why? Because, funnily enough, those things have nothing to do with BPD.

Yes, BPD makes me impulsive, destructive (though personally I’d only exert that destruction upon myself, as that is who I am), paranoid, and have ever changes states of mind, but even if you could find trumps actions under those categories, they would not be a result of BPD.

I have made mistakes in my life, in the past year, month, week, day. We all make mistakes, however big or small, but my mistakes (general) are not a result of my BPD.


Another awful thing about hearing these conspiracies in the media is the sheer lies told about BPD and many shared stereotypes. Personality disorders in general suffer a terrible stigma, and usually are the result of abuse earlier in life, so BPD sufferers facing hell further post-diagnosis- from society, friends, doctors- makes things hellishly worse. Suddenly, people see the disorder and all they’ve seen in the media about it. When you find out your friend who is the sweetest human ever and would never hurt a fly has the disorder, fear takes over people. They forget the sweetness. They forget the lack of violence. They only see the disorder, when really, the person hasn’t changed.

The media’s reporting on BPD insinuates that every sufferer of BPD has the same symptoms. This is not true at all, and as I mentioned before, people exert symptoms differently anyway*.

*For example, instead of being violence towards other people, any violence and abuse is merely towards myself.

It just angers me beyond belief that in this day of only growing stigma, even people with a platform in which they could do good for mental health, and specifically personality disorders, use it to spread negativity and feed the toxic, right-wing media. I thought maybe that mental health professionals, who surely would want to rid of the stigma, would not spread toxic associations which are totally unrelated, really.

Maybe the power grabbing idiot who thinks he can run a nation does have a personality disorder; It’s never been something that i’ve thought, and therefore do not wish to speculate but it needs to be heard: You cannot blame one man’s mission to destroy marginalised people, and quite possibly the world… you cannot blame a man’s hatred and lack of compassion.. on a mental health condition.


My main issue with all this speculation is the impact it has on Borderline Personality Disorder sufferers. I do not want us to suffer more from an already killer stigma, due to one goddamn awful man.

I have been ashamed for having BPD since diagnosis. I was ashamed at presenting symptoms before diagnosis. It’s a scary condition, you don’t know what headspace it will take you into, and it’s a goddamn scary world to have a stigmatised condition in, too, but I am not ashamed of who I am.

We need to end this stigma once and for all, and speculating about awful people having such a disorder to excuse their behaviour is truly unacceptable.

I hope you’re able to see past my personality disorder and remember that I’m still the same person I was before you knew I had a personality disorder.

And that you remember I abhor Trump beyond belief.

Love always,

How to love yourself: Using a platform for good

In recent times I’ve been working on openness with people. I spent far too many years  hiding, suffering in silence, being the sunshine because I felt I had to and pretending things were totally okay. I don’t know if I was ashamed of my illnesses or just wanted to keep up my reputation, the facade of being overly positive and a constant ray. Things have only gotten harder and I have become resentful of my own facade. Overexerting myself came with this, and I faced backlash from people who quite simply just didn’t know how to be nice, and myself for never feeling good enough, despite my efforts.

I still want to be the sunshine and make things happy, but becoming ill has put a limit on that- so, I want to swish the mix a little. Sometimes, i’ll be little miss sunshine, hell yes. Other times, I will just be totally honest, this time. Why lie and say i’m great when i’m barely surviving. I want to use my platform for good. I want to speak out and be honest- it will make it easier for me to accept, to open up, for sure. I want to end the stigma and ensure people are not ashamed to struggle and people around them will love them, still, and share that support if they open up. I found recently I faced a much better response when I opened up about what was going on to my workplace instead of being vague, like I have done before. It takes time but it is so, so worth it and helps others, too.

I have actually started a side-instagram based on openness; I want to learn self love. I want to be active in a positive way in recovery. I want to show compassion. I want to share my struggles, seek advice, and advise others. I also want to be unapologietically me, unapologetically enthusiastic, and endlessly compassionate. If you want to check out this insta, it’s here.

Though I did want to make you guys of my new account, that is not the main reason for this post.

I want to share my favourite, positive social media accounts with you!

Whether you’re in recovery or just want a little boost on your timeline, these are my top 5 accounts:

  • makedaisychains
  • selfloveclubb
  • jessicajumpers
  • bodyposipanda
  • serenityinbloom

I refuse to put an order on these accounts as they are truly are wonderful. If I was able to attend any of their meet ups or bump into them in the street, I would have a real fangirl moment. I love every single one of them and they have done some amazing, amazing things for me without even knowing it.

Hannah Daisy(makedaisychains)

Hannah Daisy (she/her) is a queer, freelance artist and mental health activist, and creator of the #boringselfcare movement. I can’t quite remember how I actually came across her account, but as soon as I did I fell in love with it. I relate to most of her posts, and they do remind me to do the boring self care things on days I feel incapable or unworthy… such as showering, taking my medication, eating etc.

This will forever be one of my favourites;

Not only do I love her mental health art, but her queer art, too:

Gentle reminder 😐 #queer #genderqueer

A post shared by Hannah Daisy 🏳️‍🌈 (@makedaisychains) on

This post in particular resonates with me. I think I ‘peaked too early’ in terms of accepting my sexuality, in the sense that I didn’t realise I was queer until I was 16 and had a huge support network and queer friendship group. This means, due to knowing my friends had no judgement, I never really came out. I just… started dating girls, too. In recent times, I have been a lot more anxious about my sexuality, scared, in denial… due to my own experiences. This post actually made me cry because it meant so much to me. I’m a very proud pansexual.

Milly (selflovesclubb)

I think this was probably the first self love community accounts that I followed. I remember seeing one of her of collage posts, re: the correlation of moods and how you look. It was actually not one of her mental health posts that attracted me to her account, but one about chronic illness. As a spoonie myself, I follow a lot of guys and gals i’ve made friends with in the community and one of those friends liked the post. This made me feel so, so valid and was incredibly relatable for me. When I saw one of her mental health posts going mental a few months after, I still felt incredibly proud. I didn’t know her, she would never know me, and I hadn’t even known of her for that long, but I looked up to her and seeing an increasing amount of people discover her and look up to her made me so, so proud.

This was not the first post I saw, but it was something similar:

Chronic illness doesn't have a 'look'. . In the left picture I'm in agony and I've just had my 4th dose of morphine, I haven't slept properly in 48 hours and I'm sick of the hospital. . The photo on the right I'm in pain, I've had 2 doses of oral morphine, I'm exhausted yet I'm getting ready to go out. . Chronic illness/pain affects people differently day by day. I can cope with the exact same pain far better some days than I can others. Some days I feel the exhaustion in every breath but some days I feel a slight spring to my step. . Some days I scream in pain waiting for morphine into my veins and some days I take some paracetamol and go for a walk. . You can't judge how much or how little someone is suffering or how severe their illness is by looking at them. Someone deciding they are going to battle against their illness and have fun doesn't mean theyre not in pain or were over exaggerating before. Be kind. Show love and sympathy. To my fellow spoonies ❤️

A post shared by 👑☀️🌻💛MILLY💛🌻☀️👑 (@selfloveclubb) on

Milly suffers from chronic illness and has been fighting with other illnesses on a huge scale recently. She recently shaved her head on a livestream.

On most days, me and my good friend Hannah speak about ‘selfloveclubb’ and she really does inspire us both.

I hold all of her posts close to my heart and save them because they mean so much to me and are easy to share with people that just don’t understand.

Jessica (jessicajumpers)

Jessica’s account is a whole other kind of positive influence insta. I do actually remember how I came about this account.

My best friend suffers from a condition called endometriosis. As a spoonie myself, I know how goddamn amazing and supportive the community of people with chronic illnesses can be, and I remember when I was online I found some EDS merchandise; to embrace it; for awareness; for knowledge (I was looking for a medical ID bracelet and came across said merchandise). When I did, I seemed to remember seeing some for end, too, but wasn’t too sure, so took to etsy. It was then that I discovered jessicajumpers. My friend is also a vegan, so I followed the instagram account for present ideas for when I got paid, plus at the time I was not a vegan, but was aspiring to cut out meat and dairy totally (a mission in which I have now succeeded at for 5 months, so far! Here’s to the rest of my life). Around the election time, I found ‘babe with the power’ to be a strong moral I followed. As Jessica is a member of the Labour party, supporting an artist who uses their platform for good was wonderful. I know she’s also trying to raise money for her husband’s cancer treatment.

It’s so great to follow someone who creates inspirational, feminist and vegan works and though does not speak out for all chronic illnesses, holds relevance to a few!

SJ/Sammie/Serenity(serenityinbloom)

I haven’t followed this account for very long, so until a week ago I did not know much about SJ when the body posi bootcamp post was shared.

ALRIGHT! today is my day one, on @omgkenzieee’s #selflovebootcamp ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨ so hi, hey, hello! especially to my lovely new followers! my name is sj, but i’m also know as sammie or serenity. i live with my 3 beautiful doggies in a small town in the south west of england, surrounded by lush countryside. i am an empath, and spiritual af. my favourite things are vinyls, crystals, yellow roses, essential oils, combat boots, hummus, books, meditation, sunflowers, poetry, oracle cards, thrifting, highlighter, houseplants, vans, jersey bedding, oversized hoodies, sweet + salty popcorn, greys anatomy, long text messages, glitter nail polish, mindfulness and pizza. i am diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, fibromyalgia, m.e., EDS, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and ptsd, among others. i post about mental health, body positivity, invisible illness and disability, self love, self care and my doggies! thank you for joining me on this journey! ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

A post shared by seri. 🌸 (@serenityinbloom) on

In this, SJ explains diagnoses. ALL the diagnoses listed are things I am diagnosed with. Every. Single. One. I find SJ’s posts extremely relatable in the sense of suffering with chronic illness, with my body, with my mind… I think that’s what keeps me going back too their account. They truly are a beautiful human and I aspire to be similar to them, in openness, in combatting my demons and physical health issues, in using my platform for good.

 Megan (bodyposipanda)

I think Megan was one of the first accounts I followed. I’ve seen her as an inspiration for a long time. She helps me to thrive in the face of my ED and embrace who I am. She teaches me daily to love my body and eliminate guilt. She’s all round an amazing account to follow and also has a great book (which, confession: I haven’t had the chance to read yet!)

Reminder for anyone struggling with their mental health right now (including myself): YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. Your anxiety doesn't make you worthless. Your depression doesn't make you a burden. Your eating disorder doesn't make you unlovable. Your PTSD doesn't make you inadequate. Your bipolar disorder doesn't make you a horrible person. Your borderline personality disorder doesn't make you a disappointment. Your OCD doesn't make your value decrease. WHATEVER MENTAL ILLNESS YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH RIGHT NOW DOESN'T MAKE YOU A FAILURE. Repeat that to yourself until you believe it. You are so much more than one part of your mental health, and I'm really glad that you're here in the world. 💜💚💙🌈🌞 Picture from @blindsaay 🌸

A post shared by Megan Jayne Crabbe 🐼 (@bodyposipanda) on

I am also loving Emily Coxhead’s The Happy Newspaper and am desperate to buy one for myself!

Always 🌈🌞✨

A post shared by emilycoxhead (@emilycoxhead) on

All of these accounts I have found through each other, hence the inclusion of only the above five in my bullet points but there is one more instagram blog I’d like to include…

Pia and Chelsea (we.are.wellness)

I came across this account in a very different way. In 2014, I met Pia, one of the girls who runs this account, through being a member of West End Kids: Training. Since she was in the main troupe, I always sort of looked up to her. This admiration increased when once I saw her wearing a Demi Lovato bracelet. I first got excited from a fangirl point of view but my next thought was that maybe, she had her own stuff going on (which has recently been spoken about in a video on their YouTube channel). I never knew what, and of course wasn’t going to intrude, but going through a lot of stuff at the time I really admired Pia for being able to balance rehearsals and life with mental health; something I quite frankly was struggling to do. I also wanted to be a dancer as good as her, let’s be real. Sometimes rehearsals would be tough; the performance industry is brutal so I had to develop a thick skin, but sometimes anxiety and depression, and not having enough energy from food issues would get the better of me.

Much after this, I found this account via Pia sharing it on her own personal account and wanted to follow it, since I was at the time desperate to go vegan (which now, I am!!!). I think a part of me wanted to be vegan for restrictive reasons as well as having the strong morals, so I used what was sistersfitmission and is now we.are.wellness to inspire myself to want to still nourish my body whilst being compassionate to the animals, not using it as a way to restrict my eating. In more recent times, the girls have spoken out on their channels about mental health and it truly has inspired me. Their openness makes me feel less ashamed and helps to break down the stigma. I also see their posts about veganism and feel very proud to be a vegan!!!

Go vegan.

A post shared by Chelsea and Pia 💃🏻💃🏼 (@we.are.wellness) on

Anyway, Chelsea and Pia’s account is not one I found via the recovery network, but I very much include them in my recovery network, and as inspirational people who help me thrive in my recovery. They are definitely worth a follow and deserve way more credit and love!

Their morals also align with mine, being cruelty free, zero waste and vegan.

All of these wonderful accounts post regularly and I find myself looking at all of these accounts at least once a day for self love and inspiration. They truly do lift me even on the darkest of days.

I think it’s so important for people to use their platform for good; as I said, by starting my own account, bloomingbumblebee, I want to use my own to inspire myself and others around me.

I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday and these accounts lift me up as much as they lift you.

Love always,