Pssssst, reminder! Mend the Gap 99p Christmas promo offer

Get your Amazon finger at the ready! For 2 days only; Sat 8th and Sunday 9th Dec 2018, you’ll be able to download my book Mend the Gap on Kindle for the bargain price of just 99p/ 99c!

Mary and Amy liked it, I hope you will too! 😉

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reading by the fireplace

Keep watching this space, Facebook or Twitter for access…

Or Click here if you can’t wait that long! 

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Silvia from Scotland now knows not to define herself by how much she weighs, but by what is on the inside

As Silvia knows only too well, sometimes it takes getting in touch with our anger (power) in order to know where our personal boundaries are; and having boundaries is necessary to self- care, and self -love. This can be a hard lesson to learn, as Silvia recounts from her own life…

Silvia Vazzana 

My name is Silvia

And I am an over eater, not too anonymous.

I have a name, a face, a story and a personality.

Few people around me know about my emotional eating. Some people may have no idea.

My relationship with food has always been very complicated. Perhaps it has been the most difficult relationship I ever had in my life. It started when I was 8 years old.

Due a medical condition, I had to use lots of cortisone. As you might be aware, cortisone can cause a big increase in weight. To prevent an excessive gain of weight, my parents put me on a diet – I was already a bit ‘full’. As a result, from the age of 8, I started to develop a complicated relationship with food and my body. Since I was not allowed to eat the “unhealthy food”, I would secretly eat everything I could when I had the chance – and, of course, I would hide the tracks afterwards. When my parents were not home, I would stuff myself with food to compensate my deprivation. I still remember the “treasure hunt” in my house, looking for my precious treasure: chocolate. Or when I was in friends’ house, or outside and I had few spare coins with me, I had no doubt on what to buy: sugar. Any size, shape, taste. Everything was good enough.

Because of my emotional eating, at the age of 21, I reached 105 kg, 40 kg more than I was supposed to be.

It could be easy to blame my parents for my eating disorder, but I know they love me and I know that they put me on a diet for my health, to give me my best chances. They did it in good faith.

Who knows, perhaps if it wasn’t for my first diet at the age of 8 I was not going to be here, to write about my eating disorder. Perhaps, if it wasn’t for this eating disorder, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Now, of course on good days I like to see my “being powerless in front of food” as a learning opportunity. But in other days I see it in a very different way. I would just blame myself, asking myself ‘what’s wrong with me’ alimenting a negative state of mind.

Teen Silvia is a very different person from adult Silvia. I worked a lot on my self-esteem, I worked a lot on my dreams. I worked to build myself out of love rather than hate. When I was 22 years old, I decided to change my life, my destiny. I decided to define myself for how good I was inside rather than how much I weighed – although if goodness was measured in weights, I was winning!!

When I was 22, my heart was crushed. Into thousands of pieces. I had so much pain that I felt like I was going to die. I am not even exaggerating. At that time, I felt like my heart was not going to handle the pain.

It is about a person, you are right, but it is not about a boyfriend. It is about a friend, a best friend, C. We were friends for 17 years. She was like my sister.

C had lots of personal issues; but you know, we all have problems! She had a strong, dominant character. Most of the time she knew what she wanted, and she would have done anything she could to achieve it. This is something that I admired about her. Perhaps, when I was next to her, I felt strong myself.

But the more we were growing up, the more our lives were taking different paths. We used to argue a lot. But, of course, we overcame those arguments because friends are friends, right? Friends are in the good and in the bad. If you love someone, you find a way to compromise and I loved her so much, I loved her like a sister.

Our friendship arrived at a point when we would argue constantly – like an old couple heading towards a divorce. I’d strongly stand up for my values and she’d strongly stand up for hers. Alongside that, C had the tendency of hurting people when she was feeling hurt. If something bad happened to her she would hurt someone else. Yes, you read it right. She would feel better because in that way she was not the only one suffering.

I cannot forget the day when she had an argument with her boyfriend and, consequentially, she was very horrible to me. It happened many times in our friendship, but in one way or another we always overcame difficulties.

I know what you may be thinking; I am a stupid! Perhaps I am. But let’s shape it in a positive way – you know, just cause this blog is about self-esteem lol – let’s say I am a loyal, caring and committed friend.

But this day I said, “no more”. I remember telling her “Look at this face.. this is the last time you will see it!”. And I meant it. And of course, it wasn’t.

This happened just before I moved to Glasgow. After few months, C came all the way to apologise. At first, I thought she did it for me; but of course, at the end of this experience, it turned out that she did it for herself. C lived in Glasgow for one year. It was a very long year with ups and downs. After one year, C decided to go back to Italy. She was missing her boyfriend and her family.

We had her leaving party. We got massively drunk. Yep, there was lots of alcohol involved so I am pretty sure you know that this part of the story doesn’t end too well. At some point during that night I was about to go to the toilet. Before going, I noticed a few flirts between her and the guy I liked. I remember approaching her “I am going to the toilet, please do not kiss him” like if a friend needs to tell you this!

Guess what? Yes, you are right. I came out of the toilet and they were kissing. It was like a slow sword piercing my heart.

I could not stop crying, I thought I was going to die for how many tears I have shed.

I did not care much about the guy, it was not about him. It was about her. I would have never thought she was capable of doing something similar to me, to her sister. That was my last wake-up call.

I never felt so hurt in my entire life. And it was the best thing it could have ever happened to me. That day I found the strengths to say goodbye to all those toxic relationships I had in my life, including food. That day, I found the strengths to be become who I was supposed to be: Me.

That day, a new Silvia was born.

See Silvia’s Blog at: ilmeravigliosomondodisilvia.home.blog

Does this subject resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story for Amy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem? 

Please contact Amy to find out how by contacting her at: info@soul-shine.org.uk

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#Emerging Proud plans for 2019; it’s going to take all of us – your voice matters!

12th May 2018 Banner

#Emerging Proud is a not- for-profit grassroots movement aimed at spreading awareness that emotional distress can be a catalyst for a transformational growth process.

#Emerging Proud day 2019 is about initiating more public conversations about this vital subject, to help reduce the stigma around mental ‘illness’… Will you help? 

We need as many of you as possible to host your own events around the world on 12th May next year, using our FREE resources and template from the success of last year…

Want to help raise awareness and join in the celebrations? 

Find everything you need to host your own #Emerging Proud event HERE for free!

The more voices we can include, the louder the message!

#Emerging Proud day 2019 will coincide with the launch of our Kinda Proud pocket book; #Emerging Proud through NOTEs, the first in a 4 – part book series that we hope to be able to disseminate to mental health units and organisations to spread messages of hope and transformation to those in need.

Watch this space for more news on that, coming soon!

In the mean time – it’s never too soon to get planning your event;

Find everything you need to host your own #Emerging Proud event HERE for free!

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Poisoned Ivy re- emerges with a message of solidarity

Ivy from New Jersey on the US east coast has been a voice of HOPE in this community since she #Emerged Proud in the film last year. When invited to share her story for the Kinda Proud book series, she said; “I feel like I could write for all of them”, and I guess her voice resonates with the majority; we just can’t fit ourselves or our experiences into labels or book titles. Here’s an artistically portrayed snippet of her journey, which will feature in Kelly’s book #Emerging Proud through suicide

Ivy Chaya Shiffler

I’ve been killing myself since my first birthday.  So I’ve been told, I screamed my head off until everyone who came to greet me left the house, and only my mom was there.  Happy birthday Ivy.

Not really suicidal, just shy and deep into my soul, harboring something.  I remember sitting at the table as a toddler, learning to write my name.  It was like I was re-learning who I was, or learning who I was for the first time.

At some point the good memories were overlapped by all the painful ones.  My mind became a labyrinth of dark, sad, lonely memories.   But one way or another someone(s) or something(s) within or without helped me get by.  So what could be described as manic depression, could also be divine intervention.

Losing people I love… losing the connections that held me…  that’s when I became lost.  That’s when life seemed ‘un-livable’

I remember praying and hearing nothing, and crying out for my parents in bed.  I remember sharing a bed with my siblings, and the fear… we’d keep the blankets around our whole head and only leave a hole big enough to breathe through and see.  I remember all the times I swallowed bottles of tylenol, aspirin and other medication to see if I could stop the suffering.  It never killed me, it just poisoned Ivy.  Funny how that nickname took on new meaning.

Even my art ‘poisoned’ me, as I touched the solvents with bare hands and held multiple brushes between my teeth.  But it also set me free.  The chemicals I’ve absorbed, the toxicity, the soup my brain rests in… the antibiotics, the pills, the birth control, the SSRI’s, the Antipsychotics, did I miss any?  Yes… the morphine when I lost my first born to miscarriage.  I have been separated from my body, almost quite literally “beside myself” for years… quite possibly longer than I know myself.

Have I tried to kill myself?  Yes.  So many times.  Did I want to?  No.  But I was going through a spiritual process… I was dying of heartache, I was dying to be reborn, and I needed a connection that wasn’t being provided.  

Now my body and mind and spirit are a trine.  I feel so much and sense so much that I can only hope to slow down enough to remember to breathe.  And yet, I am here!  I am present.  I have not been decapitated.  I have not been psychically castrated.  I have not had my voice stolen.  I have been reborn and I am finding that my family is nearly limitless.  Family is a unit and a cluster and extends beyond what I could have ever imagined.

What do I mean by “family?”  I mean that consciousness has changed and I love humanity.  I would sacrifice myself for the all, but the lesson learned was I am loved and this sacrifice is neither necessary nor possible. 

We are strong together. 

I hear we are louder together, yes? 

We are not alone. 

We will not be broken.

I love you.

And now I love me too ❤

Connect with Ivy here: Ivy’s Facebook Art Page

Ivy C-S

Ivy

Do you have a journey that you are proud to have emerged from to share?

CLICK HERE to find out how ❤

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Heads up! Mend the Gap 99p Christmas promo offer

I’m excited to announce that for 2 days only; Sat 8th and Sunday 9th Dec 2018, you’ll be able to download my book Mend the Gap on Kindle for the bargain price of just 99p/ 99c!

– Perfect for some cosy Christmas reading 🙂

reading by the fireplace

Mark it in your diary so you don’t forget!

Here’s some testimonials to help you decide if it’s worth it…

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Or Click here if you can’t wait that long! 

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Silence kills; do you have a story to share?

Owning our stories can be the bravest thing we do, and also the most liberating… Many proud #Emergees have reported how scary and rewarding it has been to speak out about their personal experiences. It creates a kinda ‘positve domino’ effect; letting others know that they are not alone in their struggles, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Are you feeling the urge to speak out?*

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About Kinda Proud:  

Innovative book series: Personal stories aimed at providing hope and encouraging us to ‘re-think mental distress as a potential catalyst for positive change’

One of the main mantras of the #Emerging Proud campaign is that by working together we can change the world; that we need to BE the change we wish to see in the world. This project aims to create a series of ‘Pocket Books of Hope and Transformation’ for people experiencing different themes of mental distress, under the umbrella of the anti- stigma social movement ‘#Emerging Proud’. 

 

Sory sharing warrior

KindaProud empowers passionate Peers to tell their stories and be validated in doing so by a growing community that values authenticity, vulnerability and reduces stigma and shame. This helps build confidence and connection. Our project is empowering Peers to bravely speak out, proudly owning their story, and letting their voices be heard, in many case for the first time.

FIND OUT HOW TO SHARE YOUR STORY HERE

(*Please make sure you have support if you are sharing your story for the first time. Resources can be found HERE)

The main aim of our Kinda Proud book series is to decrease stigma, improve wellbeing and influence the saving of lives through providing a more compassionate and positive conceptual framework for emotional distress.

This project is unique because each Pocket Book of hope has its own KindaProud Rep; a Peer who has personal experience of the theme of that specific book in which they tell their own story and encourage others to join them in doing the same. Our first 4 books currently being created are;

#Emerging Proud through Suicide

#Emerging Proud through NOTES (Non- Ordinary Transcendent Experiences)

# Emerging Proud through disordered eating, body image and low-self-esteem

#Emerging Proud through trauma and abuse

FIND OUT HOW TO SHARE YOUR STORY HERE

(*Please make sure you have support if you are sharing your story for the first time. Resources can be found HERE)

Our Kinda Proud Reps…

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FIND OUT HOW TO SHARE YOUR STORY HERE

(*Please make sure you have support if you are sharing your story for the first time. Resources can be found HERE)

#StrongerTogether ❤

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Špela Kranjec from Slovenia is ‘Kinda Proud’ of her journey through anorexia

When seeking acceptance through making herself thinner didn’t work, it was facing death that became Spela’s saving grace to self- acceptance. Here Spela shares some of her 9 year battle with her body in order to give others who might be struggling HOPE…

spela-kranjec

YOU HAVE A PIECE OF CAKE AND FEEL AWESOME – PRICELESS!

I used to love food. I looked forward to all social events because I knew there would be food. I enjoyed food so much that I was a sight to behold. And I wasn’t at all concerned what others thought about me or my behind getting bigger because I ate so much of all this excellent food. I admit, I was a bit overweight, but I was confident, I knew how to stand up for myself, and I laughed almost every day.

And then something, somewhere, went wrong. I became a teenager.  I grew up and those extra pounds on my behind were gone. Everyone noticed! All of a sudden, I was ‘beautiful’! Unfortunately, I lost my confidence and the simple, carefree life. It’s true that I was more attractive, but I was really useless. No one could see me as a person that longs for spending time with friends and going to parties, as there was nothing left of me but sadness. Nothing. Emptiness!

And from this emptiness came a lie. I became convinced that I was not beautiful enough. I obviously did not meet the criteria of my peers, since I kept being pushed away. I had to change that somehow. I had to somehow fit it, as the isolation was too painful! So I started aiming for ‘perfection’. “Somewhere on this path to perfection I’ll certainly become good enough, and that’s when I’ll stop. That’s when I’ll start enjoying life.” In this misguided belief I doomed myself to several horrible years…

Others only needed to look at me briefly to see that horror. All they could see what a pile of bones, moving about the world without expression. Even though I was not aware of it at the time, I kept moving further and further away from being accepted by my peers. And despite needing nine years to really come to terms with it, I actually had anorexia.

When I look back now, I am truly shocked that the human mind can become so motivated to achieve a certain goal that it is willing to give up its own life. Because, at that time, I really didn’t care about my own life. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. All that mattered was that I look beautiful. Even if I had to give up all food that I used to love so much, abusing laxatives behind closed doors, and having nightmares about my intestines failing. I didn’t care about the pain I felt while doing jumping jacks, spinning the hula hoop, and doing crunches over and over, even though the room was spinning and my lips were completely dry and longing for a sip of water. All the tears I shed in secret, yearning for a hug, didn’t really matter. I truly did not care if I lived or died, the only thing I cared about was losing weight. Or rather, I longed for the acceptance I thought I would finally achieve once I lost enough weight. I kept wondering why I was different from others and why I can’t be like all the ‘normal’ people. Why couldn’t I walk up to someone, start talking to him , dance at a party like no one was watching, and to be attracted to some hunk and act like a schoolgirl!?

After a few months of this self-inflicted torture, when I was truly nothing but skin and bones, and my body could hardly keep me conscious, I was driving somewhere and for the first time asked myself if there was any point to all this. I tried, I really did, but there were no results. I was still alone, and I did not want to live another day with this feeling of loneliness. I couldn’t do it anymore. And because of this question I almost gave up that day.

Or rather, I did. I was ready to end it all.

But something stopped me. Despite all this horror I lived in, my body still wouldn’t let me finish it. It wanted to fight. Even today, I don’t know where it found this strength – where I found this strength whilst hugging my blanket that day, yelling through tears that I can’t do it anymore. I literally starved myself to my limits. That day was a turning point. I only had two options. There was no middle ground. It was beyond obvious that my life can not remain the same. And I was either going to die or regain some weight.

As I wasn’t able to die, it became obvious: all the pain I made myself suffer through would soon become meaningless, as it will take me just a few short months to become what I was years ago, when I still knew that feeling of happiness, eating with enjoyment and having something to smile about during the day. Accepting this fact at that time was hard. Very hard. It required that I change my behavior and personality, which meant a lot of soul-searching, visits to physicians, and talks with psychiatrists.

It was hard. But it was worth it! Can you even imagine how insanely good it feels that I can have a slice of delicious cake and not feel bad about it?! I’m laughing once again and in the evening I fall asleep in the arms of someone I love dearly. The world is beautiful once again and I feel like I can have it all!

So I can say with absolute certainty that it was all worth it. Of course, the entire experience demanded a lot from me, but I believe it has made me who I am today – and I am proud of who I am.

With this feeling of pride, I wrote a book – Notice Me: My 9-Year Struggle against Anorexia – and I hope my story will inspire many others.

Everyone can do it! ❤

Start reading Spela’s book now at: https://www.notice-me.net/free-chapter/.

CLICK HERE FOR SPELA’S WEBSITE

Do you have a story of #Emerging Proud through related struggles?

To share your experience on the blog and in Amy’s KindaProud book:

‘#EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem’

Please contact Amy at: info@soul-shine.org.uk

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