Shining Star Recovery

Because Life Won't Sparkle Unless You Do


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Veganism & Why I'm Stopping

I know that everyone has different views on veganism so I'm not going to go into detail about whether you should or shouldn't eat animal products, it's you’re preference. I will however, talk about the reason why I chose to go vegan.

Why I chose Veganism

I chose to go vegan 2 years ago nearly and the reason was to do with my anorexia. For me I saw all food as "unhealthy" which meant that I didn’t want to eat any foods, I only wanted to eat healthily, and that’s where veganism came in. I've seen many people who suffer from eating disorders especially anorexia use veganism to help them start eating more food and become a healthy weight again. I thought "maybe veganism can help me too”. Veganism is seen as healthy as it’s mainly plant based, but not all vegan food is plant based, there are foods that are accidentally vegan (Oreos, some Pringles, skittles, etc).

What I was hoping for

1- To start eating more
2- To eat an average sized meal as I haven’t had a meal in 5 years
3- Learn to love my body the way it is
4- Gain weight healthily and not freak out

Don't get me wrong to begin with it helped me, I started to eat a little more. But then I started to use veganism to restrict even more. I’d refuse to eat food, I won’t have a break at work so I don’t have to eat, if I get offered food I’m like no I’m vegan I can’t eat that (they’d usually off me pizza or something). I’d get offered chips or a smoothie and I’d still refuse.

End of December / beginning of January I lost nearly a stone in just a month, I’ve managed to keep it off and been trying to loose more. I started to purge again even on days I hadn’t eaten anything at all. Most days I won’t eat and on the days I do it’ll be the minimum I can get away with.

Why I’m stopping being Vegan

I’ve been thinking over the past month the following questions:

1- Have I gained weight being vegan?      No, I’ve lost weight
2- Have I increased what I eat?                 No, it’s decreased
3- Do I love my body the way it is?          No, it’s fat and horrible
4- Do I eat meals?                                      No

With these answers I’ve realised that vegainism hasn't improved my diet at all and I’ve just used it to eat less. Yes veganism has helped me eat new foods which I’d never do before and I’ve found new foods I love but other than that it’s not benefited me at all.

I’ll still eat vegan foods and most of my diet will probably be plant based and I’ll not go back to drinking milk from animals as I prefer soya milk. But aswell it causes problems for if I got out or go round a friends house, I can’t just have a cuppa tea because they don’t have soya milk, so stopping being vegan will mean that it won’t matter if they don’t have soya milk because having a little milk will be fine. 

The other day I ate one child’s size meal (vegan)  and the following day I had one full average size meal (non-vegan) it was lovely my first meal in 5 years and it included cheese which growing up was my favourite food until 2 years ago when I went off cheese altogether. I’m glad I’ve got my love for it back, and I’m hoping I’ll find more foods I like.

I’ve never been a fan of food and I probably never will be but if I can start eating better then this will be worth it. They’ll still be some foods I won’t eat as they’re fear food for me but it’s a start that I’ve eaten my first meal in 5 years and that’s an achievement for me. I know that eating one meal in one day may not sound much to most people but for me that’s a massive step and one I never thought I’d achieve.

Friday, 16 February 2018

New Diagnosis

When diagnosed with a mental health disorder is it a good thing or bad?

Ok, so its good that we have an answer to why we are feeling a certain way but I know for me I always feel "oh great there's another thing wrong with me". But is this always the case?

I don't think so, I know a lot of doctors won't put a label on mental health especially in younger people but I think that most of the time it helps to know what is wrong so that we can then get the help and support we need.

My New Diagnosis

I've not had this new diagnosis for long but it definitely explains so many things in my life right now. So I've now been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), for me, this has developed from my sexual assault back in June, they've finally realised that after 8 months things haven't got better for me and then agreed it was PTSD, which makes total sense. This diagnosis doesn't define who I am, rather it'll allow me to develop as a person and become more resilient in the long-term, I'll beat PTSD just like the rest of my mental health.

*What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a type of anxiety which has been caused by a frightening or distressing event. The sufferer relives the trauma through nightmares or flashbacks, they can feel isolated or guilt from the event and can also develop insomnia. PTSD affects the sufferer on a day to day basis.

PTSD can be caused by a variety of different events:
- Serious road accidents
- Sexual assault
- Long-term abuse
- Witnessing a violent death
- Military
- Held Hostage
- Terror attack
- Natural disasters

The sufferer can develop PTSD straight after the event or weeks, months or years after. 1 in every 3 people who have been through a traumatic event will develop PTSD.

PTSD can be treated by one of the following three ways:
1) Waiting to see if symptoms improve on their own
2) Psychotherapy which focuses on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)
3) Antidepressants (Paroxetine or Mirtazapine).


Crisis Team Assessment

Today I went for my assessment with the crisis team and they might as well have said that I'm not sick enough. 

I was very anxious to go today and would've rathered not going because I was worried at what they were going to ask and what they were going to suggest would be best for me. They asked so many questions:

- Childhood
- Eating
- Self-Harm
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Suicide Plans
- University
- Sexual Assault
- Anti-Depressants (this has been the decision by myself and my doctor to not be on medication due to me having bad side effects)
- Etc.

After talking about all of this they go "well if you don't want medication then there's not much we can do, continue seeing your MH advisor" (who I don't think actually helps me at all). They've not referred me to anyone or have they referred me to any specialist under the Crisis Team.

Like are they actually serious, I told them how suicidal I've been and how my mood hasn't really lifted and they still say there's nothing they can do, well they might as well be saying I'm not sick enough. It actually annoys me how professionals can make out you're not sick enough.

You wouldn't say to someone with a broken leg, "oh sorry but your leg isn't broken enough yet, come back when it's broken more". Or you wouldn't say to someone with cancer or any other serious medical illness "sorry you're not sick enough for help". Yet it's seemed acceptable to say that people who suffer from mental health aren't sick enough.

I'm not saying that in all cases it's like this or that all professionals are like this. But by saying to someone with mental health that their not sick enough is going to cause them to become sicker and could possibly even be causing someone to take their life eventually because they believe they're not sick enough for help.

Mental Health support needs to change, how can we expect the general public to understand how serious MH is or how MH is an illness, if the professionals don't take things seriously. Sorry but all mental health should be taken seriously no matter how severe and suicidal thoughts should definitely be taken seriously.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Suicide Awareness

Due to suicide being a very sensitive topic I'm going to put a trigger warning on this post. The post is going to talk about what the thoughts of suicide are like, along with hopefully spreading awareness and getting people the help they need.

Due to recent things happening in my life, I thought it'd be a good idea to do a suicide awareness post. There isn't a face of depression or any other mental health disorder and suicide is the same.

According to the Samaritans data released last year, there were 6639 suicides in the UK and the Republic Of Ireland in 2015. Scotland and the Republic Of Ireland suicide rates have fallen, whereas the rest have risen. Men in their 40s seemed to have the highest suicide rate, suicide in men have dropped in England, Scotland and the Republic Of Ireland, however, they've increased in Wales and Northan Ireland. Female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade, with rates decreased in Scotland and Republic Of Ireland and increasing in England, Wales and Northan Ireland*.

Society believes that people that are suicidal are sad all the time, dress scruffy, messy hair, no makeup and don't take care of themselves. But I can tell you that's not always the case, you can be suicidal even when you're smiling, laughing, well dressed, makeup, perfect hair, good hygiene.

 Question: Does this photo look like I'm suicidal?


Well....This photo was in fact taken 1 hour before I went and made an attempt on my life back in September. It wasn't an in the moment decision but was planned for months beforehand. 

Suicidal thoughts for me are a horrible thing to experience, I don't care that I could die or sadly I don't feel what it could mean to those left behind. All I believe it that everyone will be better off without me and that it'd just be better if I left. The scariest part for me is the fact that I don't want to die but my illness seems to cloud what I truly believe, it clouds everything and it seems to persuade me that it'll all be okay once I'm not around.

*High-risk warning signs:
- Threaten to hurt/kill themselves
- Talks/writes about death, dying or suicide
- Looks into ways of killing themselves

Other warning signs:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Episodes of sudden rage/anger
- Engaging in risky activities with a lack of concern about consequences
- Feeling trapped (can't see any other way out)
- Self-harm (including misuse of drugs and alcohol)
- Noticeably gaining or losing weight (change of appetite)
- Increasingly withdrawn from friends and family
- Anxious/agitated
- Unable to sleep/sleep all the time
- Sudden mood swings (sudden lift in mood after depressive episode)
- Talk/act to suggest their life has no purpose
- Lost interest (including appearance)
- Putting affairs in order (giving away possessions, making a will, etc)

Contacts- Please contact any of the below or myself if you're feeling suicidal 

Samaritans - Call: 116 123

Nightline - Each university should have a nightline that you can access during the night if you're feeling low.

Papyrus (up to 35 years of age)- Call: 0800 068 41 41 or SMS: 07786209697 or email:

*Further Information

Friday, 26 January 2018

Recovery Isn't Easy

Anyone who has suffered from a mental health disorder knows that recovery isn't easy and at times can be impossible. Anyone that says otherwise isn't speaking the truth, recovery is just as hard as going through mental health itself.

My mental health has been severe for nearly three years now and I've been through many recovery journeys, all of which I managed for a while but then fell back into old habits. All those recovery journeys seemed easy compared to now, at least I knew why I was feeling that way.

Since June 2017 I've only had three blips which is really good for me. I believed that the blip I had from September to December was one of the bad ones, as at the time I wasn't in counselling and was only seeing my mental health advisor. However, these past few weeks I've been declining with my mental health and I'm really not sure why it has happened. There has been nothing that has caused my mental health to get worse and I still see my mental health advisor. This week I didn't go to my meeting with her as I didn't feel up to it at all, I've pushed myself to go to uni to get my attendance and I've pushed myself to go to work because I don't get sick pay and need the money, also if I didn't go then people would suspecting that there's something wrong.

I've had four panic attacks in two days this week, have been constantly crying, reliving the sexual assault, missing my grandad and quite honestly struggling with suicidal thoughts and finding a reason why I should carry on. My mental health advisor was understanding why I didn't go and wants to meet me next week to talk about whats been going on.

Along with that she wants me to see my Dr. and talk about being referred to the Urgent Care & Assessment Team, this team is run by the NHS and used to be called the Crisis Team, they are for short-term interventions for people that are in crisis and feels like the more intensive support may help. I really don't want to be referred to the Crisis Team, but on the other hand, I really don't know what to do, what do I need to get out of this circle.

I'm currently trying to decide whether I should try and get in contact with an old counsellor or just leave it with what I have at the moment, I'm heading more towards emailing her and seeing if she can see but and if she can't then seeing if there's anyone she'd recommend. I've tried other counsellors before but I'm sure she'll know someone who'd fit me well as she knows me pretty well. But one thing is for sure that recovery isn't easy and its gonna be a long road ahead.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Tattoos & Piercings Update - Part 3

I've got quite a few of piercings but unfortunately, along the way I've lost some, some of which I'll get re-pierced at a later date and some I won't but the majority of my piercings I've not had an issue with.

So my left ear I have a Triple Forwards Helix, Tragus, 1st & 2nd Lobe, Two Helix Piercings and I did also have my Rook pierced but that got pulled at Summer Fest and never fully healed so had to take it out. I will eventually get my Rook piercing re-done as that's one of my favourites piercings.

My right ear has to of had the most change. My Scaffold piercing got ripped out (bottom end only) so I decided to get an interlinked Heart Piercing and create a Double Forward Helix, and I also then got 4 Outer Conch piercings. Now I have a Tragus, 1st & 2nd Lobes, Two Interlinked Forward Helix Hearts and Two Helix (two of the old outer conch) piercings.

 I also have a double navel piercing (top & bottom)

In my nose I have my Septum, literally doesn't hurt, so it's a good first piercing as you can also hide it or take it out and have no visible scarring, I then also have a double nose piercing.

In my mouth, I have my Smiley piercing, which is the webbing between your top lip and gums.

My Marley piercing. This is the webbing underneath your tongue.

Finally, but not least I have my Tongue Piercing. I wanted this piercing for like 6 months before I finally got it. There are so many risks with this piercing and people also think it'll be painful because your tongue is so thick but honestly you don't feel the needle at all. It's just the first two weeks of healing that's horrible and painful, you can't eat, talk or swallow properly, but if you can get through the first two weeks you'll be fine and have a great piercing. Just don't play with it too much as it can cause receded gum and cause tooth damage, also be wary when eating as you can easily bite down on the ball which could break your teeth if its a metal ball. I've had this piercing two months now and I've only bitten it once (touch wood), it killed for days but definitely learned my lesson.

Time Scale - 25 Piercings

First Lobes - 1 Years Old
First Nose Piercing - September 2nd 2016
Triple Forward Helix - December 17th 2016
Double Navel & 2nd Nose Piercing - January 7th 2017
Rook, Left Tragus & First Helix - February 1st 2017
Septum, Scaffold, 2nd Lobes & Right Tragus - May 16th 2017
Smiley - May 18th 2017
2nd Heart - August 8th 2017
Outer Conch x4 - September 2nd 2017
Marley - September 9th 2017
Tongue - November 11th 2017


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Tattoos & Piercings Update - Part 2

I'm glad that so many of you liked part 1 of my tattoos and piercings update, I hope you like the last 6 tattoos and what they mean to me.

Like my two paw prints this tattoo is in memory of my two pets, this is 3 tattoos in one. Benji was a border collie my parents got for the family on my 1st birthday party, we grew up together and had a close bond, I used to talk to him when I was having a bad day, he sadly passed away May 2nd, 2012. Tuffty was a dwarf lion-haired and was originally an ex-family members rabbit, she didn't look after her so she became mine, who I didn't have to share with anyone. Tuffty was my little angel and meant the world to me, she definitely got spoiled because of her past, she helped me through the death of Benj, and I could tell she missed him by the way she'd always go to the corner of her run that they both used to sit at with each other and how she'd hop there everytime the back door opened, expecting Benji to run out, they were quite close too. Tuffty also helped me through a really tough time when my mental health got bad, she sadly passed away March 1st, 2014, 4 days after my birthday. The quote "I'll meet you at the rainbow bridge" goes down my foot with paw prints and watercolour, the quote has always helped me cope with their deaths and knowing that at the rainbow bridge, they're not in pain and their young and free again.

My thigh quote reads "Life won't sparkle unless you do", this means to me that the only way life will be positive is if I am too. This means that my mindset has to be positive, Tinkerbell represents to me that no matter who you are you can be powerful and change the world. Tinkerbell is just a fairy but she was able to do some great things, I also chose Tinkerbell as it links in with my Disney theme.

Another quote I have is "Sometimes you've gotta fall before you fly". This to me shows that no matter what dark times I have, it'll get better, and it doesn't last forever, kinda like the quote "This too shall pass". I chose birds because when birds learn to fly they don't get it straight away, baby birds fall many times before they learn how to flap their wings and fly.

Mandala - dreamcatcher, this has to be one of my favourite tattoos it has a mandala at the top and makes a dreamcatcher, this is near my "dream" tattoo so links together, my dreamcatcher is an unusual looking one but it portrays my personality as being different and quirky. Dreamcatchers are known to protect their wearers from the bad things, trapping them away and letting all the good shine through. Mandalas are usually in a circle representing wholeness, it also represents perfection as from the edge to the centre it's always the same no matter the angle and shows eternity as its never ending. This tattoo is placed over some of my self-harm scars, trapping them away for good.

My half sleeve tattoo, another favourite, this tattoo was originally only meant to be the open lotus flower and the dragonfly, but I then decided to make it into a sleeve nature theme, this tattoo also is placed over about 80% of my self-harm scars and I couldn't be happier with it. Dragonflies, we already know represent overcoming obstacles, moving beyond perceived limitations and of course strength, joy, and bravery. Lotus flowers also represent overcoming obstacles we face in life and how we can blossom just like the lotus which grows from mud but becomes a beautiful flower. It shows it's powerful, beautiful, the growth and development despite the origins and we can too. My little treefrog Freddie, he is my guard, as treefrogs are known for guarding and healing, so he helps to protect me from the bad and helps to heal from my past (I know he's just a tattoo but its the meaning I have for him). Lastly the quote "la vie est belle" meaning life is beautiful, yes we sometimes have horrible things going on in the world but 90% of that is a human issue, the world itself is beautiful, and a miracle just like life itself is a miracle.

Lastly but not least, has to probably be my favourite tattoo, my rose. I got this rose 5 months after my Grandad past away. The reasons behind me getting a rose is simply because my grandparents had roses at their wedding and we also had roses at his funeral, and each grandchild had two roses for my Grandad. (ok Kerrie, let's not cry. I always seem to cry whenever I write about my Grandad). Me and my Grandad were very close and he helped me through so much and always seemed to understand me. He was my absolute world and losing him nearly killed me (literally). I chose to have his rose on my side because he'll, therefore, always be by my side no matter what, he'll be with me through all the good and the bad.

There you are, that's all my tattoos, I hope it answers many questions but if you have any I haven't answered, just email me or comment on the post and I'll answer them for you. I've had tattoos in a variety of different places, some of them are in places that are considered "the worst places to have a tattoo", for me tattoos don't bother me, I hardly feel them at all, the ribs are uncomfortable because your laying on your side for hours but it doesn't hurt too bad.

Be Who You Want To Be!

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