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My story begins when I was 10 years old. I slipped over at McDonalds and in true Emma style I ended up contracting a rare bone infection called Osteomyelitis which led to 4 long, painful years. I will write a separate blog post on this condition but basically if you contracted this in the 80's it was a death wish, so I was extremely lucky to have such awesome Doctors!
This infection was sitting on the bones in my foot and ankle and it was eating away at me, I was taking tons of pills and medication and I couldn't stand or sit with my legs down for more than 5 minutes without being in excruciating pain.
I went down to 5 and a half stone, was severely anaemic and looked like death warmed up. Kids at school would call me anorexic and I can't actually look back at photos of me without getting upset because I just look like I was dying in them! Two operations, hundreds of hospital visits, blood tests, X-rays and 4 years later it finally seemed to have gone but then I started to notice white spots appearing on my skin...
These white spots are called 'Vitiligo' and they appear because your body attacks it's own cells and destroys the melanin, so basically my pigment had gone!
I started off with just one or two white spots on my spine but then I started to get them on my face, my neck, armpits, arms, legs, everywhere! They were getting bigger and spreading rapidly and I was told by Doctors that there was no cure.
I could try a UV light treatment on the NHS but that there was a risk of skin cancer and a low success rate; so I decided against it, I just had to live with it. As a teenager you're so self conscious about your looks anyway so to hear I had to now put up with this was so upsetting!
Again, the bullying at school started, not only was it now about my weight, it was also about my operation scars AND my vitiligo! I was called 'ugly' and 'anorexic' and told I looked 'like a leopard' they would spread false rumours about me around the school and play stupid mind games. I only had two good friends at school that I didn't see all of the time, so a lot of lunchtimes I just spent by myself or bunked off school and went home.
Fast forward to a few years later I had a lot of 'friends' that I met through college and from nights out, I use the word 'friends' loosely because they weren't real friends at all. I used to hate myself when I was a teenager, I hated the way I looked and used to wear tons of make up and fake tan to cover up what I really looked like and I never felt 'good enough.'
I just wanted to be liked so I used to see the good in everyone, I did so much for them, paid for them, helped them and they just used to use me, walk over me and boyfriends would cheat on me or dump me because of my skin.
I got into my first 'proper' relationship around this time and I had no idea what a healthy relationship should be like, I won't go into the details of what happened but we weren't right for each other. Around the time of this relationship a lot of other bad events happened, including two of my good friends dying and I was absolutely miserable.
This relationship eventually ended and I felt like everything was just going wrong. I spiralled into extreme depression and anxiety; I was an extremely angry, negative, bitter and emotional person and I wasn't myself at all!
I used to snap at people really easily, I was always looking on the negative side and expecting the worst to happen because nothing good had ever happened to me in the past. I was on anti-depressants and anxiety medication for a good couple of years and I used to put on a front and go out clubbing and partying so not many people actually knew what I was going through, I think they probably just thought I was a nutter, haha.
I started jewellery making and went back to my love of photography to distract me from the horrible thoughts and feelings and this eventually led to me starting up my businesses.
I still remember the fear I had when I first started my businesses, I was terrified my products would break, or people would hate their photos and tell me I'm not good enough.
I don't remember when it actually happened but I kept hearing about a book called 'The Secret' and I was seeing it everywhere. I borrowed my friend's copy and this book changed my life, I finally felt like there was hope and that I had control over my life and I didn't have to suffer anymore.
I started doing tons of research on the law of attraction and I began to read more and more self development books and started subscribing to the YouTube channels of motivational speakers.
Around the time of discovering self development I noticed that my Vitiligo had started to slowly re-pigment by itself, I had accepted my vitiligo by this stage and learned to live with it so I hadn't really been paying attention to it.
I noticed spots of pigment coming back on my stomach first and over the years it has gradually re-pigmented on my face, spine, arms and legs, now it is slowly re-pigmenting on my neck too. I remember thinking 'If the Doctor told me that Vitiligo is incurable then how can it be re-pigmenting?' this led me to realise that Doctors don't always know everything!
I began 18 months of research into Vitiligo and found out tons along the way about the causes and success stories of people who had cured their Vitiligo, it was then that my friend told me she had started to get Vitiligo and that a herbalist had cured hers.
I began seeing the herbalist who found out all of the underlying conditions I had wrong with me that had contributed to the Vitiligo, I won't go into all of the details in this post but since I have been on herbs, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly the changes in my mind and body have been fantastic!
I had been working so hard on mindfulness and self-development yet I still felt anxious every single day, I could never understand it but I now know it's because my body was so unwell. It wasn't until I started my herbalist treatment and came off the contraceptive pill that I stopped getting anxiety everyday. My vitiligo is still gradually re-pigmenting and I will keep you updated on the progress of it.
Fast forward to today and I am a completely different person - I am calm, content and don't really care what people think of me as much.
I have a wonderful and gorgeous partner who is so lovely, funny and caring. He understands me, supports me and never judges me and we are so alike in so many ways, we compliment each other really well. I have three best friends that I can always rely on, be myself around and who support me and encourage me, we are so alike it's scary!
I'm still not perfect and I still have a bad day or get pissed off sometimes but I'm more of a grateful and positive person nowadays. I look on the positive side of things as much as possible and hope for the best rather than expecting the worst. I write a gratitude list everyday and I have a big vision board in my room of everything I want.
I don't judge people, I try my best to understand them and see what's really going on but at the same time I'm not a mug anymore, I know when someone is not for me and doesn't deserve a seat in my life.
My businesses are still going strong and they have really helped me to grow as a person, you really learn a lot about yourself when you own and run a business. I have managed to help and support so many people through owning a business, purely by talking to them, meeting their needs and being there for them and it's made me realise that helping people is what makes me happy, it is my passion and the reason I started this blog.
I hope that this post helps at least one person to see that life isn't always going to be shit and that there really is a positive to most circumstances in life.
If I didn't have my health problems I wouldn't be so healthy and fit right now, If I wasn't bullied I wouldn't be so understanding and passionate about helping people and standing up for them, If I didn't have vitiligo I wouldn't have learned to be so confident in my own skin and fiery.
If you're struggling right now just know that it will get better and I am always here to help anyone that needs my help.