Hello & thanks for giving my summerSHINES blog a click :)

My name is Imani Summer & I’m a mental health writer who has a great deal to say about all things BPD/ PTSD/ CHILD ABUSE & TRAUMA.

If there was a punctuation mark to describe my personality it would be this one…….

I am a CAPITAL LETTER kind of impactive blogger, because I believe mental health and trauma are two topics well worthy of shouting in loud voices about. I like to stimulate thought and conversation here and talk about sensitive and difficult things, disregarding the usual shame and stigma (with a bit of added humour and lightness at times, because let’s face it, mental illness is pretty S>H>I>T, so my defence is to laugh at it as much as I can). If you are not comfortable with bluntly written and potentially hard-to-read blogussion posts on topics such as CHILDHOOD ABUSE, SEXUAL ABUSE/RAPE/ASSAULT, TRAUMA, PAINFUL EMOTION, CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, and THERAPY, together with ANGRY RANTS AND BLUNT CHAT ABOUT SELF-HARM OR SUICIDAL IDEATION, containing a fair bit of SWEARING, this isn’t maybe the blog for you :P

I write on summerSHINES with no filter, and often get feedback from followers that I make people cry when they read a post 😱…I have tried to store that feedback away as a compliment  😛 because personally I think good writing should be emotionally impactive.

I hope that when you’ve read a summerSHINES post, that you’ll know you’ve read it, as you’ll have felt it.

giving you a minute to process that last sentence

I am registered on the UK national Mind media database for radio interviews, TV interviews and written articles, as I want to share my mental health/ PTSD survivor story as widely as possible throughout the UK, to do my bit to destigmatise open sharing about the stuff people usually like to sweep under the carpet…..I recently openly admitted I tried to drown myself on the regional ITV news. I hope that qualifies me as someone who walks their walk as well as talking their anti-stigma talk ?!

I also volunteer for local Mind (Tyneside and Northumberland) by assisting with fundraising, and have two running events coming up and a hike to generate donations for them. Feel free to email me for deeds.

If you want to know about my fundraising, media work, doodling, or writing, you can email me @  summerstartstoshine@yahoo.com or contact media@mind.org.uk. And you can donate by searching for Imani Starts to Shine on http://www.justgiving.com

Now on with the page…

In a job interview or training course situation; basically anywhere where you are meeting a group of strangers for the first time; inevitably at some point you’ll hear the infamous words uttered by the facilitator, “I think now would be a excellent time to go round the circle and tell people a little bit about yourself.” 

EEK.

This will invariably be followed by a collective audible intake of breath… but as the group of humanoids begin to visibly squirm in their seats and slink deep into their chairs, that my blogger friends is actually when I come A.L.I.V.E.

These days I’m always the first to put my hand up and be counted, though I haven’t always been this way. I used to be the shyest and least confident/most shaky leaf person out there. Seriously. Dictionary definition of downtrodden = summerSHINES.

NOT ANY MORE though…as that was before Summer started to Shine.

SummerSHINES is basically a post-trauma blog, written by someone who suffered extreme childhood abuse; went on to have a full-on psychological suicidal breakdown lasting several years, nearly died; but is now well into the re-build mission of post-traumatic me :)

Nowadays I’m a confident person who feels they have nothing to hide; and not only that, a lot of creative awesomeness to shine out there to the virtual globe :)

Q- So, how did this rise in fortune happen summer?

[I am known to conduct imaginary interviews with myself on about me pages] 😲 

A- I read a lot to boost my knowledge base and insight, I sought out a online community of life-enriching (rather than draining energy-vampire friends), and also had tons of psychological therapy free on the delightful NHS. I’m still having therapy which is awesome for keeping me well and providing an hour of sane amongst the chaos of general living with my bonkers slash chronic MH conditions.

I’m a sensitive, but highly determined, ambitious, and driven person. My strong hunger to succeed and overcome adversity is probably the key strength that allowed me to get through all this…. [that and TKmaxx homewear section purchases and plentiful Krispy Kreme doughnuts].

With post-traumatic shining, it really doesn’t matter where you started; it’s where you’re headed that counts. Shining after trauma or adversity isn’t a mystical gift that falls in our lap. It demands hard work and a lot of sustained effort-you HAVE TO SWEAT TO SHINE.

 

This is my blog playground where I SHOWCASE MY SHINE, let all my creativity out, and splash out the contents of my kooky mind for all to read. 

I write flippantly, stream-of-consciousness style, with very little self-editing so if you see mistakes, please gloss over. I’m concentrating on my art here [!] I don’t obsess over where a comma should be, because a. ‘I’m not at school now’ and b. ‘it interrupts ma flow.’ I also don’t leave that much out in terms of content. I don’t believe in self-censorship and believe mental illness should be shared in a raw way, pretty much as it is, without embellishment or needless sweeping of unmentionables under metaphorical rugs. Everything here is the exact unfiltered truth as I see it. I type fast and think faster. I am spontaneous and sparkly.

As well as writing and poetry, I make mental health awareness boosting videos, do the occasional vlog [all unedited, just me speaking to a webcam], and my absolute favourite blog activity is drawing blog scribbles in sharpie [other pens are available :P]. 

You’ll notice when you see these doodle posts that I very obviously CAN NOT DRAW [LOL]… but I like the challenge of engaging different parts of my brain to express my ideas of what mental illness feels like using visuals. I feel this can sometimes express difficult concepts in a more immediately accessible way. Children will probably like them too, except for the swearing, (or maybe will LOVE them for the swearing.) 

NOTE. I like swearing. I try not to do it, but it’s so much fun sigh

 

I try and make my sharpie doodle posts (and my posts in general) slightly funny…not than mental illness actually is funny…but you have to laugh at your symptoms sometimes as an emotional release to ward off impending emotional doom. I often call myself things such as BONKERS and ‘HIGH ON THE SCALE OF FUCKEDUPNESS’-but no offense or stigma to anyone else is ever intended. I also describe myself as ‘broken’ and ‘damaged’, which seems to get some people’s backs up, but I call a spade a spade and say what I see.

There is NOTHING wrong with bonkers”

said me, when drunk.

I bare my soul and emotions on summerSHINES in a very blunt and real way, but hopefully not in a way that makes you either cry or run away screaming.

 

I write in a style that is very much ‘say what I mean & mean what I say’, and I don’t avoid societal elephants in rooms. I’ll say it straight and type straight from my heart.

I have a desire to inform and influence. Sometimes I’ll say things you may find shocking, controversial, or surprising, but I believe society needs to be shaken up on certain topics.

I sometimes put trigger warnings on posts to alert you to sensitive content that may distress, but primarily my focus is on positive writing which is inspirational and thought provoking to read.

Luckily I am TONS better now and really well on in my journey to wellness, but I also cannot completely forget the depths I sunk to in life and where I’ve been, so I write about the very dark stuff too. Sometimes I have really bad days, suicidal despairing ones……

I believe post-traumatic shining is about championing full authenticity and having the courage to share EVERYTHING – all the vulnerable, usually hidden aspects of yourself, without caring too much what people think. I am super sensitive though due to my MH condition, so please don’t be too brutal in the comments. I’m a blogger well acquainted with strong feelings. 

So here is my more official personal intro… [imagine dry ice blowing across the screen for atmosphere]

THE BASICS. I’m a married 35 year old mum of two. I live on the beautiful North-East British coast and can often be found sashaying along sandy beaches or country lanes with my two dogs in tow.

VITAL STATS. I am ‘unusually tall’ which makes me feel at home conversing with tall men at eye level. I weigh 10 kg more than before I had two kids and developed a penchant for blogging with a mug of coffee and a [MUCH larger than it should be] slab of chocolate. It’s my blogging ritual. sigh  I have a 34′ inside leg [totes proud, but getting long enough trousers remains a struggle] shakes head. Getting into running is hugely helping with the body image side of things :) I ran every day in January (R.E.D January) to support my mental health charity of choice, Mind. You can find my story which they shared on their blog here….MY PTSD RUNNING CHALLENGE STORY

EDUCATION. I have not one, but two psychology degrees. I absolutely LOVE people and find you all endlessly fascinating. I can’t definitively read your mind but I’ll give it a damn good go using my natural intuitive spiritually-attuned amazingness. I am also a pretty expert ‘lifeologist’ [which is a word I literally just made up and I think means someone who is life savvy and wise]…I think I have a pretty intelligent grasp and understanding of the big wide world blinks

PERSONALITY. I’m such a INTENSE person that I may as well have my own mood swing in the front garden. ;)…Everything I feel is felt with considerable force, and my moods are mercurial [Totes BONKERZOID].

PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT. I stayed alive when I wanted to die. Enough said.

This was a vlog I did on recovery-my mental health selfie for Mind. I did this on a crappy negative day as a way to get through it. It is without a doubt the most useful thing I’ve ever done, as I know from the feedback that it has already helped give a recovery boost to TONS of people. That makes my heart smile :)

GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS. I began running in January to raise money for Mind. I managed couch to 5k, and am now aiming for 10K, then eventually a half marathon. I can’t wait to get over those finish lines. Running is a great way to enhance mental health, self-confidence and resilience, so I sometimes write about all that running jazz too. Prepare yourself to witness occasional post-run salmon pink faced selfies. [There’s nothing worse than a smug jogger-oops] ;)

 

My main aspiration however is to pursue media work. I believe I was put on this earth to talk in a strong confident voice about issues that most people tend to shy away from. Tis’ my talent innit.

So welcome to my shiny blog claps & cheers

Here is my blog video to give you a flavour of me and the general blog vibe I go for. Amateurish film making is something I dabble in alongside my blog writing; as I love visual imagery, music, aesthetics, and evoking a particular mood in people.

The creation of my blog playground is something to help me make sense of my traumatic childhood- using written expression, creativity, and tapping into my innate positivity and resilience to ensure I fend off the horrible flashbacks and keep my feet firmly grounded in the present.

I PROMISE TOGETHER…YOU & ME…WE’LL SHINE

With love x

summerSHINES©

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FINALLY, A PERSONAL THANKYOU X

I need to acknowledge here the great work my mental health team did in keeping me alive; Without you, there would be no summer who SHINES.

I won’t name you as you know who you are….You’ve made a hugely positive difference to my life, and helped me to SURVIVE & SHINE when I never believed I would.

(Note- I’m keeping the NHS crisis team well out of my ‘people to thank’ list because they are universally AWFUL at what they do.)

 This is actually me…..

Edited in Lumia Selfie

And so is this….

All written posts and doodles on summerSHINES  represent my own hard graft and original ideas, so please don’t copy my work or images without asking permission first. Don’t steal this blogger’s shine. Imani Summer @ www.summerstartstoshine.wordpress.com x