Having recently dealt with grief & trauma Lili-Mae wants to help other people going through the same, whilst shining a light on mental health. We chatted to Lili on set at the Glow Collective shoot, let's get into it...
Why did you want to be part of the Glow Collective?
I always felt like everyone’s been given a life for a reason, and it’s the same for me - my journey was given to me for a reason. I lost my Mum last year, but she’d always battled a rare form of MS and seeing that throughout my childhood it made me look at things differently. I just want to show people like me that you can do something like this, if you want to, you can do it.
I went from never losing anyone to losing my Mum in February last year, and my Grandad passing away suddenly at the end of the July. Going from having 4 people in my house, to just the two of us now, people don’t realise how someone can just be there one minute and then just be gone. It’s so hard to understand that mentally. In the near future when I’m ready (I’ve got to face my own problems before I can help anyone else with theirs) I’d like to start my own charity to guide families and people like myself from someone whose been there. When you’ve had to help look after someone with a disability, a lot of the time theres nothing there for you or your family. So that’s my goal, to create a charity that helps people who have gone through something similar to me.
Is there anything else you want to share with the Glow Hub community?
Losing my mum, people might think I’ve had the worse life in the whole wide world, but then you’ve got think how lucky I am to have my family. I want to show people how to get through stuff like that, to get to the good side. The sides of grief, I don’t know everything about it, but I felt like I had so much anger inside, but I’d love to be-able show other people the way and help them.
I suppose it’s hard to explain, but I know there’s always someone worse off than me. Yes, I lost my Mum and Grandad but I’ve still got my family, my nan, my house and I always want to think of it that way. With talking about grief, it’s hard because what is grief? It’s always shown as so negative, yes you’re going to be sad, but why cant it sometimes we treated in a positive reflective way? And then the good from it, it now means I can help people who have gone through what I have. There was no support for me, going through school or anything. I was so naughty at school, I was destructive but when I think back it was because I was so angry at my situation. Having to go home and look after my Mum, feed her tea. I just want to say to people, even if you think life the lowest, it’s not, there's so much out there. I’ve got so much passion, I’ve seen so much, with my Mum’s suffering, my Gran and Grandad not knowing what to do, I just have this feeling I need to help people, it’s crazy.
Growing up with my Mum being ill, it was normal for me, but then I was scared in school to say that my Mum was in a wheelchair. I wasn’t embarrassed, I just didn’t know if that was everyone else’s normal too. Like at parents evening I was always like, oh everyone else’s Mums are here but my Grandad is coming instead. In a way my Mum was always ashamed of the way she was as well, so we always feel like that rubbed off on me.
My family we’re always like, big girls don’t cry! And my Grandad was so old school. If I was ever upset about my Mum, he’d be like ‘Lili big girls don’t cry!’ and I’d be like oh ok. But now I do try and let my emotions out. Even with my journal and things like that, I always try and open up as much as I can, because I think that’s a good way to express yourself. I never wanted people to feel sorry for me, so id always be like ‘oh I’m alright I’m fine, nothing’s happened, nothings up’ because I hated that attention. But now I feel like why would erase what’s happened? Because some people are going through the same thing and don’t have a clue how to get through that.
My nan and grandad always tried to spoiled me, to give me a normal life and I appreciate it so much. Seeing them go through that, they were so strong as well. And my Mum, she was always smiling, you’d see her and even in hospital she’d have a big smile.
Was there anything for you when you were gong through that?
Even recently, I contacted the doctors and they sent me a link to get young people counselling but there was this big waiting list and I had to fill out a big form. As a family we’re old school, so super family orientated. If my Mum had an accident, we’d call my Aunty, or if I was out, it would be me, so it was a long time before we got any actual carers in.
Even when my Nan and Grandad would go on holiday, we’d look for a respite for a week but we’d hear all these stories about care homes, and it would stress us out. There should be something to help you, some resources. Even for my Mum, there were no social groups, no-one really talks about MS or wheelchairs or anything and it’s a big thing from walking to a wheelchair, when you’re young it’s hard to understand it really is.
I’ve been through so much trauma and no one really thinks about the struggle, to get up and still do stuff. Even how hard it was for my Mum not being able to really be a Mum. Even stuff like that women don’t realise what an amazing species we are. Its proper weird, how I feel about it. Watching my Mum go through all that. How can a woman go through that and still have a smile on her face, and why can’t I be like that too? I’ve got nothing to worry about, she had all that and still smiled. It’s just amazing to say she’s my mum, to even watch that. I am very proud, to have 20 years of strong determined environment around me as well as suffering. And I think that strength and determination has rubbed off. I do think my family have some kind of strong gene, although it’s not always good to be strong, it’s good to break down so you can build yourself back up.
Talking about Health anxiety…
I also struggled a lot with health anxiety, I have a fear that I’m going to be the same way my Mum was. I feel like no one talks about health anxiety, as much as they should. I was terrible I use to look at my body for rashes, do I have MS? Am I going be like my mum? It’s not genetic, but I've always felt worried about it.
One thing you want people to take away?
If you want it, just go for it. As much struggle you think there is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel there really is.
Describe yourself in three words.
Smiley. Positive. A slowly open closed book if that makes sense!
Do you know your skin type?
I find it confusing, I don’t know if my skin type is one type. I do get breakout but normally on my neck, I don’t know if its oily or dry. Combination maybe?
Any skincare tips?
I always but a warm muslin flannel on my face morning and evening, I think it opens my pores?!