Name: Emily Alice Butler
Job Role: Firefighter
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be so critical of yourself and have more self belief.
Describe yourself in 3 words? Caring, Determined and Creative.
Favourite Penguin – Pingu! Or a Rockhopper (check out the punk hairdo!)
Emily’s Story (in her own words)
I’ve always battled with self confidence and been very critical of myself, I think part of this stems from having a hard time in the last years of school, but mostly comes from the struggles I’ve experienced having Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an Auto Immune disease; in short, my immune system attacks my healthy skin cells and in turn creates sores over my body, predominately my scalp, it affects people in various ways, depending on the type of Psoriasis.
I’ve had this since I was at least 12, but it got progressively worse into adulthood, and by the age of 23 it was so bad that I couldn’t manage it. It was a vicious cycle and the more I stressed the worse it got, my hair kept falling out and got very thin, the sores over my body would crack and bleed and shower’s would end in tears. I became obsessive with fiddling and checking my hair, I was continuously paranoid people could see my sores and I became a shell of the person I was before, any shred of self confidence I had, diminished. I’ve always been musclular and curvaceous but the constant worries about how I looked and how people saw me, meant body dismorphia crept in and I couldn’t bare even seeing my reflection.
Over the years I tried every lotion, potion, magic trick and wishing well that I could, until eventually I was offered what has been for me, a life changing medication, it’s not the most pleasant but it’s helped clear my skin to a point where it’s manageable. I would love to stop taking it at some point, and I think that will be my next goal after the expedition.
Despite the mental battles I went through I never let my skin condition stop me, I couldn’t let it define me, yes I had bad days/ weeks, and I still have to give my head a wobble occasionally and remind myself where I am now. I was still driven to get my dream job as a firefighter, I still travelled to parts of the world I could only dream of, like Kenya for our honeymoon, and I didn’t let it deter me from my hobbies, gymnastics and horse riding and now swimming and motorsports. Ultimately I didn’t let it stop me trying out and getting in to the AFA team.
I think my experiences with both school and my skin has rounded me, I’m a very caring, and considerate person. I truly believe that it costs nothing to be kind, you never know what battle someone may be going through.
I am an ordinary woman who wants to do something extraordinary, and I hope I can inspire others, that if you set your heart and mind to something, you can find the strength and means to overcome your battles.
I’m quite creative, I love painting, woodwork and making things and I’m very fortunate to have my parents farm nearby as an escape, They have a beautiful pond full to the brim with fish, beehives at the end and crazy Pygmy goats in the field next door, I find being surrounded by wildlife so theraputic, never underestimate the power and benefits a countryside walk can have on your mental well being. My family, husband and of course my dog Lottie are my rocks and have been hugely supportive over the years, especially now with the expedition training on full throttle.