How did you end up writing books, working on television and setting up your
own charity the Katie Piper Foundation?
I founded The Katie Piper Foundation back in 2006, based on my experience as a burn survivor, and following the wonderful treatment I received from the NHS here in the UK and also from the Scar Management centre in the south of France.
This part of my life began
when, at the age of 24, on a busy high street in London at 5pm rush hour, I was attacked and had sulphuric acid thrown onto my face. Whilst this begins as a horrendous story, and even now 8 years on it seems quite unbelievable this
happened to me, it is in fact a story of hope and proof that if you believe, you will survive.
I am a person who firmly
believes in living in the moment as it is really all we ever have. The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now. All of my recovery has been focussed on looking at the now and moving forward.
A huge part of my mental
recovery was writing my first book and autobiography ‘Beautiful’. The process of writing this book was not only cathartic but it also gave me closure on the traumatic events that had taken place in my life. I encourage anyone who has suffered trauma to write, even if you don’t go ahead and publish, it can be handy tool to whip out and give to
people when asking questions
about your story rather than
having to relive it each time!
Another mental tool I used in recovery, which I also call on in business and family life, is the
power of positive thinking.
Thoughts are very important, for every thought we have, we become. I realised that if I wanted to fill my life with good things, kind people, and have a reason to smile every day, then I needed an abundance of good thoughts. So I researched quotes, affirmations and mantras and started to write them down.
I got these quotes from some
of the greatest thinkers; artists, psychologists, philosophers, basically anyone who inspired me or who I thought could help me. I then wrote these quotes on
individual Post-it notes and put them all around the house - on the toilet seat lid, inside the fridge, even on the ceiling in my bedroom. Surrounding myself with quotes that could boost my confidence as well as provide me with reasons to be happy.
My charity work has led me to
come into contact with thousands of survivors and inspired me to share some of my own methods. I wrote my own affirmation book called ‘Start Your Day With Katie’. This book has 365 positive quotes in it, one for each day of the year.
I often give this as present to people I meet.
Recovery can feel like, and often is, never ending, so as well as being positive I think it is also important to be
a realist. I was burnt as a young 24 year old, I’m now nearly 33 years old, married and a mother of a stubborn but determined 2yr old toddler. But I am still having to have surgery now to help me breathe, swallow and restore my eyesight. As most burn survivors know this is very common for us and many are grateful to just be alive.
I wrote a very honest self-help book entitled
‘Things Get Better’. I talked about my failures, my melt downs, the not coping parts as well as the positivity
and achievements. I believe failure is only practice for success. The book includes the stories of other survivors, those I’ve met and worked with. We all know it’s not the falling down that matters it’s how many times you get back up that counts.
Through my charity I’ve been able to build a
network of some really incredible people, strong men and women who help others through a peer support
service. I’m a big fan of social media and being able to connect with people and share our lives. Recently I continued to share my story by writing the second part of my autobiography - entitled ‘Beautiful Ever After’. I hope through my writing I can inspire and give strength to people who are facing dark times. I never fail to be moved when someone sends me a tweet online to share their story and tells me how my books played a part in their recovery.
Prior to my attack I had worked as a TV presenter
on small satellite channels - my ambition had always been to become a TV presenter on prime
time TV. Many would have thought my injuries would have ended this ambition, but it didn’t, it merely put my life on temporary hold! Because after my life and recovery was made the subject of a Channel 4 observational documentary ‘Katie My Beautiful Face’,
I was asked to join the channel as an official presenter, hosting a number of shows and have now done that for the last 7 years.
Hover to reveal!
MY ADVICE TO YOU IS...
That I have learnt that happiness and confidence are choices. They are not luck or things that only a few people have. They take hard work, commitment and the belief that you truly deserve them.
Life is only 10% what happens to us and the other 90% is how we choose to react. Although some things may be out of our control, we can choose to make the best of them, whatever they are.
You are creating your own life right now - so please make it outstanding.