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#Fearless But Still, I Rise MHAM Shirts On Sale Now!

It’s finally here, May 1st. That means it’s officially Mental Health Awareness Month, and the But Still, I Rise t-shirts are officially on sale!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about this fundraiser, so if you missed the details in my Mental Health Awareness Month announcement article, here’s what you need to know:

  • The t-shirts are being sold through TeeSpring, and will be available for purchase May 1-May 31 at 11:59 p.m. MST.  You can order them by clicking here!
  • We are selling t-shirts, hoodies, stickers and mugs, all of which will have the beautiful design (created by Allie Dearie) on them.
  • 75% of your purchase will go directly to The Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on crisis intervention and suicide prevention in LGBTQ+ teens. The other 25% will go to helping maintain #Fearless (such as keeping our domain, purchasing a stock photo subscription, or something else that helps keep our site working wonderfully!).
  • Because we know that price is everything, we made sure to price our items in a way that would maximize profit without making you feel like you have to give up an arm and a leg. So, if you haven’t clicked the link yet and want to know the prices we’re selling the shirts for, here they are:
    • $20 for t-shirts
    • $35 for a hoodie
    • $10 for a mug
    • $5 for a sticker
  • This is the most important note of all. On the website, it will have a countdown timer to when the “campaign” ends. Despite what this timer says, the campaign will run for 31 days! That timer is just a countdown to when the shirts will be printed, not to the actual end of the t-shirt sale.

It is my hope that this t-shirt fundraiser will yield a bigger donation than last year’s – which was $220. It would be amazing if we could raise as much money as possible for this wonderful organization! So, tell your friends, your family and your neighbors, and buy a t-shirt, mug or sticker.

Any questions, comments or concerns about the t-shirt fundraiser, don’t hesitate to comment on this post or email contact@hashtagfearless.com.

Once again, if you want to buy a shirt, you can do so by clicking here!

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

Let’s Talk About Good Days With ADHD

Hello, fellow adult ADHDers.

If you’re here, you’re probably like me; newly diagnosed, or wondering if your symptoms are in fact ADHD and you can’t find the info you need. It could be scary, but if you’re like me and in a major hyperfocus cycle of finding any and all information on ADHD, I want to welcome you to the first part of a multi part series that touches on some of the topics I wish I had information for when I was first navigating the tricky world that is an adult ADHD diagnosis.

I want to make something very clear from the get go: I’m not a doctor. My information does not replace any information you could get from a trained professional. But, what I do have is anecdotal information based on what I’ve experienced, and responses based on what I’ve seen through my own personal research.

So, without further ado, I want to discuss my first topic: Good Days with Adult ADHD.

What does a good day look like with ADHD? If you google this, you may find several articles that tell you there are no good days with ADHD. That every day is a struggle, and if you feel like you “have a good day” you don’t have ADHD. You may also find there is a lack of information for adults with ADHD and how it differs from childhood ADHD, but that’s a different article.

However, this idea that “having good days” doesn’t exist is something that directly contradicts just about everything I know about mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders. ADHD people, by nature, are black and white thinkers, but mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders don’t exist on a “you have it or you don’t” spectrum; there will be varying degrees of impairment between individuals diagnosed. Even complex medical disorders have varying degrees of severity, so don’t assume that ADHD is all or nothing; your symptoms are valid, even if they aren’t as severe as someone else.

There are so many articles outlining what a bad day looks like, in fact it’s a very common theme because understanding our bad days helps educate others. But, in the same breath, it amplifies the far end of this disorder, and it makes it hard for us black and white thinkers to not feel as if those good days we have undermine our diagnosis. At least, that’s how I feel personally, and I do feel confident I can’t be alone in that thought process.

So, what does a good day with adult ADHD look like?

For me, a good day means I’m out of bed when I want to be, without having as bad of a mini meltdown and tantrum internally. It means that when I set my alarm for 9:00 and 9:30 a.m., I’m out of bed and taken my meds by 10:00 a.m…. Instead of snoozing my alarm, or losing track of time and taking my meds at 11:30 or 12:00. It means that at least I’m sitting in the living room watching TV, instead of laying in my bed scrolling Facebook for 2 hours before I even venture downstairs to start my day.

A good day means that once I’m up, despite my brain being vehemently against going to work, I can convince myself that going is the better option than calling out sick and it won’t be as bad as I think. It means that I can maybe get to work 5 minutes early or on time, instead of 5-15 minutes late. It means once I’m there, I can go, “See? It wasn’t as bad as you thought!” and I’ll listen to my internal dialogue mumble and grumble until I get back to my task at hand.

A good day means that I can convince myself that the overwhelming mess in the kitchen is worth trying to tackle, even if it means I only unload and put away the dishes, instead of tackling the chore of cleaning the whole kitchen. Sometimes it means that once I start the chore, I can actually convince myself to finish it, without stopping 20 times and getting distracted by other small things or find myself sitting on Facebook for the 4th time and not knowing how much time had passed.

A good day means that I can sit down to edit my galleries, and only need 30 minutes to talk myself up instead of an hour or two. It means that I can sit down and climb the metaphorical, “These photos suck and I’m a failure and the client will hate them” wall with a little better stamina to accomplish my 10 photo minimum for each day. It means that I can actually hit my 10 photo minimum, and not give up mid panic attack because “Why can’t I find the motivation I need right now? Why can’t I just make it HAPPEN? PLEASE JUST LET ME EDIT!”.

A good day means that I can take control of the volume in my brain, and crank it down just enough that I’m not constantly listening to white noise or indistinct chatter. It means that I can sit in my chair and not feel like my insides are constricting because I JUST NEED TO MOVE OR SCREAM OR BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. It means that I can let my husband finish what he’s doing, before I take his phone and put it on the floor because “I’m bored so let’s do something”.

A good day means that I can actually appear to be symptom free, even though I’m still struggling internally to get tasks done. It means that I can finally get to those little tasks that seemed like mountains the day before, even if it still takes me an hour (instead of days or months) to convince myself it’s worth it and doable. It means I might actually respond right away to a text message, instead of reading it and forgetting to respond; same goes with emails and phone calls.

A good day means that my brain, while still actively working against me, is just a tiny bit less annoying than usual and I can actually use all the skills I’ve learned through 9 years of therapy to help me actually put on the facade of being an adult… versus just sitting at home staring at the mess and going “I’m sure I can do this tomorrow” and never getting to it.

A good day means instead of starting at -5 like normal (or -10 on a bad day), I’m at -3 or -2 and that honestly can make the world of a difference between whether I stay in bed, or try to do what I need to do in order to not be crippled by feelings of failure and guilt and lack of motivation.

A good day is going to mean different things for everyone, and each good day will present a different set of “small victories”. Good days should not be dismissed by anyone, and shouldn’t be used as a way to say “you don’t have ADHD”. You can still have ADHD and focus sometimes. You can still have ADHD and get stuff done. You can still have ADHD and not present the same way as someone else.

We all know what a bad day feels like, and again, that will be different for everyone, but we need to talk more about what a good day feels like and looks like without telling people because they were productive or focused better than usual, that they don’t have ADHD. We need to focus on the fact that having a good day doesn’t take away from the fact you still struggle, and that on those good days when you actually feel capable of doing the things you can’t normally do doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with that issue anymore.

Always remember that your struggles are valid; and you don’t owe an explanation to anyone about how or why you’re able to function better or worse than usual.

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

 

A Day In The Life of Me

I got the inspiration for this post after reading an article by the creative mind behind How To ADHD. Also, on behalf of Mental Health Awareness Month, I figured I’d start diving in to a prevalent part of my life that I just recently discovered had a name.

Disclaimer: While my days usually come with a unique set of challenges, and no two are usually a like, this is my best representation of the majority of my days when I think about common themes that plague my life on a regular basis.

My alarm goes off at 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. every day. I make sure to set it that way, because I get stressed if I sleep longer than that, but find it hard to motivate myself out of sleep any earlier. Of course, my alarm going off at 9:00 and 9:30 doesn’t mean I’m awake. It just means that once every five minutes, for about 50 minutes, my alarm slowly wakes me up so I can turn it off angrily.

Finally, at around 9:50 a.m. I work hard to keep my eyes open but I roll over, pull up Facebook and scroll. I know I have a list of things to do today, but none of those items are appealing. So I lay in bed scrolling, attempting to wake up enough to be human. Well, as human as possible.

On a good day, I can roll out of bed by 10:45 or 11:00 a.m., but on a bad day it can be 12:00, 12:30 or even 1:00 p.m. If the dogs aren’t home, getting out of bed is usually prompted by my need to pee, or because I’m getting hungry and I gotta eat. Like right now.

What’s for lunch? I open the fridge and I see leftovers. I can’t eat those, I had those already; plus, it’s not what I’m craving. I walk to the bathroom and stare at the silver drain cover in the sink, lost in thought: I could go out and get food, but that requires me to put on pants, brush my teeth, brush my hair, put on deodorant, find my shoes, find my keys, find my wallet, and drive somewhere. It’s too much, I don’t wanna do that, can’t do that.

Walk to the bedroom, grab my laptop, and order food for delivery. Sure, I have to wait, but at least I didn’t have to go out. Besides, I can be productive while I wait, right?

So I head downstairs and remember I gotta watch that new episode of my show. I sit down and then realize my phone is missing. Where is it, didn’t I just have it? I get up, retrace my steps, finally find it laying on the bathroom counter – where I stopped off to stare at the sink just 5 minutes ago.

Back downstairs, but now the remote is missing even though I just had it – didn’t I? So I’m back up again, retracing my steps. I walk upstairs, look on the floor, the sofa, under the blanket; finally walk into the kitchen and it’s sitting on the counter. When did I walk into the kitchen with the remote?

Oh, probably when I was looking for food to eat. I sigh, and go to sit down. TV is on, I start to watch my show. Before I know it, food is here. It’s 1:30 p.m. and I say to myself, don’t forget, you have work at 3:00.

I eat, and keep watching videos on YouTube once I’m done with my show. I am watching video after video, actively knowing I could be doing something, but I can’t.

The clothes in the hamper means I have to walk downstairs to the washing machine and load the clothes, back up and then remember to walk back down to transfer, walk back up and then remember to walk back down again to dry; remember to go downstairs to get the clothes and head back up to fold, then up to the second story to sort, hang and put away those clothes.

The kitchen means I’d have to unload the dishes (and actually put away the dishes instead of just piling them up on the counter), scrub each dish I need to reload by hand, reload the dishes, wash the remaining dishes by hand, dry them, put them away (instead of just leaving them there on the mat for weeks at a time), remove the clutter, pick up the trash, clean out the fridge, sweep, wipe down the counters.

The living room means I’d have to pick up the trash, clear the table, find places for the things I cleared from the table, dust, vacuum, fold the blankets, and find places for the random items that accumulated in the living.

Sitting down to edit means that I have to transfer photos, sort the photos, upload the photos to light room, edit the photos, export the photos, upload the photos to an online gallery, set up that gallery, message the client, answer the client’s questions, and do my best not to self sabotage by saying all my photos suck and I’m a terrible artist.

It’s all too much, too overwhelming. Where do I start, how do I start? I want to focus, but I can’t focus. I don’t have the motivation, I know my productivity will suffer. It suffers all the time, and I just glance at the mess on the floor, the piled up dishes in the sink, the table overflowing with items that don’t need to be there. I’m boredline panicked thinking about it now, and the negative feelings set in. Why can’t I just get up? Why can’t I just focus long enough to act like I’m an adult? Is it because I’m lazy? Am I not trying hard enough? Why isn’t the mess motivating enough? Why can’t I just pick things up as I go?

Now, its really all too much. So I sit, overwhelmed and anxious, that I should be doing something, but that I don’t have the energy or mental power to even try to start doing it. I shut down, and keep watching YouTube videos, attempting to silence the guilt, shame and white noise of my brain.

I look down at my phone: it’s 2:30 and I need to leave in 10 minutes. I’m still in my pajamas, I haven’t brushed my teeth or my hair. I don’t know where my shoes are. I panic.

I rush upstairs, and start looking for clothes to wear. Nothing is clean, so I start sifting through my dirty laundry. Something without stains, without smell; I just need something. I rush to brush my teeth, my hair.

Shoes. Where are my shoes? Why aren’t they where I left them? Why can I only find the right shoes, I can’t go to work with mix matched shoes. Ugh, forget it, I’ll just get those last. I run around; where are my keys? Shouldn’t they be on the hook? Oh gosh they aren’t on the hook. Maybe the basket? The kitchen counter? Nope and nope. Where are they… jacket! My jacket! Well, I need my jacket, so I’ll just throw that on and head out the door.

Wait, shoes, still no shoes. Oh for god’s sake, in the kitchen? Why would I kick them off in the kitchen? Okay. Shoes, keys, good to go. Nope, wait, phone. Where is my phone, why can’t I find my phone? I can’t believe I keep doing this to myself. Of course, I left it on the dresser in the closet. That makes sense, I guess.

Okay. Shoes, keys, phone? Yup. Okay, let’s go. Lock the door, head out to my car, reach for the door handle and hit the unlock button on the handle. Nothing. I pat my jacket pockets. Are you kidding me – and I locked the front door didn’t I. Yup, I locked the door. This is why I don’t lock the door, why would I do this to myself?

I walk to my back gate, and unlock the hinge, walk in through the back door and the search for my keys begins. For some reason, they are on my bedside table. I sigh, defeated as I walk out the door and glance at the time: 2:50.

I’m going to be late, why does this keep happening to me. I have to pick up these kids by 3:00 and it takes me about 10-15 minutes to get across town. They’re going to leave, they aren’t going to see me. I’ll have to explain to my boss that I was late and that’s why the kids aren’t here. She’ll be mad, I don’t want her to be mad. What if they fire me? I can’t get fired, not again. I’ll be a failure if I can’t even do this job.

Okay, I’m here, it’s 3:02. Maybe I’m not too late? I run to our meeting spot and somehow, at 3:05, the kids were just getting out. Phew. I dodged the bullet… this time. I walk to the car and head to work. My mind wanders, I’m easily overwhelmed by the amount of noise 14 kids in a small room make. I get anxious, agitated. I do my best to hide it because they don’t understand. I ask for them to quiet down, and I see the looks my co-workers give me; it’s not that loud, I imagine they’re saying.

I head home, and sit down. I realize I’ve done nothing today but go to work. Did I mention I didn’t really want to go to work? It took a lot to pull myself off the chair to put on pants. My only motivation was the fear of being fired, again. But someday’s that’s enough, and my mental health wins out.

I sit down, worn out and overwhelmed. It’s 5:15 p.m., and I decide to just scroll Facebook until my husband calls. Then he does.

He starts talking and my mind starts to wander. I’m staring outside, thinking about everything. Sometimes the everything is actual words, and I’m just following this weird, sporadic train of thought. Other times it’s like standing in the middle of a crowded room, and everyone is talking at the same time; words make sense by they’re muddled together. I know he’s talking but his voice goes away and it’s just me and mind.

Before I know it, he’s been talking for a while and I haven’t been listening. I just want to get to the part where I can talk, is that selfish? It feels selfish, but I don’t mean it selfishly. I want to tell him about my day, it’s easier to focus when I’m talking; even if sometimes I get lost on other thoughts and before I know it I don’t remember what I was saying.

He’s home, and that makes me excited. Sometimes it’s overstimulating – I want to bounce around, go out, talk talk talk. It makes me sad and frustrated that he needs to go to the restroom when he gets home. He does it every day, but it still frustrates me.

5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. 20 minutes.

I’m bored. I’m lonely. We should be doing something. I message him: “Hun, hurry up! ugh!” I hear him sigh. He comes down, asks what’s for dinner. Ugh. Dinner.

If I haven’t already eaten without him, because I got hungry and had to eat right then and there, I cringe. Dinner means cooking. I don’t want to cook, it’s so boring and tedious. Can’t we just… go out and eat? We should save money, and we need to eat better. Cooking is better, but going out means food is done faster and I don’t have to do anything. Plus the kitchen is a mess and we’d have to clean that before we cooked. Going out it is.

At this point, it’s close to 7:00 p.m. I realize I need to do something with my day, so I pull out my laptop and decide to try and edit.

I sit down to edit, and pull up Lightroom. Here I go. Wait, was that a notification? Go to Facebook, respond to notification and start to scroll. Five minutes pass and I realize what I’m doing and jump back to editing. Okay, one photo down. My phone buzzes, I check it, I end up in a phone game. I’ve done it again. Okay, seriously, focus. Editing time. I start the second photo – what is my dog chewing on? I take it from him, sit down, hop on Facebook. See an ad for something I need and start browsing Amazon. Ah, crap, photos, okay focus. Focus. Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Phew. Okay, I think that’s good enough.

Close my laptop, I’m exhausted. It’s 10:00 p.m. and I head upstairs. I hop into bed and immediately I’m awake. I don’t want to sleep, sleep is boring. I want to play a game, watch videos, stay up late. I know, I need to do something creative. Maybe I should take up writing again. How cool would it be to write a book! Should I maybe write a book? No, start a blog. Nope, wait, I have a blog, several actually. This reminds me that I should be looking for things for my pride booth this year. I’ll need shirts and swag. I wonder who has the cheapest stuff. Oh, look, I can make custom lapel pins! That would be cool, can I maybe have my logo done? Or something else. How can I revamp my logo for pride? What should I wear to pride? I bet lookhuman has some cool stuff. What’s this word mean? I should look it up – oh man, this video explains it all to me. Wait, what is this video?

It’s 1:45 a.m. and I realize I have to be up tomorrow earlier than usual. Okay, time to start winding down, so I close my laptop and pull up my favorite ASMR channel on my phone, LatteASMR. Headphones. Where are my headphones? Shouldn’t they be on my bedside table? Nope, on the floor, cool. Now I’m awake again, so I play games until the ASMR lulls me to sleep. This isn’t working. It’s 2:30 a.m.?

I put down my phone, and lay on my back, the ASMR drowned out by my constant internal chatter. I do my best to focus on the ASMR by turning up the volume, I steady my breathing, and somehow, eventually, I’m asleep.

Does this sound exhausting? That’s because it is, and this is what my life is like with predominantly Inattentive ADD (though I still have symptoms of Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, they just aren’t as prominent as my inattentive symptoms).

I know I’ve missed huge highlights – like forgetting whether I’ve fed the dogs all their meals and giving them less or more than they need; or how when I do heat up leftovers, I forget to put the remaining stuff back in the fridge and it spoils on the counter. Or how I get bored at every job I’ve ever done after 2-3 months, and from that point on I get incredibly careless. I stop doing assignments, I make major mistakes, I’m late more days than not. I start calling in sick because my motivation to go is shot. I look for new jobs hoping it’ll “be the one” but it always ends the same: leaving at the cusp of being fired, or actually getting fired. Or, how in a single day I can go from happy, to sad, to anxious, to hyperactive, to sluggish, to bored, to overstimulated, to happy. No rhyme or reason, I just fluctuate like that sometimes.

I wake up every day exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed. Everything is overwhelming; but some days I can fake it better than others. Some days the planets align so that I can pretend like despite the fact I’m drowning in forgotten chores, lingering galleries, and failed responsibilities, that I’m well put together and totally not a failure. Some days those feelings are a small simmer, and some days those feelings are a raging boil, but they’re always there.

Some days I can wake up and turn the volume down just ever so slightly so that my brain noise isn’t keeping me from focusing (though it doesn’t mean my motivation or productivity is there). Some days I wake up with energy and focus I know will only last a short time, and I pick a chore that seems doable in that time frame – and it’s usually the kitchen. It takes me months to get back to the point I can do a full chore again, the rest of the time it’s half chores, half completed, and poorly done.

But all days I struggle to some degree. Sometimes it’s everything colliding all at once; and some days certain aspects are harder while other things are easier. Sometimes I maximize my strengths and manage to get stuff done, even if it takes me all day. And sometimes, I fail to even get out of bed to start my day.

It’s hard to sum up what it’s like to live this way, because it impacts my life in so many ways that many times I don’t even realize it’s ADD – I think it’s just me and who I am, and that everyone feels the same way I do. But this is a good glimpse into my life, my struggles, and why it’s so important to listen to what your mind is saying, and seek help from a knowledgeable mental health professional. ADD is commonly misdiagnosed as OCD, depression, bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, and anxiety in adults; and while many of these disorders can be comorbid, ADD presents it’s own unique set of challenges and you deserve answers if you’re struggling to make ends meet on your mental health journey.

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

7 Normal Human Tasks that ADD Makes Really, Really Hard

Just last month I was officially diagnosed with Inattentive ADD (ADD-I). It’s something that honestly sums up most of my life’s struggles, and can wrap up weird “shows some symptoms that are almost this but aren’t this” traits. Specifically involving my OCD tendencies with hyper focus, obsessions, and overall ruminating, if you’re wondering.

So, in honor of this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to share with you 7 of the many tasks that ADD makes really, really hard for me.

  1. Any task that requires me to take something somewhere that’s outside the home. I literally cannot tell you that if something requires me to take something somewhere, it’s likely never going to get done. I should know better than to offer to mail things to people at this point, because I know it’ll get lost to the void. The motivation to get up and take a package to the post office, or forms back to the respective place of business is at negative numbers. I truly can’t be bothered, which is extra annoying because it’s a truly simple task that takes almost no effort at all in the grand scheme of it all. Honestly, even just putting things in an envelope and putting it in my mailbox can be a week long ordeal if I let it. It’s a surprise to me that I managed to get my wedding invitations out 6 years ago.
  2. Basically any chore, especially if it’s going to take longer than a few minutes. This is likely one of the bigger issues that plagues my relationship with my husband: chores. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it is for me to do simple chores around the house. I have two modes when it comes to cleaning: I can’t be bothered or I WILL CLEAN ALL THE THINGS FOR 14 HOURS STRAIGHT. There really isn’t any in between. I find that sometimes I can tell myself, “Just vacuum.” Nothing else will get done, mind you, but I will vacuum that floor. Or, “Just unload the dishwasher.” I can easily do pieces of chores, but if you told me to clean the whole kitchen? Well, I’d likely either never start, or get bored after 5 to 10 minutes and give up and have a partly unloaded dishwasher.
  3. Responding to messages, emails or calls. I didn’t always struggle with this task as much as I do now, but it’s something that is making the list because it’s really gotten to a point where I’m wondering if I secretly just want people to think I hate them. I have this weird mindset now where I will receive a message or a text, respond to it in my brain, and then forget it was ever sent to me. I will also do this thing where, I will read your message, tell myself I’ll respond later, forget, and then send some kind of unrelated message or meme that makes it seem like I honestly didn’t give two shits about what you sent prior.  It’s also horrible when you have a business, and responding to messages and emails is kind of what you do to build clientelle. I find it’s one of the worst parts of my job, and the more I forget to respond to people, the more dejected I feel that I’m failing my clients or my friends and family.
  4. Asking other people about themselves or their lives. Again, this is one of those tasks that honestly has gotten worse the older I’ve gotten, but it’s something I’ve noticed I’ve done more often as of late. I swear I’m not a self centered person, but I sometimes struggle to remember to ask people about how they are doing or about them in general. People ask me, and I start rambling, and then by the time it’s all said and done, it’s one of those things where my mind goes: ASK THE ABOUT THEIR WORK/LIFE, DO IT! But for some reason, I get anxious it’s too far gone and then I don’t say anything at all. Then, I sit there and obsess about whether or not they think I’m rude, or if I’m actually a horrible person masquerading as a decent human being (this is a slight call back to last month’s post, if you’re interested in reading that!). And, this may be the WORST of all: trying to focus on what they’re saying and be able to respond candidly is such a chore now. I sometimes find it’s just easier to not ask, to avoid the awkward “oops, they’ve been talking to me for a few minutes and I remember none of it because  I was so in my head; oh god what do I do? Nod, smile and laugh I guess”.
  5. Getting out of bed to be on time to ANYTHING. I know myself well enough now that if it starts before 10:00 a.m., the likelihood I’ll be on time CONSISTENTLY is slim to none. I joke that I can be awake but not up, which means my eyes may be open but I won’t be human until at least another hour or two; and I definitely most likely won’t be out of bed until that hour or two is up. I should also mention that no amount of caffeine will expedite that process. In fact, caffeine does very little for me, if anything at all. I tend to just lay in bed, knowing I should be out of bed by a certain time to get everything done, but I just can’t physically seem to motivate myself out. Then, before I know it, it’s 10 minutes before I’m supposed to leave, and I’m stressed out because I’m late. Sometimes I can get up right when my alarm goes off, and be somewhere on time, but more times than not? It’s a struggle to wake up, it’s a struggle to get up, and it’s a struggle to be on time.
  6. Showering (Consistently). Okay, I know, this one may seem like a gross one but I’m in the business of being honest, so here goes. Showering consistently is a MAJOR chore. It’s something I don’t enjoy doing, and I’d rather never have to do it again. It takes so much mental effort to build myself up for a shower, and sure, once I’m in there I’m totally fine, but trying to convince myself that I should stop my mindless surfing on the internet to shower for 20 minutes? Low on the priority list. Plus, having rainbow hair tanks any motivation because there are a lot of extra steps involved. Rinse my hair in cold water, shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse; then hop in the shower and clean the rest of me, dry off, get dressed, and then dry my hair. While that doesn’t seem like that much for most, to me it’s a TON of steps and really it shouldn’t be that hard but it is.
  7. Keeping Track of & Finding Important Items. Despite my Hufflepuff nature, finding things is not in my wheelhouse. Well, that’s not entirely true. I either have no idea where anything is, or I can recall exactly where a single nail was placed 3 months ago without a single hesitation. It’s my weird, ADD brain super power. Items on my most lost list? Keys, wallet, phone, and shoes. The moment the item leaves my hands, if I don’t fully go, “I am putting my keys down here, do not forget they are here” the keys or any item is immediately lost to the abyss of my mind. So, you can imagine, finding items that you don’t remember where you placed them is kind of a struggle. I once lost my keys for 3 days, couldn’t figure out where I placed them, and then jokingly said “I bet you they are somewhere ridiculous, like in our downstairs bedroom.” Guys, they were downstairs in our spare bedroom. How did they get there? I don’t know. Why were they there? I don’t know. I just know this is my life and it drives me crazy.

This list could honestly go on for ages, but these are the 7 most common problem areas in my life because of ADD. I honestly feel relieved to know I have this diagnosis because now my life makes sense, so feel free to share with me other ways ADD impacts your life, and if you’re up to it, how you get around it!

Until next time, Internet!

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

Fearless Babbles: Morality Debates

Am I truly a good person?

It’s a thought I have fairly regularly, and it’s honestly something that I can’t seem to let go of. What is “good”? What is “bad”? What is right and wrong?

I’m not trying to get too philosophical here, and I’m not trying to fish for compliments, but my moral worth – is that even a thing? – is something I call into question a lot.

Why that is probably comes down to two very distinct factors: my childhood trauma and anxiety. Both of which play very important roles in my adult life, and it’s something I’m still struggling to fully get a grasp on.

Growing up under the hands of narcissism and alcoholism, I’ve learned exactly what NOT to be. Which means I’ve also learned exactly what NOT to associate with in order to keep my mind and emotional well being thriving. If I think a person is even remotely similar to my family, I tend to withdraw and isolate. I find that my mind goes into self preservation, and I cut off said person – even if that person genuinely makes me feel as if they are good people.

I do believe that this defense mechanism is useful, and isn’t something I should turn off entirely, but it is something I need to tone down and fine tune. It’s something that seems to be working in very black and white terms, and I need it to settle to a nice shade of grey.

Where was I going with this again? Oh right, am I truly a good person.

What does all this mean for me then? Why did I explain all this just to ignore the question? Well, that’s my ADD brain for you, if I’m being honest. But here’s what I can tell you.

I grew up in a toxic home. I find that I surround myself with people that are great individuals, but I’m quick to judge (if you will) because of my past trauma on isolated incidents that do not define that person’s worth. This cycle, this… irrational response makes me wonder: am I the bad person here?

Are my weird black and white judgments actually the mark of the narcissism I fear? Do I see bad in people when really it’s the bad in me I’m projecting on to others? Am I quick to anger, judgement, negativity? What if I’m becoming what I resent most because I focus so much time on NOT being that very thing?

I get told often that if I’m asking whether I’m a good person, I likely am. The true mark of a narcissist is the inability to see any flaw in themselves; they essentially believe they are the best, most special person to ever live.

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life dissecting my behaviors and working to determine which ones need to be improved upon so that I can live a happy and healthy life. I do genuinely believe that I’m a good person, at least deep down, but sometimes when I do certain things it gets me wondering.

I know that in my heart of hearts, I have to do what’s best for me – no matter what. That is something I’ve had to learn through years of therapy, and it’s something I hold on to. But I have to wonder if sometimes I make things into bigger issues than they are. And that makes me wonder if I’m bad.

But I take a step back and I realize that I’m human. And humans sometimes fluctuate between “good” and “bad” and it’s not necessarily a depiction of their character. Different situations bring out different parts of us; stress, mental health and illness too. We are constantly changing and evolving, and what really matters is whether or not I feel like I’m a good person as a whole, despite my flaws.

I think, at least right now, I can safely say yes.

Until next time, Internet.

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

You Don’t Know Shit: Understanding Your Poop

Yes, you read that title right: today we’re talking about poop.

I think it’s a commonly misunderstood aspect of our bodily function, and being that I’m emetophobic and in a emetophobia support group on Facebook, poop is a regularly discussed topic.

I joked about a year ago about making an article titled just as this one is, but never did anything with it. But, now that I’m writing again and wanting to put good into this world, I figured now is just as good of a time as ever.

So, without further ado (this might be a pun), let’s learn about poop.

What is Poop?

Before we can do any other kind of learning, we have to understand what poop is.

Poop is literally just whatever is left after your body extracts the valuable nutrients and resources from the food and water we ingest.  In simple terms, it’s just whatever is left after our intestines have taken what it needs. Sometimes, our food moves too quickly through our intestines which causes a lack of absorption (called diarrhea), and in other times, our intestines absorb too much, making it hard to pass or almost unpassable (called constipation).

All poop tells a story of what your body is going through, so we’re going to make sure to touch on all areas of that to help you feel less concerned about your bowels.

Let’s Talk About Normal

I’m a huge proponent of normal is whatever is typical for you, but in this case, there is a level of normalcy that you should be looking for when it comes to your poop. According to Healthline (and several other sources I researched through), you are looking for the following characteristics of “normal” poop:

  1. Color. Your poop should be brown, and not just any brown: Bilirubin brown. Bilirubin is the shade of the pigment compound that is created when red blood cells break down in the body. Now you know, you’re welcome Internet. We’ll get to this more in depth shortly.
  2. Shape. Typically, your poop should be log shaped, but even normal poops have variance. Really, what you’re looking for is a nice cylindrical log. Wow, these are words I thought I’d never be typing.
  3. Size. You don’t want anything too small, too thin, too large. Just like the Three Bears, you want something that is just right. I feel wrong for soiling (more poop puns, God help us all) such a classic children’s story.
  4. Consistency. Look, I don’t know what tell you here other than if your poop looks like soup or soft serve, it’s not considered “normal”. It can range between firm and kind of soft, but it shouldn’t be too far on either end of the spectrum.
  5. Length (of time). I bet y’all were thinking I was about to say length of your poop. That’s just nasty. No one is measuring poop. Except maybe a poop scientist. It’s still nasty though. Please don’t measure your poop.Anyways, a normal, healthy poop should only take about a minute or two to pass, and you shouldn’t be sitting there longer than 10-15 minutes. Anything longer than that and you’re likely constipated. Or, just sitting there watching Fail compilations on YouTube. It’s really hard to know for sure.
  6. Frequency. How often you poop is actually super important. Most people have a normal poop schedule that their body adheres to every day, and you’ll likely find they poop around the same time no matter what. In fact, a healthy person likely poops anywhere between every other day and three times a day.Pooping less than once in a 2-3 day span is not normal, but doesn’t necessarily indicate a life threatening issue. Same with pooping more often than 3 times a day; it may not be normal, but it doesn’t mean there are any serious underlying factors. Though, if it helps to ease your mind, most of the reasons are not serious and range from dehydration and stress, to bowl disorders like IBS-C or your period (for our period having humans).

The Bristol Stool Scale

So, here comes the fun part. The Bristol Stool Scale (BSS) was created to help identify six different types of stools, and what they usually indicate for your health. You can find a photo of the BSS here, or really you can just google BSS and find a ton of examples. They’re not as cute as the one I linked you, but I mean, to each their own.

So, let’s talk about how the BSS classifies your poops.

  1. Type 1 (Constipation). When you’re constipated, typically going is tough (OH GOD, ANOTHER ONE), but when you do go while constipated you’ll notice that you’re likely going to see pellets, lumps, or marble shaped poops. They’ll be hard to pass, and they shouldn’t happen often.
  2. Type 2 (Mild Constipation). Lumpy logs are not a sign of healthy poops. It essentially is a sign of constipation, but here’s the good news: lumpy logs are closer to normal, which means you’re on the right path.
  3. Type 3 (Normal). The holy grail of poops. All poops desire to be this poop. It’s log shaped, normal colored, and easy to pass. Also there are cracks on the surface but they aren’t fractured off. Yeah, we’re actually talking about this.
  4. Type 4 (Normal). While not the gold star poop of Type 3, these snake like poops are still considered normal, and apparently should be happening every couple of days (1-3 to be exact). That said, the lack of snek poops is probably fine too.
  5. Type 5 (Less Normal). I kind of made up the name of Type 5 because the name they have is Amoebas and I feel like as cool as that name is, it’s not scientific. Anyways, the concept of Type 5 is essentially poops with clear cut edges that are similar to Type 1, but are easy to pass and are soft. Basically? You lack fiber, so up that fiber intake and you’ll be back to Gold Star pooping in no time.
  6. Type 6 (Mild Diarrhea). I was only half joking when I told you that your poop shouldn’t look like soft serve. The best way to describe it is it looks like the delicious frozen treat, but honestly don’t think too much about it or else you’ll have a hard time eating FroYo again. Typically, it’s fluffy and mushy, but can also have a softer and looser consistency.
  7. Type 7 (Diarrhea). If you are going and it’s completely watery, this is true diarrhea. Your stool moved too quickly through your bowels, which could be caused by many factors, most of which aren’t serious or any reason for concern. Another fun fact: most American’s have 2-3 bouts of “no cause” diarrhea a year. That number is an average, but can fluctuate based on many external factors.

Other Poop Factors To Consider

So, at this point, let’s just talk a little more in depth about some of the other factors of poop to consider. The first thing I want to touch on is color. We briefly explained what healthy poop should look like, but a very common question people have is what the color of your poop means.

And, if I know anything from panic googling that information on my own, it’s that it will always tell you you’re dying. What I’ve done is take out the panic, and added a couple more of the reasons for why your poop could be off colored.

  1. Black. So I think if many people see black poop they’re going to immediately assume it’s dangerous, but I have some good news for you: black poop can be caused by a lot of less threatening reasons. If you eat licorice, take iron supplements, or have been taking Pepto Bismol (or other bismuth meds), that could explain your darker poops. If that doesn’t seem like what you’ve been doing lately, it could mean bleeding in the intestinal tract, but before you immediately panic remember that typically that would be associated with other symptoms. But, as always, if you have a concern consult with your doctor.
  2. Green. Full green isn’t exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to healthy, but if your poop has hints of green but is still predominantly brown, it’s not green poop. Brown poop with hints of green is considered normal still, so if you’re worried about that, at least its out of the way now.Now, green poop, while not normal, usually has very little cause for concern. If you’ve been eating a lot of leafy greens, or even just heavily green pigmented foods, your poops will likely turn green. It’s also just a sign that your food has passed too quickly and it didn’t have time to absorb. Bile salts are the cause for green poop, so typically green poop is just a sign that you didn’t pick up the bilirubin and you’re likely fine.
  3. Pale, White or Clay Colored. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, this coloration is usually something that requires a doctor but before you panic, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Pale, white or clay colored poops typically indicate that you’re lacking bile, and bile comes from the gallbladder and liver. So, if you’re having stools this color, it may not be a bad idea to just get your liver and gallbladder checked. That said, some medications (especially anti diarrhea meds) can cause white, pale or clay colored poops.
  4. Red. I think the first and most obvious reason for red poops would be blood or bleeding. That said, if your poop does have blood in it, and it’s red, it’s usually nothing to panic heavily over. Typically red poops are the sign of hemorrhoids or bleeding in the lower intestinal tract. That said though, a diet that’s heavy in reds (like beets, cranberries, red gelatin, or tomato juice) can also tint your poop red. If you’re concerned, always consult a doctor.
  5. Yellow. Poops of this color are usually greasy, smell terrible, and are a sign you’ve got way too much fat in your diet. This kind of poop can also be an indication of Celiac’s disease or some other malabsorption issue. Bottom line? Go see a doctor if you’re experiencing these poops. They’ll be pretty obvious to you, and if you have to ask, it likely isn’t. So at least there’s that!

The last thing I want to discuss around poop is this: when in doubt, call a doctor. Most cases of abnormal poops have causes that are not serious in nature. People with anxiety or high levels of stress may see changes in poop frequency and consistency. Not eating enough and not being well hydrated can cause diarrhea, and this is especially true for people who aren’t eating the right foods.

Drastic changes in diet, schedule, or routine can cause changes in poop habits. It’s why many people who are going through a routine shift for work, school or holiday’s may see a shift in bowel habits.

Plus, people who have IBS-C/D, Celiac, or other illnesses that affect the gastro intestinal tract may see changes in bowl habits. These usually require doctor diagnosis, but if that is something that you deal with, having abnormal bowel movements may be your normal, and that’s fine too.

Like I said, when in doubt, call a doctor. But, in most cases this is the information you need to help determine if your poops are healthy or verging on unhealthy!

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

Literally Just A Bunch Of ADHD Memes That Are Hella Relateable

Need I say more? Here’s a list of some of the best ADHD memes we could conjure up, because who doesn’t love a good laugh on behalf of our mental health.

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sweetlittlekitty: “ drunkenfist: “ ariannemartell: “ there are no other options ” thats basically it ” YES ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ADHD moods, time, memory modes

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Most people think that ADHD doesn't effect you very much. But It comes with it's own form of anxiety and depression.

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Sometimes it takes me more than eight hours to get nothing done. - ecard

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A day with ADHD bingo.

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If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

Fictional Holidays That You Really Should Be Celebrating

I don’t know about you, but I love holidays. It’s a reason to make themed food, and decorate your home for literally no reason other than corporate America tells you to. I honestly feel like there could always be more holidays, because there’s really nothing like a holiday to really lift your spirits. If you’re like me, and wishing you could celebrate more than just those boring old, traditional holidays, I’ve got a surprise for you: you can and I’ll show you how.

Thanks to the creative minds of television, movies, and just a handful of awesome humans, you can never feel bored with your holiday choices again!

Sluzzle Tag (The Amazing World of Gumball): January 10

In case you were feeling particularly sad after Christmas, and need a little pick me up, Sluzzle Tag is the holiday for you. Don your most festive grindcore attire (or, just opt for leather, studs, and black), wrap your toilet in barbed wire, and feast upon the greasiest fried food you can find. Exchange gifts that are ridiculous or unwanted from Christmas, and enjoy the sweet serenade of grindcore/screamo/metal music. Honestly, what more could you ask for? Sure, the date has passed for this year, but it means you get this to look forward to next you, and trust me, you should do it.

Gallentine’s Day (Parks & Rec): February 13

While this holiday is a little more mainstream now, it started off fictional so we’re going to add it to the list. Leslie Knope was one of the most inspiring women on television, so it’s not surprising that she came up with the most empowering female holiday: Gallentine’s Day. The day before Valentine’s Day, gather up your closest gal pals for brunch, or really anything you can to celebrate them, and make sure you let them know how much they mean to you. It’s literally just a party meant to bring together your favorite girl friends to celebrate your friendship, which means it can be celebrated however you see fit! However, if you don’t have waffles, I’ve heard that Leslie Knope will appear in front of you and loudly proclaim you had something to do with the death of Lil Sebastian – and honestly, no one wants that to happen.

Leif Erikson Day (Spongebob Squarepants): October 9

So, this is technically a stretch because Leif Erikson Day is technically a holiday in the U.S. That said, it got it’s notoriety from Spongebob, so it’s going on our list. Bubble Buddy was the larger focus of the episode that birthed Leif Erikson Day, but it’s hard to not want to don your viking beard and helm, and exclaim, “Hinga-dinga-durgen!” While the details of how to celebrate Leif Erikson Day aren’t exactly explain in the show, I don’t see it as a big deal. Just take Leif Erikson Day and make it your own special holiday where you all dress up as vikings and do as the vikings did. If you need some ideas on how to have fun like a viking, may I recommend this site? I’m especially intrigued by the game “Birth A Bear.” Yeah, you’re welcome.

Life Day (The Holiday Special, Star Wars): November 17

A celebration notably celebrated by Wookiees and Kashyyyk, Life Day was meant to symbolize peace, harmony and a the diversity of the planet they inhabited. Wookiees would decorate their homes with trees and garland. It’s kind of like a strange Christmas and Thanksgiving hybrid, if I had to give it a more modern and realistic feel. That said, the idea that Star Wars gave birth to a holiday meant to celebrate the diversity of the inhabitants of a single planet sounds like something we absolutely need in our lives right now. Celebrate however you see fit, but put a focus on peace, love, harmony, and all the amazing aspects that make us different.

Wolfenoot (Facebook Post): November 23

Created by a little boy out of New Zealand, this holiday has captured the hearts of many. Wolfenoot is essentially Christmas for everyone, but it celebrates the idea that the the Spirit of the Wolf will bring extra gifts to those who are kind to dogs. The website explains that you can eat roasted meat and make a cake that looks like a full moon. The spirit of the holiday is simply to be kind to dogs, and give back to pets however you can. Buy your dogs gifts, donate to a shelter or sanctuary for dogs or wolves, or celebrate any other way you see fit! So long as you are kind to dogs, the Spirit of the Wolf will look kindly upon you.

What other fictional holiday’s are you gearing up for this year? How do you celebrate? Let us know, maybe we’ll do a part two in the future!

Until next time, Internet!

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

6 Things An Emetophobic In Recovery Wants Struggling Emets to Know

Hey you.

Yes you – the emetophobic reading these words.

Please know that whether you have just discovered this crippling phobia has a name, or you’re at your lowest of lows, I’ve been there. I’ve walked in your foot steps and I know things are so hard right now. You may be really stuck, or perhaps you’re just beginning to explore how to make your life better but haven’t found anything that’s made an impact.

I’m here to tell you, it’s okay, I get you, and I want to help you in the only way I know how: by offering advice from someone who’s been there, done that.

So, here’s what I feel like you need to know as you begin to process your emetophobia:

You Are Your Only Obstacle

I think when many people are in the grips of emetophobia, they have a very strong external locus of control. This essentially means that we are convinced that external factors and stimuli control us; and that those external things determine our success and safety in the world. But that’s just not true! We emets are in control of our every action. We are the reason we don’t go out; we are the reason our thoughts run wild. No one else, nothing else, is the reason for that.

Getting into a place where you can start the recovery journey means accepting that you are the only obstacle standing in your way, and you are the only obstacle keeping you from doing what you want. You create the thoughts that paralyze you, you create the scenarios that keep you home; all it takes is recognizing that the same amount of energy that goes into creating the situations that scare you can be turned into the same thoughts that rid you of the constant suffering.

It Does Get Better

I think this one may be overlooked as stereotypical, but I genuinely can’t stress to you enough it does get better. But, what I think most people assume from that is: it’ll get better on it’s own. It won’t – you have to ignite and propel that change forward, but once you’re ready to make that change you’ll notice that with time, patience and hard work, it will get better.

It may take you a while to get there, but don’t give up. It took me 7 years of weekly therapy to be at a point where I confidently felt like I had a handle on my emetophobia. You didn’t read that wrong: 7 years. I spent the first 2 years just slowly crawling forward. I didn’t see noticeable differences until that point, and even then I was still struggling. But, slow and steady wins the race, and I can safely say, on the other side, it gets better.

You Are Stronger Than You Know

Most of the battle of overcoming emetophobia comes from within. I was recently talking with someone and they told me that the only reason why they got through a scary situation was because they had to; they had no other choice. That got me thinking, and it landed me in a place where I concluded what they said and what I heard were two totally different things. What they said was, I only faced it because I had to. I heard, I got through this situation even when I thought I couldn’t; and I think that’s something we could all bear to hear.

Never forget that in the moments where you feel like you have no choice to face what you fear most, and you conquer it, that the strength you found is always there. It exists, even in moments when we have a choice. You have always been that strong, you have always possessed the ability to handle those terrifying situations; you just didn’t know you could. So dig deep and muster up the courage, strength and drive that got you through those “I had no choice moments” and put them into your day to day life.

Aim for Normalcy, Not “Cured”

I know when I started my recovery, I longed for “cured” and whole heartedly believed that I would end up completely emet free. No more obsessions, no more irrationality, no more fear. As I began to shift in my thoughts through weekly therapy and began to understand what caused my emetophobia, I started realizing that “cured” isn’t feasible; it isn’t obtainable. At least, not for me, and it’s probably going to be the same for most emets. I know this sounds incredibly depressing, but hear me out.

When you start your journey, don’t aim to be cured, because I can tell you that cured isn’t what I am by all definitions of the word. I still struggle with intrusive thoughts and anxiety about emet, and I still have tough days where I may spiral a little more than I want to. That isn’t cured in my eyes because cured means the absence of the phobia. To me, setting the bar for that automatically sets us up for failure when our standards for cured aren’t met. If I only judged my recovery based on cured standards, I would have given up ages ago.

But, a simple shift in how we view our journey gives way to what you can strive for that is achievable: Normalcy. Gaining control of your life, your thoughts again. Gaining control of your diet, your emotions, your thoughts. This will get you back to what you will discover is normal. Normal is different for everyone, but when normal hits, you’ll know, and it’ll be your biggest drive to stay motivated. Recovery is less about the absence of thoughts and anxiety, and more about being able to cope with whatever your irrational brain throws at you without missing a single beat. Strive for normalcy, not cured, and you’ll find your journey to recovery is so much smoother.

Healing Is Not Linear

This is my favorite misconception when it comes to mental health: that our journey to recovery and normalcy will be a straight line upwards. I’m here to tell you that’s not how it is, and you will likely see peaks and valleys as you traverse into the unknown of beating a phobia that has likely had it’s grips on you for decades. You will likely take two steps forward, three steps back early on; then you may hit a moment where you shoot upwards without ever dipping down. And, sometimes, after you’ve hit that mountain top, you tumble back into the lowest valley and have to climb back out, but you’re never back at zero.

You started at 0, but as you climb and fall, you will never land back where you started. How do I know this? Because throughout your journey you’ve grown stronger, gained tools, conquered battles that starting you could never have even imagined. You may have hit a low point, and it may be your lowest point in a long time, but you are not at square 1 again. You are simply experiencing the unique and sometimes wildly unpredictable nature that is mental health.

Be Kind To Yourself

Which leads me to my final and ultimately the most important lesson you can learn: be kind to yourself. Celebrate those little victories that may seem insignificant to others. Take the time to listen to your body and self care when you’re going through harder days. Don’t always feel like you have to be constantly pushing yourself, you deserve a break too. Recognize that a lifelong battle with a phobia means you have to take time to unlearn all the thoughts and coping skills you put into place to protect yourself. It won’t happen over night.

You are literally learning how to undo conditions put into place by your brain to keep you safer from a threat that literally seems like life or death; it’s okay that you’re not magically better. You are walking your own path, that no one else has walked. Comparison is a theif of joy, so don’t let anyone (especially yourself!) take the positive aspects of your journey away from you.

Every day that you get up and face the demons that you left standing by your bedside the night before, you are proof that you are strong enough to take them down. You are a true warrior, and I hope you never forget that.

Until next time, Internet.

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we support an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.

Fearless Babbles: Change

Sometimes I sit down to write posts and I have no direction. In all honesty, those posts don’t usually end up on my site. Why? Because I spend a lot of time staring into my computer screen screaming. It’s… just something I’m used to by now. But today I decided to flip the script, and I’m just going to write whatever comes to mind because why wouldn’t I just give it a shot?

I feel like, in many ways, I am always thinking. I have so much going on, whirring by in my brain that I struggle to pinpoint a single subject. I have 4000 ideas in my head, none of which are fully formed and it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to stop the spinning to get something out there. I find it’s one of the biggest hurdles I have with my blog. I either sit down and get three articles written, or I spend my time staring into the abyss, wishing I could just do SOMETHING.

I think this might be called ADD – but the jury is still out, to be honest.

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about change. How, despite humans being inherently unwilling to change, it happens regardless and we either have to be along for the ride, or we’ll get drug through the mud.

Change is hard, but change is inevitable. Change takes us by surprise, but can also be a choice. I feel like 2019 is going to be a year of change for me. Or, you know, it may not be. Who even knows? Not me, that’s for sure. But, I can tell you that it has already surprised me with little changes here and there. Some of which I’m excited for, some of which I’m nervous about.

Regardless, I feel motivated going in to 2019 – I want to do better, be better, feel better. I want to be able to stick to a routine, I want to be able to set goals and achieve them. And in order to do that, I have to dedicate myself to change.

I feel like I have all the right protocols in place to enact change in my day to day life, in my habits, in my world; but sometimes it feels like it’s two steps forward and three steps back. I strive for a sense of control in an ever changing world, and in my chaotic life (that honestly is created by me), yet I struggle to keep it going.

I feel like this year is my year to make it happen. Maybe I’ll spend some time in a future post explaining how to make and accept change. Who knows, maybe it could really help people.

This whole post started with me doing something different than I normally do. Fitting, because change was my theme apparently, but I kind of like the idea of just writing out whatever I’m thinking. Perhaps I’ll make it a series. Fearless Babbles? Yeah, you know what, I kind of like that.

Until next time, Internet.

 

How The Artist Formerly Known As Dirk Strangely Helped Me Heal

As I walked into the crowded artist’s ally at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA, I was overwhelmed. It was my first con, ever, and it was the first time I had ever been given the privilege of covering a con quite like DragonCon. I was there as press for The Daily Quirk (now known as So Fetch Daily), but on this particular day I had nothing going on.

Armed with nothing but a love for art, my husband, and a limited amount of cash I walked in awestruck by the amazing talents that had gathered there. After walking aisles upon aisles, I came across a booth selling art that was Tim Burton-esque; dark and twisted, amazingly drawn, and full of characters reinvented in the eye of the artist.

The booth belonged to Dirk Strangely.

I stopped at his booth and was immediately drawn to his style, specifically his Strangely Cats and his Alice in Wonderland series. I think that year I vowed that I’d come back to every DragonCon just so I could see him and his art, and that was true until I moved 2200 miles away and could no longer make that trek.

That first year I bought a Cheshire cat painting that I truly cherish. Of all the characters in Alice in Wonderland, I was always drawn to the Cheshire cat, and I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but I’m sure there are a couple psychoanalytical people out there who could tell me.

He told me at that first DragonCon, “Are we friends on Facebook yet? If not, you should add me, I post my art there all the time!” So I did what any creepy, newly acquired fan would do and I actually found him on Facebook. I haven’t regretted that decision, because since then I have supported his art the best I can given my own personal financial restrictions.

Art, in any form, heals the mind and soul. Whether that be music, painting, photography, dance, sculpture; and it doesn’t matter whether you’re the one producing the art, or receiving it, the curative power of a beautifully crafted artwork can speak volumes when words can’t be formed.

In 2016, I started down the path of a mental health journey I had never seen the likes of. My first stop on my highway to hell was the rock bottom of my mental health. If you’ve read my posts before, you know that my mental state took a tremendous nose dive that year, and I was in desperate need of strength, both mentally and emotionally. I needed to feel like I was still a person, that I still had that flame inside me, so I reached out to Dirk Strangely and inquired about a commission I’d love to have done.

I explained to him that my life, my mental health, needed a boost. I needed something that signified the fight I still had in me to defeat the demons that were slowly seeming to eat away at me.

He got to work, and A Girl & Her Dog was born.

In this image is me, standing tall and proud (modeled from a picture I took in college) with my German Shepherd Ronin beside me, on top of a mound of skulls, bones and remnants of demons. Those skulls and bones were meant to represent overcoming the battle with the evil that I was facing in my present day life.

To this day, I still glance at it and smile when I need a little extra strength. It’s a reminder that even in my darkest hours, I managed to conquer the parts of my mind that were trying to destroy me and I came out a bigger, better person. It sits in the kitchen, on the counter held up by the lighter I use to light my favorite candle – Juicy Watermelon from Yankee Candle.

Why is that information important? It’s probably not, but doesn’t it paint a vivid picture in your mind? No? Well, alright then…

The second commission I had done, To The Moon, came from a much happier place.

To The Moon’s concept was born from a therapy session. At the time I requested the commission, I was doing EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The goal of this therapy is to target traumatic events, then reprocessing and understanding them from the view of your present day self. It’s an amazing therapy used most commonly with those who struggle with PTSD, but it can be extremely beneficial for any trauma that causes discord in your day to day life.

In this therapy, we regularly do internal work with younger versions of my self, or parts, that hold the trauma. In this particular scenario, we imagined my younger self taking the trauma, putting it in a 2 liter bottle, strapping TNT to it, and blasting it into space where it’s then detonated and explodes.

The idea was to send all the anger, hurt, shame and disgust away and destroy it, because it wasn’t my own. The image that was painted in my brain when describing it was something so incredibly symbolic, that having it memorialized by an artist I admired seemed fitting.

I approached Dirk Strangely a second time, exposing my heart and soul, and he took that information and created To The Moon. The coolest part? The detonator glows in the dark.

When you look at To The Moon, you see two people holding hands; a man and a woman, which symbolizes my husband and myself. Together, we are standing, watching this younger version of me sit atop a hill and hitting the big, red detonate button to destroy the last of my anger and shame.

This rendition of a major turning point in my mental health still gets me a little choked up, in a good way of course. I feel like I’m lucky; not many people can say they have these beautifully drawn pieces of artwork that they can turn to for strength, hope and self compassion. Those are all traits that I occasionally have to remind myself to find, and I’m forever grateful that Dirk Strangely helped me bring those visions to life.

When I walked into the Artist’s Ally at DragonCon in 2014 and stumbled across Dirk Strangely’s booth, I don’t think I could have ever imagined the path I would have walked. His art is something I connect with, I resonate with. Not just my commissions, but as a whole. It’s quirky, twisted and bizarre, but is also created with so much passion.

It’s obvious he loves his work, and with each idea that comes to life on paper, I see that passion grow. His talents helped me heal through a time that healing wasn’t coming as readily as I’d hoped. His art gave me a visual representation of the person I wanted to be, and the strength I needed to forgive and begin to thrive.

Since these commissions were completed, Dirk started creating art under a new name, and I feel like I own a small piece of him. Wow, that sounds a bit creepier than I anticipated, but I’m sure you all follow. That chapter of his life may have come to a close, but it will never be forgotten, not by me.

So to you, it may just seem like two paintings hanging in my home. But to me? They are constant reminders of how the artist formerly known as Dirk Strangely helped me heal.

If you would like to email #Fearless, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@hashtagfearless.com. We do our best to respond within 48 hours, but if for some reason we cannot get back to you in that time frame, we promise we will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find us on any of the following social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram!

Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.