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Achea Redd, Author

Achea Redd of Real Girls F.A.R.T

Achea Redd is a mental health advocate, author of “Be Free. Be You.” and founder of Real Girls F.A.R.T. In early 2016, Achea Redd was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. She spoke to mindyourmind's Carolyn.

What led you to share your journey and write Be Free. Be You.?

Truly I wanted to tell my story in a way that was very real, honest, raw, and humorous. I thought that I couldn’t be the only one who was struggling like I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I wanted to help other women to see themselves differently.

You speak about your mental illness diagnosis, and having some pretty wonderful support from your doctor. For those people out there that are not feeling the love from their medical professional, do you have any words of advice?

I would find another practitioner honestly, and look at reviews of what others have to say about them and their bedside manner. Word of mouth when looking for a healthcare provider is extremely effective. At the very least I’d talk to whichever favorite doctor you have. For me it was my obgyn and I asked him who the best doctors in town were. I’d also possibly get a referral for a psychologist and a psychiatrist from that doctor too. That doctor you are asking is someone you trust and respect and they also know your personality and who you would fit with.

You write about being in the eye of the public and needing to navigate some pretty interesting and toxic people. What strategy or tip did you use that helped how you reacted and interacted in circumstances you wanted to run from?

Wow! That is a super question. Honestly, I didn’t always succeed with this one. In the beginning I found myself shrinking so I wasn’t taking up too much space or I found myself not being true to who I was, which is what put me in the position of the breakdown in the first place.

What insight would you share with us in terms of how to support ourselves through similar circumstances?

There are several things you can do, but you have to put in the time to discover what things will work for you. You have to first internally do the work. I recommend dating yourself and spending lots of quality alone-time to get to know yourself. Your likes, dislikes and the whys behind those things etc. That period of self discovery will help you to secure your foundation of self love and self esteem. Once you do that you will be brave enough to be in a situation that may not necessarily be your thing, but you won’t shrink yourself because you will have security in who you are.

Tell us about F.A.R.T.? Why do you use it?

It’s an acronym that stands for, Fearless, Authentic, Rescuer, and Trailblazer. It breaks stigmas and goes against the grain in two ways: 1) Women should not be held to standards of perfection, what they can and can not say etc. 2) Mental health is a conversation that many people try to “hold in” and, when you don’t let it out, pun intended, it can be very difficult. Each word itself is a snapshot of my process on the journey. So, I wanted to make sure I got people’s attention with the name and made them curious about what it was about.

Anyone reading your book can tell that faith has been a source of comfort and support to you. What would you say to someone who is struggling to find their own relationship with a higher power and why is having something to believe in, important?

Faith has been an important part of my journey, but I have been through several stages of deconstructing those beliefs and reconstructing them. I think believing in something higher than you helps you understand that there are some things beyond our control. I believe it also helps us better understand that it’s ok to not know all the answers. Lastly, it’s important because it gives a reason to keep questioning, seeking, and evolving through life.

You speak candidly about therapy, and why that felt like a natural thing for you to do. What can you share with someone who is considering therapy: why is talking to someone healing, after you share those deep feelings and shed tears, how does it feel?

I think conversation on any level with an unbiased person is healthy. It gives you a chance to get your thoughts out without acting on them. The right therapist is the one who calls you out on your stuff and makes you face it. Two of the hardest things about therapy is this: 1) you will more than likely be the only one from your circle in therapy so your relationships will be strained at some point during treatment, but as long as you adjust your expectations you will be fine. 2) most of the work occurs outside of the office, meaning you have to do the work and sometimes the work it calls for is painful and difficult.

I really appreciate your honesty about your struggle with taking medication. For those of us out there who can relate but maybe aren’t quite “there” yet, what can you share about getting “there”?

I think others should keep in mind that everything isn’t for everyone. If you decide to take medication, realize that it takes time to work and get used to. It’s not going to be a quick fix. Having realistic expectations that there is no perfect science because we are all so unique. When medicine works, it works well. When it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Personally, I think if you take medicine you are as much of a mental health warrior as anyone just for choosing to take care of yourself in whatever manner you feel is necessary. I have found the medicine and therapy combo is amazing and very helpful for me. Patience in the process is key, sprinkled with a little self compassion.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? What is next for you?

Absolutely, we will be launching and @achearedd soon with a newsletter to sign up for. Follow along on @realgirlsfart on IG/Facebook for details and daily doses of inspiration and motivation. Also, my blog Be Free. Be You. is now available as an audiobook on Audible. Book 2 will be out in the fall of 2020 for the older middle and high school girls!
Also, if they’d like to contribute to the blog and tell us about their mental health journey, they are more than welcome. We take guest posts all the time. Lastly, I’d love to come and do an event in Canada. Maybe a book signing, meet up, etc. So if anyone would like to host me I’m open to come!

Photo courtesy of Achea Redd