“THIS WILL NOT LAST: Everything in life except change is temporary.” With Achea Redd

THIS WILL NOT LAST: Everything in life except change is temporary. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that change is inevitable and this too will pass. As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of […]

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THIS WILL NOT LAST: Everything in life except change is temporary. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that change is inevitable and this too will pass.

As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Achea Redd a mental health advocate and the founder of Real Girls F.A.R.T. [Fearless. Authentic. Rescuer. Trailblazer], a platform that helps empower young women dealing with mental health and body issues. Redd is the author of Be Free. Be You.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

In 2016, after battling with chronic undiagnosed mental health issues and a cancer scare, I had a nervous breakdown that drove me to the doctor’s office. That was when I received a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Once I received the diagnosis I started a blog called Real Girls F.A.R.T. (Fearless, Authentic, Rescuer, Trailblazer) wanting to point to the stigma surrounding mental health conversations much like the taboo around the word ”fart”. I wanted women to be okay with showing their vulnerabilities and be comfortable shedding perfectionism. The blog was therapy for me as well as the desire to help others through their mental health journey. From the blog, we became a social media platform as well as a for profit that hosts empowerment sessions for women and girls in the community. Continuing to write the blog I started turning my story into a book called Be Free, Be You which was released in June of 2019.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Lioness arising by Lisa Bevere was very instrumental in my development as I recovered from my breakdown. I’ve always admired Lisa Bevere, but that particular book was what I needed to tell me that I mattered and that I was born to make a change in this world. The time for action is now and I needed to wake up. It showed me that my breakdown was a breakthrough and that breakthrough gave me courage to breakout of the shell of my comfort zone.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

THIS WILL NOT LAST: Everything in life except change is temporary. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that change is inevitable and this too will pass.

-THIS IS A CRISIS, BUT ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY: Many people will have a lot of time to sit and think. To re-evaluate their path and perhaps choose a different one. I’ve heard many stories from individuals who have been through a crisis and have completely changed the direction of their careers because of it. Another opportunity it presents is helping us identify how to live more simply and not be as wasteful with our resources. We are hopefully learning the value of workers apart of the supply chain, and healthcare providers.

-IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE: A lot of our kids are being affected with their school years abruptly coming to a halt, spring break plans over, senior trips cancelled, graduations cancelled, but between 1964–1970 kids in the same age group were going to war in Vietnam for their senior trips. So as horrible as this pandemic we have to be grateful that all the kids are at least home with their families.

-THIS IS THE STAYCATION WE’VE ALWAYS WANTED: I do understand that these are grim circumstances and many people are suffering but the call among us for social distancing while somewhat inconvenient, can also be very good for getting the rest and reset we all need. This is permission to slow down because we have no other choice right now so we might as well try our best to enjoy it. The reality is that burnout is extremely common these days so any reset we can get is a positive.

-RECONNECTING WITH FAMILY: I understand that not everyone sees this as a positive, but from my vantage point life is extremely busy and time with our immediate families isn’t something we always have at least without something else competing for our attention. Now that the world is basically at a standstill we all have the time to reconnect with our loved ones with minimal distractions. All of the stuff around us is very temporary and can be lost at any moment. What really matters is family. This type of crisis helps point us all in the direction of what really matters.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

-LISTEN MORE: Support by listening and not trying to fix their anxiousness. People want to be seen and heard not fixed.

-DO VIRTUAL DROP INS: Do random check ins either via text, phone call, or face time especially with those who you know are having a difficult time right now.

-KEEP IT SKINNY: Limit news media and social media intake so that you aren’t constantly bombarded with the same information over and over. That can be taxing on the brain and also scary because everyone has an opinion so we have to be gate keepers of what goes into our ears because whether we want it to or not it will affect our thinking and our thinking will affect our behavior.

-KEEP IT LIGHT: Watch funny tv series’ or movies to keep it light. This is NOT the time for doom and gloom movies or conspiracy theory documentaries to further our anxiety about the world we are living in right now.

BE MINDFUL: Realize that not everyone will have it “together” during this time. Some of us are just trying to stay afloat. So try not to post your routines or schedules for your kids. Avoid giving suggestions on how other people “should” be handling this. This is the time that the word “should” should be (pun intended) taken out of our vocabulary. Nothing is normal right now so no one needs to pretend it is nor does anyone need to feel pressured to be okay. Those types of posts can be very triggering for people who struggle with comparison and have pre-existing anxiety pre-pandemic COVID-19.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Continue therapy if you can, breathing exercises, virtual yoga, a walk outside, or any form of exercise really, coloring in a kids coloring book, CBD, and DO NOT over do it on the alcohol because that could make you feel worse and actually depress you.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“What’s in your cup is for you, the overflow is for everyone else.” -Achea Redd

This is relevant everyday for me. Not only personally, but also in my career. I have to be “on” and a well for so many people to draw from so it’s important that my oxygen mask is secured and my cup is overflowing. Once the overflow is gone then I have to retreat back to solitude and refill because I never want to help anyone with my personal reserve. Every person I help has to come from what’s in my overflow.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would continue to destigmatize the conversation surrounding mental health, by providing wellness resources to at risk communities of WOC. Most women of color see wellness as a luxury, but I want to change that narrative. I’d love to establish a house of wellness for women of color.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

@realgirlsfart on IG

Real Girls Fart on Facebook

Realgirlsfart.com for the latest updates and blog posts

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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