As a writer, Sarah Fader has made a name for herself as a mental health advocate. As someone who suffers from mental illness herself, she wants people to know that it’s okay and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It can be hard to keep this mindset, especially for busy parents tasked with raising kids, but it’s an ongoing process that Sarah hopes to help others put into practice. “Remember that human beings deal with a variety of different problems, issues, and illnesses,” she says. “Know that it’s okay to ask for help if you can’t figure out how to manage these issues by yourself.” Read more below for what Sarah had to say on mental health, her writing, and how she remains creative.
What made you start writing about mental health?
I felt like I didn’t have a choice, but to write about it. I was living with anxiety, but I finally got to the point where it was safe to talk about mental health. I saw other bloggers writing about it and I felt like I could finally be myself. I had so many memories of feeling alone, like a weirdo, not having a community and I finally saw the opportunity to reach out and create that for myself. At the time that I started writing about mental health, my kids were little, and I thought to myself, if they ever develop any mental health problems later on, I want them to look and see that I’m not afraid to talk about it and that it’s safe to talk about it with me.
What do you hope people gain from reading your books?
Some of my books are meant to make people laugh, but also to feel less alone because parenting is really, really hard. When your kid is refusing to comply with your very reasonable demands, it makes you feel out of control so I wanted people to know they’re not alone in that feeling. With Break Through Roadblocks: How to Manifest Your Dreams, I wanted to show people that they can achieve their goals. We get in our own way sometimes and I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I really believe in the power of not giving up and if you hit a roadblock, finding a different way.
How do you find time to write and remain creative with your busy lifestyle?
Very messily. It’s not easy and it’s a juggling act. But the way that I do it is to consistently ask for help when I need it and know that I cannot do everything by myself.
Tell me a little bit about the nonprofit Stigma Fighters. What resources does that provide for those with mental health issues?
I don’t run it anymore, but I co-founded Stigma Fighters with my best friend. I was looking for a place where people could talk about living with mental illness on the internet. I could not find a centralized location where people could share their essays about this so I created a blog series, and started asking my friends that were comfortable sharing to write about their experiences with mental illness. It then evolved into compiling stories into a book and then all of a sudden we had four volumes of these books. It was about making people feel like they had a voice because mental illness is invisible. My whole life people were constantly telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough, that I was lazy or that I was annoying. They didn’t understand that I was internally struggling with something. I simply wanted to raise awareness and I’m so glad that we gave birth to that together and that it continues on.
What advice would you give to someone struggling with their mental health?
If you struggle with mental illness, it’s really important to seek treatment and find whatever treatment plan works for you. Also, keep in mind that what works for you is not necessarily going to be the same thing that works for anybody else. Maybe you go to therapy and take medication, maybe you just go to therapy, maybe you do yoga and practice mindfulness, but you can’t let somebody tell you what’s going to work for you.