I feel so honored! I was nominated by my fellow mental health advocate, David Susman, for the Liebster Award. David is a colleague whose work I respect tremendously. He is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in Psychology Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. Thank you, David, for this honor!
What is the Liebster Award?
This award exists on the Internet. It’s a way for bloggers to recognize their peers, favorite bloggers, and help people discover new bloggers. It’s much like a chain letter, since the people you nominate for the award are then asked to nominate their own list of favorite bloggers.
Rules for the Award:
1. Thank the nominator.
2. Display the award in your post.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers.
4. Answer the 10 questions that your nominator has given you.
My nominees for The Liebster Award:
(in alphabetical order)
3. Kathy Khang: Writer, speaker, and activist who writes about injustices like racism and sexism. Inequality and discrimination can impact one’s mental and physical health as well as access to good medical care.
5. Jenni Prokopy: Jenni lives with fibromyalgia and her website, Chronic Babe, is a great resource for people with chronic illnesses and pain diseases.
6. Linda Rosenberg: Linda is the President and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health. Her blog, Linda’s Corner Office, is on the pulse of advocacy–always giving legislative updates concerning conditions such as mental illnesses, addictions, and disabilities. National Council (NatCon) has 2,200 member organizations and has trained 250,000 people in Mental Health First Aid. In 2012, I won Second Prize in NatCon’s Reintegration Awards (category: Achievement).
7. Natasha Tracy: Bipolar Burble is the name of Natasha’s prominent mental health blog—one of the most informative bipolar websites you’ll ever find.
8. KathieLea Varnado Bradfield: Kathie writes about living with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID, a primary immune deficiency), Systemic Lupus (SLE), Myasthenia Gravis (MG), Hashimoto’s Disease, Asthma and other autoimmune conditions. Her blog, Autoimmune Warrior Girl, is inspirational.
9. Mike Veny: Popular mental health speaker, advocate, and professional drummer. Mike is the Founder of Transforming Stigma.
10. Kaira Williams: Kaira’s blog, That’s What She Said, is not a health blog. But it makes me laugh. Laughter is important in surviving illness and suffering in general. Laughter releases endorphins AKA “the feel good hormones,” which help people fight stress and manage depression. If I didn’t have a sense of humor, I would have lost my mind a long time ago.
Questions for my nominees:
1. What’s your dream?
2. If you had a pizza in your name, like the Bianca, what would be on your pizza?
3. If you could travel anywhere in time, what era would you choose?
4. What’s your favorite TV show?
5. What was your favorite childhood toy?
6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
7. Who is your favorite figure in history?
8. How long have you known your best friend?
9. What are three words that describe you?
10. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
My answers to the 10 questions posed to me by David Susman:
Q1: How did you get started with blogging? A: I wrote and hosted Flipswitch for two years 2011-2013. Flipswitch was an award-winning mental health podcast and blog for young adults. I started Fashionably ill, this website, in 2012 because I wanted to do something for people who live with both a mood disorder and chronic pain, fatigue diseases. Also, I have been twelve different dress sizes since getting myasthenia gravis in 2008. In the past, I gained a lot of weight from being bedridden for over a year and taking Prednisone (steroids). My weight is subject to changes in medications. I wanted to give makeovers to sick women and help patients feel confident despite changes in their appearance.
Q2: What’s one cause you are passionate about? A: I’m passionate about giving people with mental illnesses coping tools. Living with bipolar disorder and my years in mental health nonprofit have convinced me that we need to discuss coping tools more. Recently, I gave a TEDx Talk on how to get stuff done when you’re depressed. Also, as you can see on this website—anyone who subscribes to my newsletter gets a free Depression Tool Kit, which comes with a map of 10 strategies for getting stuff done during depression. The kit also has four scripts for initiating difficult conversations like winning accommodations from professors and employers. The kit also helps readers talk to their friends about mental illness.
Q3: What’s your favorite food? A: Italian food and pizza. I love all different kinds of pizza including deep-dish pizza (I’m from Chicago). I prefer mushrooms–lots of mushrooms!
Q4: Where would you most like to travel? A: Italy for the food and art.
Q5: What’s your all-time favorite book? A: In the Bible, the book of Philippians in the New Testament. I can relate to the author, the apostle Paul. He keeps experiencing one trial after another–house arrest, persecution for his faith, being shipwrecked (literally not figuratively), etc. I recite Philippians 4:13 almost every morning, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
Q6: What famous person would you most like to meet (living or dead)? A: There are several but I’ll go with my favorite actor: Michael J. Fox. I loved Family Ties and Back to the Future as a child. As an adult with myasthenia gravis, I am inspired by all he’s done while battling Parkinson’s.
Q7: Who is your role model? A: Winston Churchill—he was resilience personified. He’s my favorite political figure of the last century. He fought recurrent bouts of depression all his life. He also had many physical health (pain) diseases and had been in many freak accidents (like me). From 1940 to 1941, he upheld Britain and rallied his nation to fight even though Hitler was bombing thousands of Brits. During that critical time, Great Britain had no allies and Hitler had swallowed up the rest of Europe. I can’t think of anything more inspiring than defeating Nazi Germany.
Q8: What’s one thing about yourself you would like to change? A: Honestly, I’m thankful for all the readers who leave positive feedback every week telling me how this blog or my mental health advocacy has helped them. But there are days, many of them, when the pain of myasthenia and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is tremendous. I wish I wasn’t in so much pain.
Q9: What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? A: Probably the last time I read a David Sedaris book. He’s my favorite author and a great humorist. A good place to start for people new to Sedaris’ work is Me Talk Pretty One Day.
Q10: Describe yourself in one word. A: Fighter. I see myself as Rocky and my five diseases as Rocky’s different opponents: bipolar is my Apollo Creed. PCOS is Ivan Drago. Myasthenia gravis is Mason Dixon, asthma is Clubber Lang, and psoriasis is Tommy Gunn. Everyday, I wake up tired and in pain. When I wake up, I play Eye of the Tiger, put on my Rocky boxing gloves, and pray for strength to survive another day. I also love (real life) World Champion Boxer and Congressman Manny Pacquiao. He fights for the poor, people with disabilities, and victims of human trafficking outside of the ring.
Once again, I’d like to thank David Susman for nominating me. You can find a list of other blogs I read here. Also, if you know any health or beauty blogs I should include, leave a comment.
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno