Happy Birthday Sarah
Happy Birthday Sarah “Koala” Fader

Recently, Nicole of The Lithium Chronicles had a birthday. A friend of hers wrote a post celebringting her birthday. It was absolutely beautiful. So I decided that I wanted to do one for Sarah of Old School New School Mom. She’s a huge part of my life since I wrote my first post and then later when I joined Stigma Fighters staff. So that I would have a special post for her today, I asked fellow Stigma Fighters if they had any special memories they wanted to share… And this is what I got back:

Sarah & Courtney NY School EventSarah & CourtneyThe first one to send me anything was Courtney of Courtney’s Voice. She sent me a photo from when she went up to New York to see Sarah and participate in an event happening at a college up there. They both did separate break-out sessions, and were warmly welcomed. From what I heard from them, everyone seemed to love them. Courtney also recorded a video of Sarah trying to walk along a path and catch/throw balls while wearing drunk goggles, click here to watch.

Kitt just wanted to say a little something to let Sarah know how much she means to her:

Sarah, thank you for creating Stigma Fighters. Thank you for sharing our stories, for putting them online, for compiling them into an anthology. Happy Birthday for the Ultimate Stigma Fighter. Love, Kitt

Then we had another person, Gabe Howard, send Sarah a couple of shirts he designed:
Bipolar shirt Gabe #AwesomePotatoes

He also sent in a photo of him and his wife wearing Stigma Fighters shirts:

Gabe and Kendall

And he also requested that I share this small from him: “Gabe says you are #awesomepotatoes!!”

Then we had a few photos sent in by Aubrey of Too Much Aubrey:

Sarah and Aubrey\Sarah and Aubrey2


Another wonderful lady, JC of Sarcastica, had a few words to say:

Sarah is the best kind of person ever, because coffee ice cream is the best kind of ice cream ever. I mean, it’s coffee AND ice cream in one. Sarah is the number 1 cheerleader of all her friends and she’s always picking people up when they stumble. Sarah is the best! – xoxo love JC who has no pictures cause she lives in stupid Canada

Courtney and Allie (our Stigma Fighters VP) of Organic Coffee Haphazardly, finally convinced Sarah to read The Fault in Our Stars:

Sarah Reads TFiOS

These are some of my favorite photos of the wonderful,
kick-ass Sarah “Koala” Fader:

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Sex & Mental Illness – The Difficult Truths, Part 1

This is a wonderful guest post by a good friend of mine in Australia. It’s a topic not talk about but widely dealt with. Please read and enjoy this first installment of the two part story.

Women’s magazines. We hear a lot about sex in certain types of women’s magazines (Cleo, Cosmopolitan, I’m looking at you). Invariably we are doing something wrong;

  • Why you’re not getting enough sex;
  • Have better sex;
  • How to blow his mind in bed;
  • Is he the right man for you?

And so on and so forth. So how come talking about sex and mental illness is still such a taboo topic when it seems that talking about  sex has become so common?

I don’t have the answer to that. But I can tell you one thing – mental illness and a happy fulfilled sex life takes A LOT OF WORK.

Let me repeat that – A LOT OF WORK.

I’m going to speak from my own experience here, but I know from conversations with others that I am far from alone in having experienced these problems. In fact the reason I’m writing is because I’m not alone, but there is still largely silence around the topic (although for a good article on the subject by the wonderful Nicole Lyons click here).

First, lets talk about mental illness symptoms themselves. Tiredness, lethargy, lack of motivation. Can you see how any one of these factors would lead to a decreased desire for sex? I can. Add into that the fact that people are trying to live a normal life with these symptoms; holding down a job, taking care of children, taking care of the house, relatives, you name it. At the end of the day, whenever that may be, you are going to be exhausted. Your mind feels fragmented, following up a thousand trains of thought and worrying about tomorrow. All you want to do is escape into the oblivion of sleep. Certainly you do not want to make the effort to have sex, either with your partner, and certainly not to go out on a date / night out looking for a connection. It’s all too hard (well, it’s not if you are male, that’s the problem).


And how about anxiety disorders? They are amazingly common. Or eating disorders, also amazingly common. Both of these can lead to a distorted relationship with your body. You feel fat, even if you are skinny. Or you long for curves, even if other people are envying you your shape. You are worried to the point of obsession about what other people might think of your body, even if that person is a romantic partner who has seen you naked and adores the sight. Your mind tells you lies, but you don’t know they are lies. And as a result you pull away. You are scared of being judged, really ashamed of how your tummy hangs, or your thighs rub together, or that you don’t look like the guys in the gym. So what if that’s not the objective truth – it’s your truth in that moment. And so you turn away from your partner or lover, decreasing all kind of physical contact. The constant anxiety manifests in phrases like “how can anyone want me like this?” “What will they think about the way I look?” And if you do get as far as the bedroom, your anxiety is making you apologise and excuse yourself every step of the way. Hardly a turn on is it?


Lets move on a bit. So you have a diagnosis and you’ve been given some medication. This is good, right? Well, lets be honest. It is certainly good that you are receiving treatment, but what about the side effects of the medications themselves? Yes, you’ve guessed it – not good for your sex life!


Take Lexapro (Escitalopram). One of the most common drugs used to treat major depression and anxiety.  This quote from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/antidepressants/faq-20058104 expresses it well:

“Sexual side effects are common with antidepressants in both men and women, so your concern is understandable. Effects on your sexual function can include:

  • A change in your desire for sex
  • Erectile problems
  • Orgasm problems
  • Problems with arousal, comfort and satisfaction

The severity of sexual side effects depends on the individual and the specific type and dose of antidepressant. For some people, sexual side effects are minor or may ease up as their bodies adjust to the medication. For others, sexual side effects continue to be a problem”.

Great. So the very drug that’s treating your depression can take away not only your desire for sex but also your ability to orgasm. Trust me, that is a horrible experience.  Not only do you not want sex, but if you get to a stage where you are having sex it’s impossible to climax. So you try masturbation, perhaps with tried and tested aids, such as pornography or vibrators. And you can’t get aroused. Or if you get aroused you can’t climax. So what are the odds you are going to be taking an active interest in more and more sex when you know it will only lead to disappointment and frustration for both of you? Yeah that’s right, not good.

And its not just Lexapro, I chose that example because that example is exactly what happened to me. The same source also cites:

“Antidepressants most likely to cause sexual side effects include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Selfemra), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which include venlafaxine (Effexor XR), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khedezla) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Pamelor) and clomipramine (Anafranil).
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate). However, selegiline (Emsam), a newer MAOI that you stick on your skin as a patch, has a low risk of sexual side effects.”

Wow. That’s a lot of stuff to think about. A lot of stuff that can seriously mess with your sex life. In a relationship this can escalate into a make or break issue so quickly that before you know it you are on a chasm, Staring into a separate and unknown future. And guess what? Yes that’s right, the worry of this decreases your desire even further.

Let’s be honest, this is especially if the other half does not really understand (and it’s an extremely difficult thing to talk about and a hard concept to grasp unless you have been there). It can make people feel rejected, unloved, cause arguments and unresolved tensions. And that’s assuming you know what is going on and are able to talk about it.  That’s assuming your sexual partner believes you that their own insecurities aren’t lying to them as well.

How much worse is it when that conversation cannot be had because of a lack of knowledge, understanding and simply information?  Not only do you not know what is happening or why, the issues mentioned above are magnified tenfold because of that ignorance.

So, this is part 1 – what can mess you up and why. Next, lets talk about what we can do about it. Stay tuned…


There is nothing more I could ask for, than to be with someone who truly cares about me. Someone who cares about me on a level like no one else ever has before. To the point where I could just look at them, and without saying a word, they know that I am not okay. I want them to understand that I simply need them to sit on the couch and hold me as my mind seems to just stop functioning.

I lie in my bed, lights out, staring at the ceiling, wondering when my mind will slow down. When I will have enough time to think things through to the point that I can process a daily routine. There have been so many days when I have given everything I have to just getting through the day so I could crawl back into bed and sleep to forget everything for a little while.

Their arms wrapped around me, holding me close to them. Their hand wrapped around mine. That is what I need when I feel like my only option is giving up. I need to see that there are people patient enough to sit there through the difficult times with me. Someone who does not seem like they are going to up and run at the sight of something difficult.

Giving up would be too easy. Fighting, every single day, is more tough that most people would think. Fighting an invisible battle, all day, every day, against my own mind, is something that I cannot even fathom explaining to someone who has not battled mental illness themselves. It is something that they cannot truly begin to comprehend.

They may give it the “good ole college try” and tell me about times when they have been depressed before, but they will never, never, understand what it is like to have a voice in their head. A voice telling them that they will never amount to anything; that they will never be able to go through a day without thinking, and almost sincerely believing, they are worthless.

I feel as though I have met this person before, but I cannot seem to pinpoint who it is. When I finally realize who it is, things will be like they are supposed to be. Simple. I will not always feel like I am falling asleep at night, constantly alone. That person will be there for me, always.

If whoever that person is happens to be reading this, please understand this:

If it seems like I am pushing you away when you are trying to break through my walls, please, please, do not give up. Keep trying. I am not used to people genuinely caring enough to take the time to chip away and really break these walls down. You are different. You want to tear past these walls and see what is behind them.

I will tell you the truth before you get there. I am afraid of what you will find. I know that I put on a strong, happy façade, but behind it is the exact opposite. I am a scared, broken, insecure girl. Please be prepared for that. I will ask all kinds of questions about why you are doing this. I will repeatedly ask if you are sure you would not rather leave me behind and make your life easier. I will probably tell you that I am not worth the effort you are putting into me.

But I know, even without knowing exactly who you are, that you cannot, and will not, leave me. You will find and care for the scared, broken, insecure girl that is hiding deep inside of me. You know that I am worth it. You see the potential in me. You want me to become the person you know I can be.

And for that I want to thank you in advance.

Thank you for everything.

Book Tour: DAMAGED GOODS by J.C. Hannigan

Blog Tour: Oct 6-12thdamaged goods - sales

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00026]







ON SALE $1.99 reg $3.99

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1NaKaNA

B&N: http://bit.ly/1ONLWkZ

iTunes: http://apple.co/1QaItxg


Everly Daniels can’t seem to fall out of love with Grayson Dixon.

Five years after locking eyes with him, Everly is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. He has a pull on her that she can’t seem to break, even if she wanted to. Grayson may be the love of her life, but he doesn’t make it easy. He has built walls around himself that only Everly can breach. But Grayson knows he is not the good guy. He’s reckless and careless, and even if Everly brings a little color into his life, he worries he will destroy her, and cares too much to let that happen.

She has always been the shy wallflower who is afraid to participate. But senior year, all that is about to change.

This captivating new adult novel will take readers on a riveting journey of emotion and growth.


J.C. Hannigan lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons and two dogs.She writes contemporary new adult romance and suspense. Her novels focus on relationships, mental health, social issues, and other life challenges.

FACEBOOK: facebook/jcahannigan

TWITTER: @jcahannigan

WEBSITE: ww.jchannigan.com

COLLATERAL: Cover Reveal



TITLE: Collateral

SERIES: Collide (Book 3)

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

AUTHOR: J.C. Hannigan

PUBLISHER: Booktrope Publishing

Release Date: November 15th, 2015

PRE-ORDER: $1.99, reg $3.99 http://amzn.to/1jvBTHq

ADD to GR: http://bit.ly/1iDHuL9


While the scars on Harlow’s body slowly fade, the ones etched into her soul take longer to heal. Harlow faces her biggest challenges yet, as she navigates the trauma of being attacked in her home, the struggle of trying to move on with her love life, and a dark secret that could destroy her most enduring friendship.

This new adult novel is the darkly satisfying third installment of the Collide series. Here, Harlow Jones is at her most raw, as she finally faces her demons, and Iain Bentley, head on.


J.C. Hannigan lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons, and two dogs. She writes contemporary romance, through which she brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges.

WEBSITE: http://www.jchannigan.com

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/jcahannigan

TWITTER: @jcahannigan

And here’s a teaser for you:

collateral teaser #1