My Struggle With Anxiety


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I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time now but procrastination and writer's block has always gotten the best of me. I love Motivation Mondays because they give the blog depth and a purpose, but they are by far the hardest posts for me to write because the overhanging fear of judgment is always ever present. How much sharing is too much? What do people really want to know? At the same time, I know that being transparent and vulnerable is so important and could be helpful to others sharing similar struggles or challenges in life. So today's post will be the start of many posts on the topic of anxiety. I mentioned previously that I've suffered from anxiety for most of my life and many of you reached out stating you have as well and would like to see a series here on the blog about my experience and my suggestions for trying to overcome it. 

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lush ruffle sleeve dress

lush ruffle sleeve dress pink velvet steve madden mules

lush ruffle sleeve dress pink velvet steve madden mules

lush ruffle sleeve dress

lush ruffle sleeve dress pink velvet steve madden mules

pink velvet steve madden mules

lush ruffle sleeve dress

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If you've never had anxiety before it may be hard to understand. And for someone with anxiety, trying to explain how it feels and the thoughts that cross your mind may induce anxiety in itself. But the best thing you can try to do is sympathize and not pass judgment. Anxiety is so much bigger than one scenario, situation, or frame of mind. At times it's debilitating, scary, frustrating and can even feel devastating to the person who's struggling. I've personally battled with anxiety ever since I was in middle school. It started with a feeling at night of not being able to breathe. At first, this was incredibly scary because I didn't understand what was happening. The only way we could get it to subside was to turn on the air conditioning so it was nice and cold and the TV so that my mind was preoccupied. 

As I continued to get older my anxiety presented in many different ways. Many times, with a feeling of not being able to breathe in situations in which I felt uncomfortable or unsure of myself. And once the anxiety occurred, it would continue to reoccur over and over in the same situations. I grew to understand what was happening so I was able to keep myself calm and unpanicked but it was still uncomfortable and very frustrating. I'm an A-type personality with an overactive imagination and a compulsion for perfection. I live to stress and I stress often. I would even say it's what I do best (I laugh and shudder at this at the same time). I spend my days planning and organizing and then doing it all over again because chaos in my mind only makes things so much worse. 

 When I was in college I had an anxiety attack so bad that I ended up in the ER due to chest pains. I was young and healthy so I knew I wasn't having a heart attack but I also knew that something was wrong. They did lots of tests, as you can imagine, but in the end found it was induced by my severe anxiety. I did, however, also find out that I suffer from hypothyroidism which can also affect your level of anxiety. Since then, I was placed on a low dose of medication and it has, in fact, made my day to day anxiety better (thank goodness). However, they aren't magic pills and they didn't completely make the anxiety go away. 

Anxiety, at times, has made me feel broken. I've seen it affect me the most in romantic relationships. Even at 28, with a lot of experience dating under my belt, I still can't completely put my finger on my feelings of inadequacy, which too, stem from anxiety. Overthinking why someone would want to be with me... Am I good enough? Am I fun enough? Should I share my opinions and feelings freely? Why do they like me? Are they starting to unlike me? Where is this going? Is it going there fast enough? And then if I share those feelings it makes me feel strange and immediately like I shouldn't have said anything in the first place because it's hard to explain why I feel them. In my current relationship, I did gradually open up about my anxiety and how it makes me feel. It was met with understanding and compassion that broke down a barrier I'd built out of fear, making all the difference in the world. 

Lately, I've talked about a facial reaction I've been experiencing with my lips where they crack and blister (it's terrible) that originally was thought to be an allergy of sorts. Now it looks like it might actually be a stress/anxiety induced problem which, for me, is the worst diagnosis because telling a stressor not to stress just makes more... you guessed it... stress lol. I've been so frustrated about it because it makes me self-conscious and it's also quite painful. I've been told by many people that meditation could really help me, especially with issues like this, so I'm definitely going to give it a go. And I will update you all about how or if it helps. One of my girlfriends and I were talking about it this weekend and I told her I downloaded a meditation app that's really good but I've actually been using it to sleep. So I'd say it's already been helpful haha.

I'm planning to share a more thorough life update soon so I won't share too much right now... but ever since I moved to California my life has been in flux. I preface this by saying it's been an incredible and positive experience with a person I whole heartedly love. The challenging part has been the change and uncertainty in my career. When I left Virginia I left my very first big girl job of three years to start my new life with Justin. Surprisingly, it was an easy decision to make and the right one for myself, my future, and my relationship. I was fortunate to find a contract management position out here rather quickly that I loved, but sadly it was only temporary. Now I'm in the process of figuring out what I do next... Do I ramp up the blog? Do I style full-time? Do I head back to the world of healthcare administration?... Why is job hunting so hard? Why aren't people emailing me back? What if I get a job and then we move again? So many questions I'm totally unsure about swirling around in my head.  

I find myself surrounded by extremely successful people. Friends and a significant other who have achieved so much before the age of 30. With fabulous 401K's, amazing benefits, lifelong careers with companies who understand their worth. And as proud as I am to know and be close to people like this (as my mom always said... you are judged by the company you keep), it is hard at times not to feel small in comparison. I say this not to feel sorry for myself but to explain why my anxiety sometimes goes into overdrive. A feeling of needing to make something happen and make it happen quickly. Don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful to have a part-time job and a blog that keep the bills paid. And I do know that in the end, everything works itself out. That things happen for a reason and that as long as you work hard and you're kind to others, good things will come your way. 

I do my best to remember all of the good things I have in my life. A wonderful family, a loving relationship, an adorable puppy, a roof over my head and food on the table, my health, and lots of opportunities. I know that my journey is its own and that it can't be compared to somebody else. That maybe someone somewhere is looking my way and wishing they were in my position. I have to remind myself of this little blog that I've built and all that I have achieved thus far in my career. I know I'm not alone in my struggle with anxiety and there's a comfort in knowing that others understand how it feels. Who understand the triggers of uncertainty and the unknown. 

What I yearn for most is to live in the moment. To quit planning tomorrow and to live for today. To just be happy with what is and to not question myself or my capabilities. To take love at its word and to let the future unfold day by day. Understanding and accepting anxiety is a big step in helping yourself to overcome it. And I'm still working on mastering the mind game. I wish I could offer more in the way of suggestions to conquer anxiety but it's a journey I'm still on myself. And I'm hoping by writing about it that it will not only be cathartic but that I can share what has helped me thus far. And that if you've struggled or are struggling, to know you're not alone.


Thank you so much to all of you for being such sweet and caring readers! 

10 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing! I struggle with anxiety as well. It is interesting what we compare ourselves to. I work full time in the corporate world, have a 401k, yada yada...but I find myself comparing myself to people who are truly happy in their careers! My anxiety tends to build for a while and then I will have a panic attack, which is never fun. I've found exercise is my solace, but then I stress about not having enough time to fit it in everyday! It's an endless cycle, so I totally understand where you are coming from! But if it makes you feel any better, I love visiting your blog, following on Instagram, and admire you!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing Kelly. It's interesting how anxiety or stress presents itself in each individual person. And I agree about exercise being a great escape from the endless cycle of thought. I hope this post helped in ways and thank you so very much for following along - it means the world to me!

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  2. I haven't had anxiety until the past year or so. I never fully understood what people meant by saying they suffered from this. I then started having what I would call them as panic attacks. I would feel like I couldn't "calm" myself down. My heart would be racing and I would feel like I'm overheating. I felt like I was going to throw up. The thought of any food is disgusting. And any tight clothing needs to go. I suffer from this once or twice a week. Sometimes it's manageable but other times I just need to escape. Driving really helps get my mind clear especially while turning on the AC to full blast. Picture taking also helps my mind focus on something else. For some reason chewing mint gum helps tremendously. People probably think I'm a gum addict because I go through a pack a week or so. Oh and if it's summer, going in cold water at the beach instantly feels refreshing.
    The only way I can describe my anxiety, is I feel time is passing by incredibly slowly and I feel like I'm going insane. I can't stay still. I need to be doing something, anything. It mostly sparks during the weekend or the start of a new day. I find myself thinking, "what on earth am I going to do today? I have nothing planned. How am I going to make it through the day?" I find the less I think about anxiety, the less it happens.

    Kate || KATE KOUTURES

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    1. Kate, thank you so very much for sharing! That's so brave of you to open up about how anxiety has affected you the past year. I completely agree about the cold air or feeling cool. A lot of times anxiety can make you feel hot and suffocated so cooling the body is always a relief! I hope that some of this will subside for you over time and I will definitely be sharing anything I find that helps me that I feel could help others. There is so much transition happening for many of us. Entering new careers, getting married, finding ourselves... it can be so hard to sort through it all.

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  3. As much as I hate to read that you struggle with anxiety I just want to say that I find it refreshing that somebody is actually talking about it. It is so much more common then we think. My anxiety has, at times been debilitating. And it has gotten so much worse ever since I had my son. I too was told that meditation helps and I also use essential oil's to help me as well. I also pray a lot and that seems to work well for me too. You're in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you for this post - it's nice to know that I am not alone

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet message. I feel really relieved that so many people have been able to relate and are able to reach out to me with their own stories. I will absolutely be posting more about the topic and ways I find that help. Someone else mentioned essential oils, which I have, so I definitely need to use them. Thank you for always being so supportive and sweet!

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  4. Thank you for sharing your struggle with anxiety! It can be a cruel game we play with ourselves and even more cruel when it lashes out on us. Like you, I had a major attack when I was in my early 20's. I felt like I couldn't breath, I couldn't eat, I couldn't even stand up straight to walk. I hunched around trying to make it the bathroom and to take my puppy out. I stayed in bed for days until I got drug to the emergency room by one of my friends. I couldn't dare tell my parents who were hundreds of miles away. I thought I was dying and I didn't want to know. Come to find out it was my anxiety that was triggered by some major stresses and life changes. Fast forward several years and I have had horrible psoriasis breakouts also triggered by my anxiety, one scratch turning into over scratching and then turns into a disaster that struggles to heal. My most embarrassingly is that since I was in middle school I would mindlessly snap off the ends of my hair when I was extremely stressed out. Not the split ends just ends in general. About 2 inches or so up from the end, one piece at a time. There have been times in my life when I have had to stick with wearing my hair up. I would be embarrassed to get my hair done in fear that I would have to explain why it looked like I had a home made hair cut. You should have seen the extensions my sweet stylist gave me right before my wedding! With a corporate career and just life in general, things get hairy (no pun intended) I've learned over the years to work on overcoming and thankfully I have a loving husband and 2 perfect fur babies to keep me in check. The struggle is real and anxiety is no joke! At 33 I have many more stressful situations coming my way but the amazing thing with social media is staying connected and knowing you are not alone. Thanks again for sharing! Exactly what I needed on a Monday afternoon! And welcome to the west coast! :)
    <3 Angela Walker

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    1. Angela, Thank you so very much for sharing your story with me. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and understanding today. So many people with similar but different stories about how anxiety has affected them in their lives. I am happy to hear you have a loving hubby and some pups/kitties to keep you company - it helps so much! My goal is to continue sharing so that others will feel supported and it will create a community where we can talk about tough subjects like anxiety without feeling scared or judged. It means so much that you took the time to share and to read. Thank you so much!

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  5. Hey girl! You aren't alone! We are the same age, and I too have struggled my ENTIRE life with debilitating anxiety. As a kid I would lock myself in my room and listen to music while pacing around my room because I couldn't shake that "nervous-pit-in-my-stomach" feeling.. as I got older I recognized that what I have always felt is constant anxiety, and after trying so hard to figure out my triggers/ways to calm down, my husband urged me to get help. I finally opened up to my doc about it, and I've been on mess for two years now. I'm not saying meds are the answer because they definitely aren't but they help. They help to balance out the chemicals in my brain that are constantly worried, constantly overthinking, constantly running a million miles a minute. I've become better focused at work, my friendships have strengthened and I've found peace in where I am at, worrying less about feeling inadequate. You aren't weak if you get help! I wish you all the best!

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    1. Elena, thank you so very much for reading, reaching out, and sharing. Having support and people who care is so important when it comes to anxiety and I'm glad to hear you have that in your life! I'm also happy to hear that the medication has helped :). I've heard from many others who have benefitted a lot from seeking medical help as well! Understanding what is happening and what you need is so important. Again, thank you so much for reading and sharing - it means the world!

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