At the risk of getting too serious too fast, I want to talk about anxiety.

Growing up, I was an extremely anxious child. I worried about everything, from what people thought of me, to school work, to after school things, to my interactions, to every worst case scenario ever. It was annoying, but it really wasn't unmanageable. There was enough distraction to counteract the stress and life was pretty normal.

My sophomore year of college, though, was a rough one. I had a close friend do something seriously awful to me that messed me up in more ways than I can count. Her actions ended up turning my entire dorm against me (I kid you not). I was ridiculed. Bullied so much that I hated coming back at the end of the day. I cried a lot. It was really, really hard. Somehow though, I got through that year. And the year after. And each year, the immediate effects faded bit by bit.

But like all traumatic events, this one left its own kind of stain. Though I didn't put two and two together until years later, this shot my anxiety through the roof. If I was worried about my interactions before, about worst case scenarios and trust issues, that was nothing compared to the way I felt now. Tiny triggers would lead to full scale panic attacks, leaving me feeling like I wanted to rip my hair out, like I couldn't breathe, like there was a 10,000 pound rock on my chest, like my heart was racing so fast it was going to take off into the atmosphere. I'd never had a panic attack before and the first time it happened, it terrified me. I didn't know what it was, but I definitely knew I didn't want it to happen again.

But it did. Again and again. Sometimes I could identify the cause. Sometimes I couldn't. Trust, other people, and my interactions with them tended to trigger the attacks more than other things. I sincerely, sincerely felt that everyone was out to hurt me. That everyone was just biding their time to do me wrong. I was suspicious of my friends. Of strangers. I have no idea how anyone stuck by me during that time. I must've been awful.

Over the years, the suspicion faded a little, but it never went away. And that is what became 'normal' for me. I don't think I have to tell you guys this, but that is not normal. Panic attacks, and suspicion, and festering wounds are not normal.

I finally, finally went to therapy and learned how to curb the attacks. Then how to curb the suspicion and holy cow, I am happier than ever. I'm not sure that the anxiety will ever completely go away, but I have learned how to deal with it and that is all I can ask for.

There's only so long we can live as the product of others' actions. There is only so much we can allow circumstance to change us before we have to find our way back. And maybe this post doesn't really have a point, but if you're out there and this sounds familiar, I have a message for you: You are not crazy. You are not broken. But this is not the way life should be. You deserve better. We all do.

Some things I've found that help:

1. Lavender-scented anything
2. Candles
3. Coloring or any other mindful activity
4. Meditation
5. Exercise
6. Animal snuggles
7. Journaling

Let me know if there's anything that's worked for you!


  1. Anxiety is no joke! I feel for you.
    While my own anxiety doesn't seem as intense; I notice a huge difference in my anxiety level when I stay on an exercise routine! It helps so much.

    1. Exercise definitely helps! I need to get better about staying on a routine.

  2. Anixety is a REAL ISSUE! And I feel like it never gets talked about the same way physical health is plastered all over the place. Good for you for being aware of your triggers - and the things that make you feel better! You're a beautiful, smart person and you can kick anxiety's ass!
    xoxo Kelsey from Blondes & Bagels