A Little Reminder


I shared on my Instagram that lately I’ve been struggling- as I do when we move and life is unsettled.  I’ve been more sick than I’ve been since I was hospitalized, and I’m doing everything in my power to get better- acupuncture, yoga, meditation, 100% clean eating, rubbing lavender oil all over my body like it’s juice from the heavens, etc.  And I am, don’t worry!  But for some reason this time my body doesn’t want to let go of the stress, which of course exacerbates my health issues which then causes more stress and anxiety.  Ugly cycle!  I’m having trouble sleeping, the “fear bunny”, which is what I call that thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night feeling panicked- it’s ever present.  I can’t seem to just SETTLE.

Sunday night I had a panic attack that landed me in the ER- I was so overwhelmed with trying to heal myself, with all that’s going on in our lives- personally and professionally and with just trying to get our feet under us, that I came unravelled.  It was an out of body experience.  I couldn’t move my arms or legs- I could feel them tingling but as hard as I willed my mind to make them move- they wouldn’t.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I was alternating sweating and shivering.  My body was twitching.  I couldn’t get my thoughts under control, all I could think about was how very out of control everything in my body was.  It was a giant un-doing and it was terrifying.  After about an hour or so Lou and my best friend were able to calm me enough to carry me to the car and off to the ER for some medications to help. I slept for a full 24 hours after.

This is my life at the moment.  And so rather than keep resisting it- I’m going to lean into it.  I’m going to accept that this is just where I am, where I may be for who knows how long. This unnerving sense of anxiety- it’s just going to be a part of my life until one day it isn’t.  I’m seeking western medicine’s help on this one as well- my acupuncturist said that I may be so exhausted that a little boost from modern medicine might be just what I need to help me get back to myself and that anti-anxiety medication may help me stabilize.

I wanted to write about this, as personal and scary as it is to share, because there’s an awful stigma about mental health in our society.  I’m a perfectly lovely, perfectly sane, perfectly has-my-shit together person- 99.9% of the time.  But I have anxiety.  And I know so, so, SO many of you do too.  Among other mental health issues.  IT’S OK!  I repeat: IT IS OKAY!  We’re all doing the best we can.  We’re all exactly where we need to be- learning and growing and struggling and God-willing we’re overcoming.  So if you have anxiety or depression, or any other malady (mental or physical) – please know that you’re not alone. You are so very, very not alone.  And it will get better.  I believe that with all of my heart. And we need to talk about it- loudly, clearly, with passion and compassion.  The stigma needs to go the way of mile high 80’s bangs.  We are all: exactly. as. we. are. meant. to. be.  Keep going, keep growing.  I love you.  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

  1. Courtney|

    This is why I love your blog. And you. You are awesome and continue to inspire me daily. Thank you, I needed this today.

  2. Marcia|

    Beautifully well put — the “fear bunny” gets the best of us sometimes (myself included, at present which made this post SO perfect), but we will come out on the other side. Hugs my friend.

  3. Lis|

    Wow! Thank you for your courage to share this. It’s refreshing to my soul to see someone else shed the protective cloak that hides their vulnerability. I, too, had a panic attack/anxiety big hiccup this week and found myself crying in despair at what I deemed as a personal failure and stunt in growth. The feeling of loss of control of our bodies and minds is truly the scariest, because you lose trust of yourself, and that’s such an important relationship to have with oneself. Anyway, I pray that peace finds you in this storm you’re weathering. I like to read Sheryl Paul’s conscious transition blogposts about anxiety, it gives me hope when it seems there isn’t any. Xx

    • amy|

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m so sorry to hear that you had that experience and that you are struggling with anxiety. I can totally identify with you- even though we don’t know each other personally. You are not alone at all. It really is a struggle…and yet there is absolutely hope that it will get better. It has for me. I wondered if it EVER would. I too am like you said 99.9% of the time perfectly lovely and a “have my shit together person”…just like you…and yet this totally UN-awesome totally annoying thing named ANXIETY comes up for me. I don’t really know why I’m wired like this, but I am and like you said…leaning into it…and choosing to not wrestle and resist…well that is part of what has helped me. I also find a lot of relief and rest in self care, exercise, and stress management…and yeah sometimes western medicine has been a good thing…as well as continuing natural & practical “remedies”. I hope you will find your rhythm and what works for you. I have been enjoying your blog for awhile now…it has brought me so much inspiration and joy. It even gave me the courage to take some baby steps on my own “bungalow” endeavor…something I’ve dreamed about forever. I swear that giving myself time to try and exercise my creativity and taking steps to live out things I dream about (with a balance) is helping me with my anxiety. It’s fulfilling and it seems like the more fulfilled I am (again with balance) the less stressed or anxious I tend to be. Anyway, I just want to thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing about your real life in addition to sharing your gift for connecting with people through your expression of style and food and design..etc…it truly has enriched my life and encouraged me to go for my passions too. I truly hope you find rest and peace and that you are able to feel some relief and healing…with you anxiety and with your body soon. Take care!!! :) Amy

  4. Shannon|

    thank you for this reminder. Life can be so predictable and I appreciate your realness more than you will ever know. As a devotee to eastern medicine, I did also turned to anti anxiety meds to help get me through some tough times. My advice, watch your dosage, as they are addictive, time you are on them (longer you take the longer it the weaning off process will be, and yes, wean no cold turkey) and be careful with booze. 2 glasses of wine will feel like 5. I hope that you can find peace with all of the amazing things you have at your disposal.

  5. Alysha|

    I can SO relate to this! Every couple of years I have a super anxiety spell and usually make a trip or 2 to the ER for some meds and R&R. It’s usuallu related to a major life event also. And you are totally right, we do need to talk about it!!

    I do hope you feel better soon love! Lean in, take those meds for as long as you need to! Much love. Xoxo

  6. chas|

    Thank you for this. I completely understand and can relate. I pray for peace and healing over you. Your honesty and compassion is admirable. You and your blog is a true beauty. Have a beautiful day.

    P.s. I am reading an excellent book so far called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s pretty good. It talks about dealing with anxiety, worries and fear and trying to live in the now and finding beauty in that.

  7. s.montgomery|

    Love love love your honesty Sarah! Team Real Girls unite! We are all human and that can mean feeling strong some days and weak others. It is so freeing to unite on this front! Sending hugs via the internet!

  8. Courtney|

    I also want to just applaud you for your bravery in sharing these experiences with us. I think you’re right that the only thing you can do with anxiety is ride it out sometimes. Thank you for sharing with us, it’s so comforting to know that we all go through these times.

  9. Jenna|

    thank you for sharing your story! so many people (myself included) are too ashamed to admit that they have mental health issues — but don’t we all, to some point? it’s amazing what stress can do you to your body and mind. and you’re right, we are not alone! thank you for being brave and sharing your story. anxiety issues can make you feel so alone, and so isolated. i am so glad people are finally talking about this issue.

  10. Morgan|

    Thank you so much for sharing your story – you are so, so right – so many of us experience these things but we feel so alone. Sending you big hugs and love, and so much gratitude for being brave to share this. So inspiring.

  11. alician|

    You are so amazing and I really admire you so much for being yourself and speaking the truth in good times and bad. You are a true inspiration to me and many others. Moving sucks and dealing with health issues on top of it…the worst. Hang in there and lean on the ones who love you when you can!

  12. Deb|

    I feel your pain. I have meinere’s disease and have been having dizzy spells. Have been great and just started again. It is tough when you don’t feel well. I wish you health Sarah.

  13. Tracie|

    Dear Sarah:) You always make my days with your posts and today is no exception. My family has experienced mental illness in several forms. My brother suffered from depression and eventually killed himself many years ago. My sister experienced a break down similar to what you described and she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but is doing much better now. I have sat with my best friend as she suffered through panic attacks. I have read a lot in an effort to learn all I can about mental illness and to try to understand what my family and friends have experienced.. I think you are so enlightened/self aware to “lean in” and let yourself just be how you are at any given moment. That is ideal in any situation (although I still have to meditate and remind myself of that often:) And it’s great that you can also accept that anxiety is a medical condition, so medications are sometimes necessary and helpful. Thank you for sharing, as you often do, and for continuing to be a shining light. And please know that even on days when you don’t feel shiny at all, I will be thinking of you and trying to shine in my corner of the world. We can all take turns:) Love and peace, Tracie

  14. Jaymee|

    This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Thank you so much for sharing and for the reminder that we are not alone :)

  15. chy parker|

    hang in there! when i feel like this i just remember a mantra that really helped me through a stressful time: it is necessary to let things go simply for the reason, they are heavy. i’ve used it over and over in all types of situations and it always got me grounded again.

    xo chy

  16. Laura|

    Beautifully put – brave and true. Thank you for putting your honesty out there to enable all of us to feel more free. Feel better…

  17. Rose D'Angelo Designs|

    I wish you were here so I could hug you!!! I suffer from severe anxiety which causes the exact same symptoms. I have tried for so long to find a cure for it but it never seems to happen. I’ve come to realize that this is my new normal. Unfortunately this came about following a series of devastating life events which I continue to blame myself for. I applaud you for sharing your life with us. So many bloggers that I follow always seem to have the “perfect life” and it’s so satisfying to know that someone as lovely as yourself is willing to open herself up and share. Sending love across the miles!!

  18. Kara|

    Thank you for sharing about this. I needed to read this today. Thank you. Wishing you so much love and light.

  19. Sloan|

    Thank you for being brave enough to share this. That panic attack sounds terrifying. As someone who also fights the good fight against anxiety and depression, it felt good to be reminded that I’m not alone. Hang in there. Sending healing thoughts your way.

  20. beatrix|

    Dear, dear Sarah! I have been following you for years, but I admit I never wrote a comment before.
    I agree with every bit of what you wrote, despite not having any malady myself. You are definitely not alone, and surely going to be way better. I wish you, and all the peole with an illness out there, all the best. I really do.
    Thank you for sharing your experience, considering how hard it must have felt.
    xx beatrix

  21. Alison|

    Im sorry to hear about your experience, I know how scary that can be. Ive never commented on a blog post in my life, but as a practicing psychologist and, you know, a person who also has scary emotions, I wanted to reach out and say please go talk to someone! It helps!!! Best of luck to you on your journey. I love your blog btw :)

  22. Lauren|

    I love, love, LOVE your honesty (and humor!). Even more than your style and cooking, which is A LOT. My heart breaks for you that you are going through this right now, but I am so thankful that you shared as it will absolutely help so many others going through similar situations… Sending lots of positive thoughts and virtual hugs your way. xx

  23. sarah|

    YAY! Yep, I’m cheering for you. Great post! Until I met my partner, I didn’t necessarily believe panic attacks were real. I was never exposed to panic attacks, never read about them, and never heard from anyone that suffered from them. Now I know better and it’s partly because of people like you! Thank you for being so open about all of this. It’s so important. Thaaaank you and I’m wishing you improved health.
    Ps. Have you listened to Invisibilia (http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/archive) yet? Curl up and start from the beginning :)

  24. Jordan|

    Thanks for sharing! Many of us go through something like this at some point and it’s just plain scary and frustrating. I decided to go to a therapist to overcome my depression and anxiety and we found that I couldn’t even get through a session because all I talked about was anxiety. She gave me the best advice I will never forget, anxiety is a symptom. I would never be able to overcome it if I didn’t find out what was causing it. She suggested I try an anti depressant much to my dismay. The medication would slow the surface anxiety and allow me to get out of my brain and to the bottom of things. I was only on it for about 7 months but it felt like I hit the reset button on my brain. Combined with cognitive therapy I was able to sort stuff out, baggage I never realized could have a residual effect on my emotional life. 5 years later, my rambling thoughts have stayed at bay and I have to tools to see when it might creep up on me again.

  25. Jenna|

    Yes, IT IS OKAY! :) Thank you for sharing your story and your struggles, which we can all relate to in one way or another. Thinking of you.

  26. B|

    Thanks for sharing that you’re normal and still lovely…you’re not alone!!! My prayers are with you, get better soon Sarah!

  27. Mary|

    Ah sweetie …. You’ve had a lot thrown at you recently. Take care. Sending you a big hug from the UK. Xx

  28. Gemma|

    I love that you were able to share this, however personal or close to your heart the topic is. It’s always nice to have a reminder that other people may be feeling the exact same way that you do and have reassurence that you’re not the only one. And that simply, it’s just ok. You seem such a down to earth, kind hearted person and amongst the beautiful pictures and well thought out, well written posts, that is why I admire you and your blog so much. Thank you for your little piece of inspiration that I needed today :-)

  29. Jackie|

    Thank you for being so brave and for writing this. I needed to read this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  30. Erica|

    Thank you for this. The world needs more bravery like this and we all could probably use a boost on the self-acceptance front. You’re amazing and provide more inspiration than you may know. Sending so much love your way!

  31. Stephanie|

    this is a beautiful post with so many wise words. it’s so easy to forget that we all have our problems, and so easy to shove them under the rug because we’re afraid of them. but there’s nothing to be afraid of: those dark parts of us are ours too, and they have their own special beauty. beautifully-stated. thank you.

  32. Nicole S|

    Hi Sarah! I am a relatively new reader to your blog, but I love it so much already! This post is especially timely since I had surgery for skin cancer this past week. I’ve been trying to heal, but it was quite a difficult experience. Thank you for this post and your honesty – those of us who are struggling are truly not alone, and we can support each other more by speaking out. Thank you!

  33. Patricia|

    Thank you so much for sharing Sarah. Ever since I started my own company, panic attacks come and go from time to time. It’s something I’d never even thought or worried about, but now, when I am stressed and fear gets the better of me, my body shuts down for a little while sometimes. Usually these things happen when I’m at home, but a couple of weeks ago I had my first panic attack in public and it was so scary. They are usually pretty short and I’ve never experienced one that landed me in the ER, but I can totally relate, and it must be horrible and exhausting.
    I think that you have the right attitude leaning into it, the fear of having anxiety won’t help you get better. Sending you lots of love and strength. I’m going to climb on my yoga mat ;)

  34. Trisha|

    As someone who’s been to the ER for a panic attack before for similar symptoms, I’m so inspired by your bravery in sharing this post. It’s helped more people that you realize! It’s so affirming to know that others share out struggles and face them with courage.

  35. Chris|

    Thank you so much for the honest sharing! Too many suffer alone – which as you shared, can exacerbate the feelings. I pray peace and healing to you!

  36. j|

    long time lurker, first time commenter. thanks for having the courage to share this with us. as hard as it is for me to talk about, i’ve been there too, and it’s nice to know i’m not alone. thinking good thoughts for you, and wishing you a speedy recovery. take care of yourself.

  37. Jessica|

    Sarah, as someone who has struggle with panic attacks and anxiety in my life, I love your message that we should all be more open about these challenges with others. Also, we need to be accepting of ourselves when our anxiety rears it ugly head. One thing that really helped me is a book called the Feel Good Handbook. It really helps you understand automatic thoughts and how to face them. Automatic thoughts are those ones that your know are not realistic but somehow seem all too true during a panic or anxiety episode. His recommendations for an automatic thought record sheet works wonders for me. I originally made copies of the sheet and wrote out each one – sometimes 10 or more in a day. Now I can just do it in my head and it calms me down. Also, aging helps. I am now in my early 40s and my worst problems seem to be behind me. But I know I have the skills to face them if they come back around. Good luck and I know you are not alone.

  38. Aurélie|

    So sad to hear you’re struggling with anxiety. I know it’s a heavy dark rock to carry (I call it a rock but might start with bunny;)). Even though I rely heavily on different alternative medecines, I do take anti-anxiety medecine from time to time and it took me a long time to accept it but that’s just what my body needs sometimes. No big deal.
    Thank you Sarah for standing up for this cause and having the courage to share this post (which I am sure will make your heart grow). I wrote one (http://ohalmonds.blogspot.fr/2015/03/mental-health-awareness.html) not long ago because the stigma needs to stop. As you said, it’s okay! We’re all in this (and by this, I mean life), together.
    Much love, take care!

  39. Emily|

    Thank you so much for sharing this and your sweet sentiment at the end. Sometimes I really feel alone because no one in my life experiences anxiety the way I do. And while they try to be patient and understanding, sometimes I need a little reminder that I’m not alone. You’ll overcome this soon enough :) Thank you again for writing this post!

  40. CC|

    You’re amazing for sharing this. I hate the stigma around mental healthcare. I work in the field, so I see it all the time. The embarrassment people have asking for help. People have no problem going to the doctor for the tiniest physical issue but when it’s mental they don’t ask for the help they need. I think the best way for us to get past this stigma is to be more open about it. It’s a lot easier to ask for (mental health) help when you know that others are doing so too. No one should suffer in silence. So kudos to you for seeking help and being so open about it.


  41. Julia|

    i read many blogs, but yours is by far my favourite. thank you for being so real and always inspiring. xo

  42. Tiffany|

    Thanks for keeping it real. I can definitely relate to you – my life has calmed down a little since then but for a few months it just seemed like I was sick all the time (stomach bug, stomach flu, cold, another cold, and then ANOTHER cold just as I was recovering from the previous one) and dealing with high stress (shitty roommate, apartment hunting, more pressures and responsibilities at work), in addition to just feeling like my personal life was/has been unhealthy in terms of relationships, balance, social interaction, lack of self-care, etc. I’m sorry that it got so bad for you – I hope you’ve been finding some harmony between healthy stress and anxiety and that things are on the up and up. Take care! xxoxoox

  43. Elizabeth|

    thank so much for sharing your experience lovely Sarah. You could not be more right. Everyone has anxiety – we all feel stress and we need to know we can get thru it. Support from others and knowing we are not alone is so key. I just read an amazing bit from Anne Lamoott on FB yesterday that speaks to this….. and you don’t need to be in any way a specific religion to get the point she makes which echoes your points. Maybe worth an additional share here. Many hugs…https://www.facebook.com/AnneLamott/posts/662177577245222?fref=nf&pnref=story

  44. Becky|

    Thank you so much for sharing! I know it’s hard. I suffer from anxiety and depression. My 1 daughter has bipolar, and my other daughter has bad anxiety. Im praying my little daughter doesn’t have any. But we are all there for each other and we need the rest of the world to jump on board. Just like they do with other illnesses. You have such a great attitude,and I know you will be fine. We need to end the stigma!!!!-

  45. Carol|

    I have grappled with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks since I was six years old, as well as chronic health issues. My heart goes out to you. I love and appreciate your willingness to share, and your ability to talk about these things openly… C

  46. Natalie|

    Thank you so much for sharing. You are strong, wonderful, and beautiful. The “fear bunny” often comes to me at as well. Often I dread the nighttime. Even though my husband next to me it can feel incredibly lonely and scary. You are where you are meant to be and doing what you are meant to do. Observing and not judging is so hard, but it sounds like you are doing just that. Wishing you peace and restful nights. Xoxo

  47. Elizabeth|

    What a perfect time in my life to read this. This is the second blog post I’ve read in the last couple of days about anxiety attacks. I work in events for a university and I work 12+ hour days more often than I’d like. I thought maybe I was becoming depressed – crazy even! But then I started reading about my symptoms and I learned that it’s high stress. I’ve never been a naturally stressed person. I’ve always been easy-going (maybe too much sometimes) & positive so when I could tell I wasn’t acting like myself, I’ve started taking more me time and not committing more than I can give to work. It’s just too much. Thank you for sharing and I hope this season in your life passes quickly!

  48. BringChange2Mind|

    Hi, Sarah, what a beautifully written post! We are so excited to see that you are talking about mental health, and sharing your experiences with your readers. Thank you for serving as an advocate, and for raising awareness! We hope that you’ll check out some of the work that we are doing over at Bring Change 2 Mind. Thank you again!

  49. Claire Bamford|

    This just happened to me, reading what you have said is so like my journal it is funny although I feel your pain because I have felt this pain like you, it’s horrible. Trust me I can help you and others, because I have just been cured overnight. Just send me a short description of your biggest problem right now and a brief description of why you can’t go on. I will help you within my capacity. I owe it to you to try. I will not ask you for anything in return and I will not trick you in anyway. I would just like to try to help you.

  50. Amy Squires|

    I’m so sorry Sarah. Like so many, I appreciate your honesty and your courage. I just lost my mother last month – your words were so helpful – I hope this knowledge in turn helps you. Be well, stay strong, lean in.