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This post is based upon my experience and mine alone. 

It's been quiet around here for almost a week (and on my Instagram, too, which is probably more shocking) and it's taken me some time to figure out why. I've been in a weird place recently and I seemed to be struggling most with blogging. I would sit at my lap top and stare at the blank screen, waiting for the words to come. Every time I started a post, I would slowly begin to hate it, thinking that it wasn't right - not a perfect fit for my style, my readers or even articulating what I want to say. I tried to blame my blahs on being a Burned Out Toddler Mom but I knew it was something more.

I've joked often on this space about being high strung, needing to double down on my meds and some of my other neuroses, but I'm not sure that I've ever outright explained that I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was in my mid twenties. Looking back, it is very clear to me that I have always battled anxiety but when I was younger, I didn't know that what I was experiencing was any different than what anyone else was going through. As I've gotten older and taken on more responsibilities and life experiences, my anxiety became a larger part of my life. Typically, my anxiety is well managed with medication, a few behavioral tricks, self awareness and acceptance on my part, but occasionally, and sometimes without provocation, the anxiety really ramps up and takes over.

 My anxiety tends to manifest itself in a few main ways, one of them being my extreme response to making mistakes. If I feel like I've made a mistake or need to be corrected, I die a little inside (imagine feeling like you've been hit in the belly, heart racing, face hot and pulse throbbing all at once). I can remember, in sharp detail, incredibly small mistakes that I made as far back as five or six years old, even if they did not result in any sort of embarrassing moment. Somehow that crazed anxiety was wrapping itself up in creative mind, leaving me feeling like anything that I wrote wouldn't be good enough and would thus be yet another mistake. 

As everyone knows, I love having an identity outside of Wife and Mom (no need to sound the alarm, I love my Wife and Mom roles most). Being a blogger typically brings me so much energy and purpose and the thought of losing that aspect of my life because of my misplaced anxiety was incredibly nerve wracking to me. 

And cue a new panic over losing my creative drive (ugh, are ya'll tired of reading this yet?).

If that doesn't make sense to you, that's OK. Sometimes anxiety doesn't make sense and it looks and feels different to all of us, so I get the confusion. In fact, just last Sunday, I was up on stage blabbing to an audience of strangers about how to dress their post baby lumps and bumps without breaking a sweat. Public speaking can send even the baddest B running for the hills but I was knee deep in a rough anxiety patch and up there loving every second. 

It's not rational but that's anxiety.

 What matters most is that I was a little lost in it but I've figured out (and said out loud) what's been keeping me tied up in knots and away from my keyboard. I made a valiant effort to spare everyone from this post (honestly, I did) but everything else I tried to write just kept turning towards my anxiety roller coaster - and no one wants to read an Easy Dinner Recipe post tinged with anxiety.

If you're still hanging in there at this point I hope you don't have a headache from trying to decipher my stream of consciousness and thanks for indulging me in this one.

If you're suffering with anxiety, just know that I empathize with all of the wildness churning inside of that brain of yours and am sending calm thoughts your way.
Linking up with Jess, Annie and Natalie today
Stephanie [Olive and Tate]
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  1. My sister also has anxiety (although unlike you she's never been formally diagnosed), and it is such a difficult thing. Thanks for sharing and being so honest about it. I think that there is so much stigma when it comes to mental health issues, and it's sad, because most people either struggle with them or are close to someone who does. I am glad you are in a better place now!

  2. Love you <3 My sister also battles with anxiety and finally got the help she needed just a little over a year ago. You know I am here for you - you've got my digits! xoxo

  3. Thank you for always being so honest and not trying to parade around in a perfectly tied bow. This is why you are one of my favorite bloggers!

    P.S. Glad you're back :)

  4. Oh girlfriend. I feel you. I am 31, 36 weeks pregnant with a little girl and have battled with the anxiety monster since I was younger. Like you I didn't realize that's what it was until 5 or 6 years ago when two professionals told me. And I'm still weaving the pieces together, looking back on childhood and adolescence and thinking ohhhh that's what that was. Throw in pregnancy hormones and I'm mostly a wreck these days. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I have followed your blog for a while, and our yet to be born little girl has some WC bows and headbands waiting for her :) hang in there. <3

  5. I love this post! Life has been a bit hectic for me lately and this is usually when my anxiety kicks in. Unfortunately this left my poor blog to the wayside, because all my energy was not focusing on the fun of my blog but worrying about how good each post may be. Sometimes you gotta' step away from it all and focus a little bit on yourself! Grab yourself a big ol' Starbucks and/or glass of wine and enjoy every last sip. Anxiety is a battle that will never be won but you just have to learn to cope with it in your own way. Now go get yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the day and that precious tot of yours!

  6. I completely get it. You just can't logic your way out of anxiety. Hang in there, I find anxiety usually goes in phases!

  7. I have awful anxiety and would spend many nights sitting by the toilet throwing up due to it. Thankfully, with the help of my bff known as Lexapro, I've gotten it under control. Is it bad that I'm going through IVF and one if my main concerns is having to stop taking my SSRI? Anxiety SUCKS! You aren't alone! Xo

    1. Not at all! Before trying for a baby, i needed reassurance that I could take meds for my anxiety and that it wouldn't be 40 weeks of hell for me. It sounds so silly to other people but it was a HUGE deal for me. Good luck with IVF!

  8. I've missed your posts over the last few days. I'm so glad that you shared what is going on with you and that in some way that gave you some relief. Thanks for being real. Hugs, friend.

  9. I'm so glad you shared this even though it absolutely sucks to not blog and then blog about what you don't really want to face online. I have horrible anxiety. All the hormones between having a baby, breastfeeding, gaining and losing weight, and now moving overseas has me staying up late at night wide awake. I hate it!

    Anxiety is never fun but it does make me feel better to know that the struggle truly is real and its not just me.

  10. Girl, yes. I have not been diagnosed, but I don't think it would take more than a hot second in a doctor's office for them to make it official. I joke about my OCD tendencies all the time and tend to make light of it. When, in all honesty, I know its anxiety. I can't sleep at night over worrying about things sometimes - and menial things, nothing big or life changing usually. I have the same reactions to mistakes (even the thought of mistakes makes my heart race). I stress about missing a day or two of blogging. And now, having a small business to run, well, just add on the anxiety there too. You are not alone. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I completely understand and get guy. My blog has been suffering too, for the same reasons. I've always been a worrier, but my anxiety has been kicked into high gear lately and it has scared the crap out of me. I've had stomach issues, racing heart, nausea- you name it! I am finally starting to feel a bit better but still feel uninspired and unmotivated. My thoughts are with you, and know you're not alone. I hope you feel better SOON. Hang in there xoxo

  12. Sending lots of hugs! I hope your days perk up because feeling this way is never fun. I can only imagine what you were going through with the move and renovations!
    Evelina @ Fortunate House

  13. I love the way you own it, girl. Always.

  14. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I too have a running battle with anxiety, which has taken on such a different form since having a baby! It has definitely put in a very weird place with my blogging, and I am still trying to figure out how to fit my identity in there without sounding like a bundle of stress every single post. I admire you so much for sharing your experience!

  15. love that you opened up in this way. i feel like it takes a lot for people to be vulnerable and tell their mental health stories.

    and just to let you know my best friend Sandi (owner of sugar boutique) said she met you at the Swoon event a few weeks back and she only had the nicest things to say. she got me turned on to your blog. love finding new blogs from ladies in the upstate. :)

  16. Oh Stephanie, I'm so glad you opened up about this. I have struggled with Anxiety for as long as I can remember too... mine get's so bad that I take panic attacks that sneak up on me out of nowhere (the reason I faint on airplanes like all the time). It can be really hard to deal with it, especially with a blog (I'm such a perfectionist). Know you're not alone! XO

  17. Thanks for sharing this. Totally get you on the anxiety piece. Ugh, anxiety sucks but it's always nice to know you're not alone :)

  18. You are so brave to share this. We all have our struggles, but not all of us can be so open about them. You're in my thoughts, xo

  19. Thank you for this. I've struggled with anxiety since my early 20s and just recently changed my medication. It had gotten so bad that it was truly destroying relationships and every day life. People without anxiety can't understand what it's like, no matter how much they want to. On my new medicine I'm amazed every day how much better I feel and can handle difficult situations. Anxiety is so awful but hearing others share their story reminds me I'm not alone!

  20. Oh man! You have a lot on your plate. WIshing you well as you go through this!

  21. I'm right there with you. This is something I've struggled with since I was 12 years old. In fact I wrote a blog post about it a while back and got some truly amazing support from it! You're definitely not alone. <3

  22. Hugs, girl. I feel like I have touches of it too, but nowhere near what you're describing. Just know we're here for you, whatever you need. And if you need a break? Take it. Take care of yourself first so you can enjoy all the good things. <3

  23. Yep. All of this.

    I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 20. I can also suffer from severe panic attacks if I don't manage my anxiety. We are definitely not alone.

    One thing you said just hit home to me. Something I have never thought about before, but it rings true. I will often think back to small things from when I was a young child and will still get embarrassed/nervous/ashamed. It's like those tiny blips in time overshadow all the other great things I've done in life.

    None of it is rational. I'll know in the midst of my mind racing, my heart speeding up, and my fists clenching (that's an outward sign that I and people who know me well can spot to recognize I'm headed toward a panic attack) that I'm not being logical. That I'm being ridiculous. That the thoughts in my head aren't sensible. But, all of that just makes it worse. I need to either get myself out of the physical space I'm in, take a pill, or drink ONE glass of wine.

    Hugs!! I hope this rough patch starts to smooth over!!

  24. I'm glad you opened up about it. I have an anxiety since childhood, but didn't get diagnosed until I started having panic attacks when I was 19. College and a long distance relationship will do that to ya.

    Anxiety always ebbs and flows. This one will...ebb soon I'm sure. Hang in there. And if you ever want to vent about how annoying it is, I'm all ears (eyes? for email reading?)

  25. Thanks for sharing this, Steph. As someone who deals with anxiety on a daily basis, it's almost comforting to know that other people struggle, too. I feel like it's a topic that is almost taboo, and many people are very private with it. It's refreshing for someone to be open about it, and help others feel not so alone. And even generate a discussion about it. Thank you for sharing your story. Thinking of you.

  26. Thanks so much for sharing. I was first diagnosed with anxiety/panic attacks when i went off to college but its been pretty much gone/controllable for the last 10-12 years until last year when it got bad enough that i needed to go back on meds. Reading your story and the comments has really helped me realize that its something that a lot of people have and I'm not alone. I recently found out that I'm pregnant which is causing some anxiety for me but I'm trying to take it day by day!

  27. SO right there with you!! Anxiety, depression and all the likes run in my family and has always been a struggle I've had... And maybe one I'll always have... Which I'm just now really coming to accept. It's definitely reared its head in a new way for me since becoming a mom...Thankful for your bravery in sharing...Always encouraged by people with similar struggles who don't let it hold them back... As you are doing. Sending hugs!!


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