Welcome to ‘Anxiety Stories!’ I (Laura of The Mindful Mom Blographer), started Anxiety Stories after I read Brene’ Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’. In the book, Brown talks extensively about shame, which is something I think many people who suffer from anxiety feel – as well as feeling alone.
We all know there is a mental health stigma in today’s society. So how can we remove that stigma? By removing people’s shame, and let them know they’re not alone.
Anxiety is a lot more common than people realize – I know this from all the comments and DMs I get whenever I get vulnerable about my anxiety experiences. Yet still, the stigma!
My hope with Anxiety Stories is that we can normalize anxiety by showing people’s stories from all walks of life. I ask that each person who conducts an interview be willing to be a little bit vulnerable, and each person who reads these interviews holds the interviewee in a loving space, knowing they’ve put themselves out there for a good cause.
*If you are dealing with anxiety or another type of mental illness, please talk with a
There are some great resources on how to get help below:
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Online Resources and Finding Help
- Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 (US number) to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.
- Finally, this is a great page from ‘Everyday Help’ with a ton of resources for mental health assistance such as financial help for therapy and medications, support groups, etc.
Last but not least, please note that I nor my interviewees aren’t medical professionals, and the resources and tips are not to replace professional medical advice. We are simply sharing our stories and what we know from working through our anxiety with professionals in our own life. If you are feeling any type of mental health symptoms, please seek medical assistance.
I hope you enjoy the interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What types of things do you enjoy doing?
My name is Kristin. I was born in Tennessee but spent most of my life moving around North Carolina. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’m getting married in May to the most amazing man ever (everyone says that, but it’s true in my case). Last year I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with an English major. I work at a preschool,
but I still love to write, so I decided to start blogging. In my free time, I enjoy binge-watching shows, reading, doing puzzles, writing, and adding to my bullet journal.
What does the anxiety you experience look like (obsessive thoughts, extreme worry, intrusive thoughts, anxiety disorder, etc)?
I worry all the time even over small things. I have obsessive thoughts, and it often causes a spiral. Anxiety causes me to distance myself from others and avoid social situations. I don’t sleep enough because I can’t shut my mind off at night. I sometimes have panic attacks, which cause me to think I’m more “messed up” than I really am.
Do you see a therapist/psychologist?
I have in the past, but not currently. I saw two or three and didn’t like it. I never felt comfortable, and I never felt like it was helping. Then I found out there was online counseling, so I tried it through betterhelp.com. It was so much better for me than meeting with someone in person.
Even then, the first counselor wasn’t right for me, but the second one was. I think people just need to realize that you might have to “shop around” for the right counselor for you, but you can’t give up because one didn’t help. I also realized that online counseling was much more useful for me because I was always anxious about having to meet with someone in person.
The only reason I am no longer talking to my counselor is because of money, but that will hopefully be fixed soon.
Do you take medication for the anxiety?
No. I have considered it, but I want to find other methods. I am still open to it though.
How long have you been dealing with anxiety?
I’ve been aware of it since I was fifteen or sixteen, but looking back, I’m pretty sure I dealt with it most of my life. I’ve been through a lot with my family, and that has always had a negative impact on me. Even when I was young, my parents considered finding a therapist for me to talk to.
What are some triggers for the anxiety you experience?
Change is a big one. I started a new job a few months ago, and I felt anxiety hit me almost immediately. There wasn’t even a reason for it honestly.
Another big thing has been times when I just felt lost in life, whether it was where I would live or anything dealing with my education. A few years ago, I started thinking I had picked the wrong major (Elementary Education at the time). I felt more stressed than I ever had before and I felt like a failure because I had wasted three years and so much money already (as a side note, I didn’t change my major then. Instead I transferred schools, then switched my major to English two years later, which was another tough time for me).
Then, of course, there are the usual triggers like meeting new people, going to parties, sometimes just going to class when I was still in college, and stuff like that.
Have you ever dealt with the dreaded anxiety spiral?
Way too often. It’s so hard to get out of it once it starts.
Do you experience panic attacks?
I do on occasion. But they always seem to creep up out of nowhere and for no reason. They’re the scariest moments for me.
What are some things you do while you’re having a panic attack or are in an anxiety spiral to help pull yourself out of it?
I have found so many ideas to help myself during these times, but honestly, I don’t even use them when the time comes. It’s too hard to think about anything else.
There was one time though when I had a panic attack, and my sister was there. It’s the only time I’ve had a panic attack while someone else was around. She immediately helped me sit on the floor (I couldn’t even make it to the bed), got a wet rag, and rubbed my arms and face with it. She kept telling me to breathe and stayed with me until it was over. I’m not sure if it really pulled me out of it, but it still helped regardless.
What are some preventative measures that you take to help prevent the anxiety you experience?
Journaling is one thing I do. I keep a bullet journal, and I feel so relaxed every time I add to it. I can keep track of my good and bad days, write about how I feel, keep lists, etc. I even have a list of self-care ideas so I can always look to that for help.
What are some of your favorite anxiety resources (websites, books, etc) that other people could reference if they’re struggling as well?
The MindShift app is great. It has so much information and helpful tools to get you through pretty much any situation you struggle with. I also like reading articles on TheMighty.com. They share real stories from real people who deal with the same struggles I do (and more). I love it because I know I’m not alone and that there is always hope.
Why do you think the mental health stigma exists? Why are people afraid to talk about their mental illness?
I think a big part of it is that people don’t want to feel vulnerable or weak. They feel like because they have anxiety or depression or whatever it is for them, they are inferior to others.
Another thing is that people don’t want others to feel sorry for them or treat them differently. I know this is a big one for me at least. No one wants to be treated like they’re
Finally, a major problem today is that there is this trend where people claim to have issues with their mental health when they really don’t have these problems. They claim to be depressed when they’re really just sad about something they’ll soon forget all about. They claim to have anxiety when they have a normal worry that most people have anyway. Most of these people don’t truly understand what it means to deal with these problems. It just makes it hard for people who really are struggling to talk about their problems.
Want to read more Anxiety Stories? Check out the other interviews here.
Want to share your own anxiety story? Check out the guidelines here!
A huge thank you to Kristin for sharing her story!
Kristin’s Bio: I work at a preschool, but I still want to use my writing to make a difference. I blog about mental health, social justice issues, and Christianity. My goal is to let people know that they are not alone and that there is hope out there.
Blog: The Not So Typical