Dealing with Anxiety

Disclaimer: I like to keep this a happy, funny blog, but I also know I have a pretty solid readership and I like to use this platform to discuss serious things sometimes. I hope you can dig it.

I had been intentional about not posting about my New Year’s goals in January, because honestly, I wasn’t ready. Although many exciting things happened in December, it was personally a very difficult month for me.

I’ve been anxious for as long as I can remember, but it was “normal” for me.

That said, moving is one of the top 10 life stressors, and that alone could have put me over the edge. Add it to filming for a TV show, several family illnesses, and over-filling my Life Plate, I ended up in the ER a week before Christmas.

My stress had morphed itself into a nasty, relentless anxiety that I could not shake. Long story short, one morning while I was at the gym my heart went out of control, and I knew immediately that something was wrong.

I attempted to drive myself home, but soon realized I was too shaky and lightheaded to drive. I pulled over and called 911.

I had never, ever beed so terrified in my entire life.

I ended up in the ER and when I left, I was told to follow up with a cardiologist.

A sonogram of my heart was ordered, and I was hooked up to a 24-hour EKG.

After a slew of tests and doctor’s visits, my cardiologist said: I have one piece of advice for you, and it’s to seriously get your anxiety under control. If you don’t, it will end up getting the best of you – in the worst way. 

What I heard: Stop stressing, or it’ll kill you.

Oh. Great. Thanks. That helps a lot. What’s that? Yes – I would like a paper bag to breathe into. 

I’m a mental health professional. I KNOW what stress and anxiety can do to the body. That’s why I’ve been so frustrated with myself. I help people everyday who experience anxiety, but I had been struggling to help myself.

So now what?

Great question.

I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’ve been grappling with why I was given this lesson of unshakeable anxiety, and as a result, the most terrifying experience of my life.

For me, it’s been a tough lesson to learn (thank God my friends love me), but I can honestly say that, now, I feel really, really good.


I’ve seen a therapist, which has been awesome and I highly recommend the service.

I’ve been serious about my yoga practice, which has been amazingly helpful.

And I started taking medication, which has been the BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE!!!

The medication is NOT a forever thing, actually it’s quite short term, but it’s helped me think clearly, free of anxiety, for the first time in years.

(If you have something negative to say about medication, please don’t do it here. I’m taking the time to mention it because I’m constantly trying to do my part to help demolish the stigma that “therapy” and “medication” are only for “bad, crazy people.”)

Like I joked about earlier, 2013 is my “Year of Zen” and I’m taking my mental health seriously. I want you to know that I’m not a basket case. I’m not talking to walls or hearing voices. I’m just dealing with stuff.

In my opinion, anxiety is impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced it; But for someone who is familiar with that tight-chest-for-no-reason feeling, I know you understand, and I want you to know that you’re not crazy, and that you’re not the only one.

*As always, if you have questions or need someone to relate to, you can always email me at lunchboxdiaries[at]gmail[dot]com.


  1. says

    Thank you for sharing and I’m glad to hear you’re learning to deal with your anxiety. It’s not an easy thing and just the other day I posted about how stress affects me in physical ways like migraines and asthma attacks. It’s crazy and it takes a lot of work to get under control. And like you said, it’s undoing a 25 year-long habit, that’s not easy!

  2. says

    Hey girl! Thanks for your honesty in this post. I too have struggles with anxiety and it is so joke. To deal with it, I’ve found that I always need to have things in place to deal with the anxiety before it surfaces so when I am faced with it, I am ‘armoured’. I pray, go for walks, listen to audio books and do yoga. Good luck:)

  3. says

    I’m so glad you wrote about this subject! I struggle with anxiety too. I have for as long as I can remember. I have avoided medication, but I seriously considered going on it last winter, and this winter has been just as bad (I mentioned before, I also suffer from SAD). I’m trying to cut things out of my life that I don’t enjoy, because I feel that’s the only way to bring my anxiety down. We’re also in the process of buying a house, and it is a very stressful time. I’d like to think I’m getting better at saying “no.” It’s not always an easy thing to say, but sometimes it has to be done!

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing, Colleen. I know it’s not easy, but I’m sure that by doing so, you’re helping a lot of people, both those who also deal with anxiety and those who have a flawed understanding of it.

  5. says

    You are so brave to put this out there! I have dealt with anxiety since I was in highschool. I was seeing someone AND on medication, too. It’s definitely a stigma that needs to go away. The great news: I was only on medication for about 2 years, and have only seen someone a handful of times since. It’s been almost 6 years! You’ll get through it, it’s gets so much easier! I have so many tips if you ever need them. Just holla!

    • says

      Just read this comment – can you share your tips?? Maybe Colleen would let you do a guest post or something? I’d love to hear tips. I am trying to manage my anxiety, but haven’t been successful without meds so far, so I’d love to hear about someone who is!

  6. Calla says

    THANK YOU for this post, Colleen. I have had the same struggles for two years (losing my grandfather, finishing grad school, finding a job, starting a new job and now moving to a new state, starting another new job, planning a wedding… you get the picture). As a mental health-trained counselor myself, I know what you mean; feeling like you KNOW what’s happening but you can’t get yourself in check. Props to you for taking care of yourself and again thank you for sharing this!

  7. says

    Thank you again for opening up about this. I also have dealt with anxiety the past few years, and its been worse the past 6 months due to other health issues that came up. I have worked hard to get through it but at the end of this month I am going to see my doc about medication. I did not want to admit I might need it at first. But then realized its for my own good and its nothing to be ashamed of. Thank you again for making me feel like I am not alone on this journey.

  8. Ashley Crute says

    Amazing post!! I totally understand seeing a therapist. I was on the verge of self-imploding b/c I couldn’t say NO and talking to someone really helped me learn to stick up for myself. I hope you are feeling much better and I’m here whenever you need me!

  9. Whitney says

    I’m so glad you decided to share this on your blog, Colleen. Stress and anxiety is something everyone can relate to, at least on some level. And though not everyone may have experienced a panic attack or that tightness in your chest for no reason, those of us who have take comfort in knowing we’re not the only ones. Life is a crazy journey that’s often messy and complicated and the unknown can be scary but on the same hand exciting. My view is if there’s something that helps you better handle it (life) and live it fully, go for it! And whether that means doing yoga, meditation, talking with a counselor, having a night out with friends, or taking little white pill on the morning, do what’s right for you.

  10. says

    I’m happy you’re taking the steps to deal with your anxiety! Anxiety certainly is a nasty thing to deal with, but through learning helpful techniques, is definitely very controllable! I hope that the therapist is able to help (and an extra bonus- learning more things to help you in your job too!). Have you ever read the book Boundaries? I love the concepts in the book and seriously helped me with learning to value my own “no”!

  11. says

    I am really happy with your little blurb to tell people to keep the meds opinions to themselves. I have ADHD and have been on a hefty Ritalin prescription since I was 5. I don’t like to announce it to people because people who do not have something can’t understand it. While every one and their mother has tried Ritalin or Adderall in college to study but if you don’t need it you won’t understand. I have stopped taking my full prescription and only take it when I need it and I love not feeling as dependent on it as I used to. I HOPE that you can find your happy balance of therapy, meds, life changes, and whatever other type of treatment you come up to to make yourself happy!

  12. says

    Anxiety is no joke. Although I’ve never had mine get as bad as yours did, I worry sometimes that my anxiety will only get worse as my life gets more stressful. For me, it’s just helpful to talk to other people who experience similar feelings! I mean, anxiety is the most common mental health disorder among young and middle-aged adults! Despite this, people never seem to talk about it.

    So thank you for talking about it.

  13. says

    Great post. I too struggle with anxiety and tried to ignore it for as long as I could until it finally consumed me. It’s a tough battle to fight every day, but therapy and medicine and have helped and I’m glad you’re on a better path too!

  14. says

    Hi Colleen!

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m a 21 year old student that deals with anxiety quite a lot. My heart rate gets quite high, but for me the most awful part of it is triggering my IBS symptoms. I find when I get stressed out or anxious, I’m constantly running to the washroom…TMI? Oh well. Anxiety can truly run your life if you let it, but I am glad you’re taking a stand against it!

    Anyway, thank you for sharing because I think that for those in our generation it is easy to take on too much. I’m so happy you’ve found something that works for you and that you’re taking the necessary steps to get back to health!

    Love the blog, and keep it up!

  15. Katie says

    Thank you for this post! I am currently pursuing my Master in Community Counseling, and am curious (if you feel like sharing ) what your degree is in?

  16. says

    Thank you for your honesty. Gary {hubby} has anxiety and it is something we have had to learn to deal with together. Do NOT feel ashamed that you take medicine for this. Gary took anxiety meds regularly for years. Now he is down a half a pill every 2 or 3 days.
    Super kudos to you for seeing someone about this…you are on the right path!

  17. sarah says

    Is this why you stopped drinking caffeine? I have some of the same issues and considering taking this step to decrease anxiety

    • Colleen says

      Yoouuu betcha. You wouldn’t believe how much it’s helped. I suggest trying it! I love the taste of coffee, so I just drink decaf now, and have an apple around 3:00 each day and that helps my tiredness!

  18. says

    i have really really bad anxiety as basically controls my life. socially, eating, school, family,…every which way…if you dont mind me asking what medication are you on? if you dont want to say i understand. ive taken many meds over the years and they only masked the anxiety for a few hrs until they would wear off and the the same anxious feelings would come floding back. xoxox

    • Colleen says

      I’m currently taking Celexa, and it’s worked wonders. I also have friends that have great results with Paxil and Zoloft. I’m sorry they didn’t work for you, maybe your doctor can help find something better? I only say that because I KNOW how debilitating anxiety can be, and I am amazed by this medication and how good I feel. Good luck! xoxo

  19. amanda says

    Fantastic post. I have often felt unsure of the fine line between “actual” anxiety and seemingly normal anxiousness/nervousness (for example, that awful feeling before a big presentation if public speaking freaks you out). I had a panic attack while driving last year – it seemed to literally come out of nowhere and I wasn’t even thinking about anything particularly stressful – so I’ve been learning how to say no and reduce the number of commitments I make as well. It has helped somewhat, but when things are out of your control, it’s hard to pull yourself back in (I have an ill grandmother who lives a few hours away – you can’t just say “no” to traveling out of town to visit a sick relative! The next thing you know, your plate is full again.). I have considered seeing a medical professional, but I’m not quite there yet. My husband deals with similar issues and he started seeing someone and trying a few different medications – one made him insanely nauseas, and while the other “took the edge off” of his anxiety, it makes him extremely tired. I hope he can find something that works without all the nasty side effects! Similar to another comment, I’ve noticed a correlation between anxiety (or nerves??) and IBS/other stomach issues. Not fun!!

    Anyway, thanks again. Periodic updates would be much appreciated!

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, Amanda! It is hard to decipher between “normal” and “totally NOT normal” when it comes to anxiety. I’m sorry your husband had negative side effects – it’s kind of a guessing game at first because everyone reacts differently. The first week or so was miserable for me, but then it leveled out. And yes, I also have stomach issues when it comes to nerves, but that’s normally the “normal” nerves, like giving a presentation! I’ll keep you updated with my progress – thanks for the idea!

  20. says

    I’m SO glad you got this post out there!! I can’t say I’ve experienced extreme anxiety, but I have experienced mild and I know that, that sucks, so I can only imagine! I have the problem of internalizing things, and that’s not healthy either!

    One of my husband’s friend’s deal with anxiety though. It actually got so bad that he couldn’t travel more than an hour from home without feel that feeling and he’s on medication for it. So you are definitely not alone girl! Happy year of Zen!! I think i need a little bit of that myself!

  21. says

    Kudos to you for this post — know that are not alone (but you already know that!) I, too, suffer from high anxiety, and also chose to take medication before it ruined my life and my health….thank you for your honesty and for highlighting the importance of mental health! Here is to feeling Zen!! 😀

  22. says

    Hey Sweetheart- Anxiety is a” Whitney Middle Name”- We all have it out here and I am known for recommending anti-anxiety meds when someone needs them. Anxiety is painful. That is probably why I have been a runner for all these decades. If you could have known your great uncles and great grand parents- you would see the genetics effects going down the line! Hang in their Babe- it only makes us neurotic but hasn’t killed any of us, yet!! Love you!!

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, Aunt Janet! I guess the anxiety gene skipped my dad – he’s always so mellow! I’m so glad to hear it’s a Whitney thing. That makes me feel so much better! Love you!!

      • says

        It truly did skip your dad and he is so cool about everything and so easy to be around. I try to learn from him but worry seems to just take over at times. I wish you could have seen my dad and Aunt Velma, the 1st- 2 hours of their conversations were all about what was worrying them and then they would move on to the fun stuff. I grew up thinking worry was normal!! All my kids have it too! Much love and keep up your wonderful work. We are all so proud of you!! XO

  23. Julie says

    Thanks for posting this! I can totaly relate–my first serious panic attack was 10 years ago and I’ve been struggling with it ever since. However I do think therapy really helps and while I take low doses on anxiety pills on occasion when it gets really bad (ahem, Superbowl yesterday….my poor Niners), I’ve been seriously considering trying medication on a daily basis until I can get it under control. It’s a scary disease and like you said, hard to discuss with someone who has never experienced it. However, through all this, I’ve learned that having amazing, understanding and supportive friends and family really makes a world of difference. You are amazing to post this!

    • Colleen says

      Thank you, Julie! I’m obviously not a doctor, and everyone is different, but I was so hesitant to try medication, but now I’m only sorry I didn’t try it sooner. I didn’t know it was possible to feel like this. Good luck!

  24. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had a panic attack that sounds pretty similar to what you described in early January. My husband had to come drive me home from work because I didn’t think it was safe for me to drive. Anxiety can be SO terrifying, and it’s something that can be hard to explain to people, especially when their response is always “you just worry too much.” I’m happy you’re working on taking care of yourself. And thanks for talking about something that can be really hard to talk about. I think a little awareness can go a long way.

    • Colleen says

      Thank you, Laura! Oh my gosh, I know, it’s so terrifying – and I wanted to scream every time some said “Just stop worrying. Relax!” Oh, yeah, like I didn’t think of that haha! Thanks again for the positive feedback. Take care of yourself!

  25. says


    I have suffered from social anxiety since early college and I can relate. I’ve had severe panic attacks a number of occasions. I can say seeing a therapist was the best thing I did for myself. I’ve since had a pretty postive result since then.

    • Colleen says

      Hollie, I would have never known about your social anxiety – wow! Thank you so much for telling me that! I’m SO glad seeing a therapist worked for you. xoxox

      • says

        Yes, I’ve blogged about it occasionally but typically keep in on the downlow. I find it so much easier to express myself through writing then talking up a storm in the real world (you know?). Anyways-It comes and goes and there are still certain things that just can cause a panic attack point blank but it’s a lot better then early college or even college really.

  26. Emilie says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Colleen, having anxiety can feel pretty isolating because no one ever talks about it. I hope you continue to find ways to help lower your stress levels-I know it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis as well.

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, Emilie, I really appreciate the positive feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from anxiety as well. I hope it gets better!

  27. Katie Barber says

    i am so sorry you’re dealing with this! but as someone who has struggled with anxiety her whole life, it is always a comfort to know i am not alone. i have had panic attacks since i was in the 4th grade, and at certain times in my life it completely controlled me and greatly limited what i could and could not do. it took lots of therapy, support from family/friends, and a near complete breakdown my senior year of college to realize i couldn’t fix it on my own. starting medication was the best decision (for me) and was exactly what i needed to get my life under control. it felt so great when i was able to stop taking it because i knew i could handle it! i still deal with anxiety from time to time, but it is more like twice a year rather than twice a month. i hope that this “year of zen” and all the other things you’re doing to help your stress are a relief for you.

    • Colleen says

      Oh my gosh, Katie, I had no idea! I bet you felt awesome once you got off the medication – I can imagine that sense of accomplishment!! I’m glad you’re doing better now – that gives me hopes! Thanks for sharing! :)

  28. says

    I love this post. I am also dealing with anxiety, and taking care of it! I agree with the counselor, medication, and yoga. I also do some mediations (trying to get to two times a day).
    So cutting out caffeine helped, huh? Well, that would totally help me then. I drink way too much coffee.

    • Colleen says

      OMG, Jessamy, cutting out caffeine worked WONDERS. I still drink decaf because I like the taste, but I was amazed at the difference once I cut it out. Good luck!

  29. says

    Bravo, love. Your courage and honesty in posting this makes me love you even more than I already did. Thank you, Colleen, for giving a voice to those who may be too scared or worried about stigma to use their own

  30. says

    Girl, I honestly just teared up a little reading last last part. I know that tightness in my chest all too well, today especially. Thanks for being so open with everything, I admire you for doing what it takes for you to figure this out. You are going to kick your anxiety’s ass…no question! You’re a tough cookie and have encouraged me to be one too!

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, lady! Oh my goodness, these meds are unbelievable. I didn’t know it was possible to feel like this! Thanks for the support, friend! :)

  31. Jamie says

    I couldn’t love this more. I am so happy you posted this! I love you, and I’m right by your side :) Reason #7162718173627 why we’re perfect for each other.

  32. says

    Cindy @RunArelyRun

    Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. It is so hard to explain to someone who doesn’t know what it feels like. The best way I can find to explain is, whatever the emotion is, magnify it by 10 and that is how intensely I feel EVERYTHING when my anxiety is not in check. Running has helped tremendously but mostly just being aware and honest about it and knowing what your triggers are. You are brave for sharing, thank you!

    • Colleen says

      Hi, Cindy! Yeah, knowing what your triggers are is super important. I’m glad running has helped you! Exercise and writing seem to help me a lot. Thank you for the positive feedback!

  33. Irishreader says

    I’ve never commented before, I’m more of a ‘reader’ than a ‘writer’! But I just want to say thank you for this post. Only this morning walking into work I realised that my anxiety was starting to spiral again. I know what I need to do to help myself, but, like yourself, the not being able to say no or the guilt that appears when I do, is a massive factor in the return of anxiety. It’s back to the basics from now on, yoga/ running/ rest and good food are my go to anxiety tools, and of course, using the word “no”! I have in the past taken meds&found them brilliant, but right now I know I’m not at a stage where I need them, but I wouldn’t hesitate in taking them again, if needed.

    Thanks again for the honest post!

    • Colleen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Being able to say NO is so hard, but I hope you’re able to learn to do so! I’m working on it, and it’s getting easier and easier :)

  34. says

    I have always had some sort of drama going on up in my brain. I was put on Zoloft in high school, but it turned out I just had mono. (<- No, not kidding. haha True story.) Then I actually was depressed later on, but didn't go back to the meds. That's my life, in a nutshell. Since having the baby, my anxiety has been through the roof. It's leveled off since I quit breastfeeding, but man, it hits you out of nowhere sometimes. I'll literally break down crying if I forget to do something ridiculously unimportant like putting the ketchup back in the fridge. What I'm saying is, I'm glad you mentioned this stuff, because so many people can relate! I hope it all gets better for you! Oh, and we are best friends (oh, you didn't get the memo?) now so let me know if you need anything!

    • Colleen says

      I can’t believe it was MONO and they put you on Zoloft. That’s funny and scary at the same time haha. Dude, I can only imagine how my anxiety will be when we have kids. My mom is like, “Oh sweet Jesus, how are you going to handle THAT?!” :) Um, we *are* best friends, so it goes both ways! Let me know if YOU need anything!

  35. says

    It’s so eye opening to learn how many others also deal with anxiety in their life, for so long I thought I was seriously the only one! My boyfriend & one of my good friends had the same.exact.situation occur where they ended up in the ER from a racing heart all due to anxiety. So you are definitely not alone there. I’ve had my own struggles with it too and just recently after trying a new birth control that put my body so out of whack (caused my arms/hands to have tremors – so scary) it was so so bad. Was at the doctor being tested for so many things and ends up it was the BC coupled with the anxiety from what it was doing to my body. I also struggled with bad anxiety while driving faster speeds on the highway after a car crash I had, it’s definitely taken me years to get back to where I was before that. It’s crazy what anxiety can do to you physically but I am glad to hear it sounds like you are figuring out what works best for you. Stay strong girl and thanks for sharing this post :)

    • Colleen says

      Thank you so much for telling me this! Oh, girl, I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to drive after having a car crash. Thanks for the positive feedback – I really appreciate it. I was so anxious (shocking, I know) to publish this!

  36. says

    Isn’t it funny how the things that we are supposed to be “experts” in and should have a handle on are the exact things that we are also struggling with? I just became a Certified Health Coach and at time I feel like I’m a hypocrite because I’m far from perfect eating/fitness wise yet I’m supposed to encourage others to live their healthiest lifestyle.

    Thank you for being so open and honest with your struggles!

  37. says

    Love your candor in this post! I have had 1 panic attack in my life- it was when I was around 8 maybe? My parents were late getting home from a baseball game (GO BRAVES) and I freaked out. My heart was pounding, I ran outside and started pacing, then I want to my neighbors house and pounded on their door (it was probably 11:30). I felt like I lost my mind.
    Anyways, long story short (well, not really because I already typed my story), I know the terrible feeling of anxiety and I never hope to feel it again. I think it’s fantastic that you’re taking control and managing your anxiety in a way that works for for you. Kudos for your honesty and openness!

  38. sherie says

    Thank you for addressing this. I was going through some drastic life changes and had an anxiety attack in the middle of the night. I literally felt like my heart would explode–almost called 911 because I was certain I was dying. I, too, began taking medication and it was life changing.

  39. runnerjen521 says

    Thank you for sharing, Colleen, and best of luck in dealing with your anxiety! Sounds like you have things under control. It is a shame that there is such a stigma regarding mental health and medications, and it is people like you, sharing their stories, who will help to change this.

  40. says

    I can 100% relate to this post. I struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, some weeks its frequent, sometimes its not. It really sucks though when your mind just CAN’T let something go, no matter how trivial it may be. Thank you SO much for discussing how therapy and getting treatment for a mental illness is NOT A BAD THING. Therapy helped me become a better person. It took me 3 years to share to my close friends that I went to therapy my entire freshman year of college, and it’s only been recently that I have realized not to be ashamed of it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I am a much stronger person because of it and have found outlets and ways to help me live a healthier, happier life because of it. That was probably all rambling, and didn’t make much sense… but Thank you thank you thank you for this post. I really look up to you.

    • Colleen says

      Hi, Marissa! I’m so glad to hear that you’re now able to open up to people about seeking counseling – I think that’s so awesome! I know it’s tough to do, but maybe by sharing your experience, you’ve helped someone else! Thanks for the positive feedback! I really appreciate it!

  41. says

    This is a fantastic post. I have a sister with a serious mental illness that is much worse when coupled with anxiety. The fact that she has been tried on several medications and seeks regular therapy should be seen as a positive thing, not an indication that she’s “crazy.” It’s interesting, though, that I’ve had friends and family comment that they can’t really see anything wrong with her. As if they would rather see her hunched in a corner eating her hair so that they could believe that she has a debilitating disorder. Luckily they have no say in her treatment. Only the person with the anxiety, their psychiatrist, and often their family (maybe very close friends) can determine whether it’s at a point where medication is necessary to lead a normal productive life.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Colleen.
    Also, if you haven’t listened to The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, I highly recommend it :

  42. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been going through the exact same thing you’re going through but my anxiety came through a different form. I was diagnosed this week with a protruding disc in my back which was caused by you guess it, most likely stress. So, I’ve been giving strict orders from my doctors AND my employer to work from home this week and I’m taking it seriously. I’m using this as a huge wake up call that I need to start taking my stress level seriously and be proactive about keeping it in control

    So thank you for posting this!

  43. says

    I’m really really really glad you published this post. I didn’t comment yesterday because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say or how much I wanted to reveal (after all, it’s your blog!), but in the end, it’s this: thank you for being an honest blogger who gives it to us like it is. Thank you for shedding a positive light on mental health, but also presenting the facts. In our profession, you know we need all the Colleens we can get. I’m glad you’re doing so well now :) You’re an inspiration.

  44. Casey says

    I tried to leave a comment yesterday and it didn’t work for some reason, but this post was so awesome that I had to come back and comment today! My friend Emily from Perfection Isn’t Happy linked to this post in her blog yesterday and it’s definitely what I needed to read. I’m 24 also and in school again for a degree in Nursing. I’ve been seriously thinking about psych nursing, but have been second guessing myself because I also struggle with serious anxiety. It got so bad this semester that I had to go part time, putting me a semester behind. I was constantly crying uncontrollably and having panic attacks just thinking about going to clinicals. It’s exhausting. It gives me hope knowing that you struggle with anxiety, but are still working in the mental health field. I was/still am kind of freaking out because so far, what has really clicked for me has been my psych class, and I didn’t know if that would ethically be okay for me to work in that field when I have my own issues. And you are so right, people who have never experienced hard core anxiety absolutely cannot understand how debilitating it can be. This post was awesome! Thank you so much! And I’m glad you found meds that work for you! I’m still working on that one.

    • Colleen says

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Casey! I hope you don’t let your anxiety deter you from working in the field – every counselor I know sees their own therapist! It’s part of the job! :)

  45. Laura says

    Thank you so much for so openly and confidently sharing, Colleen. I absolutely love that you are very real with your words – whether about anxiety or fro yo :) But seriously, I also would love to hear updates regarding your progress. I know I could learn a lot from your experience that might be helpful in working through my own stress issues as well as comparable situations with friends who might be experiencing this but don’t know what to do. It is wonderful to hear that you’ve experienced great progress so far. All the best to you in this journey! Keep up the wonderful writing!

  46. says

    What an amazing blog post…just found you thanks to Clare from Fitting It All In. My boyfriend struggles with anxiety on a daily basis and when we met he was convinced that he was the only one who felt that way.

    It makes me so very happy to see others talking about anxiety in a way that is not negative. Thanks for being so open, and take care of yourself!

  47. says

    I know how you feel. I was born with anxiety. I will start to freak out out of no where, especially in bad weather driving or in tunnels. The other day I was in a tunnel and I saw an ambulance coming. I though I was going to be stuck in there, but luckily I wasn’t! Worst feeling ever!

    I find that telling myself that I am just having another panic attach and that it will be over soon, sometimes helps.

    Glad to know that I’m not the only one, it sure does seem like that sometimes.

  48. Sara Mehle says

    Thank you for sharing this! I too deal with anxiety- I was on serious medication for it in college but it wasn’t the right stuff for me. Although my life isn’t too stressful these days, I still deal with random panic attacks. I really need to look into cutting out coffee- I don’t drink soda- to see if I can tell a difference. Its nice to see that I’m not the only one and other people can relate. xo! -Sara, @mehlesc :)

  49. Sara Mehle says

    One more thing– yoga and exercise (bodypump is my addiction! but I like to run sometimes) have been my main anti-anxiety go-tos. I think its because I feel 100% in control and it really clears my mind for an hour-ish. I love your blog!!!!

    • Colleen says

      We’re the same – yoga and body pump are my go-to anxiety busters! I’m actually headed to body pump in a few minutes!

  50. Molly L says

    Good for you for sharing this! I can’t wait for HH episode! Also, I am glad that you’re feeling better. I had CRAZY anxiety/panic attacks during my first year of law school. Seeing a therapist and MEDICATION helped so much. Three years later, I still sometimes get fleeting moments of panic, but I am so much better and feel like the whole experience was so character-building!


  1. […] I struggle with anxiety. This is why I can’t watch violent movies, dramatic TV shows, or the news. I try my best not to expose myself to things that can trigger anxiety. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but it makes me feel better knowing that I’m not alone. […]

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