What I wish people knew about Anxiety

I’ve recently been more open about my mental illness and how I deal with depression and anxiety.

If you follow this blog or my social media you will know that I actually wrote a post talking about that which you could read here:

The Blue Chair

I wanted to write this post because I think people are quick to judge when someone says they have anxiety. Oftentimes anxiety is mocked and criticized for not having substance as a real illness when for the people suffering it is very real. Hopefully this post can help eliminate some of the untruths.

Also, I just want my friends and family who are supporting my mental health journey to have a better understanding of what it is I’m going through sometimes. So here are a few things I wish people knew about my anxiety.


  1. There are different levels of anxiety

I think first and foremost it’s worth mentioning that everyone suffers from a different level of anxiety. Every human gets anxious once in awhile, it’s a normal emotion. But we also need to be considerate of the fact that there is a spectrum, a scale. Just because someone else might have it worse than me doesn’t mean that my anxiety isn’t real or worth seeking help for.

Personally, I think I’m on the lower end of this ‘spectrum’. I don’t need medication to control my anxiety at the moment and I am grateful for that. It doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t still have to overcome it some other way on a daily basis.

  1. When we say we’re anxious, it’s not only an emotional thing

If someone tells you they are feeling anxious the worst thing you can say is something like, “oh stop worrying, it’s going to be fine” or “don’t overthink it, it’s not that big a deal”.

We know you’re trying to help but please understand that anxiety also causes a physical response that can’t be turned on and off by a switch.

When I’m super anxious I find that I sweat a lot more than usual and my hands will get shaky. My breathing is also labored and sometimes it feels like I’m sucking air through a straw (yeah, not so effective).

On days where it’s more controlled I’ll just pick at my nails or wiggle my feet a lot. Just know though that it lives with me everyday in some capacity, emotionally and physically.

  1. We’re not antisocial, we just have anxiety

I have a memory of my mom, sister and I being at a store together, things had gone slightly awry (we had to wait super long, or something was said by the person working there) and I started literally freaking out in front of everyone. Afterwards, my sister and mom laughed at how ridiculous I was being and it made me so angry and upset.

I felt kind of silly for it too, but I also wondered for a long time why I had gotten so upset about something so insignificant.

It’s not that we don’t like being around people but being in certain social situations makes our anxiety worse. If we don’t feel comfortable with the people we are around, our minds start swirling with crazy thoughts that make the time less enjoyable.

I personally avoid doing things alone because I have an extreme fear of being judged by other people. It sounds irrational but I always feel like everyone is watching me and I hate to think about what other people think about me being all by myself.

Please understand that if we turn down a social outing, it’s probably nothing to do with you and more to do with how anxious we feel that day.

  1. We often feel anxious for no particular reason

Some days we wake up feeling extremely anxious. There really isn’t anything particularly thing worrying us. We also have no idea why a certain situation might make us feel anxious, so please don’t feel bad if we don’t have an answer.

  1. We know that our anxieties are irrational

We worry about things that don’t matter, or we immediately go to the worst-case scenario in any situation. We know that we get anxious for things that aren’t happening for days or weeks and that it makes no sense.

I find myself lying awake most nights worrying about stuff that holds no substance (for example: the other night I was worrying about what kind of insurance plan I need to get… when I turn 26. IM 24 YEARS OLD GUYS). I lay there, my feet writhing under the sheets and my mind racing, wishing sleep would come. Anxiety, like any other mental illness can greatly affect sleeping patterns as well.

So I am sorry if I am ever rude or grumpy because I haven’t gotten enough sleep. And I’m sorry if I ramble about my worries and they make no sense to you. It’s just my anxiety talking and I appreciate if you always listen anyway.


I hope this post helped if you know someone who suffers from anxiety and are trying to better understand how to support them. If you’re like me and have some people in your life that you wish knew these things about your mental illness, feel free to share this post with them. Get a conversation started.

Here are some resources if you need more information:

ADAA.org

betterhelp.com

nami.org

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more posts like this or some tips and tricks on how I manage my anxiety.

Thanks for reading!

The Blue Chair

My palms are sweating, but who am I kidding, they always sweat like this. My heart is racing and I feel it beating hard in my chest. I pace the hall, checking my phone to make sure I am on the right floor, in front of the right room. I have no idea who will be on the other side of this door but I reach for the doorknob anyway and push it open knowing there’s no turning back now.

And then I am there, situated awkwardly in a low blue fabric-covered chair. It’s the kind of chair I was expecting, I guess. Typical. Normal. I am sitting on the edge of it, my back miles from the actual back of the chair. My feet are firmly planted on the floor, hoping that will keep me from floating outside of my body.

Then I do what you are supposed to do here, I just start talking…


I’ve finally been honest with myself, so I think it’s time I’m honest with the rest of the world.

I struggle with depression and anxiety.

Sitting across from a therapist was quite possibly the last place I thought I would find myself. But there I was, after months of fighting myself over it. I almost cancelled the appointment more than once and let’s not even get started with how many times I dialed the office number and hung up before someone answered.

I spent so long not seeking help because I didn’t know how to talk about it. And part of me was so afraid of what people would think, so ashamed of what I felt.

I reached a point where trying to handle it on my own was starting to get overwhelming.

So I decided to ask for help.


That blue chair eventually became more and more familiar. I didn’t sit so awkwardly in it after a while. It started to feel comfortable even.

Unfortunately my therapist moved her office and the blue chair turned into this really modern looking red chair. But it was just as comfortable because it wasn’t actually about the chair at all. It was that I finally had someone to listen to me and validate the things that I was feeling.


We live in an unfortunate world where there is a stigma about mental illness and it is greatly underrepresented in the health industry.

I’ve come to realize recently that my voice does matter in all this. I may be just one person, but I am one of many who are fighting everyday to live a happier and fuller life.

I started this blog not really knowing where it would go or what kind of content I would post. I think if I am to do it any justice, I need to use this platform to talk about things that matter, things that people are afraid to talk about. So I hope you will continue to read all my posts, not just the funny, helpful or quirky ones but also the ones that involve mental health.

I am not going to pretend for one minute that it was a simple choice to ask for help. It was hard, almost impossible. And every single day is hard. I will never regret asking for help, though.

One of the things my therapist said to me on that very first day was, “You are brave. Don’t ever forget that.”

I no longer feel ashamed talking about my mental health and neither should anyone out there who is struggling. Despite how hard it may be to get the words out the first time, I hope you find a way to say them.

And when you do, just know:

You are brave. Don’t ever forget that.

Thanks for reading.

Here are some helpful resources if you or someone you love is dealing with depression or anxiety. And please remember that you are not alone. There is always someone who will listen, including me.

My Contact Page

Depression Resources

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call or text 1-800-273-8255  Or visit

Anxiety Resources

Link to BetterHelp- an online counseling service

The Mono Chronicles, Part 3: The Aftermath

I really can’t tell you exactly how I contracted mono. It’s something that is nearly impossible to trace.

My only viable places of infection are the water fountain at my gym, which I never put my mouth on but did fill my water bottle up from frequently, and the hospital that I worked at. We all know how filthy and germ-infested hospitals can be and I admittedly didn’t wash or sanitize my hands as often as I should have.

Another contributing factor to my mono case is that the time frame just before I got ill was a very stressful time for me. I was still trying to continue my normal daily routine of working, going to the gym, and seeing my friends and family while also trying to plan a move. I was leaving in early May to start a new chapter in Brooklyn. The weeks leading up to that were filled with job applications, getting my paperwork sorted to leave my current job, packing up my apartment, saying goodbye to my work friends and making travel plans to get myself and my stuff to the city.

So, a lot all at once.

The early weeks of my recovery were okay. They went as I expected, I think. I felt weak still. And I couldn’t exercise mainly because of my enlarged spleen and lack of energy. But I figured that would pass soon enough.

I think for me one of the most disappointing and frustrating longer lasting effects of mono is the way that it interrupts your energy levels. And of course, having an enlarged spleen is pretty scary too (this just meant I couldn’t do any contact related exercise and I had to always be protecting my stomach are, so no ab workouts L).

Being a pretty avid runner and gym junkie, I had to go weeks without setting foot in a gym which felt pretty much like a death sentence.

Almost a month on the dot after I got sick the first time, I had a relapse of my original symptoms. Sore throat that made it hard to swallow, pain in my throat, sinus congestion and of course feeling like I had been hit by a train, this time lasting about another week. I traveled back upstate where my doctor informed me that this could happen and was actually quite common with people who had mono. I also learned that I could relapse even up to a year after my original infection (crazy, right?).

I think I will always feel remnants of my mono every time I get sick. Just this past month I found myself feeling symptoms again, from allergies or the wacky weather in New York, I can’t be sure. But it just reminds me that this illness will always live with me.

If I can give any advice to anyone in order to avoid getting mono, it’s to obviously practice good hygiene first and foremost.

But secondly, listen to your body when you start to wear out. Don’t over-do it, because that’s when your immune system becomes weak and doesn’t let you fight off silly little viruses like mono.

It’s ok to take a break sometimes. Slow down and enjoy the little things.

Life is not about finishing first; in fact it might be quite the opposite.

I hope you enjoyed this little mini series.

Read the first two posts here:

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

The Mono Chronicles, Part 2: The Kissing Disease

Leave a comment below if you’d like more like this but maybe another topic.

Thanks for reading!

The Mono Chronicles, Part 2: The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or Mono, is also widely known as “the kissing disease” for the simple fact that it is mainly spread through the saliva. It’s a viral illness and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics like a bacterial infection. The only cure for mono is some good old-fashioned rest and lots of fluids.

After learning from my doctor that my blood test came back positive for the mono virus, I felt defeated. Not just from the physical exhaustion this illness had havocked on my body, but I was mentally wiped.

I remember my mom hanging up the phone with my doctor and summarizing the diagnosis to me. Unexpectedly, I began to cry.

It was a combination of finally knowing how sick I really was and feeling sorry for myself because of how much work I would miss and how this would affect me long term. I felt silly for crying, but it was the reality of the situation.

Thankfully, I have some of the best parents in the world so I stayed with them and my little brother at home where my mom spent the good part of a week taking care of me.

And since there was no magical pill I could take to get better, my days were filled with cups of tea with lemon and agave (sorry I’m vegan, save the bees), cough drops, salt water gargles and a special gargle my doctor prescribed that basically numbed my entire mouth and throat so I could get food down. Sounds like lots of fun, huh?

The worst of the sickness was over in about 3 or 4 days. My pounding headaches subsided with the help of ibuprofen, my sinuses began to drain (unfortunately it was so much sometimes that it caused me to gag and vomit on a few occasions) and the physical pain in my throat slowly went away.

I will never forget how absolutely weak my body felt. If you, or anyone you know has ever had mono, I’m sure this point is relatable. It’s the weakest I’ve ever felt in my life. I could barely get out of bed to even go to the bathroom and I remember the extreme strength I had to muster to even get a cup to my lips the first few days.

Some of the things I learned about my illness from googling and researching while I spent days on end in a stationary position is that the only way to be officially diagnosed with mono is through a blood test. Your doctor uses the sample to see if there are certain types of white blood cell in your system that attempts to kill off the virus. And much like chicken pox, most people only get infected with mono once in their lifetime.

The only tricky part is that contrary to chicken pox, although you only get it once, the mono virus lives in your body for the rest of your life. For most of the time, the cells will stay dormant. But in times of intense stress and strain on your immune system, it can resurface and you can have a “flare-up”, which unfortunately happened to me.

Twice.

Lol.

Stay tuned to see how mono affects me today…

Or read Part 1 here if you missed it

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

Thanks for reading!

The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection

While laid up in bed for days with mono, I joked to my mom that I should keep a diary of the experience and call it the Mono Chronicles. Of course, I said it then as some comic relief when I was feeling like shit. But now looking back, I should have taken some notes. Hopefully what I remember about the experience can help someone out there maybe going through the same thing or something similar.

So here it is, Part 1 of what I’m calling The Mono Chronicles. Enjoy.

Most of the time, when I get sick, I turn to Google to diagnose me. Of course, most of the time, it turns out Google is very wrong and I’m not going to die in 3 days.

So in April of 2018 when I got a sore throat, I figured it was just a symptom of a seasonal cold that would go away in a few days.

Boy was I wrong.

This sore throat was unlike any other I’ve had before. I had weird white bumps all over my tonsils, and it was so swollen that I could barely get food down my throat. Then I woke up one Sunday morning with puffy eyelids that I couldn’t explain. This then happened again on Monday and I felt like a monster so even going to work was a feat. I figured it was probably worth getting checked out by a doctor so I left work that Tuesday morning on April 24th to go to my local Urgent Care.

There they ruled out just allergies being the cause of this eye puffiness and sore throat. The doctor decided to test me for strep throat, a common illness indicated by a sore throat. My rapid strep test came back negative, but they informed me they would send it to the lab for a full workup and call me in 48 hours with the results. In the meantime, I was diagnosed with viral pharyngitis (basically just a fancy name for inflammation in the throat).

The doctor advised me to take Tylenol for the physical pain, suck on cough drops, and drink tea and lots of fluids in order to soothe my symptoms. These were all typical remedies for a sore throat that I’d used a million times in my life.

For the next 48 hours I prayed that I had strep so I could be prescribed antibiotics and get rid of this sickness real quick. I had already missed some days of work and I was feeling worse by the day. Finally, I got the call I had been waiting for. And the test came back negative again.

I was immediately disheartened and quite frankly annoyed with my diagnosis. There was still something very wrong with me and no one could figure it out. I called my mom freaking out, worrying that there was something we were missing. After she calmed me down, we decided it best to see another doctor. Instead of just another ER, my mom called up the primary care physician that my dad went to and I got an appointment for that Thursday the 26th of April.

I showed to my appointment that day in immense pain, exhausted and not myself at all. I explained to this doctor all the symptoms I was having, wincing with pain at every word (at this point it hurt to even talk), and after being tested another time for strep, she wanted to run a test for one last thing. Mono.

The word was already familiar to me. I had a childhood friend who got mono as a young girl. And a friend at work joked that I had mono when I told him how sick I was. But hearing my doctor saying it could be the cause of my symptoms was dreadful. I knew mono was not good.

Before I left the office my blood was drawn and after almost passing out, (I’m not good with needles y’all) I was sent home to rest and continue my regime of throat care. My doctor also prescribed me some mouthwash that was meant to numb my throat so I could at least get some food down.

A day later my blood work came back and my mom got the call from my doctor that I had been waiting for.

And it was both good and bad news.

What do you prefer to hear first? I usually always choose the bad, but that’s just me.

I had mono.

And the good news? At least I had a real diagnosis finally.

To be continued…

Thanks for reading!

Check back soon for Part 2.