01.07.14

ANXIETY & INSECURITY

i’ve been thinking about this post for a long time actually. how to write it. how to document this time in my life. how much to share on this blog. but i have always been really open to sharing personal thoughts in this space. it has always created interesting conversation and perspective. and i can only hope you are just like me, and want to relate to something that isn’t often discussed.

today we are going to be talking about insecurities, shame, anxiety and being a perfectionist. heavy stuff, i know. if you’re interested, click through to read about it below…

someone on instagram suggested i read this book called “gifts of imperfection” by brene brown after i posted this instagram with my 2014 resolutions. i guess it was pretty obvious from what i was saying that this book was a necessary read for me. although it was a wake up call that i wasn’t exactly ready for, i did learn a few things about myself. (and it was a good read!) honestly, it worries me to put this out into the world. but i know so many of you have gotta feel the same way and i think honesty is key for me.

– anxiety has been running my life. and i’ve been really really hard on myself. i haven’t gotten help for my anxiety and probably should. for those of you that deal with anxiety, you know what i’m talking about. short of breath, dizzy, feels like your skin is crawling and mind is spinning. anxiety attacks are no joke. for me, i have very specific triggers, but it can also happen on a random tuesday when everything feels just fine. i haven’t gone to the doctor about it because frankly doctors make me more anxious than just having the anxiety attack.

– incessant planning, working, social media, and keeping a full calendar was just me trying to numb my insecurities and fears. i think to myself often “i should be working harder. i should be doing something more creative. i should have more plans and goals.” I have such high expectations for myself and the people around me. i still haven’t figured out exactly which feeling i’m numbing, all i know is that it’s happening. and i should try to dig deep and think about how to fix it.

– we all have insecurities. ALL OF US. i wish i didn’t have cellulite. i wish i didn’t have such big teeth. i wish i wasn’t so messy & lazy with organization. i wish i had more self control when it comes to eating healthy. i wish my clothes fit better. i wish i wasn’t afraid of so many things. everyone has a long list of things they wish were different. this book talks a lot about embracing your insecurities and learning to love yourself.

– the scariest time for me is when everything is still. quiet and calm. alone. just reflection. but the book is showing me that it’s the only way then can we really start to understand ourselves. i rarely ever just sit by myself with my thoughts and need to. what am i so afraid of?

– i found it very difficult to compliment others often, because i rarely compliment myself. constantly analyzing, picking things apart, looking at how something could have been better. it’s not a trait that i feel proud of. my perfectionist nature has reached a point that makes me feel unhappy. sure, striving for greatness is cool and all. and i think that pushing yourself to do the best you can do is important. but i don’t want to analyze every little thing. it’s not healthy. i need to let some of it go.

“perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. it’s a shield. it’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

– i need a nap. this book talks a lot about how our society has told us “sleep when you’re dead!” or “work one more hour, come on!” but in the process we are losing precious sleep and “play” time (doing something for yourself just because you want to, not work related at all) these two things give us ideas, a fresh perspective, a joy for our jobs, a much needed break. when i was done with this book…i took a nap. for four hours. hid my to-do list away and tried my best to feel juuuuuust fine with it.

– i want to make a list of joys in my life. wandering around the farmers market, having a friend over for dinner, checking into a hotel, the feeling when my house is clean, cuddling with my cats, brunching with arian, editing photos on my phone, thrifting, long conversations with old friends over wine, cooking simple meals for arian and seeing how happy they make him, watching back to back episodes on netflix, going to an afternoon movie, picking out flowers for my nightstand…. almost none of those had the pressure of money or goals or work. i’d love to focus more on these simple, happy times. and put less pressure on career.

– our need for approval. even with this post, i am having this voice inside that wants me to have someone read it first so i can ask “should i post it? is it too much? do you think it’s okay?” social media and blogs have created a monster for a lot of people i think. i can’t lie and say that i don’t question myself when a post doesn’t do very well or when a photo gets a low number of likes on instagram. that’s silly, but i can’t say it doesn’t cross my mind. and then in comes the voices, “you can do better. you should be doing better.” again, just hard on myself.

– anxiety is contagious. i am very receptive to people when they are anxious. it immediately makes me feel nervous, guilty and anxious myself. and i’m also very receptive to people that are calm. the book talks about how both are contagious and we have to decide what we want to put out into the world. it asks “do we want to infect people with more anxiety or heal ourselves and the people around us with calm?” man, that hit home.

does any of this sound familiar to you? have you found ways to cope with your anxiety or perfectionist nature? i’ve got a long road ahead of me, but really want to bring awareness to the topic of anxiety. your thoughtful comments always mean so much to me, so thank you. lots of love, bri

416 COMMENTS

Add your own

    maggie says:

    This is such an honest, amazing, post. I was in the same boat as you just around a year ago with anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to go to a doctor because I felt ashamed, like I should be able to “pick myself up.” And then I realized I was doing myself (and the people I love) more harm by not doing anything.

    I am now on a low dose of anti-anxiety medication, and it makes a WORLD of difference. Combined with some active mindfulness, meditation, and making time for myself (even if it is just five minutes of watching a stupid youtube video!), I am on a better track.

    I hope you find whatever works best for you!

    Jenny says:

    So familiar! I’ve never actually considered myself a perfectionist before, I’ve justified it as “expecting the best from myself,” and “working hard,” and “giving constructive criticism.” But I’ll have to pick up that book because the way she puts it really touches a nerve for me. I think this post is great and I think your work is great and I hope you find a way to simplify it enough for yourself so that when you do go to bed each night you can truly rest and feel satisfied by each day. Thank you for sharing it with all of us (even the lurkers, like me). xo (p.s. I typed this comment like 20 minutes ago and have agonized about whether or not it is too dorky and embarrassing to post. so, yeah, you’re definitely not alone.)

    Hannah says:

    You are so not alone! I hope that these are things you work on this year and can lessen your burden because I know how heavy it can be. Anxiety and perfectionism are two huge things I deal with daily and I am trying very hard to focus on decreasing the amount of time I allow to be dominated by these thoughts. Another great read I’m in the middle of is The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. It’s all about changing the way you make goals and look at life. What better way to change old habits and let in joy than changing your perspective! If you can pick it up, I hope it inspires you :)

    xoxohannah

    Brittany K says:

    You precious sweetheart :) I’m so proud of you! Anxiety is TOUGH. STUFF. It really does take digging deep to figure out what’s going on… or it will just keep growing back. For me, it took a year of counseling (and two different counselors), a few months on medication, and then a summer of learning in Italy (and weaning myself off said medication) to truly beat it. My life has never been the same. I have so much more gratitude for everything in my life, and an incredible sense of peace about the future. Not to say that I don’t have my bad days (everyone does!) but I am happy to say I’ve never had another anxiety attack. Much love to you, Bri! Sending bravery and strength and the ability to give yourself grace your way :)

    You definitely aren’t alone in this! I am one of those overly-cautious, play-by-the-rules, don’t-hurt-anyone’s-feelings, I-hope-they-like-me, very introverted people and I’ve let fear and anxiety hold me back in a lot of ways. It’s taken work but I’ve started to overcome some of that, so there’s hope! And while I love technology for so many reasons, I think, like you said, blogs and Instagram and Facebook have magnified those fears and insecurities for many people, myself included. But posts like these help people see we are all human and everyone has their own struggles. Just keep working at it! I know I am…

    Caitlin Liz says:

    Holy cow, Bri! First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE how stripped down, honest, and REAL this post is. Thank you for sharing. Obviously this is something you’re using to help you work through your anxiety, but it is super helpful for budding creatives who struggle with it as well. You’ve mentioned a couple times that your success isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, but it is always refreshing to see successful bloggers pause their usual fabulous routine to say, “hey, I’m a human, just like you. Here are some of my struggles that I’m terrified to share with you, but I’m doing it anyway.” That’s brave and bold and CONGRATS on clicking “publish” ( I know how terrifying that can be ). I love that you’re trying to bring awareness to this topic. This is something I’ve been wanting to talk about as well and have been formulating my own post to publish sometime soon ( maybe next week ).
    So yes, for sure many of us ( myself included ) can totally relate to you. We put so much pressure on ourselves to make our dreams come true that we forget to take some TLC time to appreciate ourselves and take some quiet relaxation all pressure off ( is that a thing? sometimes it doesn’t feel like it ). I’m happy you found this resource. I’ll definitely have to check it out as well. In the meantime, I want to encourage YOU to continue to have the courage to explore these difficulties ( privately or through your blog ) and to not be afraid to ask for help and support from professionals, friends, family, or your loving followers :)

    Suzie says:

    I appreciate your honesty, Bri. I feel as though I’m just getting out of a solid year of depression and reading your blog is one of the things I did when I was happy (lost motivation for reading and posting blogs for a long time now), and I guess the fact that I’m posting here is a sign that healing comes bit by bit =] You talked about the importance of the alone, quiet time, and I’ve noticed that myself even in the last few days. I’ve been sick and snowed in and I think this time to myself has done me more good than I could have hoped. I hope you continue to choose what’s best for your personal health! Thanks for being real with us.

    Louise says:

    Such a brave and awesome post – just came here from your instagram. I would love to help you if you need someone. I overcame anxiety and it’s now one of my favourite things to help clients with. Love xx

    Holly B says:

    You reference it, and I’ve found in my own life, I often push down something I should be dealing with, only to find it manifest in anxiety that seems to come out of nowhere. I’m not great at talking about my issues (and not in a position to pay for a therapist anyways), but becoming more aware of myself and my emotions has helped A LOT.

    Kelley says:

    Ohhhh girrrrrrrl! This strikes a big ol’ chord:

    “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. it’s a shield. it’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

    You are 100% not alone. Right in that boat (that I would put on instagram if it was more aesthetically pleasing) with you!

    Henna says:

    I relate to it all. Thank you for this post and giving me some things to think about. ❤️

    Katie says:

    I suffer with the exact same things! I am only 18 years old, and have been suffering from anxiety since I can remember. I have mental breakdowns getting ready if I don’t look perfect, or have minor panic attacks just watching other people when they’re nervous (whether it be presenting something I front of a large group of people, or even watching my friends get ready for a first date). I’m constantly putting myself down or shaming myself if something in my life isn’t perfect, or if I hear something negative people say about me. I beat myself up on the daily, and wish more than anything that I could have my confidence back (if I ever had it at all).
    Thank you for this post and letting me know that I’m not alone and that everyone has their insecurities. It’s not okay to treat ourselves like we’ll always be second best, but it’s certainly something that will take time to correct.

    Sending love your way!
    Xo Katie

    jensen says:

    oh, I love Brene! She such a gem of great widsom. Her other book, Daring Greatly is a fantastic read as well and dives deeper into some of her bigger thoughts and ideas. Definitely would suggest it.

    And honestly, just putting yourself out there, showing up here on your blog, that’s a tremendous thing to be proud of yourself for. Regardless of the anxiety and the perfectionism, it’s important to remember that just showing up in this space is huge and it’s a step towards quieting the anxiety and perfection monsters.

    And gratitude lists are definitely helpful. I make them quite often, and the do wonders for putting things into perspective and bringing a little calm in the midst of all the craziness.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Brianna says:

    First of all, you are so amazingly brave and courageous to talk about something so personal and scary. And you should know you are NOT alone. So many people have been where you are and have found different ways to work with and through it. My mother had very debilitating anxiety for a year or so and it got the point where she couldn’t leave the house. But after some trial and personal decisions she decided to stop medication and try what is called cognitive feedback therapy. Its basically a form of meditation and thoughtful exercises to help re-shape your brain and how it handles the feeling of anxiety. Might be something else to consider. There are tons of options out there. I hope you find something that works well for you and relieves your feelings. We love you!

    emma says:

    i’m not sure how i ended up following you on instagram, but i’m glad i did!

    i’m proud of you for posting this. i have suffered from anxiety my whole life and it reached it’s peak last year. i decided i finally needed to face it and talk it out with my doctor. i’m now on anti-anxiety medication and it has helped me so much. it’s not something we can usually control on our own – it’s a chemical thing and there’s no shame in getting help for that. NONE. EFF THE STIGMAS!

    i’ve found that a lot of creative types, like you and me and countless others, are the most anxious because our senses are incredibly heightened. just because we feel more, think more, see more, smell more – doesn’t make us weird. it makes us even more interesting. :)

    godspeed!
    – emma

    Rose D. Frenchtown, NJ says:

    Hands down, the best post I have read, EVER! Thank you for your honesty. I almost feel I could have written this post myself. My best to you!

    saudia says:

    great post! your honesty is always appreciated since i find it’s rare that you get the see the real nitty-gritty of bloggers curated feeds. i have to say i’ve been thinking about what it means to live in and enjoy small moments without having the constant nagging worry about money or the future or what you’re not doing fast enough to get from point A to B. it is difficult to just be still and enjoy what you have accomplished in the moment because there seems to always be a voice or a notion that you should always have forward momentum. it definitely creates a lot of stress, i guess the only solution is to learn to give ourselves a break and be ok with that.

    Tiffany Reed says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for a good decade. All of the anxiety stemmed from fears I have about not being the best designer, or mom, or friend – high expectations I put on myself. A few months ago it all culminated in me wanting to end my life. My best friend took me to get help and now I’m doing so much better and improving with each passing day. I know going to a doctor for help is frightening and nerve wrecking, but I promise you’ll be so happy you sought help. I’ve found that most people are kind and willing to help you deal the anxiety attacks and eventually you’ll have less and less of them… which will free you to be the awesome creative you are. I love how honest and open you are here. You’re beautiful inside and out, and I look forward to reading about your progress!

    Lauren says:

    I seriously NEVER comment on blogs, but I am really struck by your honesty. My NY resolution is to communicate with honesty about the things I try to hide in my life, like anxiety and depression. I don’t know your past or you aside from what I have seen one IG and your blog, but I admire your openness and honesty. Life is hard and sometimes scary, but the fact that you are willing to admit it so openly means you are already making positive change. I’ve seen a counselor for a few years to work out some of the kinks in my life and it is absolutely 100% worth the effort. Because panic attacks aren’t something you should have to deal with everyday and they really suck the joy out of our experiences. I encourage you to trust yourself.

    One other thing: If you are interested in challenging some of those fears you have and opening up to a new bit of creativity at home(like you could even BE anymore creative! Your stuff blows my mind!), you might consider trying The Artist’s Way. It’s an interesting book/course and it’s a bit of a commitment, but also incredibly rewarding. Helps to quiet the critic within.

    Thanks for being brave, Bri.

    J says:

    This is a great post. It takes courage to put yourself out there like that, so thank you. Although I don’t struggle with anxiety,I totally get the perfectionism problems, which I have ALWAYS struggled with. I’m still in school, and still finding myself, and stress/perfectionism is a big part of my life–so this really hit home for me. You’re right, everyone has insecurities, and embracing my imperfections has been a resolution I’ve still haven’t completely fulfilled.

    Just so you know, although I hardly ever comment, I ADORE this blog. It has been my favorite since I was little (actually, it was the first blog I ever read!. I find all of your work, your style, your creativity, and your open & honest attitude so, so inspiring. Any time I’m have “creative block”, DesignLoveFest is my refuge (sorry to be cliche!)! Your blog has helped me become more creative, and is one of the reasons I now plan to become an artist/designer. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep inspiring me, and most importantly, be sure to save LOADS of time to keep YOURSELF happy, healthy, and inspired. You deserve it!

    Thank you for everything you do.
    XOXO, J

    Sarah O. says:

    Bri! Bravo! You are so brave to post this, and even more than you think your vulnerability makes you even more attractive and courageous in the eyes of those of us reading it. I am posting a link to an article on anxiety that a friend sent to me. It puts anxiety in perspective by attributing it to guilt. It may seem a little far out there but it really helped me! I hope that your journey leads to peace :)

    http://allisonvesterfelt.com/unpack-chronic-anxiety/

    Molly says:

    I completely related to this, Bri. We aren’t supposed to feel good if we neglect the to-do list, but never getting a mental break doesn’t feel good either. The trick is knowing your needs and limitations and being forgiving towards yourself for needing that balance. I’m definitely learning that my mental health is just as important as my achievements. The hard part is that even when you recognize that, it’s a daily process to actually DO it. Thank you for being so honest and I wish you the best of luck with this in the future :)

    Kerrie says:

    I will definitely be reading this book. I hold myself to such a crazy high, unrealistic expectations and I’m really hard on myself when I don’t achieve them. Thank you for being so raw and honest. xoxo

    Vanessa says:

    Your not alone so many people struggle with anxiety I myself have grown and learnt how to cope with anxiety and stress in my life and it’s not easy! It’s also not something that comes over night it takes time I used to think of it as healing my brain back to a more positive health!
    Also when anxious and stressed sleep helps as your in better judgement when I’m at my most tired I have worsened days where I judge myself more than I should and think negatively! I would say that any anxious thoughts need to be analysed and any thoughts that are irrational and more fear based that you can’t control you should think more positive about and change the way you think and any worries you can control think of a plan on how to solve them to make you feel better sooner rather than later! It’s not easy to cope with but you will learn to cope with it and you will gradually get to a more stable and happy place! Honest! It’s a topic that close to my heart and I hate to see people with anxiety or with mental health problems because it is so difficult! I believe these days more people struggle with anxiety and that any stigma is next to non and think you should be able to share and get things off your chest as you wish!
    All the best, Vanessa x

    Caroline says:

    i can definitely relate. thanks for posting this Bri!

    caitlin says:

    ❤️ this post! “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

    Kate says:

    The vulnerability you have displayed in this post is so wonderful and so encouraging to those of us that have the same fears, doubts, voices telling us we aren’t good enough. Thank you for being willing and brave enough to share.

    rox says:

    Oh Bri – I understand and am with you on this post on so many levels. Social anxiety in particular is a big one for me – I’m far more content being a hermit at home than trying to be in a crowd of folks. Like you, I default to blogging, pinning, and instagramming as a safe haven! Although I still battle anxiety on a daily – I’ve found carving some time out for yourself is key. Keeps you grounded & refocused on what’s important. Those naps don’t sound like a bad idea either…

    I’ve also really gotten into ART JOURNALING (see what I mean here: http://bybun.com/journal/) . It’s just this awesomely creative (and personal) thing that forces you out of a ‘perfectionist comfort zone’, and into a real moment of expression (if that makes any sense). I would love to teach a journaling workshop for ya (solo or a group). It’s a really incredible thing for us creative/maker types!

    Regardless, I appreciate your openness and honesty – putting yourself out there. It’s a huge first step in conquering the beast that is anxiety…xo

    Katie says:

    Bri,

    I love your blog and read it daily but I don’t comment very often. Thank you so much for posting this. It takes courage to talk about these issues, and I really think so many more people than we realize experience these things. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for quite awhile and I really do believe that having someone to talk to makes a huge difference. Once I am able to verbalize all those overwhelming thoughts and fears, things slowly start to feel more manageable.

    Anyways, thank you so much for this post – reading that quotation from the book about perfectionism makes me realize I have more to work on! Thank you for your honesty and I hope find support and help that works for you!

    Katie says:

    Thank you for posting this. I feel the same way so many times.I ask myself what I am doing with my life, why isn’t my job more creative and fulfilling why I am not being brave and doing something I am truly passionate about instead of staying in a safe spot. The constant social media and blogs do not help the cause either. Actually, I look at your blog and this amazing career and business you have created and think how brave and inspiring it is and that is what I want! It makes me feel better to know that even when it looks 100% put together from the outside everyone is dealing with the same negative thoughts from time to time. I hope you start to feel less hard on yourself … you are an inspiration to me and I am sure countless other people … and this honest entry makes me enjoy following your blog even more.

    I keep hearing about this book and your post makes me want to read it even more.

    “perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. it’s a shield. it’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

    This part really hit home because with blogging, we’re able to project just the best version of ourselves and conveniently leave everything else out. And thanks for sharing your anxiety struggles. It often feels like an invisible battle.

    Amy says:

    Bri, thanks for sharing this. I think it takes a lot to recognize your own anxiety and identify the habits that make you feel more stressed, and you’re so brave to share! I am also prone to anxiety, and something that helps me is to imagine someone else doing/saying the thing I am feeling insecure about, and think about what my reaction to it would be from the outside. Usually it makes me see how harsh I am to myself! You are beautiful and talented, and you deserve to be kind to yourself!

    Merisa says:

    It’s like you took the word right out of my mouth but put them down so much more beautifully. It has been my resolution to try & have more positive feelings overall. My bad feeling bleed out to start having bad feelings about others all of the time. I never realized how self-hate could engulf my entire life and in turn I created hate for just about everything. I realize it will be hard to get me back to that once positive and optimistic person I once was, but for the benefit of mankind, it’s worth it. Keep your head up & know your words empower all of us who feel this way.

    Kate says:

    I know just how you feel–in fact, I don’t think you’ve ever said anything here or on social media about feeling anxious that I haven’t related to. Confronting all my varying anxieties is a big goal for me this year–obviously I should pick up that book! I struggled with anxiety & depression on and off for years (and I’m only 22!) before I gave in and started taking low-dose medication. It makes a HUGE difference–just mind blowing. (A little note if you were to decide to try an anti-anxiety med, do a little research first–I’m on one that’s extremely difficult to stop taking, and I probably would have tried a different Rx had I known beforehand.)

    Sarah says:

    This was a great post and I wanted to comment since I don’t always do so because you should know that you’re brave for sharing! My anxiety has the opposite effect. It just stops me dead in my tracks and fills me with doubt and makes me want to hide. It’s so easy to forget that other people have anxieties and things about themselves that they dislike. Honestly, I see a lot in the blogosphere that is so perfect and amazing looking and fun and it can make me feel like I’m falling short so it’s good to know that everyone has those moments even when they present themselves differently!
    I hope you can keep your resolutions now that you have some tools to help!

    katie says:

    Bri – thank you for being so open + honest! This is such a prevalent issue that is rarely talked about… but when it’s out in the open, people feel much more comfortable sharing their own stories. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a few years, and recently started going to therapy. It has made such a wonderful difference already!! I also read Daring Greatly and it’s a good one. Feeling better (and lessening the grip on perfectionism) definitely takes work, but it is so worthwhile. xo!

    Alex says:

    Thank you so much for your open-ness and honesty. Sharing your inner turmoil is so hard but it allows others who feel the same way not to feel so alone. I am also an anxiety sufferer and perfectionist, in addition to being a chronic people pleaser and having OCD. I have found most useful is the practice of mindfulness meditation, just being in the moment, right here right now – letting all else just fall away. Your blog and work are an inspiration to so many but don’t let it be at the expense of your health and well-being. Sounds like you have made some great steps to overcoming your anxiety – keep going! x

    Elisha says:

    You are definitely not alone! I wish anxiety wasn’t such an embarrassing thing to talk about, I’ve been dealing with panic attacks (they really are no joke!) for the past year and finally decided to go seek help a few months ago. Honestly, seeking help was the best thing I’ve ever done though I realize not everyone feels comfortable seeking out a therapist or psychiatrist. I feel so much more like myself again and my panic attacks aren’t running my life anymore (though they still do happen, I now have the tools to get them under control – medication/breathing exercises which are very helpful). Anxiety begets anxiety and once I threw a wrench into the cycle of constant attacks I found they happened much less frequently. I haven’t even told my family or some of my close friends about my panic attacks as I’ve sometimes just been met with “what do you have to worry about?” or “just stop freaking out” comments. It can be difficult to talk about, and I honestly think this post is very brave – I can only imagine how difficult it was to write.

    Your “I need a nap” point really hit home – over the past year I’ve realized self care is so so important, some days I just take for myself to nap and relax and make sure I’m taking care of myself even though my to-do list is a mile long. Good for you for doing the same! It’s so important to take care of ourselves.

    Claire says:

    Love this post. Thanks so much for opening up – your honesty and trust in your readers is part of the reason why I believe you are such an amazing blogger. It draws us to you and makes us feel like we are participating in a shared experience as opposed to looking through a glass window, ya know?

    Simplifying my life to find peace, calm, and true happiness is definitely something I’ve been working on since college, and I find that it really does help with toxic, unproductive, negative thoughts. I am also the type of person who feels like I should always be doing MORE. It’s hard for me to be satisfied with the present, and I know it’s not healthy. Recognizing that it’s NOT good to focus on this type of thought is definitely a step in the right direction – the hard part of course is changing our actions and way of living.

    I have heard the idea that the most successful and high-achieving people are often anxiety-ridden.. and while I wish it weren’t true it also seems to make sense. I have realized that being truly happy and at peace is my ultimate goal in life, and if it means I achieve a lower level of success than what others may expect of me (or what I might have expected for myself).. so be it.

    Again, thank you for opening up to us, Bri. You are definitely one of my role models and it helps to hear your perspective and experiences. This only makes me admire you more! Imperfections and all :) We are all human, and I have found it more deterring when someone acts like they are not – when they refuse to show a crack of vulnerability.

    Keep at your self-reflection.. I know you’ll find calm in your life soon enough :)

    xo Claire

    Stacey says:

    Keeping with the other sentiments; thank you so much for writing this, Bri! I’ve noticed the blogging world getting a little more open and honest lately, and I think it’s very refreshing to hear women sharing some of the deeper (and not always pretty) parts of life with one another. Anxiety is something that I think is plaguing us more and more and we have to be conscious about not letting it control us! Months ago I felt horribly sick and my doctor sent me to have an MRI and all this bloodwork done. It turns out I had been going through an anxiety attack. I was shocked and embarrassed, but it was the best wake up call. How could anxiety mask itself in such a painful way? Hope your journey working through this goes well and you’re able to move forward – I know many of us are in similar situations.

    Victoria Chilvers says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is all incredibly familiar to me! I have taken the new year as a chance to try and confront these things myself. Good luck on your journey and thank you again. Let’s grab 2014 by the balls! :-)

    arin says:

    thanks for sharing — very personal stuff, I know it’s difficult! The past 2 months I have dealt with anxiety for the first time in my 27 years! It’s terrifying, confusing and I experience similar symptoms: dizziness, sadness, confusion, no appetite, the whole bang! I recently started going to therapy, and it’s starting to help! Getting professional help is very important, helps you understand what you’re going through a bit better, and makes things a lot less scarier. I actually started a new medication and it seems to be helping little by little! These people are here to help you and I — take advantage of these luxuries we have! It’ll get better, it will. Through this together, you’re not alone! XO
    HeartofChic.com

    Oh I loved reading this! I’m 17 year old and anxiety has been slowly creeping up on me recently, I get a fear of driving because of it! I’m a perfectionist to cover up loneliness, I think. But recently I’ve been trying to purposely slack; slack in making things perfect, have a couple of lazy days where washing my hair and getting dressed isn’t an option. Forcing myself to just stand still and stop! It helps. Anxiety is a big pain in the bum! But thank you for sharing this as you’re like a role model to me, it’s nice to read things like this, it’s reassuring yet eye opening. I sure as hell hope that you find a way to brush the anxiety away, you’re amazing!

    Tessa says:

    This was excellent and courageous and excellent. My husband has bipolar type two, which is essentially a combo of anxiety and depression. Making a list of his strengths and the positive things he brings to this world, as well as his triggers has been huge for him. It sounds like you are on the right track. It took him years to find doctors he completely trusts, but it finally has a good pair and it has been life changing. Life saving. I hope you will be able to find this too. Thank you so much for having the strength to post this. For maybe giving others the strength to seek help. Sending positive Wishes for your health.

    Blakely says:

    Honesty is a beautiful thing. The hard thing about social media is every person compares their worst to the worlds Instagrams or their ‘best’! Honesty allows people to feel at home! Thanks for making us all feel at home today!

    Blakely

    Ps you should read Love Does by Bob Goff. Joyful and playful.

    Molly says:

    Your post really hit the nail on the head for me. I have always been an extreme perfectionist, mostly self analyzing and very critical of myself. Anxiety is something I deal with almost daily. Up until just a few years ago I have been able to deal with it on my own. Now being married and staying home with two young girls, I see how these parts of me affect the people I love the most. It was now time for me to heal myself. I started talking with a therapist to work through my emotions, starting yoga classes, and trying to do things for me. I have a ways to go but I have already felt like I am healing and changing so I can give myself and my daughters a life of happiness, carefree moments, and less stress. Thanks for sharing. You are definitely not alone!

    Caitlin Metz says:

    Thank you for posting this. You just said all the things I feel and fight in myself daily. It’s so nice to know others are feeling the same way, especially such successful people who have their shit together. Makes my hopeful for my future. I love your blog, and your personal posts. <3

    Nikki lee says:

    Thankyou so much for sharing an amazing honest post , I can definitely relate to it all ! I need to read that book ! :-) I hope you continue on your journey and it brings you more and more pozitive vibes. Much love x x

    Kayla says:

    It’s fitting that you posted this today, because I was just thinking about the same issues. Yesterday was the kind of work day I’m trying to avoid in 2014… the kind where I’m actually afraid to check my email, because each email was just making me more frustrated and anxious about the projects I was working on. It’s easy, I think, when you don’t work a normal 9-5 office job, to feel at the mercy of your client/employer. It’s a struggle to find a balance between hard work and self-care.

    I started, almost subconsciously, repeating the words “patience and grace” in my head. These are the virtues I’m trying to develop this year, with others and myself.

    So Bri, you are not alone in your anxiety. Breathe and take time to do small things you enjoy. You can borrow my new mantra, too :)

    Ronnie says:

    Hi Bri!
    I just started following your blog and I am in love!

    You are not alone with your anxiety – it is a very common feeling that many people experience. I was experiencing a sudden case of anxiety/panic attacks for a couple of months and have since found relief in the form of just 2 visits to a professional + a very good book: 10 simple solutions to panic. It made me realize how anxiety works, why it happens, and how to overcome the feeling simply by learning how to readjust the thought process that inevitably leads to anxiety attacks. There is another book: 10 simple solutions to worry. You should check both of them out and see which one would better suit you!

    Mairi says:

    Love your honesty! I highly recommend Yoga Nidra. It’s been my key to getting over anxiety sans doctors. Plus 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equal to three hours of sleep!

    Lisa says:

    Thanks for this. When i realised i had anxiety i felt really scared, confused and a bit useless that i couldnt seem to cope with my own life, a life that, on paper, i loved. But in reality i was just trying to cope with too much. Moving home multiple times, family life, a new baby, a thousand creative ideas, a new business venture and a job all things that individually were fantastic but all together were just too much.
    Realising that i felt ill because of anxiety was a lightbulb moment. Up till then i just thought i was unwell and that made me more anxious.
    Every time i hear of other people suffering from the same thing, it helps a little bit more. Knowing that i’m not the only one makes it a bit better and learning how others cope with it is also really helpful.
    For me i needed to give myself a break. I needed to pick a few things to let go of and say “yes, i love doing that but maybe its not the right time and one day i might be able to pick it up again”. Prioritising what was important to carry on with and understanding what triggered the anxiety has helped.but those days where it comes from nowhere and overwhelms me for know aparent reason are still very scary and a bit confusing.
    You should feel really proud of yourself for being brave enough to share this and to have put your post together so eloquently has undoubtedly helped so many of your readers. Thank you x

    Amy Powell says:

    Brene Brown has amazing insight. I read Daring Greatly a few months ago & it completely changed my life.

    Christie says:

    Thank you for taking the risk and posting this. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but you are blessing me and others through your honesty. I deal with all of these things every single day. Knowing my potential, but never really feeling like I’ve reached it. This post inspires me to write the “hard honest” blog posts and allow my readers into my personal thoughts more. It certainly makes me feel like we’re all in this together and we should speak life to one another instead of the other. You are beautiful in every way! You are incredibly gifted and have so many ways of inspiring others. Thank you for sharing! <3

    Lauren says:

    I’m not a big quote person, but a friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day and I really liked it. It helped remind me to take every day as something special and not to worry too much about the big changes coming in my life.

    “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

    Jolien says:

    I did cognitive behavioral therapy. I am from holland so I don’t know what it’s called in your country. It changed the way I think and it helpt me a lot. Thank you for your blog! and this post. I wish you the best.

    L says:

    totally feeling you on this! i have been struggling with anxiety for almost a year now, and about 4 months ago i (reluctantly) went on anxiety meds after talking with my counselor. i haaaate taking medicine, but she (and later my doctor) both assured me that it doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, i.e. try it for 6 months and then go off it. it has been amazing how much even a small dosage like mine helps. it takes away the physical aspects of anxiety and allows me to actually focus on the things i need to focus on, rather than how crummy my body feels.

    yael steren says:

    what a fantastic post! as an outsider looking in (and as someone who was fortunate enough to attend an iheartblogshop workshop) i would never think that you have insecurities. i can relate to a lot of what you discuss. there are two things that i have done over the years that have really made a difference for me, and i hope that they will bring you some relief as well. in no particular order…. (1) every night, before i go to sleep, i say five things that i’m grateful for (even if it’s something as trivial as – i’m grateful the corner store had frosted flakes in stock)! it’s a great way to get out of your own head and to focus on the positive. i have really found that the power of gratitude makes a huge difference. (2) one of my most favorite authors is eckhart tolle. probably his most famous book is the power of now, but he also has many other books. my favorite products of his are his cds – particularly: findhorn retreat, stillness speaks, and the gateways to now (all of which you can get on itunes in the albums section). listen to the preview clip of the intro section on the “gateways to now” album. i think that even that little clip (which is only one minute, 30 seconds in length) will resonate with you. thanks again for opening yourself up and sharing. i think this post will do a lot of good for both you and your readers. xoxo yael

    jaclyn says:

    Having experienced both anxiety and depression in the past, myself and having a husband who has anxiety and OCD regarding his successes/failures in life, this topic is so very near and dear to my heart so I really, really, truly recommend that you seek professional help. I’m not saying check yourself into a hospital or call 911, but even just a few visits to a counselor or therapist can be so beneficial. Anxiety and depression can often mask other issues. For years my husband struggled with anxiety and depression and tried to self-doctor by doing all the “right things” like taking time for himself, or making lists of positive traits and self-affirmations, etc. Then he started grad school and things got really bad so he went to a psychiatrist. She diagnosed him with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This does NOT always present itself as a physical ailment, for my husband the “obsession” are his thoughts. Self-doubt, questioning his methods, worries about whether he made the right decision, etc. And the OCD is a chemical imbalance in his brain. It’s one thing to work things out on your own but I would really advise getting an accurate diagnosis from a professional before you go it alone. Also, you could be like me where all I needed was a visit to my physician who wrote me a script for xanax. I never even needed to take it but just having it on me, calmed my anxiety because at that point, it wasn’t the situations that were causing my anxiety, it was the fear of having the anxiety in a certain situation. Now I keep 2 pills in my purse “just in case”. And it’s literally like someone just took the anxiety away from me. It was such a relief! Best wishes to you!

    Lol says:

    This must’ve taken so much courage to post. Seriously well done! You’re definitely not alone and after reading the other comments I’ve realised I’m not either. I’m 17 and suffer with major body insecurities. I feel that if I’m not the perfect size shape and weight I’m failing in life. As silly as it sounds it’s such a constant battle for me to keep positive and since I’ve let school it has the habit of taking over my life.
    My mum always tells me that no one else notices those things that you’re insecure about- the cellulite or teeth or whatever it is- and if they do they love it and embrace it As part of being you.
    It’s amazing how honest you’ve been with yourself as well! And reading that has made me feel more settled and at peace with the knowledge that I’m not lonesome :) and it’s such a lesson for me to remember that even the girls who are beautiful and creative and so fun as you seem have struggles like me 😀
    So thanks for this fab post!! :)

    Dana says:

    Thats amazing. Amazing that you share your fear with us.
    It is so wonderful to read this. not because its a great topic. but it´s the truth. we are not the people from this happy pictures. we ARE happy. but not the whole time. we are scared, and have pain and sometimes trouble …
    Our Lifes are not perfect. But that is good. we have to accept that fact. we are humans and no robots. we have mistakes and other little rough edges.

    oh, i hope you understand “my” english.

    Bri, don´t have this feelings so much.
    you are great. really.
    A good Start is to accept that we are not perfect. nobody.

    xo Dana

    Jac says:

    Every now and then, I stumble upon a piece of writing that I connect with so deeply – it’s as though the author took a look around in my brain before laying it all out on paper (or screen, in this case). Please know that you’re not alone in your feelings of anxiety and insecurity and guilt.

    Two years ago, I found myself in a very dark place. My anxiety had gotten so bad that I couldn’t handle it, so I sought professional help. My therapist specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which is all about retraining your brain. In our very first session, she told me I wasn’t allowed to use the word “should” anymore. It was such a little thing, but it made a huge difference. “Should” relays guilt, as in:

    “i should be working harder. i should be doing something more creative. i should have more plans and goals.”

    Being aware of that word, what it does to the state of mind, and consciously trying to remove it from my vocabulary is among the best things I’ve ever done. Try saying the same thing with different words, and you have a completely different meaning…

    I could be working harder… or I could be focusing on the things that bring me happiness.
    I could be doing something more creative… but then my blog followers will probably pass out because, really, I don’t think it’s possible for you to get more creative, girl.
    I could have more plans, more goals… or I can focus on enjoying all of the amazing projects I have lined up.

    The second thing I realized I had to do to help my anxiety was to cut back. I was spread way too thin, and it really sounds like you might be too. Being busy is ok, but not at the risk of your mental health. I have a really hard time letting go of projects because I just want to do so much, but I’ve learned that focusing on a few things and doing them well, while being happy and healthy, is so much more fulfilling.

    Either way, know that you are doing a great job. I admire you so much for everything you’ve created and accomplished, and while we haven’t met in person, I can tell from reading your blog that you are a beautiful person inside and out.

    And oddly enough, I just wrote a post today about finding happiness in a crappy day, maybe one of these ideas will give you a quick fix while you figure the rest out:

    http://withlovefromjac.com/2014/01/07/5-quick-fixes-for-finding-happiness/

    Sending you lots of peace, love, and positive vibes!
    xoJac

    yasmin says:

    thank you so much for this post! I have really bad anxiety + perfectionism. anxiety hit me so hard on 2012 (panic attacks constantly, always afraid and nervous) that i had to look for help and start with medication. it was truly the best decision of my life. i was lucky and found straightaway such a great, understanding doctor. it’s funny because i thought i had to be brave and confront it by myself and taking medicines would be admitting defeat and escaping the problem etc but i was SO wrong. the moment the medication kicked in was the first moment i was able to put the anxiety away and actually come face to face with the reasons why i was feeling like that and start finding ways to change/improve my life. after a while i came out of the medications and everything was ok for more than a year but a month ago lots of things happened (moving countries + a long flight!, family away etc) and the anxiety came back again. this time it was much easier – i started again with the medication and am already feeling so much better. (always good to exercise + meditate etc. but when i’m anxious i get stuck – can’t focus on anything!). anyway, now i’m accepting myself. i know i’m like that, being anxious and super worried is a big part of my personality (i remember feeling like that since i was 6!) and i will have to live with it. but i need to live well with it. still trying to work on it but i feel i’m on the right path. i know you mentioned you are afraid of doctors but you are so very brave – look at you, writing about it here! you can do it. also, take some time off every now and then (truly off, disconnecting from all that makes you nervous) and work on loving yourself. wishing you all the best! xxx

    Britney says:

    This is such an amazingly honest post Bri, which is something you often don’t see on the internet bc we have ALL convinced ourselves that life has to be perfect and we have to be going on these adventures ALL. THE. TIME. We sort of con ourselves into believing that we are unworthy of love and appreciation, even from ourselves. Which is totally not on! I had a bout with anxiety, anorexia and depression and it was a PAIN! I don’t think that they ever go 100% away. I relapse from time to time (like last month) but its just, I don’t know, you just have to keep going. And as Dory said Keep Swimmin! Bc there is a whole exciting world out there that you can see and live and be a part of and the only person stopping you from that right now is yourself. This is what I wrote in an email to my friend recently. Reading it back I rather like it “”Try and find one great thing right now. Just one thing. Like the fact that you have eyes to read this, or that you are breathing right now without even noticing. Or the fact that there are birds outside tweeting or if its night there are stars in the sky and you may never really understand what a star is, but it is beautiful and that is all that matters. Find something beautiful and focus on creating that feeling within you. Because right now its the only thing that can make your life better. the way you approach the world. and the way you see through those amazing eyes you have.” The fact that I am still alive and breathing astounds and amazes me. So when I’m feeling down, thats what I think. I notice my breathing. Maybe that might help you too. I think you are pretty rad Bri! I know you are just some person behind a screen and I am too but your blog is one filled to the brim with inspiration. Just know that.

    Rachel says:

    I’ve never commented on your blog before but I’ve followed you sporadically for a couple of years and it on my wish list to take your photoshop class SO bad but I just had to comment on this post. THANK YOU for being so real! On the outside your life is amazing but it’s nice to know that you still have insecurities like every other person out there! This post more than anything connects with me and even though I liked you before you are SO much more likable because you are human!

    And as for anxiety it’s all about finding balance and if you thinks it’s too bad see a doctor or even better a therapist or social worker to talk about this “pressure” that you feel. They are there to help you help yourself. Cheers for being honest with yourself! You are amazing!

    Stephanie says:

    i attended your creative morning talk and left feeling really inspired. i loved hearing about your journey, but the honesty in this post makes me appreciate that talk even more now. anxiety is awful. i suffer from it myself.

    thank you for bringing awareness to something so important and for your courage to talk about it. i hope you find peace and let yourself indulge in the things that make you happy.

    Thea says:

    I hear you! I read this book only a couple of days ago and it really helped me to set my intentions for 2014. I am constantly struggling with anxiety and perfectionism. One of my favourite parts of the book was when she quoted Leonard Cohen: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Good luck Bri, and thank you for your honesty and bravery for posting this x

    Hanna says:

    I just want to let you know that I hear you and see you. It takes guts to post things for a ton of people to see without having someone else read it first, but I think we can all agree that we come here because we enjoy YOU and want to know more about you. Even the scary stuff!

    My first panic attack landed me in the hospital, thinking i was having a stroke (hyperventilation is no joke, ugh). I never forgot that day because now I can catch myself when I’m spiraling out of control and remind myself that we are just air and water and light and millions of cells, and if something goes wrong or if we’re not putting our absolute most perfect face out to meet the world, IT WILL BE OK. No matter who we think will care or who will be let down or sad, it will be OOOOK. Your body is telling you that it needs a serious break – I hope Thailand will be exactly what you need!

    You do such a great job of showing us how to live beautifully and turn anything into something colorful and lovely and fun, and the best part of that is that we’re willing to lend our ears and our support if you need it in exchange for what you give us. A decent trade, ya know? Funny how the *iNtErNetS* work 😀

    xo Hanna

    scarlett says:

    you did good posting this :)!
    lots and lots of people suffer with anxiety and not many feel brave enough to talk about it.
    I personally don’t, but my fella does. I started to read him the bit where you said about doctors causing it (his started from health anxiety) and he asked me to stop reading because even hearing about others anxiety makes him then make more time for it in his head which makes his worse.
    it can spiral easily. things that have helped him are drinking camomile tea, deep breathing and trying to distract himself.

    thank you for posting! the more people that understand it, the better!

    camila leme says:

    such a great post. i’ve struggled with anxiety since i was a teenager. when i was 19 i did therapy for two years and they were the best two years of my ‘youngish’ life. i had to stop because i started to work and damn, it was hard. i’m 25 now and i live in a completely different setting than 5 years ago: got myself a boyfriend and live in another country. sometimes anxiety still hit me out of the blue, for the smallest things like ‘what will i wear tomorrow’ or ‘i said something that was misinterpreted by a stranger’. although, what really made me get through all that was exactly what you said: give my mind a break – appreciate the little things. good luck and be sure that you do an excellent work! we all see and appreciate your effort towards what you do.

    jHill says:

    I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life and sometimes it is just excessive nervousness and other times it is full-on-i’m-dying panic attacks. One thing that helped a lot was seeing a therapist who specialized in mindfulness and mediation. And medication has helped during difficult periods. Sending you a big virtual hug… it’s a lot to deal with. you don’t need to be perfect, it’s your imperfections that make me admire you even more.

    Lou says:

    How very brave of you. You are certainly not alone. When we admire someone who “seems” to be doing so well, sometimes we judge ourselves against them, wondering how they cope and why we can’t, which only fuels the fire of anxiety. Well done for being so honest. I admire you 1000 x more!

    jess says:

    Bri – I’ve dealt with OCD and anxiety my entire life and I really appreciate you putting this out there. It lets me know that people I admire (such as yourself) also have doubts and fears. You’ve also encouraged me in the past to write about personal conflicts on my own blog to connect with readers and let them know that despite appearances in blogland, not everyone/everything is picture perfect. I never had any support to go and get help when it came to my anxiety. I got there on my own and it was really hard and I definitely felt a little judged when I first told my family and friends. Now, I am really upfront with people about it because I don’t want anyone else to feel ashamed for being this way. Initially, I had big fears medication would interfere with my creativity and focus, but really — it was the panic attacks and anxiety that was holding me back. I also realized that it’s not something that can be fixed overnight (despite my wanting to be perfect all the time, it just wouldn’t happen). Putting myself in situations I’m nervous about (blogshop for one made me super anxious, but I’m SO glad I went!) helps me feel stronger and more capable of handling the bigger stuff. After two years of help, I am definitely a lot less hard on myself and others around me. I’m not 100 percent cured, but it’s awesome to see how the changes impact those around you (boyfriend, friends, parents, coworkers) and that’s the biggest payoff of all.

    xx Jess

    Rebecca says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! I just started counseling two weeks ago because my anxiety was so bad, and it’s really comforting to know I’m not alone in this.

    Erin says:

    Brené Brown is amazing! You should check out her Ted Talks as well. Her ideas are somewhat counter-culture I think: to have gratitude for what you have and who you are, even your struggles, to learn how to love yourself in a humble way, accepting your flaws, to take one day at a time. All things that we in the Instagram age probably need to work on! This post is so honest and refreshing!

    SH says:

    First time commenter, long time reader. This post just hit home. I am in no way a perfectionist, but the anxiety part of your post really hit home- especially about being receptive to others calmness/nerves! Pregnancy and post-baby really kicked it into high gear and pushed me to seek help. I also avoid doctors, so advice and the internet led me to guided meditation- listening to an easy download off my phone at night or when I’m feeling especially anxious. I’m a whole new person. It’s like a zen injection. Everyone is different, but it’s worth a try. Going to check out that book, too. Thanks!

    Anna says:

    I have struggled with an anxiety disorder for many years after a specific incident triggered it. Only in the last few months have I finally found a psychologist that works for me. I have begun cognitive behavioral therapy and I know that I am such a long way off from concurring my issues but it is finally a start in the right direction. Sometimes the therapy is more painful that living with the condition but I know that it will do me so much good in the long run. I encourage you to seek out help! I know that you can have a successful life while living with anxiety but you shouldn’t have to. Good luck!

    Alex says:

    Bri, thank you so much for sharing this. Strangely enough, I was just thinking about reaching out to you yesterday on a related topic. I read your blog daily and I had a hunch that you’d have good insight.

    So yesterday, I had to have some headshots taken and record a video about myself for work. Even though I’m generally ok with how I look, looking at a million pictures of myself in high-res (and listening to my recorded voice!) brought on an anxiety attack and frighteningly intense self-loathing. I actually cried and thought to myself, “THIS is what I look like? I am so ashamed. I am never leaving the house again.” It was nuts. And felt really scary.

    But later on, I thought of you and all your inspiring style posts. And even videos. And thought about how sad it would be for you and for us, your readers, if you’d let self-consciousness keep you from creating and sharing that content. For a second, my anxieties even had me convinced that it would be silly to ask you for advice, because you were clearly a beautiful, preternaturally confident woman who couldn’t possibly relate. (In retrospect, it’s nuts to think that I’m the only woman who’s ever seen an unflattering photo of herself and self-destructed. But that’s the THING about anxiety. It’s so irrational in the moment.)

    I’d love to hear any stories you have on how you got accustomed to sharing photos and video of yourself on a daily basis. Any advice? Maybe it’s still hard and weird? I was so comforted when I saw your instagram yesterday w the tag #ineverwanttohearmyvoiceagain. I can absolutely relate. I am still cringing from an all-day video editing session.

    Lisa says:

    Bri, thank you for your strength and courage in writing this post. :) The fact that you can be open like this a huge positive overall, and I hope you can tap into that strength again as you look further into improving things for yourself. I had a similar situation last year, where there were several different triggers of stress coming at me at once, and I ended up getting hypertension and anxiety, plus vertigo that stemmed from the anxiety and stress. I went to several doctors and did research and found that, for myself at least, a mixture of lifestyle changes and therapy helped me. The book that helped me was pretty much a workbook that guides you through cognitive behavioral therapy, called “The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.” The book addresses dealing with perfectionism, which I thought was helpful. I followed it closely according what I knew I was going through, plus I found a therapist to just talk to weekly. I put more effort into exercising regularly (which does wonders for mental health). I also started doing Kundalini yoga, it’s meant for stress relief and it’s great. Meditation works wonders with clearing the mind and finding peace from within. I hope my suggestions help! Recognizing where the problems lie is in itself a great start. Best wishes. :)

    Clarissa says:

    Anxiety, depression, OCD, etc are very real, and I’m glad a lot more “well known” bloggers like yourself are speaking on it.

    While the audience/readers only sees your creative style collaborations, your fun DIY projects, or the launch of Blogshop, they don’t see what led up to that; the panic and shortness or breath, the crippling fear of failure that plays over and over in your head.

    There’s so much pressure on society to work hard and keep working harder, but less focus on what that does to our mental health. While working hard does pay off, at what cost? Now you’re dealing with anxiety attacks and high blood pressure, and in some cases a stroke.

    Sorry to take over your comments and if anything, I’m really trying to be encouraging and say thank you for writing on this and I’m completely relate to you. Get help for it, even if it’s temporary. Learn to breathe and take in all the work you’ve done. Change the things you can and what you can’t, let it go. It’s something I’m learning to do this year.

    Sending positive vibes your way.
    Clarissa

    Brie (with an e :)) says:

    I really appreciate this post! In the last year, I’ve experienced so many changes and with that came some totally unexpected anxiety and self doubt. I’m constantly in search of better ways to deal with these feelings, and this post was so refreshing and an honest reminder that sooo many of us feel this way at some point. Thanks!

    Paige says:

    Hey! You aren’t alone!!! I’ve recently started counseling for similar issues (which makes me feel like a nut) but it’s been so incredibly helpful. One thing that was recommended to me was giving myself a definitive unplug time every day. My job doesn’t really have specific hours so if it goes unchecked, I could theoretically work from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. Just giving myself a time to put my phone on DND and walk away has done wonders for nerves AND the guilt that comes from that wicked little “work harder, be better” voice in my head. All this connectedness in the world makes it seem like we should be accessible at all times but it’s just not true. Taking care of yourself is beneficial to what you do. You will be better for it.

    Meg says:

    Thank you for going out of your comfort zone and posting this. I was not a reader of your blog (as I didn’t know it existed), until I saw another blog reader like your instagram photo mentioning this post. I immediately had to read it.

    It is so comforting and reassuring to know that I am not alone on this road of anxiety and perfectionism. I have been on an anti-anxiety drug for the past 10+ years of my life and I recently tried to ween myself off of it only to find that I really do need it. Therapy is the next step – though finding a good therapist (one who is skilled, moderately priced, and accepting new patients) seems to be impossible.

    I know there is hope out there and I feel it within myself but sometimes it feels so out of reach.

    Please keep us posted on your journey!

    Nicole G. says:

    Go Bri!!! You are so not alone. I dealt with a huge wave of this a few years back, and even though I can now function, the anxiety and perfectionism is always there and something I always struggle with. Just being aware though is the first step! Over time you will learn when you have pushed too far, learn when you have brought yourself down, and learn how to bring yourself back up. Just be patient, and self-aware and keep going!!

    Sophie says:

    I suffer from anxiety and I saw a therapist who specialised in Emotional Freedom Therapy which is a great form of therapy for anxiety and many other aspects of life. It is becoming more popular and it is a great way for you to calm down the physical aspects of anxiety, as well as helping you change your perspective on things. I think you are a wonderful person and have achieved great things and I am so sad to hear you also suffer from this condition!

    Casey says:

    Kuddos to you for putting it out there! You’re an inspiration in many ways. Related: my New Year’s Resolution is to write more fan mail. There are so many things I enjoy, so many people’s work that moves me, and yet I rarely communicate to them. So I’d like to take an Internet moment and tell you that I’ve been reading this blog for just over a year now and I LOVE it! I read it every single day. Your graphic design, your travel coverage (more hotel pieces please!), and your personal posts about life as a freelancer are all truly inspirational. I think you’re up to some fantastic stuff and I wish you the best in finding your balance that makes you happy!

    This sounds ALL too familiar! One thing that has seriously, seriously helped me is the food I eat! I first gave up coffee, then all caffeine (wait! don’t fret…I brought it back and I feel fine!) Then, the real kicker was giving up refined sugar and gluten. I am a changed person. I brought back caffeine and limited doses of gluten (when I’m out or at a friend’s house, I am not super hard on myself). Now, when I wake up, my heart is beating out of my chest, I don’t have that panicky feeling that I’ll never get it all done, or that I’ve already failed because I got up an hour later than I said I would and I am now “behind”. Whenever I do decide to have dessert or something, I know it might have consequences (like drinking a little too much), and sometimes it’s worth it. Mostly, I know exactly what I’ll feel like, so I avoid it at all costs! I still have some anxiety about projects and things, but this saved me. xoxo,
    Kathryn

    hristina says:

    this was me last year. it took me 16 months to get over it (if that means anything, because we never get over things, but rather change our motivation and how we think / see things). so i booked myself a yurt on the oregon coast last february and gave myself space and time to just be.

    just be.
    sit. breathe. live. turn off the brain. turn on the senses. turn off the social media… feel the space and things around you. be in the moment for yourself and no one else. just be… with no one to please, no one to need your attention / advice. learn to sit still and enjoy the quiet. hear your heart beat and be in synch with what’s happening around you.

    it was the best thing i’ve done for myself. upon my return i started a personal project where i have interviewed and photographed others about ways of coping / trauma / life balances. and since doing that i’ve realized that we all go through this. in our own ways, we all feel this… i’m so glad you posted this, it takes a lot of guts and it’s scary as hell… but as you can see from these countless of comments and responses, it’s universal. in your case, you’ve stepped up the game and opened up discussion on a topic that most people feel they can’t even bring up. thank you for that!

    Tori says:

    Bri, thank you thank you for this super honest post. It’s an important issue for those of us that deal with anxiety and self-deprecation. I’ve dealt with it all of my life. I’d say it’s taken 7 years or so of subtle but powerful changes. And I’m still learning. But these are the changes I went through to get me to this point in my life where I simply feel like everything is going to be ok.

    I started to see a therapist when I was 18 and sorted through tons of family shit and realized that my relationship with my father needed some space as it was causing me tons of anxiety and self-blame–it was really hard but I am so thankful for that space because we’ve never been better. I know family is something people don’t discuss in the blog world as being negative but it was sifting through that stuff was powerful. And space is such a healthy thing I’m learning. After a few years I felt I learned a lot of tools to deal with all of the shame so I stopped seeing her. Around that time I met my current boyfriend of 5 years and his easy-going nature has been a world of help for me to let go. I’ve come to the conclusion that my life is a giant lesson in letting go and I’m happy to have found that out. That phrase, “let go” can usually be applied to every issue I have.

    One of the biggest things that helped was yoga. I grew up Catholic and their message is essentially that we are all born sinful beings and we have to prove ourselves that we are worthy to God. I’m definitely not putting down anybody who is Catholic and I realize the blogging world also doesn’t like to talk about religion but I realized that it was not healthy for me to be practicing that faith. When I found yoga (I’m not saying yoga is a religion) it was like I could finally breathe because the message was completely different. Yoga, through simply doing poses and breathing, taught me that I’m already perfect and whole NO MATTER WHAT. Even when I’m nervous as hell or feeling bad about something I didn’t do perfectly I’m still ok. I learned more and more to accept that although I may be an anxious person sometimes I’m still an amazing person. And THE MOST important thing I have learned and am still learning is this:
    I already have within me the person I want to be.
    I’m already that person I strive to be. So it’s more about letting go than it is about trying to perfect not being a perfectionist and anxious. It’s funny how we doubly kill ourselves like that. I get really hard on myself for the act of being hard on myself or I try to be super perfect about letting go. I still struggle. But in those times I do my best to just give myself lots of love and care because those are the times I need it the most. It’s so important to be there for myself when my world is spinning because no one else can help me the same way I can. It’s easier to love myself when I do a great job on a project or whatever but those aren’t the times I need my own love and nurturing the most (but it is really good to acknowledge that I did a job well done)–it’s when I’m struggling and need help that I need my own care. Also, I’m learning to embrace ALL of me including the anxiety and from there I let it go. When I feed resistance to my anxiety, it comes back stronger. I go with the flow of it and let it do it’s thing and let it go.

    My favorite way to do yoga is through Yogaglo.com. It’s such an amazing tool for me and it’s cheap. You can do these amazing classes and meditations with these wonderful teachers all in your own home or studio and on your own time. Definitely check it out. I often do David Harshada Wagner’s 5 or 10 min meditations when I’m freaking out or being super hard on myself. That’s what they’re there for. You can pick and choose exactly what kind of class you want for what you need in that moment.

    And know that there is nothing WRONG with you. You’re ok. I know some deal with these things more intensely than others and they are often times debilitating, but there are ways to cope. But everyone deals with this on some level. We just have to work on it a little more than others and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I totally know where you’re at. Just know that you are already that calm, self-loving person Bri, you just have to peel back all of the layers. Start small. Just welcome your current self. Say hello. This is what some of my conversations with my nervousness sound like, “Hello anxiety, how are you today? That’s good. I’m going to go to brunch now so you can join me or relax a bit, either way you’re welcome.” And it eventually goes away. In addition to your own self-care you also have lots of external care as well in Arian, your kitties, your friends–they all help. They show you that it’s all okay.

    Hope this helps you or anyone else. Thank you again for sharing this and for allowing me to share a bit of my story as well.

    Much love,
    Tori
    http://www.myomlife.com/

    Brandyn says:

    You are far from alone. It is wonderful of you to be so honest with the public. As someone who has been dealing with anxiety and anxiety attacks for the last ten years I fully understand the hesitation to bring these issues to light. Shining a light on the issues we keep in the dark is a giant step towards living a calmer life. Finding balance between work life, social life and personal life can be so difficult. I have weeks where I know I need to step away, but keep plugging away because I hear that same voice in my head telling me that I can “sleep when I’m dead”. It’s wonderful that you’ve chosen to publicly address these issues and I thank you for reminding me that ~ since I’m in an extremely similar life state ~ It’s time take a hard look in the mirror and start work on living an Authentic Life.

    Jane says:

    Hi Bri, I am so glad you wrote this blog. The funny thing is for months I used to look at your instagram photos when I was anxious and you looked like life was perfect. You have thousands of followers, are beautiful, wear gorgeous clothes, are successful with your work and seem to have it made. I used to get a pang of insecurity looking at your pics and feel anxious as I compared my life to your photos. I think all creative people have the darkness be it depression, anxiety or obsessive thoughts. I have worked hard on my anxiety/depression and these are the words of wisdom I would pass on to you. Firstly, google Tara Brach. She does amazing videos and meditations. Having Tara in my life is a blessing. Even one of her 20 min meditations (which are free on iTunes) can bring such peace to my mind. I decided to seek professional help when things got to much for me and I am now on mood stabilzers to keep me from getting too low, having obsessive thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks or even racing thoughts. A combination of meditation and mood stabilzers has got me to an even playing field where I can step back and just feel calm, plus enjoy life without that awful anxiety pain in my body and mind. Secondly, get yourself a counsellor and see them every week. Somewhere to dump all that ‘mind baggage’ helps so much and can clear your head. Thirdly, avoid short term anxiety medication such as diazepam. Any of the ‘pams’ can make life a nightmare. They help at first then they make things worse. Trust me, I really know. They are a quick fix which masks the internal issues that need to be dealt with. It seems like writing this blog you are saying enough is enough and you want to move forward. That is such a positive and brave thing to do. Keep looking ahead and take time for yourself to heal yourself. I wish the best of luck. Keep true to yourself because that is all anyone wants from you. All the beautiful work you do on instagram or on your blog is a bonus. It will take time to heal yourself, but you will look back on this and know you did the right thing. Good luck Bri. xx

    So beautiful. I have always looked up to you and your work as cheery, lovely, fun, creative and untouchable. It’s intimidating sometimes to see someone in light of their work only. This post makes me see the humanity in you and that’s more beautiful than any bouquet, outfit or perfect picture.

    Imperfect IS beautiful, it’s approachable, it’s interesting.I love it.

    Caraline says:

    Great post, Bri! Thanks for your courage, this totally hits home for me! Let’s not give 2014 over to the anxieties and insecurities. It’s time to let our bravery set us free!

    breanne says:

    bri! i can totally relate to so many of the things that you wrote about. you’re completely correct when you say that so many of us are feeling these same things. i have a lot of anxiety at night. night thoughts, for me, are the worst. i think about things like getting cancer or my house catching on fire. i also get pretty awful nightmares. what has really helped for me is essential oils. my sister is really big into them and i’m always begging her to make me blends for anxiety and sleep. you might want to think about looking into them if you feel uncomfortable about taking anxiety medication, or going to the doctor. they have truly calmed me, both at night and in the day! i’m thinking of you and hoping so much peace will come your way.
    xoxo
    brea

    Amelia says:

    bri i love you for this brave post. i’ve had issues with depression and anxiety on and off to varying degrees for over 5 years. it’s something people don’t talk about but they should. there are so many of us who have been in the same place and yet each of us feels so alone in his/her struggles. one of my favorite quotes is by Albert Camus- “In the midst of winter I found there was within me an invincible summer.” i hope you find your summer bri. we’re all rooting for you!

    Doll – your post really resonated with me. Pretty much all of it. Sometimes I feel like I’m operating on fight or flight constantly. I love the “I need a nap” line which is why I felt compelled to comment. I never ever take a nap because I believe there is so much to experience during day light hours. But strangely today, I just couldn’t take it and went and laid down. I slept for two hours and when I awoke, felt like I could actually take a deep breathe. Thanks for this raw take on reality that I too feel.

    bre says:

    This was such a great post to read – I felt as if I could have been reading a similar description to myself in SO many ways. A year ago, although scared, I finally brought up “anxiety” with my doctor in hopes of a “fix.” After answering a TON of questions and scarily waiting for somebody to analyze me, she said a bunch of things and then this :

    “When you look at it in a different light, realize that you are where you are today because of the person you are.”

    I’ve always been so hard on myself and driven, which as you very well know, is draining. I didn’t realize that it’s also the exact same thing that got me to where I am today, which I couldn’t be more thankful for. So now, I’ve decided that it’s more about “managing anxiety” and finding ways to find more peace and balance. I said to hell with waking up early and now make sure I get enough sleep. I don’t get mad at myself when I watch hours of trash tv. And I work out almost daily because it’s honestly the only other time ( besides sleeping ) when my mind completely shuts off. Plus, endorphins!!

    I came to terms with the fact that this is who I am. And that’s okay. :) Anxiety will happen, it’s probably engrained. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t push the calm more and enjoy the now. I feel ya girl.

    Jane says:

    Such a great post. Obsessing over work is part of our culture and it’s hard to escape. In design school, I remember being struck one day by how everyone boasted about how long they had taken to finish their project, and how much sleep they lost over it, and how tired and awful they felt. Like, it was a contest about who made themselves the most miserable. I’m personally not as much of a perfectionist (ok to say that?) but being there made me feel that I needed to adopt the same attitude.

    My boyfriend is a freelance artist and musician and he also struggles with this a lot, and this post helps me understand how he is feeling. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Iris Vank says:

    This sounds very familiar to me, thank you for sharing. Good luck on this journey, this is one step ahead!

    alice-jane says:

    Reading this was incredibly refreshing for me and it’s allowed me to reflect on my own life, with it’s anxieties and insecurities. I’ve always been more or less driven and that comes at a cost sometimes. I’ve been anxious over things I shouldn’t be anxious about, like whether or not things are straight, because sometimes it’s okay if it isn’t. Being anxious has brought out the perfectionist in me and with that the insecure. And as I go further along this route, I realize that it’s not the way I want to go with my life, full of insecurities and anxieties. While it’s nice to have some, to keep myself driven, I’d like to bathe myself in the calm and now. Sometimes, I have to let things go and it feels so much better.

    Thanks for sharing and being honest.

    Greta says:

    This is a very ballsy post. I can totally relate! I think the #1 thing you can do is talk therapy. I put that off forever and am finally doing it, and it’s kind of nuts how much it helps. As a fellow graphic designer, I understand the desire for perfection. You could try a tactile art form like painting, which can be beautiful without being qualified as perfect. Working with real paint and color is so amazing and calming and fun.

    Bottom line, you are clearly a really talented person! It doesn’t matter how many likes you get – you can never please us all :) It just matters if you like it. Trust your instincts – you are young and smart and free! xo

    richele says:

    yes.to.all.of.it

    Her TED talks changed my life btw. I listen to them when I’m doing non important work in my office.

    Emily says:

    Oh, Bri. Wow. Thanks for being real. Refreshingly real.

    You are so right in that we all have insecurities and worries and your goals for the year ahead are much like my own.

    I do hope you know, however, how incredibly talented you are. I stumbled upon your blog last year and again and again (and again!!) I’m amazed by all you do. Like, can I change career paths and be like this girl!?

    I know we can all benefit from being more gentler and kinder on ourselves. Slow down, travel more and I look forward to all the lovely things awaiting you in 2014.:-)

    I had anxiety my WHOLE life. I did the whole medication route, which wasn’t bad at a certain time when I hyperventilated for two weeks without even knowing it. Eek.
    But there’s a root of it. Yes, I was under a ton of stress and self-imposed pressure and yadda yadda, but–and this is really interesting– I had a food allergy panel done. And it turns out I was intolerant to wheat, soy and corn. These are inflammatories, caused me skin problems, migraines, asthma. And they contributed SIGNIFICANTLY to my anxiety and depression.

    Once I cut them out from my diet, I found my anxiety was pretty manageable on my own. If an attack came on, I would simply divert my train of thought. I would think of something external from me, whether it was as simple as the flower on the table beside me and how it may have gotten to that table, or praying for someone else or just saying out loud how silly I was being and maybe singing a silly song.

    Take comfort in the value that your moment to moment offers the world around you. It’s not always about achieving certain success and reaching specific goals. Think about the impact you can have in all your moments, even the restful and vulnerable times.

    Best wishes,
    MJJ

    Jenn says:

    I just had this conversation with my husband last night for the 3483098409 time, which I’m sure he appreciates each and every time. You are not alone. I grew up thinking I *had* to be a perfectionist, and when I was younger, things came really easy – that whole big fish in a little pond thing. Now being older, I find my anxiety has increased. Like you, I have my triggers and then I have these moments like today where it’s almost as if I can’t swallow, can’t breathe – pure anxiety. I’ve never been a big meds person, but after a few episodes, I did try. It wasn’t for me. I knew what I needed were coping mechanisms, understanding the root of where the anxiety comes from and dealing with it head on. The best thing I have ever done for myself, and I whole-heartedly recommend it – find someone to talk to professionally. It’s life changing if you find the right person you click with, and it may take some time. She’s taught me how to deal with my trigger scenarios as well as day to day “sneak attacks” as I call them. The best piece of advice I can pass along from her that I use each and every day relates to your ability to pick up on someone else’s feelings. You’re highly sensitive right off the bat, so you have to protect yourself. Her strategy for me is to picture yourself when you begin to feel these feelings as being in a bubble. These feelings can’t permeate your bubble. But in addition to the bubble, the outside is a mirror. So those “anxious feelings” from others, they can’t even see you. You can’t see them. Whatever they are putting out there, you can’t pick up because it bounces right back to them. I know it might sound silly, but there are days at work where everyone is nothing but angry, and this helps me ensure I stay positive and in a good mood all day long. It takes some practice, but for me, it’s been life changing. It’s ok to take care of you. And my meltdown last night proves I’ve still got a long way to go. As I’ve been reminded many times, it’s two steps forward and one step back. And that step back is a good thing – it helps you recognize the problem and work towards solving it. Another great book to read – “I thought it was just ME (but isn’t)”. It’s all about overcoming perfectionist thoughts and tendencies. It’s a great read! Good luck! Sometimes knowing you aren’t alone is half the battle. Take care!

    Chloe says:

    Bri,

    I am huge fan of your blog and your work and I cannot express how much it means to me that you posted this. It’s so easy to look at really successful people (in my eyes, you) and think everything is perfect in their lives when in reality we are all much more connected than we think. I definitely struggle with anxiety especially when it comes to being successful, where my life will go, etc. and I think it was incredibly courageous of you to share your vulnerabilities on your blog. Thank you!

    Warmly,
    Chloe :-)

    ELISABETH says:

    Oh boy. I relate so hard to this. I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was a teenager, and recently felt the weight of it in a different way. I read a book called “My Name is Hope” that compared a lot of the ways that anxiety and depression are linked together. Ever since beginning a blog and attempting to start up a shop a lot those struggles you mentioned had become worse. Maybe because my life is more out there for the world to see, and there is so much more material to compare ourselves and our work too. The big thing for me is to constantly remind myself that I am my own person, with my own values, my own flaws, my own ideas….and no matter what I do I am always going to be different from those around me. That quote about perfectionism is SO GOOD. I didn’t realize until now that I do the exact same thing as far as having trouble complimenting others because I am too busy trying to point out all of the pieces that can be better in both my life and others. It’s not always about what is best though, it’s about what makes us happy and brings us joy. I’ve learned to let go of the things that don’t matter as much to me, to simplify, and to learn to unplug and enjoy the life and people around me.

    Nadia says:

    I read this twice and can see myself in almost every word. Anxiety can feel all-consuming and sometimes it feels like nothing will ever make my head stop spinning. At that makes me feel even more self-conscious and awkward. The best thing that I’ve ever done for myself and for my anxieties is start therapy. It’s an hour every week where I am completely uncensored and have learned not to hold anything back because I know (now) that I won’t be judged by my therapist. It takes some time for it not to feel like a completely self-indulgent step (although really, what’s wrong with being a little self-indulgent sometimes?!), but once I had a few sessions under my belt, I looked forward to this time every week. Thanks for being brave enough to put this all out there. It’s a big step I don’t think too many would own…and with such grace.

    – Nadia

    I have found that my perfectionism, my ability to point out flaws in everything has made me seem cynical and pessimistic, which makes me feel bad. I dont even notice I’m doing it until I’m around really positive people. It’s something I’ve continually grown aware of, to the point of feeling insecure about it. I think to myself ” do these people think I’m a negative nancy? Do they newly treated me? Thank you for sharing such a personal post. Best of luck to finding an inner peace with yourself.

    Alyson says:

    I really appreciate this post! Both my husband and I have dealt with anxiety issues in different ways. For him, it manifests as panic attacks, while I tend to have constant, nagging worry about practically everything it seems. Anxiety is not something people talk about or seem to understand, unless they have experienced it themselves. Thank you for such an honest post that has resonated with me and I’m sure with others as well. I’m interested in the book you recommended and am looking forward to purchasing and reading it. You might also be interested in “The Worry Cure” by Robert Leahy. Thanks again!!

    laurel says:

    I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my adult life. Just like you, it ran my life for a long time. It still does, really. I got a glorious, indulgent break from it when I was pregnant. It was so weird; I was totally calm in stressful situations and felt normal. After my son was born, it came back worse than before and I was very worried about scaring him and my husband so I saw a psychiatrist. BEST DECISION EVER. I’m not usually an advocate for popping drugs to make the problems go away, but anxiety is way different. My aunt described it as trying to empty a bathtub with a spoon, and medication really gives you a nice, big bucket.

    I hope you find what you are looking for Bri. Help is out there and it really is worth it!

    Amanda says:

    Hey Bri. Your post inspired a kind of impromptu (but long, sorry) blog post from me (http://amandafarquharson.com/blog/a-retrospective-look-at-moving-big-life-changes). I used to deal with the same issues, although I have no clear answer on how I dragged myself out of it, since it kind of just happened organically with some other life changes. But your post did function as an eye opener about my own life and where I stand, so thanks!

    I have a similar philosophy (now) to the book you mentioned, except I try to spread happiness instead of calm. But maybe in some ways they are the same. I don’t know much about your life beyond what you show on your blog but I do know that sometimes you have to make some fairly radical decisions to make big changes.

    I genuinely hope that you can achieve the peace of mind that you seek!

    Kate says:

    Thank you for sharing such an insightful and honest entry. I cannot begin to express just how much this resonated with me. I have always been a perfectionist (a trait I inherited from my father, also a designer such as you and myself). I’ve seen it ruin relationships, take a toll on self esteem, and hinder one’s overall health. Recently someone shared this image with me:

    http://media-cache-cd0.pinimg.com/originals/3a/9f/0d/3a9f0d91f8b6878b56ef1ee43eebf8a7.jpg

    …I know, how very “Pinteresty,” but the concept makes sense, helping you slow down and take the time to appreciate all the little things that happen to you each and every day. Plus it’s perfect timing with the new year.

    Bri,

    This is pretty nuts to me.. not in the way that i think youre crazy.. i just think its ironic because: although ‘idolizing’ isnt I want/allow myself to do, I often look at your blog to keep me looking and working towards the things I want in my life. You’re an inspiration, however I get this feeling every time someone like you inspires me.. I think “How the heck do they do it?! There is no way that this amount of work doesn’t get to them.”

    I also follow Kendi, Everyday. She had a similar post not so long ago. I felt her ache, and I feel yours. Anxiety is a problem for me as well. I’ve learned to deal with it by a number of reasons.

    1. FAITH. Not trying to preach, but believe me it’s helped me a TON. I don’t normally publicly say things like “Jesus is my Savior and through Him I can do anything” – although I truly believe it.. I don’t say it because I don’t want to seem like a crazy person on the street yelling at you. But try looking into the love of Jesus if you havent. The Spirit is real, I can feel it and I know you can too. He can relieve you of this burden.

    “There is Hope beyond the suffering, Joy beyond the tears, Peace in every tragedy & Love that conquers fear.”

    2. Let go of things. For me this was doing photography as a job. It stressed me out. I couldn’t do it and I didn’t enjoy it anymore. So, I stopped.

    3. Make time for yourself in the morning or night. You’ve probably heard this before.. but sit and just be for at least 15 minutes a day.

    4. FUN. It keeps me sane.

    Another quote that I have hanging on my wall:

    “Please know that you aren’t making a mistake and you aren’t failing. Every step you take is part of your path, good or bad, don’t be afraid to follow it.”

    I think you are on the right path by allowing yourself to publish this post.

    I will be praying for you, Bri.

    sarah says:

    Yes to everything you said. I can relate to it all. I’m learning that if I continue to seek validation from others, I’ll be at the whim of their thoughts and feelings, and will never be happy. I’m learning that security comes from knowing God already validated me. And no one can take away who God made us to be or the gifts He put inside of us. It’s funny that I use the word “learning” because I know these things intellectually- I think most of us do. But it takes work to put it into practice. And in 2014, It’s my goal to get really good at validating myself. It goes without saying that your post will be helpful to a lot of young girls (and boys) who already admire you (like me, but unfortunately I’m not that young anymore) for all the talent and gifts that are clearly unique to you. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Sally says:

    I can relate to almost everything you’ve shared, and it makes me want to share pages of myself with you. Anxiety has always been a battle for me, and just like you mentioned it being contagious, positivity is contagious as well. I take this as a positive step for you, and those who are reading this. Thank you…

    Rita says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I completely relate and am really looking forward to checking out the book you mentioned. I’ve been reading The Worry Cure by Dr. Leahy who’s a cognitive behavioral therapist. There are some assessments and a great explanation of the importance of understanding WHY one might use anxiety, perfectionism, OCD, panic (my symptoms) as a defense mechanism. It’s not enough to tell yourself not to worry about it but to dive in and really “be with” why you worry in the first place. I’m only halfway through, but the next part is about taking steps to combat anxiety when it hits. Props to you for having the courage to express and connect rather than shy away from the truth and the heart of the matter. You’re an inspiration!

    Vicky says:

    I really feel for you and it’s overwhelming just knowing where to turn and what to do to help yourself so it’s natural to feel anxious about it! I tried lots of things – running, meditation, soothing teas, counselling, CBT, and most recently hypnotherapy combined with physcotherapy. I would never have thought I needed psychotherapy but it came as a result of seeing a hypnotherapist who was also an NLP and psychotherapist and he ended up helping me through that instead of hypnotherapy. The following ideas really helped me:

    Perfectionists are always worriers and hard on themselves, we never think we are good enough and constantly are negative to our subconscious. Our subconscious is like a child, it needs looking after, think of the way you talk to yourself when you’re being tough on yourself an imagine you saying that to a kid – they’d get pretty upset, which is how we feel. The key is not to ignore that upset, nervous, anxious feeling – which keeping busy and distracted does – its just ignoring how you are really feeling. When you feel anxious or even when you don’t – just do this every day and every time you feel uneasy – ask yourself what are you really scared of? Be sympathetic to yourself first, understanding of how you feel and then talk to yourself like you would advise a child – help figure out a plan of action and what might make yourself feel better. Prioritise things that are important and try to relax about things that don’t really matter.

    It takes months of practice for it to feel natural and see a change but I can stop my panic attacks happening and usually they don’t even come close to happening as I can now comfort myself and look after my subconscious. When you can’t sleep or start panicky it’s because your mind it is trying to tell you something, don’t ignore it, be a good listening and in time it will trust you and stop getting so upset. Good luck x

    Lindsay says:

    You should read “within” by dr habib sadeghi. The focus is on weight loss but his point works with all problems. I won’t butcher his points, just look it up…he is currently helping me understand what it means to love yourself.

    Chelsea says:

    I am going to keep this short but I hope it will somehow contain my deep, deep empathy and hopes for your happiness. Anxiety nearly ended me, it started from nothing and grew into something that consumed me. I was very fearful of seeking help, but seeing a therapist is the reason I am the happiest I have ever been. You are showered with compliments from all of your followers and friends, and you need to remember that they are all true. We are all beautiful and talented, and you deserve a life with less hardship on your beautiful and talented self.

    Shannon says:

    I can definitely relate. Something that’s helped me over the past year has been a regular meditation practice (just 10 minutes every morning) to help me learn how to focus my thoughts, be mindful and grateful, and live in the moment (not worry about what I did wrong in the past or what I have to do in the future- even 5 min in the future). This skill totally ends up seeping into other areas of your life in a very beneficial way. I also use a mantra when I’m too hung up on worries and anxieties that aren’t serving me: “What can I let go of right now?”. Usually, it’s almost everything. And realizing that is extremely liberating.

    jb says:

    Bri, you are a brave one! Dealing with this, and posting about it to such a big audience is brave, so give yourself some credit!
    I myself have struggled with anxiety for TEN YEARS! And it’s the kind of anxiety that makes me want to hide under my bed for days, because everything seems like too much to handle. Feeling sick and like you’re dying in social situations is no fun, and it really takes a toll on my relationships when going out to dinner is too much to ask. So I’ve made the decision to not let this rule my life for one more year, for one more month. I’m taking even more steps than I have before to deal with this. So I’m starting to exercise more, go to yoga, therapy, and paying attention to my diet. As much as I *hate* doctors, it’s even worse to look back on your life and realise you’ve been barely surviving and not really living because of fear. So you might be afraid of doctors, I understand, but you’ll feel better after because you conquered something that scares you, and you’ll find some solutions. I encourage you to do something about this, because I can tell you from experience that it only gets worse, and that’s no way to live. You have too much to offer and enjoy, and you’re already doing so well, you deserve to have some peace. xo

    Carol Ann says:

    Hi Bri,

    Thanks so much for sharing. I hope what I am about to say helps. As someone who has been diagnosed and deals with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Major Depression, I can definitely understand some of your feelings. I am no longer suffering from these on a daily basis, but I do need to manage them because I have relapsed a number of times. I have been to intensive outpatient therapy, individual therapy, and taken a number of prescription medications to address these health issues, with success. In addition, here’s what has worked for me:
    1) Recognizing the symptoms you are having from anxiety are health issues: Doctors can be intimidating but anxiety and depression are medical issues. I did not see any improvement in these until I worked with a doctor. You can’t just snap out of it, just as you can’t snap out of having diabetes.
    2) Yoga, healthy eating, and a regular exercise plan: These have been the biggest help for maintaining my mental health. Hands down. No special kind of exercise or diet. As long as I stick with it, I feel better, and I no longer need to take any meds.
    3) Rejoicing small wins and understanding that just because you can’t do it all exactly how you want doesn’t mean you aren’t succeeding: And really at the end of the day, it just matters if you’re happy.

    You’re definitely not alone, Bri. Sharing can be scary, but I hope everybody at least helps you feel welcome and loved. And hopefully you can find some good ways to address your anxiety.

    Hang in there :)

    Robyn says:

    Please don’t assume that your anxiety is purely mental. Get your thyroid checked. Not the simple TSH test your doctor will want to do but a full thyroid panel (TSH, T4, T3, thyroid antibodies). I suffered from anxiety for years and didn’t understand the thyroid connection. What I had was Hashimoto’s disease (a VERY common autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid). Unfortunately for me, the 20+ years of undiagnosed Hashi’s and constant swelling in my thyroid led to thyroid cancer. Get your thyroid checked. I only have panic attacks now when my thyroid levels are off. I don’t even have to take antidepressants or anti anxiety meds. PLEASE GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED!!!!!

    Rhea says:

    Thank you for such an honest post, Bri. Judging by the amount of replies, it must be a relief to know that you aren’t alone in feeling this way.
    Social media is a double edged sword, isn’t it? It connects us to amazing people that we wouldn’t otherwise knew existed, but we find ourselves comparing our lives to those we admire so much. (This is especially true in our image-based interior design industry). Unfortunately it can lead to envy and insecurity when in reality, our social media audience is only seeing a fragment (usually the best side) of us.
    I wish more people talked about this so bravo to you for putting it out there.
    As for the anxiety, someone very close to me has been really struggling with it too. I encourage you to seek help, it will make a BIG difference for you. I don’t think anxiety isn’t one of those things that “will just go away”. (I’m learning now in my mis-30’s that most troubles like this don’t go away like they used to – hooray for aging!) I wish you all the best. xo Rhea

    Anna says:

    This perfectionist thing, damn, I now what you are talking about – I’m a self employed wedding photographer from germany.
    My sister just yesterday told me a little story, and I had to laugh, because it is so simple:
    Her colleague, a teacher about 40 years old, told her about the day-long bike trips she is sometimes doing with some friends – and as they dont know what the weather will be like at the end of the day, they just bring a lot of clothes, so sometimes at the end of the day they wear a couple of jumpers on top of each other, socks in sandals, or a shirt that was supposed to be hidden unterneath a pullover… Anything that doesn’t really look ‘put together’. And at the end of her story she said with a smile: “But, you know, nothing bad has ever happened from it!”
    YES.
    Nothing bad has ever happend because I have cellulite, or because I don’t wear a body-flattering shirt when I meet clients, or because the pictures on my website are not ‘in the right order’.
    Crossing my fingers for you about your anxiety and feeling with you!

    Rebecca says:

    Bri thanks so much for this post! It’s like you put to words all of the same things that I’m feeling. But you should know that you do an AMAZING job and you’ve been a huge inspiration to me! I’ve been reading your blog, following you on instagram, etc for a few years now and posts like this show how great your work is! Thank you for everything you do! I hope someday I can be just like you!

    Jenny says:

    Awesome post! Thank you Bri!

    Lynda says:

    Hi! Let me start out by saying that I was overrun with anxiety for many years. I am now 50(!!!!), and can honestly say that I do not get anxious very much ever anymore. I tried medicine, did not like it too much. Some have had magnificent success with it. I did go to therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It worked well, taught me to be more aware of what I tell myself and TALK back when I am not being charitable to myself…but it didn’t get me to where I am now. The rest was a patchwork quilt of learning limits, running toward what I am afraid of, being kind to myself, grabbing “notions” of perfectionism by the horns and wrangling them to the ground, and learning to listen to the voices inside my head- and trying to be as kind to myself as I would to a friend. I used to catch the dirt before it hit the floor, be perennially organized, a massive overachiever, a+ everything, but I was not happy, heathy. Let me say this- It is all a matter of perspective. Truly. I had a baby. He came earlier than he should have. He had multiple serious health issues. The doctors told my husband and I that he would never walk. Later, we found out he was moderate to severely deaf. There I was, imagining all those perfect new mom moments- faced with this sweet, little imperfect baby. I had to change my perspective. What is perfect, really? Turns out that little guy was pretty perfect. Perfect is doing the best with what you have- taking into account your own happy sanity ( which usually means giving yourself a time limit on projects). Please do what you need to do to get to the bottom of this. From where I sit, you are a super-talented beautiful girl. Everything you post makes me smile- and ooh and ah- even after sucking huge piles of art books, design mags, etc. You are in the 99th percentile. Please find a way to calm. You can do it- and still not lose your edge. :) P.S. My sweet red-headed boy rUns!

    Tamsen says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this, it was inspiring and amazing to read. I have been talking about these same feelings with my girlfriends lately and it seems that we all have these issues but are too afraid, ashamed or guilty to talk about them. I can relate to almost everything you said and look forward to reading the book. Thanks you’re awesome.

    Holli Anne says:

    Oh yes, I have anxiety and have struggled with it VERY badly before. Luckily, I found a great counselor who helped me sort through it and start believing in myself again. One of the best things she said to me was that anxiety comes in waves and you just have to ride the wave instead of trying to control everything about it and pick apart your life as to why you feel this way. She also told me to close my eyes and envision a stop sign when my brain was just too all over the place.

    At that time I was very against medicine, but I decided that after months of working on coping and not improving to try it. It turned out that it really helped. While I obviously don’t love the idea of medicine (especially when the alternative is not needing it), it can be really helpful. Then, about a year and a half later, I was at a point where I weaned off of it no problem. Nothing has to be permanent, but even if it was, it’s totally fine!

    Karin says:

    Anxiety is what I used to think made me, “ME”. It fueled my late night creativity, my greatest (energy demanding) works, and my success. Right? Not so much. It was in the way of my creativity, in the way of my real life with my friends and family and ultimately caused that same workaholic tendency to escape the things in my day to day life that I wasn’t even aware I was avoiding. Working to death and pushing myself physically and mentally was not going to last after 30 and it was a way to put off dealing with the root of my fears and insecurities. “I don’t have time for that!” I would say, or I truly had adrenaline getting me the rush I needed to have nearly super human strength. It’s adictive to anxiety types. What is so amazing about this post is that a lot of people look up to you, they think you are beautiful, exotic, wildly talented, creative, and more. I am one of them. I often wonder how you do it. You will still be all of those things if you get some guidance. Doctors like psychologists are not scary. They don’t even prescribe medicine. They treat the cause and don’t mask the problem with easy outs. You may have to go to more than one to find the right one for you. There is nothing wrong with that. You would do the same for any other specialist.
    I am getting help. I have been for two years. It is HARD WORK. You confront a lot of reasons you are who you are and you learn about yourself and compliment yourself (and complimenting others and taking compliments) one day at a time. (I am still bad at this) – Sometimes the reason one avoids all of this is fear of finding out what is left underneath when you remove the anxiety. What you have to face to grow and truly be that calm. Also, I know personally I had a fear I would lose that insane drive that everyone loved and leaned on, but those close to you will tell you truly that it will not change you. Your close friends and family don’t love you because you get so much done and are wildly popular in your field. They simply want to be around you and have your full attention and love in return. I hope this helps. I try every day not to quickly say yes to work because when I say yes to anxiety and workaholism I say no to a fulfilling life that isn’t measured by “likes”. PS I think we all secretly want to erase the IG pics that warrant less likes. I know I do. 😉 Social media is deceptive, we think we know a person by their IG and FB accounts and blogs, but I had no idea we shared anxiety until now. It doesn’t change how I see you, it actually gives me more respect for you because understanding that anxiety is a coping mechanism for something greater and being ready to deal with it is HUGE. Keep that momentum you are not alone.

    Sofia Alvim says:

    Dear Bri,

    All of this that you feel, i have felt too for many years. Some of it is similar and some not but I’ve had my own struggles with anxiety.

    The thing is, the quiet alone time is, I believe for one purpose only: for us to listen what our true self is saying or wanting to get across. our true self = no anxiety, no pressure, no judgement and it’s all LOVE. it’s the loving and highest part of ourselves that is there to guide us in our life.

    So you ask what you are afraid of in sitting with your thoughts? perhaps what might be scary is that you will hear something that you won’t know what to do with? perhaps the voice within will guide you somewhere you aren’t comfortable with? there could be a million reasons but know this: you true self won’t steer you any place that is wrong or unhealthy for you because it always comes from love. So in getting to know this part of yourself, you become your biggest ally, a job no one else can have. not our parents and not our partners and not even our beloved friends.

    You put out such beautiful work that makes all of us awaken to the creativity of living everyday life and this is something that we are all grateful for. that you do what you do is wonderful but that who you are is even better than that.

    Also I once heard this somewhere: “perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse” so with that I say, be kind to you dear one. you are precious to many.

    Sending you loving and peaceful vibes, xo Sofia

    Sofia Alvim says:

    One more thing I forgot to say is, social media is wonderful and also a trap. it does not measure happiness or goodness by how many likes or shares we have. it’s just a tool we use. I’ve gotten wrapped up in the numbers too but have been determined to be kinder to myself. but they are just numbers. Measure your success by how good you feel about your work!

    Jackie Soria says:

    Hi Bri, thank you for sharing. I’m sure tons of people including myself can relate to your post. I too have anxiety at times. It’s usually when I sit and think about things that aren’t going well, or I’m put under pressure to be my best. We tend to tighten up, freak out and lose our breath…I know that feeling way too well. I started to think something was missing in my life. Why can’t things just be perfect or why can’t I do this right? It was usually just me me me. I was so worried about just me, I forgot about what really made me happy, which was doing things for others. I feel like when we open ourselves up and help others it’s the most gratifying things we can do. So I joined burrito project in LA ( A group of people who get together, make burritos and pass them out on skid row via bicycle). I also started to go out of my way to do things for others such as: buying the person in front of me their lunch, donating clothes to children, and even as small as calling a friend and telling them how much I loved them. I think those are the most important things in life. We live in a society where we always have to strive for something better and everything is at our disposal. We sometimes lose ourselves in social media, a materialistic world and a place that is concentrated on how we can become the supreme individual. Self-worth is important too, but if we didn’t have others in our world, we wouldn’t have to worry about being anything. We would just be nothing, to no one. So what I’m trying to say is, sometimes we aren’t going to do everything right, sometimes we are, but in the end our efforts are what matter. People won’t only remember us by what we did but most importantly on how we made them feel. I think stepping back and realizing how much we have and how much we’ve accomplished is a big deal. Also being a part of other people’s lives that don’t have what we have really draws a line. I stepped back and realized my life could be worse. I saw all I had and was thankful to be this not so perfect girl. I started to appreciate my big hips and small gap between my teeth. It was like heck if I got it might as well be proud of it. I strive to be better at typography and I sometimes find it difficult for me, but I do my best. I’m just glad I’m able to buy the books and have a Wacom tablet. I know a lot of the people out there don’t have the means and I wonder how they feel. I’m also thankful I have the will to snap myself back into being happy after having a shitty morning. This is just a different way of maybe thinking about things. I admire everything you do and if you weren’t who you are… we wouldn’t have this awesome blog to follow. You are beautiful girl and you have a lot of people who admire you, including myself. Sometimes being a perfectionist is bittersweet. But like you said YOLO! Thank you for being my inspiration! I hope this helps. I also suck at grammar and I’m putting myself out there because I really wanted to post on your blog. Oh well. 😉

    Katie says:

    I think it’s so important when role models like you (and people with such a beautiful, covetable, expressive life! With such zest! Those who we wouldn’t expect!) express that they too feel pressure and fear, because it allows the rest of us to feel normal! Understood! I know how you feel. It took me 5 years of constant anxiety before I could reach out and get the help that I needed – medically, from friends and family, from myself. Speaking out is so important. Acknowledge yourself! I always used to worry that people would find out and think that I was weak. I’m not fucking weak. I’m awesome! And sometimes I get anxious. You’re awesome! And sometimes you feel anxious. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, but we have to harness our anxiety rather than feed or placate it. Keep being brave.

    Also: naps are very good medicine.

    kim boswell says:

    There are times when I can’t, and dont, leave the house because my anxiety gets so bad. I HIGHLY recommend the book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. It might sound cheesy but it really helped me. Anxiety comes from fear, and the book helps you figure out where the Fear comes from, how to overcome it, and why it is important that you DO! I can also tell you that food is a major part of how we feel, too. I think people have lost that fact and don’t associate with what they eat to how they feel. GO ORGANIC, try some skullcap or valeriann root for nerves, and express your feelings anytime you don’t feel like yourself!

    Amanda says:

    i think our society definitely applauds perfectionism. anything less is lazy and shameful. i never thought i worked hard enough to label myself a perfectionist. not compared to friends and people i saw online. they were succeeding, and i wasn’t, so i must not be working hard enough…

    i’m reading “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown right now, and came across the same definition of perfectionism. wow. it’s me to a tee! and it’s no wonder that i’m not “succeeding” (what does that mean anyway?) when i’m not focusing on the right things.

    the other book i’m reading, and i think you’ll like, is “The Desire Map” by Danielle Laporte. it’s about figuring out how you want to feel—joyful, sexy, inspired—and orienting your goals around those core desired feelings. it’s such a refreshing outlook on life.

    Lana says:

    Thank you for your post. I recently found out that I’m a perfectionist. At first I didn’t believe it and really struggled against it. “I’m not a perfectionist have you seen my messy hair?”

    But finally I’ve come around to it. I do set myself high lofty goals. I do care a lot about what others think of me. I do feel the weight of the heavy shielding armor. I felt deep shame upon this realisation.

    But being a perfectionist shouldn’t define you. It’s just another label in 100’s of labels for yourself. Woman. Friend. Sister. Dreamer. Traveler. Wife. Creative. I’m not going to let it own me.

    I’m seeking help with a Doctor that I trust (it took her 6 months before I trusted her) and we are finally stepping into the painful journey of pulling back the layers.

    Good luck lady. Be kind to yourself xox

    Jamie says:

    I am dealing with the exact same things, I think maybe my need to be perfect is making me go crazy. I think I might grab this book.

    Amber says:

    I really related to two points. The one about letting go of the need for approval struck a chord in me. In every action, I’d like to be more accountable for my own decisions, good or bad, and own it as ME. The second point you made that echoes in my life is wanting to intentionally recognize the littlest happy moments in my life. The good stuff is ALL AROUND, and obvious when you seek it. I have a weekly series on my blog where I gather the things that made me smile during the week. Since starting the series (“bliss bits”), I’ve noticed my attitude has trended toward happy and optimistic, even in stressful/sad/sucky times. Thank you for your honesty in this post and cheers to a new year with less anxiety and more bravery. :)

    What a beautiful, vulnerable, courageous thing to post! I too have bouts of anxiety, and one thing that has really helped me is this book: “Searching for and Maintaining Peace.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Searching-Maintaining-Peace-Small-Treatise/dp/0818909064

    I’ve read the book completely, but I re-read a few pages of it every night before I go to bed. I get the sleepless insomnia-anxiety — where my thoughts and insecurities are running through my head on repeat as soon as I get under the covers and try to go to sleep. Reading this book before I go to bed reminds me of the type of mindset I want to have about my problems and insecurities, and how they can actually help me become stronger.

    Also, this video might be helpful: it’s about how one person used her insecurities and problems to change the world for the better.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c62Aqdlzvqk

    :)

    Anne Taylor says:

    Bri, thank you so much for sharing this post and for being so authentic and vulnerable. I know it is so scary, but it really is the way to healing. I have been struggling with anxiety pretty bad the past two years, although it’s been an issue in my life since I was 17. Two years ago, I realized that I had an eating disorder, and that I try to cope with anxiety through food. Learning about vulnerability, mindfulness, community, self-care, and more has helped me grow as a person, and really “take my life back.” I feel my self getting stronger everyday, even though anxiety is a daily issue. I was really terrified of taking medicine for it, but it has seriously helped me in a huge way. It doesn’t take the anxiety away, it doesn’t change my personality – it just softens the blow, if you will, and helps me get a foot up so that I can really get underneath the problem and get better. I’m really excited for you as you begin this journey, and if you ever want someone who is a blogger and who struggles with anxiety as well to talk to, feel free to email me. I know that there are 130 comments above mine that are probably offering something similar, but I just know how hard it is to feel alone. And how hard it is to reach out. And how scary it is to feel like no one understands. But I definitely do, and I’m always here! That’s why I blog, to be honest. To help women reach a state of empowerment and positive thinking so we can live more rich, engaging, and healthy lives. The lives we were meant to live. Another book you might like is called “You are a Badass.” I just started reading it, and it’s been really opening my eyes to some things I’ve “known” logically, but never embraced in my heart. Bri, you’re one of my favorite bloggers and I really admire you. Not just because of your stellar design or killer style, but because you’re willing to open up and be truly authentic. Keep it up :)

    Such an important conversation to have. I think one of modern woman’s biggest social challenges is anxiety. We are trained to feel anxious. We are told we need to do everything. I don’t think I know a woman who is good at relaxing or slowing down. And the guilt is so hard. And when you have a family it gets worse! I’m a full time working mom with a 9 month old. It’ hard to have time to work, spend time with the the little one, work out, cook healthy food, clean our place, maintain friendships, etc. But knowing what a struggle motherhood was going to be before my baby was born I made a pledge to try to tackle my anxiety and simplify. Simplification for me has been key. For example, only planning 1 or at most 2 things a weekend. Saying no more. And just thinking in a way that says “simple”‘has helped me. I still deal with anxiety of course but the concept of simplification has helped me make some headway at least. And waiting too! I’m learning to pause and reflect and wait before acting. This is helping me slowdown too. Sounds like I need to read that book too though!

    Kacia says:

    This is what I have to say about your post:

    Brave, brave soul, for sharing that with the faceless masses. I’m afraid to admit these things to even my friends. It’s only with their help, of course, that I’m able to keep my head above water – but it’s never easy.

    Marianne Williamson’s “A Return To Love” and Gabrielle Bernstein’s “Spirit Junkie” have been really helpful in giving myself some more lovin’ that I (and you) deserve. I would start with Spirit Junkie – it’s a super breezy read, and a lighter introduction into “A Course In Miracles,” the book that both my recommendations are based on. Learning to live from a place of love, rather than ego: that’s my goal. Maybe you’d find it helpful too.

    What a relief to hear you feeling the same things we’re all feeling. Your life really looks perfect, you know? I mean, whose doesn’t, through the lens of social media? You are so creative (even if you don’t feel it), work so hard (even if you feel like you could be doing more), are GORGEOUS! (who cares about big teeth? They’re you. I have a weird gumline. I’m working on loving my gummies), wear your clothes like WHOA … I could go on. Point is, know that there is nobody out here criticizing and being disappointed in you. You’ve got all of our love and support. Go ‘head and give yourself some too, girlfran.

    We’re all in this boat together. Heave ho!

    Stacy says:

    Wow – so many comments so I doubt you’ll read mine… I too have the same. And this is my first comment on a blog even though I read about 20 every day. I love them and I want to be one. but again that darn A bug gets me. Are My words good enough, Who would read them.. Have you seen Brene’s Ted talk – do it – I watch it every so often to remind me… http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

    Jennifer S says:

    I didn’t read all the comments because by the time I got here, there were 130! That’s a lot of love, lady! That is to say, sorry if what I say is repetitive/echoes others’ thoughts. It definitely seems to me that if you are afraid/unable to sit still or have time that is quiet and reflective, that you are afraid to confront something. It may be some truths about yourself, it may be an experience from your past, it may be that you’re afraid to let go of your anxiety because of the productivity/success it has gotten you or because it feels like such an important part of you, or it could be something completely different. Regardless, if your nature is to shy away from spending time with yourself and loving yourself, then that’s exactly what you need to do. I have a couple of posts on my blog about self acceptance and self love, so you can check those out if you’re interested. Something you might be interested in trying is writing down/photographing something you’re thankful for every day. Because of the way the brain works, you are more likely to remember negative experiences than positive ones unless you make a conscious effort to remember the good things. At the end of the day, reflect on the day an write down a couple of things you’re thankful for, or challenge yourself to take pictures of things you love throughout the day and print them at the end of the day and put them in a scrapbook. This will allow you to reflect in a constructive and contained way, and may seem less intimidating than sitting blankly in space. If you honestly don’t know where your fear is based, it seems like talking to someone is really important; if you’re super nervous to see a doctor first, start by talking to a friend or someone through a hotline and then move up. Every time you think something negative about yourself or your work, also force yourself to say something positive. Being happy is productive, so taking a little time for yourself every day to do things that make you feel well or safe or rested or inspired or whatever you connect to feeling “happy” is really important. Hope one or more of those things help, and if you want to pop by my blog and see if anything there helps, I’d love to have you. Also, I’m always happy to respond to emails!

    ashley says:

    I struggled with the EXACT same type of anxiety for the first 18 years of my life. In fact, I have always described my anxiety as my “skin crawling” and have received several perplexed looks from those listening; no one seemed to understand the sheer terror of it, so I literally jumped when I read your description of this very personal reaction to stress. It mimics my own anxiety so closely. For sheer perspective, here’s my story: My first memory is of having a panic attack as a very little girl, worrying about things that should never weigh down the spirit of a 5-year old. I grew up a self-imposed perfectionist because of said anxiety, trying to maintain control of my mind and world at every moment, beating myself up for failing to win gold at every. single. thing. that I tried my hand at. I hid my problems until the whirlwind of the ‘new’ at college exacerbated my anxiety and buried me in a heap of depression. I finally went to a doctor about it, and it was SUCH a relief to talk to someone and know that was I was feeling was normal, that so many other people went through very similar situations. It was terrifying to talk about, yes, but afterwards, LIBERATING. I, too, started on a low-dose antidepressant, and it took about a month to make a difference, but it helped tremendously. It wasn’t until I began therapy, though, to really confront my irrational fears and face them head-on, that I finally felt free, like I was living a life that wasn’t dictated by the whims of my nervous system. It took time & tissues, but now I can focus on the present more fully & excitedly anticipate the future, no anxiety to be found. Do yourself a favor and go see someone; you will feel so much better afterwards, and the anxiety of having anxiety will eventually become a fear of the past. Admittedly, the process of working through your issues is tough, but one day you’ll look back on your former self and wonder why you waited so long. You’re so talented and, from what I garner everyday that I read your blog, a good person. You deserve to be happy.

    susan says:

    ok whoa…I need to read this book. right. now.

    thank you for sharing Bri-we have a lot in common. xo

    ashley says:

    P.S. The anxiety that rears its head when you’re alone – totally understand that, too. After all that therapy, I realized I hated the solitude of things like reading, sitting quietly, etc. because it was an opportunity for my mind to wander, and my mind bred anxiety exponentially in these isolated moments. Anxiety precipitates anxiety. Hang in there!

    Vanessa says:

    Bri,

    If you ever have the time, you could read this: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/

    I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I was a child. I remember going to the doctor for the first time when I was around 10 or 11. It never feels good to go to the doctor. But, afterwards, you might find some relief.

    People deal with anxiety in different ways. For me, there is one medicine (over more than 23 years searching) that works fairly well: clonazepan. It’s not perfect, but it helps me function and decreases my anxiety attacks, which are severe, I have anything from vomiting, diarrhea to seizures, I pass out and wake up minutes later. Like you said, anything can trigger it, and even on great days, when I’m home, safe and happy, watching TV it can happen.

    Flying has been a big challenge for me, even though I spent all my adult life flying for work (and back and forth to NYC and Brazil where my family is).

    I don’t think there is any magic thing that will help you. But, I think that if you seek help you might be glad afterwards. It took me years trying different medicines to find out what work for me. Now, I’m preparing to get pregnant and off the meds, which has been very challenging. Also, talk about it can help a lot.

    But, talk about it can also be very frustrating. People who have no contact with this mental illness can try their best to relate but end up being annoying even!

    There is so much to talk about… Gosh! Another thing that helped change my life was holistic therapy, aromatherapy, meditation, massage and yoga.

    I hope you can find things that really work for you and that will make you happy.

    Vesna says:

    Perfect people are boring. And after all: who is perfect? Be human.

    Kit Palaskas says:

    Hi Bri,
    Thank you for posting about these feelings and issues. I think this is something that a lot of creative people with their own businesses or ventures struggle with regularly, but are afraid to talk about, so I think you were brave to do so. It was so refreshing to read this, especially coming from you. I really look up to you and am really inspired by the work you do and your creative style. While it’s not fun that you are going through this, it was refreshing to read that you are feeling these things and comforting in a way because I feel the same, as I’m sure a lot of others do. I have always felt that I had to put on this persona to my clients, customers and social media networks of everything always being peachy and amazing and positive, even if a good chunk of the time I am feeling uncertain, insecure, scared, panicky, and anxiety-ridden about being “successful”. I always felt pressure to maintain this outward persona because it seems like in Australia where I live the creative industry is very competitive, and you have to be super good at what you do and at the top of your game and this brilliant well-rounded, powerhouse of a person to succeed, or at least that’s the perception I have. So to admit that I have insecurities and am imperfect, am still learning, haven’t quite achieved all my goals yet, or still have a long way to go in my career makes me feel like a failure, when really it’s only natural. I mean I am only 30 and have only been working professionally for 5 years! I can see myself putting that over-confident “everything is fine” attitude out there and it makes me feel sad because it’s an untruth and it’s putting so much pressure on myself that doesn’t need to be there. I never wanted to be that girl that is always complaining or whining about all my problems all the time, or I didn’t want people to think of me that way so I never shared that side of me with the outside world. Yes I am happy and proud of myself and I work hard and have achieved so many of my goals and aspirations creatively so far, but I’m not perfect and I often wish I could just share my insecurities with everyone. Your post made me realise that maybe I can do that, and that people might actually appreciate me being more real about my true feelings and how I feel about my career and work. It’s obvious from these comments and your post that we are all feeling it, so why not talk more openly about it and acknowledge that true success isn’t just about celebrating achievements and being happy and positive all the time, it’s also about the journey and what you have learned along the way, and how it’s shaped you as a person. So thank you for enlightening me with your blog post, and comforting me in my own insecurities, and also inspiring me to be more honest in the way I put myself out there publicly. I hope I can now make a few changes this year so that I am more open and honest about my creative journey. x Kit

    Mimi says:

    This beautiful thing happened. I lost my job of 10 years. Though my family is struggling a bit financially, we’ve been able to pay the mortgage, eat healthy and organic food and pay for private school for our daughter. It’s difficult being unemployed. I found how engrained to my identity, my job (which I hated) became.

    This experience gave me the most wonderful perspective. I became so much more aware of the joys in my life and I was finally able to see ME apart from the job. Just some random thoughts from a girl on a similar path to enlightenment.

    Bri, thx for letting us SEE you.

    Namaste

    Keri says:

    I’ve followed you on Instagram and have always loved your posts! I’ve recently stopped working because my anxiety got so bad and I knew I couldn’t ignore it again. Just today, I had one of those days that hit me out of the blue and then I stumbled upon your post. Thank you. Thank you for being so honest. Like you I’m an overachiever/ perfectionist so not working has been difficult. But you discover the people and the things that mean the most to you. Good luck with your struggles, you will get through this one day at a time.

    Katrina says:

    Okay, I’m late to the comment party but I’m going to throw another book your way. I just finished reading How to Push the Right Buttons by Allison Mooney (right after the new year, too!) and discovered a personality typology that is seriously spot on. I don’t want to add too much to the length of your comments here (!) but it sounds like you’re probably part Precise (the perfectionist stuff – myself too!) and probably secondary Playful (a super rare combination!). Sounds like it might be bogus psychology stuff, but it’s based on the four basic personality types that go back to Hippocrates. And it’s *super* helpful. It really changed my life and helped me relate to other personality types too. I need to let go more often as well (and be more Peaceful). Worth a try anyway if you want another in your growing book list! Thanks for the suggestion and great blog post!

    Sarah says:

    I put a lot of these same things on myself. The stress and anxiety and perfectionism.

    Here’s what helps me:
    1. Having a good cry when necessary
    2. When I am feeling completely overwhelmed and want to shut down; do one simple thing from my to do list right away without procrastinating and then give myself the day (or afternoon, hour etc.) off
    3. Go for a run, even a REALLY short one that only lasts 10 minutes. The routine is soothing.
    4. Always remind myself that all of these problems are a product of caring, and the fact that I care so much should be accomplishment enough some days.
    5. Fake it till I make it. I know it sounds unhealthy and I’m sure it can be. But some days when I want to pull my hair out and have to put on a brave face for others I find by the end of the day I feel a lot braver from pretending alone.

    Good luck Bri.

    megan says:

    what a fantastic and insightful post. perfect timing as well. as I suffer from my own form of anxiety and perfectionism, it is often hard for me to believe that others struggle with the same issue or that anyone would begin to understand. it has limited me from so many things but I try a little bit each day to put more and more of myself out there without fear of rejection. for what it’s worth, you’ve made a difference in my day and I will remember in the future that I’m not the only one :) thank you. xo

    Lulu says:

    This post is so meanful…shows the woman behind the designer :) And makes u pop up, like when u sharpen the image in Photoshop and gives realism and brightness and rawness. Thank u. A new motive to admire u.
    love from Buenos Aires, Lúlu

    Ashlee says:

    First off, I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for having the courage to put all of your struggles out there. The part about anxiety attacks is so familiar with me. It is no joke. I had my first noticeable anxiety/panic attack this past August. Everything had been going along fine and then BAM. In the middle of dinner date with girlfriends I began to feel off. I couldn’t breathe, I felt sick and tingly. It progressed further and further. It was completely unwarranted, totally out of nowhere. My life has been somewhat different since that day. I have been different. I then started having them semi-regularly, usually unprompted. I was so scared and felt so betrayed by my body that I immediately came home from college for a weekend and made an appointment. I was told to monitor my diet, making sure to avoid certain stimulants. I was also told to monitor my blood sugar/blood pressure in addition as an extra precaution just to make sure nothing related to that was causing these attacks. I was also prescribed a low dose anti-depressant. It’s been a few months, but everything is still different and the attacks aren’t totally gone. I like to call it ‘the fall I lost my mind.’

    As far as wanting to constantly push yourself to do more and be more, I feel like that is totally universal. I’m constantly wanting to be productive and if I’m not being productive it can feel like time totally wasted and that feels stressful.

    I know it can be so hard to put yourself out there, so I just want to reiterate how thankful I am that you opened up this dialogue in your online space. Sending you good vibes!

    laura says:

    thanks so much for opening up and sharing bri. vulnerability is so beautiful. we all have insecurities and those should not hold us from actually enjoying life (not just showing the world on instagram!)
    i’m reading Brene’s, “Daring Greatly” and it is AMAZING!
    thanks again!
    xo,
    laura

    Girl you are not alone. And it kind of blows my mind that you feel this way. In my mind you’re like the ultimate of all bloggers. You’ve done it all and everything that you’ve stamped your name on is really flawless. I guess I sound a bit partial and all but yeah, I’d say you need to take it easier on yourself. I think there needs to be a point where you say to yourself ‘I made it.’ I accomplished xy and z and I’m happy with that. And you have accomplished so much! Be proud :)

    Milka Mili says:

    Hi!

    Great blog post! I too have suffered from anxiety and like you, did not go to the doctor. I made a point to try and heal my anxiety on my own and was successful! It definitely took some time and a lot of reading and focus.

    I started by understanding what my triggers are and tried to eliminate some, such as caffeine, I have lowered my caffeine intake, not eliminated but lowered. I also had a point to live in the present, what i mean by that is, when i start to feel the anxiety coming, i place myself in the present, focus on what I’m doing and slowly talk myself out of the anxiety (silently, lol).

    What really helped me the most was a book called “My stroke of insight” by Dr. Jill Taylor. Its really about a Dr. who had a stroke and who healed herself back to normal BUT it teaches one how to tap into their brain and control their thoughts; you control how you feel and the anxiety that you may feel. It takes time and focus but i am proof that one can over come their anxiety just by focusing on it. It wasn’t easy and took me approx. 1 year to do but i have! I now know when it tries to creep back into my life and i quickly stop the thoughts from flowing.

    Good luck and I hope you have the chance to read the book!
    mxo

    jen says:

    love your honesty and so glad you shared with us. you are not alone. it sounds like you can see by all of the comments that you are understood and how helpful it is to talk about it. I won’t get into my story but what I will do is tell you that I HAD to find a way to slow down my need to please and constantly feel like I needed to be doing something “totally awesome” all of the time when, quite frankly, I was totally a mess. This past year and 1/2, I have tried my hardest to simplify my life for my family….not so stellar at times, but whew… what a relief most days to have the feeling of “manageable calm” and a new found inner creativity and desire to do things out of my usual ordinary. I’d love to read that book now that you mentioned it. The fact that you are aware and talking about this subject means such good things for you. For now…thank you and ….just be still and breathe :)

    Brittney G. says:

    I am right there with you girl. As I kept reading your post today, I kept thinking, “Yep. Yep. Yep. This is me. So totally me…” Thank you so much for your honesty and openness on this very difficult subject for girls like us. It often seems that those of us that appear to “have it all” and have it the most “together” are really just trying to make it one day at a time like everyone else is. I’ve suffered from anxiety since I was very young and find that I function the best when I’ve been getting plenty of rest and exercising. The rest and exercise even sounds cliche to me, but I promise it works. You’re not alone, Bri! We all love you and support you.

    Kaitlyn says:

    I’m so blown away. I can identify with everything you’ve said to a T. I’m a senior graphic designer going to school in Ohio. Thank you so much for writing this post and recommending this book…you’ve pushed me to take a step forward instead of letting my anxiety eat away at me. It’s so comforting to know that I’m not the only one. People tend to make it seem like anxiety is just overreaction, and maybe it is—but that doesn’t make it less serious. LOVE your blog and wishing I could come to the west coast to attend a workshop! Keep up the excellent work. Signed, a fellow perfectionist.

    hannah says:

    Oh my gosh, I know those feelings all too well and it is something that I have been trying to manage for years, and am only just starting to succeed a little in that.
    I’ve had to learn to take time out for myself – just read a magazine or a book, cook, or be creative.
    Thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement, and constant inspiration on the blog. Love love love it.

    Kristen says:

    bri,

    THANK YOU for posting this. I literally could have written it myself. I found an amazing therapist who put things into perspective WITH me this past year. I felt like I could not make my own decisions based off of MY needs and wants. I felt like I had to seek approval from others to make any decisions. I had to let go of that because it caused the most anxiety. I was miserable. I also had to learn that we can truly accomplish anything we want in this life. Never limit yourself. You are already amazing at what you do. I am so envious of you! I am a perfectionist as well and it makes it a little easier when you ACCEPT that you can’t please everyone. One last thing…I had PTSD. My sister went into labor in her apartment and it was up to me to deliver her baby. I did it. I had a lot of panic attacks and anxiety after that being around pregnant women and the thought of death terrified me because I thought my niece had died in my hands. But she did not. I got through it by learning that I had to face my fear. I celebrate that my beautiful niece is alive. Anywho, I wish you a beautiful and happy 2014.

    Christine says:

    Hugs to you, sweet lady. I’ve juggled my own anxiety the past 12 months. My best tip–acupuncture. It took me a few sessions to relax but has provided 1 hour a week that I sit completely still, focus on absolutely nothing and simply relax. It does your mind, body and soul good, I promise.

    Melody says:

    I really appreciate everything about this post. These are definitely topics that people shy away from discussing. A lot of this hit home for me, as I have always been an overly organized, busy person that strives for perfection in nearly everything that I do. But as I get into my late 20’s (27), and work in a busy industry, I am feeling it more and more. I look forward to checking out your book recommendation, and thanks for sharing this post. It’s nice to know that others experience this as well. Sometimes just realizing that you’re far from alone, helps let go of anxiety, all in it’s own.

    Rachel Entsminger says:

    Bri,

    I just wanted to say, I can totally relate to your anxiety. I just started to have anxiety this past year. It has really changed me. I used to be able to do anything. Even if I was afraid. Now, I second guess everything and Im so indecisive due to my anxiety. I feel overwhelmed at work, in stores, driving… My head starts to spin and I get clammy. I recently went to Disney World with my husband for the first time and I had a panic attack before entering the parking lot at Hollywood Studios. I was afraid of something I haven’t done, people crowding me, being clammy when its 90 degrees outside- you name it. It was miserable. Cellulite, Smile & my thighs are some things that really bothers me. I also feel like Im never good enough, I don’t do my best, I get lazy and unmotivated and my friends and people I follow on Instagram have such perfect lives. I also google all my symptoms and then when my husband says go talk to a doctor, I don’t make an appt. or I go and I do not take the med they prescribe. It makes me have worst panic attacks. I am 25 and I haven’t gone to college or figured out what Im good at doing yet- other than being a kind person most people get along with. I like looking at your blog along with several others to get inspiration. I just want you to know like the others will tell you- you’re not the only one feeling the way you do. Keep your head held high & just keep bloggin :)

    Kelleigh says:

    I wanted to congratulate you for an honest and vulnerable post. I totally appreciate the effort and strength it took to post something so personal, and I know myself and many others understand where you are coming from. Sending positivity your way <3 it can get better, trust me.

    Morgan Denno says:

    Bri, I so appreciate the courage it took to post this! As of two weeks ago, I started seeing a very nice elderly gentleman psychologist every Friday morning. Even after two sessions, I’ve noticed a difference! When those feelings come on, I’m aware of why I’m having them, how I can stop them and how I can try to prevent it from happening again! I wish you the best of luck :)

    Amanda says:

    Reading this post hit home with me hard tonight. I struggle with the same things, and although I have gotten better about how I handle my anxiety triggers, and the anxiety doesn’t come often anymore…..today happened to be a day where it did. And every time I go through this, I feel so alone. I feel like there is no way anyone could ever understand what this feels like. But to read this post and see that I’m not alone, that there are people who know what this is like….that’s powerful for me. Your post was beautiful, and you are such a brave and wonderful soul for putting that out there. Thank you so much for this. For showing me that I’m not alone in feeling like this. This post has helped me more than you can imagine. Thank you.

    christine says:

    i am glad you wrote this and hit the post button. as a blogger myself i have the battle often of walking that line of being honest (because i am an honest person) and worrying i might alienate someone if i get too personal. but i try to tell myself, it’s posts like these that keep me coming back to a blog. sure staged scenes are fun and totally pinnable, but the it’s humans behind the scenes that hold my interest.

    i used to suffer from wicked anxiety and had pretty severe panic attacks several years back. it lasted a few years, but honestly the healing began when i admitted to myself that these weren’t thousands of isolated incidents, this was a pattern in my life and i needed to address it in order for it to “go away.” i can say i still get a little anxious sometimes and i still have that obnoxious voice in my head that questions much of what i do, but i can recognize it really quickly now so it remains pretty powerless. and i haven’t had a full on panic attack in years, but i am still going to check out that book. it sounds full of wonderful life skills, and we can always use a little brush up. xo

    J says:

    Great, honest post. its a welcome relief to see someone as successful and talented as you admit to these problems. creative, ambitious people often do have these problems despite how successful they are. My husband sounds pretty much exactly like you and its not easy for someone like me who is fairly easy going in comparison. Anxiety is contagious as you said. I recently started meditating and I think its the best way to cure anxiety or anything that might be plaguing you mentally or emotionally. Its like exercising your mind, strengthening it so that it can handle all of lifes ups and downs and all the racing thoughts that keep you from being happy. Most Buddhist organizations have free meditation classes. Find a great teacher and it will make a huge difference. Oprah Winfrey talks about meditating every day and says its a huge part of what helps her be successful :)

    kate says:

    lovely post. thanks so much for sharing! been dealing with a lot of anxiety issues myself that cropped up over the past 6 months or so. knowing others are going through the same thing and find ways to work through it is comforting to say the least. xo.

    Allison says:

    Thank you. I, like you and many others here, suffer from anxiety. My anxieties would stir up so much that I would become physically ill. While it does still happen, I had to go in to the doctor. The first thing he said to me was, “Thank you for coming in. You know you’re supposed to see your doctor when an ailment (on your physical body or in your mind) interferes with your daily life.” I think it is important to journal, read good reads like the one you suggest here (I bought a copy) and seek counseling – whether a professional of a friend. However; I have been on anxiety meds for 8 years now and I can honestly say it is the best thing I ever did for myself. All my love, Allison

    candacegrace says:

    So honest, vulnerable, and true to what so many of us can relate to. Thank you for sharing.

    kirsten says:

    Thanks for this post Bri! I have bad anxiety too and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not the only one. Hang in there!

    Christie says:

    First, You are so brave and have inspired me for years! I just recently downloaded the app “Happier” it is like a mobile personal journal of happy moments in your life. It really has helped me focus on the good and not the negative. It is fun to look back at old posts and smile when you read them. I’ve made it a part of my routine and I actually look forward to posting. I’ve kept mine private, I think with so much social outlets that I’m tapped into, this is just for ME and I feel I can really express myself through it. I love Instagram but I almost put too much thought and analization into the posts. knowing that’s this is for no one but yourself is quite liberating actually!

    J says:

    By the way, meditation classes are not just sitting in silence. the majority of it is talking and with a good teacher, its very intellectually stimulating like a good deep conversation with a smart friend. so don’t be afraid!

    Alejandra Allauca says:

    Amo tu blog <3

    Shelly says:

    Thank you for having the courage to write this and let so many people open up about their own anxieties. Conversations like this are never easy to have but it’s always such a relief to know you aren’t alone with your problems. I also am so pleased so see how many wonderful resources that people have posted to help deal with anxiety and can’t wait to dive into some of these books.

    I started having panic attacks / terrible anxiety about two years ago and most people in my life (the few I was comfortable enough talking to about it) told me I should seek help to go on meds. The idea of seeking help (like yourself) made me more anxious and the thoughts of needing drugs to stay in control my life absolutely terrified me. Finally, one friend suggested I try out yoga and meditation with her and it truly helped. Doing yoga was a half an hour a day that I wasn’t feeling anxious and was just being. And then I’d start to feel better for an hour after yoga and then a day and so on. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with it (whether it be through therapy or medication or talking it out) but I found my answer in yoga.

    Holly says:

    I’m so sorry about your anxiety. Just this last month I had several panic attacks. I thought I was having a heart attack!

    Three things helped:
    1. The app Breathe2Relax
    2. The site anxietycoach.com
    3. Going to a therapist

    Cassie says:

    Five Elements acupuncture is incredible…

    Meghan says:

    It is nice to hear and honest confession. I deal with the same anxieties and pressures to be perfect. I will have to check out that book. Thank you.

    mary says:

    Bri,
    First I just want to say thanks so much for being open with this post!! Honestly this post brought me to tears because (like many of the people who commented before me) it hit home. I’ve been seeing a therapist for my anxiety since 2004 (yikes 10 years!!) Dealing with anxiety is hard but seeing that many other people feel the same exact way that I do makes it easier. Seeing you (and the hundreds of comments written before me) be so open with personal stories and tips to deal with anxiety is really beautiful! My way of dealing is being open with friends, my boyfriend and my family. Seeing them accept me even when I feel “crazy” gets rid of a lot of the pressure that “caring what others think” brings. Also yoga! I do it 3-4 times a week on my own. The program I do can be found at http://www.namaste.tv <33!

    HOly comments batman! Obviously I am not alone in saying “bravo! to being your authentic self online!” You are such an inspiration! I’m sure you’ve received loads of suggests but nothing works better than taking 10 minutes a day to just sit and breathe deeply :) Love from Canada

    Carissa says:

    So proud of you for sharing such a intimate post. I think you were right to listen to your instincts and just post it. So so so many people secretly suffer from anxiety and the need to be a perfectionist. Funny enough, I am listening to the Gifts of Imperfection right now. I have the audiobook and listen to it every day to and from work. Brene Brown is so great. You should DEFINITELY check out Louise Hay. She is amazing. She’s like the grandma that will always love you and tell you that you need to keep loving yourself. That’s what I think all people, especially women, need to keep doing, loving their true selves. I wouldn’t necessarily say I suffer from anxiety since I’m naturally a very mild-tempered person. However, loving my true self will always be the goal. I have been listening to several books by the two authors I’ve mentioned and trying to remember to do simple things to take care of myself…drink more water, slow down, be still.
    Another helpful tool is the Tony Robbins DISC self assessment test. I just took it last night. It has a unique spin on the whole “personality test” but gave me some insight into how I am when I feel safe, verses how I act when I feel stressed. The goal is to stay true to what makes you feel your best.
    I know this is long but talking about this is totally up my alley. Hang in there Bri. You’re searching and learning and that’s a great thing : )
    oh and ps. you totally don’t need to see a doctor, they’ll just give you unnecessary drugs. Therapists are always helpful though :)

    giulia says:

    i know nothing about life, really. i feel too young to give any advice. but my thoughts are:
    1. i am sure writing this was very important and you should be so proud you did this!
    2. i look up to you, and many other people do. because you are amazing, don’t let your inner you tell you anything different! you have done incredible things, you are very talented (oh my are you very talented) and you are good enough to be surrounded by other amazing people. – and i am not saying this to point out you are lucky, i am saying this to point out how good you really are.
    3. you are so good your life does not seem perfect from the outside. you share your thoughts and that is so important for us readers:) you have serious moments and there are also times where you are able to just make fun of the little bad things that happen.
    4. i relate to a lot of things, but i have not had any anxiety attacks yet. they might come later on in life. or maybe, thanks to you and all these other good people out there that are sharing their thoughts and stressing that we all go through this and that we are all still ok, they might not come at all!
    5. there is this quote in my first period class “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good – voltaire” and i thought you might appreciate it <3

    Holly A. says:

    Vulnerability with ourselves creates vulnerability in others, as this post shows with your honesty and all the responses above. I praise you for sharing part of your journey with us. As a woman and therapist, for me it’s refreshing to hear such truth! I also personally love Brene Brown and all that she does! Some other great things by her is her new book Daring Greatly, and her tedtalk “the power of vulnerability” which is on YouTube. As Brene says, the meaning of courage “is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”. I feel like you did this in your blog, by shedding light behind not just the image of what you do with designing and blogging (which is awesome!) but also sharing a balanced view that you to struggle. On a cultural note, it is also good to see someone on social media who isn’t just projecting an “ideal state of being” alone but also embracing the hard parts of life too. May this be a year for you of embracing all parts of who you are! :) thanks again for your truth and encouragement!

    Amanda says:

    Hi Bri! I had terrible anxiety for a few years too. I started going in for neurofeedback sessions with a therapist and it helped immensely! No medication needed…all natural! Email me if you want a rec :) xo

    Erin says:

    I just read the below article and found it to be super helpful. The first half will make you happy that you’re not the author and the second half discusses how creative genius is often borne out of anxiety. Were it not for your anxiety, you might not have accomplished all that you have today. Of course learning to manage it will only be a good thing, but anxiety can have its benefits as well!

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/

    Milan Lee says:

    Thank you for sharing so bravely! I assure you you have not offended anyone or caused any reaction besides empathy and love from your blog audience. We all have our definitions of pretty and beautiful and to me, seeing the authenticity of people is what makes them so attractive.

    Perhaps you’ve already seen this article, This Is Anxiety, but in case you haven’t, it might make you feel like you’re not alone.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/this-is-anxiety/282706/

    Cherie says:

    this is now the 3rd time i’ve read your post. and i’ve been thinking about this all day and its now my 3rd comment. thanks bri. if words and writing can ever be so powerful, this confirms it. i needed this.

    Brad Cordeiro says:

    That was maybe the most honest thing I’ve ever read. Bravo for writing it and congratulations on deciding to face it. I am never one to call any person perfect, and with your imperfections you are one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I feel lucky for having the chance to hang out with you the handful of times we have. Best of luck to you in the new year.

    Alison says:

    I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying…and I’m a therapist! Part of the anxiety trap is the expectation that you should and can fix it on your own. Your work is beautiful, it would be a shame for you to be unable to experience all of the beauty you bring to your followers because of doubt. Find a educated, young, chill person to talk to about this, it will help. Best of luck on your journey!

    catherine says:

    Right. The Fuck. On.
    This is a beautiful expression of yourself, Bri. Really succinctly stated. Really really brilliant; your vulnerability and your natural radiance, both.
    Watch how your life changes. It’ll be (more)amazing.
    p.s. I really enjoyed The Untethered Soul (a very different read than Brene Brown but still impactful, I think. See if it clicks with you…)

    Margret says:

    Even though this was not an easy post for you, Bri….thank you for your honesty and transparency. I have read your blog almost every day for years and you are a true inspiration and are so so so talented. I know you hear that all the time….but isn’t it hard to believe? Nothing ever feels right and there is a desire to always be what we think is better? I hear it from my family, friends and co-workers all the time but it is a rare event that I actually listen to them, internalize and believe what they say. I have been a graphic designer since 2002 and I still doubt my talent every day. Gosh. Just typing that made me cry. But it’s just how I FEEL. It’s not the reality (I hope). I know I have a long way to go. I am on daily anxiety mess but I personally need to build up the courage to talk to someone for guidance to work through these thoughts. Thanks again, Bri. It felt good to type this out and share.

    Anna S. says:

    When I saw the update on facebook I came right away to your page to read this post. I have been having the exact same thoughts lately. I am always getting myself involved in new opportunities, but yet all these things give me anxiety. It’s a constant struggle and I love that you have been brave to post such a personal thing. I think I am getting to the point to hopefully be even more of myself on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration and I will deff be checking out that book!

    Sidney says:

    Bri,
    These issues are so incredibly prevalent but are so often left alone because of the stigmas attached to them. Just know you aren’t alone. I’ve been through years of the same thing but somewhere along the line learned how to give myself a break. I still struggle with those pangs of “I’m not doing enough” but those can be used a simple propellers or reminders rather than day ruining obsessions. I’ve been taking the lowest dose of anti anxiety meds since high school and they have proven to be enough to balance the ever so common and slight chemical imbalance that caused my generalized anxiety disorder. Also a short stint of cognitive therapy helped me gain a foothold in controlling my thinking. All the you do in conjunction with your anxiety is truly amazing. You’re doing good. Sometimes that’s what you need to hear most. Hang in there, and give yourself a break!

    Naomi says:

    I wish there were words to express how thankful I am for you and this post. I have been sitting here reading through the comments and tearing up at every one. I felt so alone in my struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and depression. I have made multiple appointments to see someone and always end up canceling them, too embarrassed/ashamed to go through with it. I am feeling so inspired by these comments and feel comforted in this struggle. I might even go to an appointment now :) I am so grateful to you and everyone who has opened up here. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Melissa says:

    Bri :) It’s so comforting to know I’m not the only one in the world with exactly what you have. I just finished studying Art Direction and Design and I start my first full time job in a week at the age of 21. You are a huge inspiration to me in terms of career and living a fun life doing what you’re passionate about. I know no one is perfect, but you always seem pretty perfect in my eyes. You are amazing!! :) So knowing that you too struggle with the same battles as me hit home. I’ve been a perfectionist since the first time I picked up a crayon and pair of scissors (so my mom says). I’m very hard on myself. Everything has to be perfect. Over ambitious with the fear of failing. I’m only 21 but have achieved so much in this short time (which I’m proud of) but also wish I lived a bit more in the process. Whilst studying I did a lot of freelance and saved all this money to do something out of my comfort zone. Right now I’m in Thailand, overseas for the first time, doing the most crazy, carefree and spontaneous things I’ve ever done in my life! Conquering my anxieties of being on my own, always being on the go, fear of things going wrong when spontaneous and always needing to plan and stay in control. This holiday is my first step to “recovery”. I can’t wait to read the book you mention! My goal this year is to be able to identify when I’m being ambitious and when I’m giving myself too much pressure. Live, learn and love yourself :) Thank you for the post!

    Angie Sloan says:

    Girl, you are so incredible and I am so happy and thankful you have shared this with us!!! Your honesty is so refreshing and you are such an influence, I know this post is a huge comfort to all who read it. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression on and off over that last 5 years and you are right when you say anxiety is no joke. It got to the point where I had to get counseling and get on some meds to deal with the pain. What a journey it has been and I’ve spent the last 5 years studying and reading up on anxiety and I am an open book when it comes to healing anxiety. I’ve done it all from modern medicine, to meditation healing, accupuncture, and loads of naural remedies, if you have any questions I would love to help out in any way. My sisters and I started a blog last year that is dedicated to helping others who suffer from anxiety and depression. It is more common than you think, people are just afraid to talk about it. So, thank you for being open about it! You are so beautiful and talented. Much love to you Bri and sending prayers and warm thoughts to you and your healing. ❤

    Lacey says:

    Hey Bri! First of all, you are so brave to be posting your feelings on these dreaded topics. I’m proud of you! I can relate so well to you, so just know that I am one more person who gets this every day battle. I started seeing a counselor for the first time in my life and it is helping! I am 25 and feel like I carry the load of a 50-year-old. My counselor even told me it was obvious I just needed to have fun. Sad but I knew it was true. I love working and setting goals, and getting tasks accomplished but something hasn’t been adding up. Not only am I a perfectionist, I’m also a huge people-pleaser…really messing up my personal boundaries for my own health (I’ve discovered!) my anxiety makes me doubt everything. Surround yourself with people who love and support you! I never knew how VITAL that was until I had a meltdown! You have a huge following of supporters who love what you and what you create – so don’t get it twisted! Your honesty will only attract people to you. You’re relatable and that makes me love you more! What is on my current 2014 get well list: be outside more, be open to dating and new friendships, get back to exotic cooking, take more selfies to promote self-love and confidence, let people in, don’t be ashamed of seeing a counselor and/or taking medication, get dirty, expect mistakes and not dwell on them for hrs after – let. It. go., dress the way I want to dress, give other people a break and myself too! One last thing! Check out You’re So Worth Loving. I follow them on Instagram and they always speak truths that pierce my soul (in a good way). Peace, love, and happiness to you! XO

    Stacia says:

    I struggle with all of these things every single day. It can be really cripling and not a very fun way to live life. The book ‘When Panic Attacks’ was very helpful to me as a starting ground to work through some of it. When my mind is racing before bed I like to play solitaire or a simple puzzle game like Whirly Word on my phone because it captures enough of my attention that my mind can’t whirl and that process settles my thoughts enough that I can usually fall asleep pretty quickly. I also keep a note pad by my bed to write down stuff that wakes me up in the night or everything on my mind (in short) before bed so that I don’t have to fall asleep worrying about it. I can try to rest in the fact that it’s beside the bed waiting for me the next day. I hope that helps!

    Emily says:

    Wow, I’m sorry you have to feel this way because I understand your anxiety completely! I had a tough day today. Some days are better than others and I’m able to snap myself out of it. Then there are days like today, where I can’t get out of my head and I totally beat myself up mentally. I’m the hardest on myself and don’t really talk about it that much because it’s hard to articulate, but you nailed it. The nervousness, guilt, self doubt and analyzing things until they barely make sense anymore. Not to mention he physical symptoms. Then I wonder if people can tell I’m struggling. It’s a vicious, scary cycle.

    Like you said, there aren’t specific triggers and I guess today was my “random Tuesday” that my brain got the best of me. But I want to thank you for sharing and letting me share. It’s comforting to hear that other people can relate and hear some coping techniques! I’m always up for learning new tools to be stronger emotionally.

    I’ll check out that book…..oh and pets really are the best medicine :)

    Thanks so much!

    Alexis says:

    This was a great post. I never comment on any blog, but I read yours constantly and this post really hit home. I am dealing with my own personal struggles with anxiety, which has started to show itself physically. It is something that I am trying to get under control so that I can feel healthy both mentally and physically. I saw another comment about reading the Danielle LaPorte book called The Desire Map. That comment inspired me to write my own. I was just at a New Years dinner party tonight with people that I work with. My boss brought up the issue of perfectionism and anxiety and one of my coworks suggested reading that book. We had a really great in depth discussion about the pressure society puts on you to constantly be achieving more. I went home and I bought the book on my kindle. Let me know if you read it and please keep us updated on your journey. I think it will be therapeutic to you and also to your readers. I wish you the best! xoxo

    kelsey says:

    i deal with anxiety every single day. the smallest things trigger it. it’s nuts. but i have found that writing about it helps. seeing a doctor did not help me. but talking to people about it helped. focusing on stress relief techniques like exercise, cutting back on caffeine, eating fruits and veggies. there are things that help, but it’s something that is so difficult to reign in without getting to the root of the anxiety. that’s the hard part
    ladies in navy

    rachael says:

    man oh man lady.
    thank you for this. these words are honest and beautiful and raw.
    being honest and vulnerable are probably two of the most difficult things to do and you’ve done it here.
    i totally struggle with the perfectionism issue as well.
    always pushing harder, thinking i should be a certain place in career, life, etc. and when i’m not, beating myself up over it.
    anxiety is a huge reality for so many.
    again thank you for touching on this.
    think i gotta get this book and get to reading.

    Kelly says:

    I’ve struggled with anxiety for about ten years, and it kind of came out of nowhere. Up until that time (I was 19) I was relaxed, energetic, doing well in school. Then after 9/11 I became anxious and depressed. It took several months for me to make the connection, because I didn’t live in New York or even know anyone affected by the attacks. I was surprised that it effected me so deeply, but after that day I was very aware of loud noises, I was always looking at the sky, keeping an eye out. I became convinced it was going to happen again, I just knew it in my gut, so I stopped caring about my future. I didn’t see the point in trying anymore. I was literally making myself physically ill with the constant worrying. I lost so much weight that my friends and family were concerned, and my hair started falling out.I was always afraid that something was going to “get me” and it started presenting itself in other ways, like becoming afraid to fly and just falling to pieces during bad weather. I was in constant fight or flight mode. I felt like if I was hyper-aware of my surroundings then I would be ready for whatever happened. I tried several different medications, but didn’t like how I felt, and finally found some relief through hypnosis. I had let my thoughts get out of control for so long that I didn’t know how to think any other way. Looking back, I realized that I spent the majority of those years worrying about things that never happened. Things that will probably never happen. But if they do, I can deal with it when the time comes and not fall to pieces. I hope you find relief from your worries and insecurities! What a beautiful blog you have, and you seem like such a lovely person, I hope you can see that and feel good about it!

    MAN OH MAN! (wow the girl above me just said the same thing to start her comment haha!) Sometime soon I am going to read through all the comments you got on this thread because WOW that is inspiring how many people you touch. And I’m sure a shit ton of people are saying “wow I can relate! thank you for saying this” but daaammnn I can relate haha. so thank you for being YOU on your blog and not just a PERFECT image of what everything thinks we want to see. There are so many bloggers and girls I follow on instagram who are just constantly posting 1 perfect thing in their lives after another and damn its exhausting!!! I love visiting your blog/instagram/twitter because I feel like you are SO relatable. A workaholic in a world where our generation HAS been taught “you’ll sleep when you’re dead!” I too have the same career anxieties and stresses where I’m always feeling like I’m not creative enough or doing enough and am constantly comparing myself to those in my industry. and now there’s an AGE thing!! like when did they graduate from high school and how far along are they in their career. It’s definitely exhausting and a goal of mine in 2014 is too chill out and just focus on what makes ME happy.. like you said you plan on doing. And from there… our creative and inventive juices will get flowing! (here’s hoping hahaha) I can’t wait to read that book you talked about in this post. Bri – just keep being you and i just fucking know it… you’re gonna be JUST fine. You’re vision for LIFE is something that all of us DLF readers simply adore. Even if it’s not fully for us… it sure is pretty to look at. Your vision is unique and your flare and appetite (yes appetite too haha) for life is truly inspiring and motivating. Post those personal blog posts and stand out from the crowd – IF YOU WANT! Because your audience LOVES you. Really REALLY hope to meet you one day at a blogshop!! <3

    Sarah says:

    Proud of you for being so honest! And your goals are wonderful and totally achievable. You are an inspiration, both in your creativity and your self-reflection, and I hope you realize how incredible you are-just as you are!

    j says:

    Wow, thank you so much for posting this. It was so comforting to see this amongst the myriad Instagram posts that make me feel crappy about myself. It was shocking to read someone explaining what I experience verbatim; I’m glad to know I’m not alone! Thank you!

    kristin says:

    bri, i also NEVER comment on blogs (although yours is one i have been checking since i discovered it!) but HAVE to say — kudos to you for sharing, and thank you for your vulnerability and courageousness. xo

    Emily says:

    Hi Bri,
    My sister sent me this post because I too am going through an extremely difficult time with anxiety—a different type but the same struggle. You certainly have gotten a lot of positive feedback but I just wanted to write a quick note and congratulate you on being so open. Honesty like this is extremely important and helps people feel less alone in battling these demons. Thank you and wish you all the best in the future.

    Laurel says:

    Your honesty is completely refreshing…and I’m quite positive that many others will read your words and find huge comfort in knowing that they fast alone in their feelings. My journey with anxiety began 8 years ago.. Panic attacks, racing thoughts, an inability to get sleep and the list went on. So many people have written the exact words that I would wish to tell you already. But I just want to add that life lived with joy is completely possible! And dare I say that I don’t think I would have said I felt tremendous joy before anxiety entered my life. I never EVER thought I would say that I was grateful for it… But having done (and continue to) the work through counseling (and dealing with the medical aspect of it) joy is more tangible in my life. I no longer am afraid of the feelings that anxiety brings because I have the tools to help me work through it. Once the fear of it was no longer there, it no longer had the power of dragging me into its depths. Wishing you much strength as you work through this journey… And rest! To this day I guard my sleep ferociously:) my wish is that you will be able to experience great joy that comes as a result of walking the valley.

    Sydney says:

    Bri there are some wonderful resources on the Eastside: yoga Nidra at Yogala (on Echo Park Ave.) has been life-changing for me. Also finding a great therapist you connect with (and call you out on the awful things we tell ourselves) is so helpful in managing your fears, frustration, etc. if you are interested in a referral, please feel free to email me (syd.cutler@gmail.com)– my therapist is amazing and specializes in women’s issues

    Suzanne says:

    Yes, yes, and YES! Thank you so much for sharing. I found myself nodding in agreement reading this entire post, and most of the comments! Seems a lot of us share the same feelings. Anxiety sucks. But we can all overcome it with a bit of practice. It just takes the first step :)

    Carrie moe says:

    Hey Bri,
    Thanks for sharing this post. Seriously, you are not alone girl. Oh man! I’ve had my share of anxiety attacks and insecurities in my life too girl. There was a time in my life where I HATED and feared silence too. Like majorly hated….when my mom told me one day that I needed to slow down and listen to my thoughts, I yelled awful things at her and slammed the door. Not happy to remember it. One day though I was sick enough of always being afraid (afraid of people, afraid of how I looked, afraid of failure etc) and wanted a major change and I asked God to give me strength to slow down and listen. Crazy thing happened because when I total released myself to listen to God and to what I needed to hear about who I really was, my whole life flipped upside down in the best way possible. It was like the light switch turned on. I still struggle with anxiety from time to time but it was nothing like it was..so crippling. I don’t mean to get all preachy on you. Just wanted to share with you what my story was. I memorized this verse “Cast all of your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 and I prayed everyday to God to take my anxieties away and he did. The crippling ones, the I-can’t-get-out-of-bed ones. Just wanted to let you know my story with anxiety and fear and how with God’s help I’ve come out on the other side…hopefully for the better! Ha ha! Thank you so much for sharing this. Praying for you girl!
    xo

    Megan Guise says:

    Look at all these comments! There is nothing wrong with you- so many of us have suffered this. Now that you have acknowledged it, 2014 is going to be an amazing and freeing year for you and your soul.

    Ben says:

    Thanks for sharing this personal post. To keep things short I have experienced many of the anxious and self deprecating thoughts that you have spoken of. The one thing that has helped me immensely is a dedicated meditation and yoga practise. The combination of my everyday life mixed with yoga and meditation brings a nice balance to the chemistry running in my mind.

    r says:

    OK… in the last year, I’ve gotten over 2 of my biggest phobias: driving on freeways and putting in contacts (SUPER weird right!!). Both of these things would trigger major, major panic attacks in me, so much that I just avoided these activities completely. Like I would go through the most insane hoops to avoid driving on freeways (begging for rides, taking the train, taking a 2 hour trip on backroads…) and try to keep my friends from knowing that I had that phobia, because it’s so embarrassing to admit (though I’m sure some figured out). I understand how intensely terrifying panic attacks are… and how difficult it is to explain to people… and how exposed you feel when you tell someone that you have anxiety issues. There’s a LOT Of ignorance and judgement out there from people who don’t understand these things :-(

    Here’s hope though!! Anxiety is actually one of the most well understood and curable mental conditions, if you talk to the right people and find the right resources. Since you said you had panic attacks, I wanted to share a website with you that was EXTREMELY helpful to me: http://www.anxietycoach.com/

    Yeah it looks kind of cheesy, but advice is spot on. This guy really, really gets it. Please take a look! I was blown away by how uncannily accurate this website was with regard to my driving phobia. Just by following this advice on anxietycoach has freed me completely of my phobias, even though I’d been having attacks for about 10 years. I remember a year ago, just thinking about driving on the freeway, or putting in contact lenses, and how viscerally impossible it seemed. I would feel sick to my stomach, my vision would blur, I would need to lay down just *thinking* about it. I honestly thought I was a freak and I would never get over it, for 10 years. And yet now I’m absolutely fine. I drove 3 hours on the freeway to my friend’s house a few weekends ago, no panic attacks at all, and no worries about them.. Didn’t take any medications or special treatment, just breathing exercises and changing the way of thinking. Seriously, anxietycoach.com. It’s worth a read at least!

    Remember that anxiety is just another challenge you are facing in your life, and a challenge you WILL overcome. Anxiety is NOT permanent, it is VERY curable, very curable without medications, and think of how invincible you will be once you are in control of your anxiety. You WILL get there. Keep working at it. You are amazing and thank you for writing this post — it’s incredibly brave of you. You will get through this!!!

    Anonymous says:

    http://www.solonginsecurity.com
    This is the best book on getting out of insecurity I’ve ever read! Changed my life and hope it helps change yours :)

    Joanne says:

    Thank you! It is so brave of you to write this so honestly. I am at a pivotal cross roads, about to start a new career built around my passions with very little security yet I believe much potential for great abundance and I am petrified, riddled with anxiety wanting someone, anyone to tell me YES, this is absolutely right and you ail be amazing!! Even though all of my friends and family have already given this endorsement and I know in my heart that it’s right, I’m experiencing the opposite manifestation of anxiety to you in that I feel frozen some days, and others like I’m moving in slow motion, can only focus on one thing at a time or I may break down.

    So seeing you, who certainly to me and I’m sure all your followers, has so much talent and passion for what you do, living with the similar experiences of fear and anxiety…I don’t like to say it’s comforting to know others experience it but I guess it is…but because knowing that it’s not just me all of a sudden has made many of the specific fears and doubts and judgements that I put on myself actually seem all of a sudden almost not real, or at least much less significant.

    So thank you!! And sending happy, positive loving vibes out to all :)))

    Hande Karaaslan says:

    Great post (only reading it now in Denmark), thanks for sharing. I’ve also battled with periods of anxiety in the past. Some relating to my fear of flying but also in situations which I thought I couldn’t control. I do have a bit of a control freak within me. Flying and control thing are probably related.

    I studied psychology in university and something I heard in a lecture has really helped me out a lot. That an anxiety attack progresses in a curve and right when people are at the peak of that curve is when they think they should call a doctor (I’m also not very fond of going to the doctor for any reason, it does give me more anxiety). The call to the doctor coincides with the downward curve and people tend to associate that with the doctor having helped the anxiety attack. It made me see that 1) it all happens in our minds (obvious but a good bit to keep in mind) 2) it has a natural course and it will go away.

    I eventually learned to get ahead of the anxiety. Mainly because I became aware of it. Instead of thinking that I couldn’t control it, I kept thinking to myself that it was in my mind, of my creation.

    I definitely think that it’s curable without any medication. I also think mindfulness is a great practice and it’s something you can apply at any moment and not necessarily have to meditate on it. First step is to realize and acknowledge that it’s there, just like you’ve written here. :)

    enotrapiel says:

    Encountering this post, the first time I enter the Blog … right words at the right time

    jj says:

    I know many have replied already, but I wanted to also express my thanks for posting this. I was really surprised to read something so personal on a design blogger site, so I feel even more impressed with the fact that you did so.

    In the past few months, I have dealt with some hard-hitting stressful life experiences with my job, family, and ex. I skipped out on all my friends’ holiday parties, all the Christmas networking extravaganzas, even new years. I think I slumped into a depression which I hadn’t experienced since I was 12.

    I felt like I needed to stay away from groups because I didn’t want to be the one bringing down the vibe. I kept looking back to my relationship and was blaming myself thinking, Why didn’t I play it cool? Why did I let myself get that upset? The anxiety got so bad that I had trouble just driving around in LA, having any motivation just to go outside. I felt guilt with everything I did, like I should’ve been looking for more work or staying productive, or being more social. I felt like I got a wrong sense of the kind of person I am and thought I wasn’t at all who I wanted to be.

    A friend of mine said some things along the lines of what you wrote. She comforted me saying it’s okay to feel what I feel. It’s totally okay to feel introverted and need that alone time. The problem is that society praises extroverts much more. It’s not even an issue of extroversion. We all get upset, anxiety can overwhelm us. And it’s not fair that we feel like we have to play it cool and live up to everyone’s expectations. I can’t imagine being a busy girl like yourself, doing many projects as well as being this social online person, how you deal with these very natural feelings and stress.

    Anyway, thank you again for posting this. I’m so happy to read these other comments and not feel alone. Out of all the dumb googling and reading of reddit discussions, this has been the most inspiring and helpful thing I’ve read.

    jj says:

    PS..

    Let me also add that you’re my hero for being the first that I know of from a design blog site to so openly share these traits that are so common yet unfavorable to talk about. It breaks this illusion of a beautiful, loving, lush world in which a blogger lives a life of simplicity, neutrality, and happiness. But in a good way :). <3

    Jillian P says:

    Dearest Bri,

    Thank you for your sharing about your anxiety & writing this post. It is a much needed read for me! I am consistently working myself away (ran my own clothing co for 2 years, and now re-starting this blog which has taken over my life). I’ve noticed that I’ve started to get bags under my eyes because I’m not sleeping well enough. I even DREAM about work and what to post next! It’s insane. I totally feel you and am with you in saying that you deserve a break and it’s okay. It’s okay to let yourself breathe. Our minds can function creatively if they’re constantly overworked! This is one thing I have learned over the past few years.

    You are an inspiration and it helps to know that someone as successful as you even still has anxiety. That comforts me, as someone who’s not famous or well known. So thank you for sharing your thought and feelings. And I want to say – hang in there and let it all go. <3

    Sending you love + light,
    xx. Jillian
    http://www.RoadToHereBlog.com

    Evie says:

    Hello Bri, You are so on the right track. Brene’s books have helped me immensely to get to know/understand myself better and most especially to to change my thought patterns and be kinder to myself. Becoming more consciously aware of what triggers my anxiety has been a huge help. Thank so much for sharing this post xx

    Ana Pradas says:

    Thank you for writting such a beautiful and difficult post.
    I don´t think I´ve ever gotten to the level you and some of the other readers have, but I can definetly relate to parts of it.
    I stress way to much to easily and I´ve been told I keep it all inside, so I end up having all this body aches that knock me down because of it.
    There´s this app called “headspace” that is amazing and guides people who´ve never meditated to do it. It sounds “quack-y” but it has helped me a lot, maybe it can help you too :)
    <3

    Katie says:

    This is a really courageous post. Thanks for being so honest, and open about your struggles with anxiety. It was a very refreshing read!

    Catherine says:

    after 235 comments (wow!) there probably not much else to say! All i think i can do is to say good on you for making the decision to own your anxiety and understand your feelings and learn to wrangle them into submission! good luck with this hurdle in your life! going by the response you’ve got plenty of people to back you up and give you a hand up if you ever need it. all the best Bri! we love you! xo

    Anne-Fleur says:

    Thank you for writing this! It’s really so familiar.. as a singer-songwriter and also being creative I sometimes wish I had a normal job just so I could make stuff that would be objectively good or bad.. for the creative things aallllways have something to do with opinions and feelings and that’s so scary sometimes. Especially for perfectionists I think.
    I don’t know if that added anything, or made any sense, I just wanted to write something, to react to your honest post.
    Thanks for this, I’m going to save the url so I can read i whenever I feel really insecure or when I’m too tough on myself. Reading this will really help, you said some wise things :-)

    Sarolta says:

    I know feelings like that. For years I even thought it was normal to feel panic about not being perfect. That really sucks out the joy of your live. Thanks to friends and a fantastic therapist I started to get to know who I really am and also accepting that imperfect person. It’s great. Wish you all the best in finding your way, Bri.

    Ariel says:

    I usually don’t post on here but I have to say i think you’re amazing for posting this. I’ve been struggling the last three years with horrible anxiety (attacks are the worst) and depression. I’ve made it my “resolution” this year to work on making myself a calmer, happier me and nothing else. This world can be tough guess we all got to find what will give us peace by looking within our selves. Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing. Hugs.

    Scout says:

    1. I guess it’s pretty sad that what stood out most to me from this post was the big teeth thing, but…big teeth?! You have one of the prettiest smiles I’ve ever seen. It’s so big and happy and contagious.
    It’s so funny how the things we are insecure about are sometimes the things other people love most about us.

    2. I often feel like I’m not doing enough with my life – I work two part time jobs (not even full part time hours), and then often spend the rest of my time reading and watching television and relaxing. I’m introverted and have spent a lot of chill time learning about myself, so I know that I NEED rest and relaxation and quiet, because I freak out and get anxious when I don’t have those things.
    But I still get bothered when I look at other people and see how much they’re doing with their lives. I keep thinking if I just start doing more with my life, I’ll feel better and more secure. I guess this is showing me that…it doesn’t end. Doing and having more will never fix problems. You just have to learn how to be you and not compare yourself with others. Something that is super difficult in our culture.

    3. You’re definitely not alone. I think these posts are my favorite – it’s so brave, and it’s encouraging (for you and others) to see that lots of people struggle with this and other things. Here’s to you, and good luck on focusing on the little things you love! One thing I like to do is make a list each night of the things I liked about the day. It makes me realize how great my life really is, even if I’m feeling lazy or not good enough for whatever reason :)

    Astrid says:

    Wow! Thank you for being so open with us.
    Lately I’ve been feeling the same as you; I’m entering into my 3rd year at uni, working several jobs and I’ve been struggling with several anxiety attacks a week. Hearing about this book, your opinions on it and hearing about how you feel has really helped me to be more honest with myself too.
    I completely understand how you feel about needing the constant approval, I think it’s a people thing which unhappily is cultivated in women by society; but I’m hoping (for both of us) that as we learn to love ourselves more, we won’t need it so much.
    I know I don’t know you, but I’m totally proud of you for sharing with us and for being so honest. Thanks (:

    Sarah says:

    I’m 19 years old and when I was 16 I developed panic disorder and agoraphobia when my auntie died of a brain tumour. It was so difficult I would be sick everyday before I went to school and I was in my final year at an expensive private girls school and I really wanted to do well in my final year to make my hard work and my parents expenses worth it. I got counselling and and it was amazing how quickly things became better, I didn’t miss a day of school and I managed to achieve a really high grade and got into my course at university. I still feel nervous in certain situations especially flying but I know I can get through it. I’m thinking of going back to a psychologist even though I’m currently feeling great just as a mental health check up, I don’t see why I should wait and see if it gets bad. I’m not ashamed of it, I never have been I tell anyone who seems to care but it is hard when I think “i just want to be a normal teenager” but the more time that passes the more I realise everyone has their own battles and anxiety is actually a really boring normal one. Thanks for sharing, I have loved reading everyones comments and I’m sure there are those who haven’t commented but are in the same situation. Also, you blog is amazing I wish I lived in America so I could come, but if you take the courses to Australia I’m in xx

    Bethani says:

    This post really hit home for me. Part of my 2014 (and 2013, 2012,etc) New Years resolution is to try and get my perfectionism/anxiety under control and stop working for the sake of working because it takes the joy out of the work I love doing. Thanks for sharing your story and for the book suggestion I will definitely be checking it out.

    You are a light, BB. Going to email you, xx

    Kate says:

    Amazing. Just amazing. Thank you so much for your honesty. There is no doubt this was not an easy post for you to write, but the number of people you just helped….well, all I can say is you are amazing.

    Nicole says:

    This is wonderful! I can imagine how difficult it is to try to gauge how much of yourself you want to share on this site, but I just wanted you to know that I really think it’s awesome that you choose to open discussion on heavier topics on occasion. The fact is, everyone relates to these types of posts at some level, and it’s always refreshing to see you bring these subjects to light! Thanks for creating and sharing so much inspiration! Don’t be too hard on yourself, what you’re doing is really, really cool.

    Carly says:

    This post is a godsend. I was scrolling through my twitter feed today between classes and came upon a tweet who mentioned you and your anxiety post. I immediately made a reminder to myself to go back and read it in the privacy of my own room. I am a college senior at a challenging school who suffers from anxiety more than I’d like to at the age of 22. I can not tell you how comforting it is to know that there are women in their twenties who experience what I feel and who struggle with perfectionism and insecurities. You have definitely shed a lot of light on everything and made me feel a whole lot better. Thank you! XOXO.

    Clair Summer says:

    Hello, thanks for sharing this lovely post. Just remember, Perfect is BEIGE! Try reading The inside out revolution, Timeless simplicity by John Lane, Enough by John Naish and Zero Waste Home. All about simplicity, appreciating life and peace of mind. Beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing your gift with the world. xxx

    Katie says:

    The older I get the more I realize how many people really do go through this type of situation. For me, it was a few years ago. I felt completely out of control of my life and was having panic attacks frequently. I finally went to the Dr. and she told me something I still carry with me everyday… “sometimes we just need a little help.” It’s such a simple thought but it resonates for those of us that aren’t always open to asking for, or accepting help. She recommended I take calcium supplements (a mood stabilizer for women), start meditating or doing yoga to help control the panic attacks, and she gave me a prescription for some anxiety medication. I no longer need the medication because I’ve learned the coping skills needed to get through a rough situation (and they happen so rarely now anyway). I also started ‘counting my blessings’ every night before bed to end the day with something good. Anxiety can feel like the end of the world, but dealing with it and sharing it is the start of becoming a stronger and more content person. Good for you! And you have tons of support!

    Hi Bri, thank you for your beautiful honesty. I to am a creative and work with my anxiety on a daily basis. While in art school my anxiety hit a peak. Mixed with my need for perfection in my work, I started to have daily attacks and failing classes. It was incredibly heartbreaking because I knew that I too could do better, or so I pressured myself into thinking. I knew that I had a special talent and I truly just wanted to do the best that I could.

    I knew that I didn’t want to get into medicine. I have an uncle that takes meds for his anxiety, and I was afraid of dependency and the side affects. I believe it also acts as more of a band-aid then an actually aid. During my junior year a professor of mine suggested that I see the school counselor that was a free service from the school. I thank the universe everyday that I decided to make an appointment.

    The counselor specialized in anxiety and worked with clients through mindfulness meditation and holistic therapy. I truly with all of my being believe in the power of mindful thinking, practices, and writing.

    It is really a two part deal. First through mindful writing you are able to dig deep into what is truly surfacing through the the form of anxiety. Anxiety is your bodies way of communicating to you. It is your ally not your enemy(this concept was a key breakthrough for me!). I quick way of starting your writing is by asking how you are feeling today. A voice within will speak. Listen and write. Then beginning to ask more questions as you write. If you write that you are feeling scared about an event or even a post, ask what is beneath that fear, what is your fear trying to communicate. Although it might feel silly it works! Essentially you are being caring and take care of your inner self. Helping her brings you closer to your highest self (your highest potential). Understanding what you are truly feeling and fearing helps your body heal. Fear is usually based out of confusion or not having a clear understanding of something. This gives you a tool to understanding.

    The second part is being mindful in all that you do. This takes some time to “master” but it does wonders! With each thought, action, etc., just be present in what you are doing. While you get ready in the morning how does the shower feel, how does your breakfast taste, etc. It keeps you aware. With some time you will be able to listen to your body before anxiety knocks at the door. You will aware of triggers and fear before the panic sets in. Together (writing and mindfulness) it will allow you talk to yourself through your feelings as they happen. Ex: “Ok, I’m feeling my heart beating, what is triggering me in this situation?” This allows you to have understanding and break down your feelings into small manageable parts.

    Phew! Sorry so long! As you can see I’m passionate about the progress that I have made, and the understanding that I was able to gain. I just want to share! Now-a-days I still feel anxiety every now and then, but because it is my ally I don’t fear it, I welcome it. I know that it is my insight to whatever needs to be released and understood.

    I also recommend a great book that puts all of these practices altogether. It’s called “Soul Coaching: 28 Days to Discover Your Authentic Self” by Denise Linn. http://amzn.to/1afcbzp

    Bri, you are a wonderful person and creative, and I wish great understanding through your path!

    -Danielle

    P.S. I also follow your good friend Bonnie. She seems to be adopting great practices and understanding. I’m sure that you both could be great allies for each other!!

    Caitlin says:

    thank you so much for sharing your feelings, emotions, thoughts, and fears. i can so deeply relate to you, especially the part about being a perfectionist. it’s quite paralyzing. i am definitely going to read that book. i read the happiness project in november and it really helped me.

    beth says:

    bri, you’re such an inspiration and i really admire your courage and honesty. i can really relate to this and know what you mean about feeling anxiety with doctors. i’m pretty sure i have doctor phobia, if that’s an actual thing. but there are some amazing ones out there who can take that anxiety and fear and turn it around with kindness and compassion, and you will be able to get the support and help you need. stay strong <3

    Peach says:

    New reader/follower here. Just wanted to say thank you and that you are not “too much”. What you are is honest and brave and please know that we are out here, nodding our heads at our computers in agreement. Thank you.

    Brianna says:

    Thank you very much for this post. It’s amazing how blogs (and the internet itself) can bring people together as other people deal with the same things in life. But at the same time, social media can be very dangerous. I participated in a discussion about a week ago how many teenagers in school were starting to become depressed and/or their self esteem dropped and parents/teachers couldn’t figure out why. They discovered a correlation with Facebook/Instagram and started a study. If someone’s picture or post didn’t get many likes or comments, their self esteem was going down. They were basing their worth off of a click on social media! It is a great way to share things with the world and receive inspiration, but it is also something we should be very careful about, and deciding upfront that the post you’re about to make public, in no way, reflects your value as a person.

    Your post, however, was very much needed for me and struck home completely. I struggle with anxiety & depression (for as long as I can remember, and have been on & off medication since I went off to college). As a newlywed of 4 months,I have been battling some of these issues more with the changes in life as 2 people come together. I have been putting a lot of expectation and pressure on my husband to have perfection, and that obviously isn’t going to help our relationship. I have been feeling pretty crappy the last few weeks but haven’t been able to pinpoint the root. This post honestly opened my eyes and has helped me see why I have been feeling down. I have a lot to work on if I want my marriage to be healthy, happy, and successful. I have found that even though I want my anti-depression medication to be a temporary thing, it tends to catch up with me and I need to go back on it. My doctor has explained that it might be a way of life for me (to always be on medication) but that is ok, as it will allow me to feel better. It is not shameful to be on medication. I am willing to do whatever I need to in order to be my best self.

    You are perfect at being YOU. Thank you for who you are : )

    Jessica says:

    Hang in there Bri! I’ve definitely been through a similar period in my life when my anxiety was out of control and I can completely relate to this post. Thanks for sharing and I promise it gets better!

    charswweb says:

    awesome post! anxiety is a real issue and your honest sharing is important to so many of us.

    Ashley says:

    A gorgeous & brave post showing your humanity & vulnerability. You should be proud. From my personal experience I have learned that the best & most effective way to deal with anxiety or similar issues is to face them head on & get to the root of the problem. It is only then that you will be free. Sending loads of love & imperfect positivity your way. You got this Bri! xxx ooo

    I am so grateful that you wrote this post- I too, suffer from anxiety. I’ve been thinking about putting something out there, in the virtual world. I knew I wouldn’t be alone but I couldn’t bear to show my flaws. We live in a world where we are taught that if you stop- even for one second- you’re out of the rat race. We have so many of these “social norms” to fulfill, to keep running on a wheel that wasn’t necessarily intended for us. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you realize, this is my life and I’m unhappy. I want to put time into what makes me happy. I struggle with anxiety everyday- some days it’s better and some days well, you know… It’s comforting to know others feel the same way and that we can have a positive community of women supporting each other. I’m still trying to figure it out but I’m convinced that when I’m in balance, mind, bond and soul, only then will I feel that everything is in harmony. Will def. pick up this book. Thanks again for your honesty and hope we can all find a way to be content with ourselves!

    Erin says:

    Hi, Bri. Judging by the fact that I am comment #258, it’s easy to see that your post really resonated with people.

    Here is what I have learned. I met you a few years back at the Toronto Blogshop–I was the 2nd oldest person in the class & felt so overwhelmed and terrified by how young and hip and cool everyone (you and Angela included) was. I know now that that was my anxiety talking.

    A few months after that workshop (but totally unrelated to it! :) ), I had an experience that triggered an enormous anxiety attack. Thank god I phoned my mum in the middle of it for help. As a nurse, she was able to help me understand that it WAS an anxiety attack (been having them all my life, never knew what they were, hid them from everyone) and she persuaded me to go to the doctor. LIke you, I did NOT WANT TO GO. But now I am glad I did. I got the help I needed and, while things are not perfect, they are better. Am I cured? No. Am I better able to cope because I have strategies and tools to help me do so? YES. Is my life better because of it? YES! My life is still stressful, crazy, sad, busy, demanding, frustrating, etc, but I am also more able to make choices that help me eke out that time for myself, to be alone, to recharge, to just BE. I am way less hard on myself most of the time, about most things. I can recognize (mostly) when what I am feeling is just the anxiety talking.

    It’s a journey, Bri. You are an inspiring person– I admire your hard work and all the success you have achieved via your commitment and talent. Embrace this challenge and see it as part of your journey; it’s a scary step to take, getting help, but it is worth it. If it were something you needed to do for your business, you wouldn’t hesitate, right? Well, why is your own well-being any less important? Also, your own well-being is key to the creativity and joy you can find in your work!

    I use you as an example in my classroom all the time (I teach teenaged girls); I tell them how brave and gutsy and smart you are, that you built yourself a great career through your passion and talent and willingness to take risks. Just thought you should know that, while you may not be perfect, you are a great role model. And the best role models are, in my opinion, far from perfect– they are the people we can relate to and be inspired by, all at the same time.

    Good luck on your journey and thank you for sharing so openly and honestly.

    Meg says:

    I can totally relate. Thank you for this post. Sending you peace and relaxation :)

    Danielle says:

    You are very brave for writing this AND posting it! I think that’s a courageous step towards making yourself happier. I will admit that I was feeling similarly for a while so it’s nice to hear that so many ppl have the same feelings! It has inspired me to make a conscious effort to enjoy life more and not be so hard on myself! I want to project happiness!! Thanks so much for sharing and being so honest! You have inspired so many ppl so all your hard work is much appreciated!

    Cassandra says:

    I’m no stranger to any of these feelings or even your resolutions to do more for yourself and less for your career. What I really came here to say though is that when you were talking about how you wished that your physical attributes were different… I don’t see any of those things, and I really doubt anyone else does either! It’s so horrible how we scrutinize ourselves when no one else even sees what we see! When I was in high school I was really really chubby, and there was a girl about my size in my circle of friends. One day a friend of mine pointed out in a conversation when I was body shaming myself that the other girl always pointed out and talked about how “fat” she was, and everyone just saw her as the fat girl. She thought she was fat and shouldn’t even try to wear the clothes she wanted to even do her hair- she’d always be ugly. But my friend also pointed out that no one saw me that way even if we were the same size- I never talked about my weight, I held my shoulders high, wore whatever I wanted, and I was suuuuper vain when it came to my hair. I’ve carried that around with me ever since and I’ve tried to just let go of whatever I don’t like about myself because guess what! If I don’t dwell on it, evidently other people don’t either.

    Hanna says:

    What a brave post. I have been struggling with anxiety for the past 6 months or so, but I have been a worrier for as long as I can remember. It’s terrifying to feel so out of control, with anxiety attacks or just the sort of keyed-up feelings that come along with it. Thanks for putting yourself out there. It doesn’t go unnoticed and I at least I am appreciative of another person being honest about what they struggle with. On blogs like this, I can see how it would be hard to try to live up to the persona you put out there–always happy, put-together, and successful–and it’s refreshing to read something like that.
    Anyway, I hope it gets better for you. I started talking to a therapist a little while ago and although it was really scary to take that first step, it can do wonders just to have someone tell you that you’re okay and that anxiety isn’t the end of the world.

    Julia says:

    Thank you for this post. I relate to so much of it. I’m in the midst of my own journey with anxiety and panic and have just started reading this book: Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life (http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Breathe-Yearlong-Quest-Bring/dp/143918108X). I’m only a few pages in, but so far it’s really resonating. I don’t really have any answers…I’ll have periods where it doesn’t bother me at all…and then periods where my anxiety and panic is high every day, shortness of breath. I didn’t want to talk about it for a long time and have found relief from opening up about it. I think my anxiety is often a sign that my self-care is out of whack, I need to slow down, maybe cancel commitments & retreat into downtime. Acupuncture and yin yoga help me a lot too. And I try to be really grateful and joyful during days and weeks where I feel super serene. Be well & thank you :)

    jamie lyn smith says:

    i struggled with anxiety for most of my 20s and early 30s. it was brought on by needing a plan just after leaving college and yet not having one. even though i found work I loved and made it through two graduate programs, I also struggled with bad insomnia and addiction to sleep and anxiety medication. Like you, I always felt the need to do more, perform better, be perfect. my biggest fear was not being a rockstar at my work. then, in my mid-30s, married and wanting to start a family, i went cold turkey off my medication. this was completely because I didn’t want to spend the time to find a doctor to help me. i didn’t want to take the time away from my work. let’s just say, i entered a nightmare, a roller coaster ride of panic attacks, migraines, and fear. somedays, I literally would close my office door (thank goodness for office doors), shut off the lights, and lay down under my desk. it was that bad. all of this to say, that i finally found a doctor to help, and amazingly, not only was able to safely get off the medication and have two beautiful children, but now live anxiety free. i even sleep most nights 😉 take time to find out what you need to lower the anxiety. do it sooner than later. reach out and find a therapist if you think that can work for you. it literally saved my life. therapy creates an intentional time to check in with yourself, which for me was necessary. you don’t have to go forever, but it is good to know that it is there when you need it. you are a brilliantly talented woman that continues to offer so much to this world. remember you need to give yourself something to.

    HP says:

    First thing, thank you for sharing with us. Thank you so much. I’ve struggled with this same thing for years. It sounds trite to say, but…..admitting your problems/issues is totally the first step in dealing with them. You are brave to “come out” on your blog. It must feel so good to just let it out. It won’t get better overnight but…but you’re on your way, for sure. Bright blessings on your journey and Happy Happy 2014.

    First off, thank you for being brave and writing this post. I have dealt with anxiety since I was a child but it was never discussed in the media or my family so I thought my feelings were normal. After reading an article in a magazine, the light bulb came on as to why I felt the way that I did. People (especially women) come face-to-face with anxiety every day. For some, it is temporary, for others, it’s a lifelong battle. I got diagnosed with anxiety and traits of OCD about 3 years ago (quite the combo, let me tell ya!). I take medication and I can now live a normal life. You do what is best for you. Everyone is going to be different on what works. Thank you again for having an open discussion on this topic. People need to know that they are not alone and there are lots of treatments out there!

    Lisa says:

    Honestly. Amazing article. This was so real and connected with me on so many levels. Thank you for sharing, in this sea of continual media updates and borderline gibberish its refreshing to hear an authentic post about actual life. Thank you!

    Sarah says:

    Ok, first of all, validation. I don’t know you personally, but at least from your blog, I know that you are vibrant, fun, have an incredible sense of style, and are super inspirational. Know that. But, as someone with insecurities of my own, I know how hard that is to really accept. I mean it anyway.

    Secondly, I’ve had anxiety for most of my life, but only gotten real treatment in the last couple of years. I can’t even tell you how helpful having a therapist has been for me. It’s someone objective, who can either validate or invalidate your insecurities and fears and give you strategies for how to cope with your anxiety. Society has this crazy stigma against any kind of mental illness that often prevents people from seeking help because they have no idea how common these afflictions are.

    You’re not alone, and there are ways that you can take control. I know that we don’t know each other, but feel free to email me if you have questions. You inspire me, and if I can help inspire you at all, I would be happy to help.

    Erin Radler says:

    Oh, Bri. Thank you for being so open and honest. Remember that this is the community that you have built, and we are all here for you whenever you need! Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about your struggles, we all have them! I myself am starting professional counseling (THIS Friday!) for the first time in my life to start dealing with my obsession with my own body image. It’s something that is incredibly embarrassing and shameful for me to admit, but I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t deal with it on my own anymore.

    I’m not saying that that’s what you need to do or anything, just know that we all have things that we struggle with, and you are not alone!

    Just to echo everyone else here, you are incredible and you are an absolute inspiration to so many people. I have quite literally changed my life because of the work you do and the ways you inspire. I have started new goals for my life and changed the way I process my creativity because of you (and I don’t even actually know you!). Now, I don’t know how many likes you get on all your Instagram pictures, but that’s something right there: there is at least 1 person who you have deeply affected (and I’m sure I’m not the only one).

    Just keep your head up, work hard (but also play hard!), and take care of yourself! :) *internet hugs*

    Anna says:

    This was such a beautiful post, so honest. Thank you so much for sharing it, it surely wasn’t easy. I’ve been a perfectionist my entire life and, for a long time, i thought it was a good thing, wanting to be better, to improve. But you can always be better, be smarter, look prettier, be kinder, work harder… so it never ends and you never feel satisfied with yourself. And it is a shame because in this search for “perfection” you forget to enjoy (or, at least, I forgot to enjoy, always so focused on how i could improve), so anxiety was always with me. Anyway, it still is some times but what has helped me a lot is meditation. It may sound silly but it has really helped me to connect with myself (i never could have some “alone time” or “some “lets do nothing time”, i was too afraid of… i don’t know what) and see things differently. i mean, it is a long road but if i look back one or two years ago i realize i’ve changed a lot, and anxiety is gone most of the time.
    Anyway, i just wanted to say how beautiful and brave it is that you have shared all this with so many people, and to encourage you, i’m sure you will find the way to cope with this and some day (and not so far away) anxiety will no longer be part of your life.

    Nikki says:

    In a world where every blog post and Instagram picture seems to blare “Look how beautiful and perfect my life is” this post is beyond refreshing. There is a bravery in honesty unmatched by anything else. Thank you, this is the most inspiring blog post I have read recently (as much as I adore all those how to style your bar cart and floral arrangement ideas one finds on lifestyle blogs!) Can’t wait to pick up this book.

    bri, this post is so courageous and just thank you for this! i’ve struggled with serious anxiety disorder since i was like 13. first of all it takes A LOT to admit that you have anxiety and recognize all the worrying, dizziness, panicking is seriously effecting you, and second of all it takes even more to reach out and either try to get help with it or just plain talk about it with anyone. i’ve tried a number of different ways to help deal with it, but it’s kind of always there in some way. i think there are so many people that can relate to you on so many levels with this post.
    i think so often blogs and social media portray a “perfect life” but the reality of the situation is that NO ONE has a perfect life, they just have their lives and that’s that. they put a filter on their experiences and share only the good ones, which probably only hurts them in the end. the fact that you can share something like this and get this reaction and support from everybody is amazing and so awesome. that’s one of the biggest things that can help is just feeling supported.
    one of the big things that has helped me is attempting to think about things logically. sounds easier than it is, but with practice i’m starting to get a bit better. when i start worrying and panicking i take a step back, take a breath and think “k hang on, this might not be a logical scenario.” another huge thing for me has been talking about it. voicing the worries to those close to me. my boyfriend, best friend and my mom are amazing at calming me down and pulling me back to reality. the difficult part is if someone doesn’t fully understand what anxiety is/causes you can sort of feel like you’re not really helping at all. but finding those people that will listen and help is a big must i think.
    honestly though, it’s different for everyone, but i really, truly hope that you and anyone else dealing with anxiety can push to find a way of helping it. so thank you for raising awareness on the subject. thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this post.

    Sarah Rose says:

    I always want to write posts like this, but I always wimp out. Probably due to insecurities! 😛 Thank you for showing a vulnerable side. I find it best to deal with doubts/insecurities by giving yourself those quiet moments you mentioned. To be alone with your thoughts. And more importantly, let these quiet moments be positive. Don’t let your brain dwell on your insecurities, but rather focus on the Good. Thank you again for this post!

    Meg says:

    Oh thank you for such an honest, sweet post. It was kinda like reading my own thoughts… especially in the last year when overwhelm has gone through the roof! :) It’s so hard to run a business and be creative (or maybe just to be human!?) without all these insecurities and doubts and anxieties. It makes them easier to bare when you know that everyone has their version and we’re all doing the best we can. I just got the book you recommended and can’t wait to delve a little deeper into this. Thanks again! xoxo!

    Kristine says:

    I also deal with terrible anxiety to the point I became agoraphobic for two years of my life. It becomes a struggle but I also got the help I needed. Something that really worked for me is meditation. It helped me calm down and unwind. If you deal with anxiety-related insomnia, meditation is also a great help. I guess another way of coping is knowing that I am capable of it and I have to accept that there will be good days and bad days where I will deal with the panic attacks. Also knowing that I have the final control of my own life and control of my own decisions, and the type of people I surround myself with is a plus. I’m also for baby steps and doing something that scares you once a day. I hope you find your happiness and if you need to talk to someone, feel free to email me.

    xo Kristine

    Brittany says:

    Thank you for posting this! I recently dealt with a few months of frequent/excessive anxiousness and stress. It makes me feel better to know that a lot of other people feel that way too.

    kate says:

    Thank you for sharing such a brave and vulnerable post! As someone who suffers with severe anxiety I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking help. While I actively keep tabs on my anxiety level on a daily basis, I have seen huge improvements since going to therapy a few years ago. And the most important people in my life know to keep asking how I am doing and remind me that if things become overwhelming or I am unable to deal with the stress and anxiety that it is time to consider a return to therapy.

    Since you enjoyed Brene’s work I feel compelled to let you know she is teaching an online art journaling course with Oprah on The Gifts of Imperfection. I took the first class and it was a game changer! I highly recommend the class if you are interested in further exploring the topics in her book.

    Freza says:

    What a coincidence! I just finished reading this article, written by the editor of The Atlantic, on anxiety:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/

    It really was an eye-opening reader and, I hope, a helpful one for those who are dealing with the same anxiety issues that you and the editor are sometimes troubled by.

    Berenice says:

    This post is amazing, it’s like I’m reading about my own life.
    Thank you for sharing, Bri.

    I Believe that lots and lots of people feel the same and that the way society works right now is making it worse.

    I like what you say about low numbers of likes on instagram and blog posts.
    Looking at photos and what people chose to share on social media can make it feel like their lives are perfect.
    All these tools we have now to communicate more and more online just make us less connected in real lives.
    This gives me major anxiety.
    It always make me sad when I see couples or friends out for dinner and they spend their time checking their phones.

    I try to distance myself from all these things and focus on spending “real” time with my friends and family (as oppose to just talking to them via facebook/sms) and do more things that I enjoy, for me.

    I love reading everyone’s comments.
    I will definitely come back to this post when I feel a bit anxious or down.

    All the best to everyone !

    Elle says:

    Honesty, as ‘they’ say, is the best policy. Hearing all this make me take a deep breath, and think, it’s not just me. Even these people whose lives look so wonderful are really just like us. Well done for putting yourself out there, I hope it entitles you to let that little balloon slowly float away and opens space for so much more in life.

    jody says:

    the gifts of imperfection is my favorite Brene book. I read Daring greatly right afterwards, and together they are the perfect “one, two” life sucker punch–in all the right ways. It’s important for everyone in this world to be honest about who they are and who they want to be because that’s the only way we are going to be able to honestly fulfill our huge potential!! Thank you for contributing to a step in the right direction, it’s honestly amazing. Honestly love you like x o!

    Rebecca says:

    I’ve never been much of a believer in fate but, man, this week may have me reconsider.

    I have anxiety disorder. Looking back I’ve always had it. It’s just always been there. I am also a perfectionist. I hate when people use the word as if it were a positive attribute. Being a perfectionist is hell. My anxiety has really peaked in the last week and I swear ever since it started I have come across the story of another person struggling with the same issues EVERY DAY.

    I feel like maybe the world is trying to tell me something. Trying to scream something at me, really. This shits hard, and change is hard, but it’s doable and you’re not alone (trust me).

    Danette says:

    When I first saw this post last week I didn’t stop to read it, looked like a lot of words…and I don’t have time for that!! But, I do, and I am glad I came back because I really couldn’t get it out of my mind. You have described some fears and attitudes that I can really relate to. A friend of mine has been telling me about Brene Brown (is that right?), so, obviously her name is going to keep popping up until I take the time to explore her words of wisdom.
    Thank you for sharing this post, you are a gem.
    Enjoy your naps…;)

    Ilze says:

    This is really a wonderful, moving and thought-provoking post. First off, I love your blog, your sense of aesthetics and unique approach to everything are very inspiring! But it is also true that often the personal lives of internet-popular people seem “photoshopped”, creating longing and frustration, overlooking the fact that the level of perfection shown is, in fact, unattainable…

    It seems that the border between what generates inspiration and what – fruitless comparing, is so hard to spot… I, as a reader, can’t tell where it is, for sure. I believe, it’s even harder for you as the creator/curator of the content that you share.

    Anyway, this was really refreshing and encouraging to read – a beautiful contrast. After all, we’re all in this together… we all fail, have imperfections, succeed in something and lack something else… Realizing the impossibility of perfection results in becoming at ease with myself – this is what I’m thinking of and observing a lot lately.

    Thanks :)

    oh my gosh, thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I very much appreciate your courage and honesty. I am in my first year of design school and want to one day have my own business. I follow a lot of women who are ‘making it’ – self-employed, with their own studio, etc. And, I read posts from perfectly curated blogs and think, I’m not like that, they seem to have everything so together. Whereas I have struggled with anxiety for years. So, it’s comforting to hear that people I admire have the same struggles. (Though I wouldn’t wish anxiety on anyone – you hopefully know what I mean – that nobody is perfect).

    I’m sharing my work more publicly now, and my anxiety has been at a peak. It’s messed up my sleep, and I feel it in my chest. I feel like I should be constantly working on my 2014 project. Something about sharing your work takes a toll – I’m hoping that I will learn to better cope and relax. Meditation helps, exercising helps, anything that gets me out of my head helps. It’s a continual battle, but, nobody is fighting it alone. Off to check out that book and some others people recommended in the comments.
    – kathleen

    Melinda says:

    ” i found it very difficult to compliment others often, because i rarely compliment myself. constantly analyzing, picking things apart, looking at how something could have been better.”

    I can relate to that sentiment as well. My fiance and I got into a huge explosion over the last time we both had gotten sick and I had already agreed to stay at my parents to take care of their animals which left us in two homes on two different sides of Houston, sick, annoyed and angry. But what he said about me not taking care of him is true, because I’m afraid of doing it wrong, making mistakes and it’s just easier to ignore the fact he’s sick than make those mistakes.

    I’ve had anxiety since I was very little, I have no clue what started it, but I’ve been a worry wart and a perfectionist all my life, striving for the perfect grades, job, goals, etc. I haven’t seen a doctor either, for the fact that I’ve been able to manage(coping) the anxiety since I could remember. In fact, where stillness worries you, I welcome watching tv just to feel numb and ignore all my problems, I shop to make me feel better eventhough I do not have the money to purchase things. I may pick up this book, the book and this post really struck a nerve to deal with this anxiety I’ve been feeling. I’m trying to restart my blog and try to sell my own art, but that one voice keeps telling “What if you fail!?” that’s where I’m stuck.

    Melinda

    hattie says:

    thank you for this. i think a lot of people deal (or at least experience) with these things, but the nature of our culture encourages everyone to hide that they are hurting and jumbled. that makes it really freaking easy to feel really freaking alone at a time when it’s pretty essential to know someone is in it with you. i’ve been trying to come to terms with anxiety and depression in my own life over the past year or so, and it sucks a lot of the time. once you allow yourself to be vulnerable in one area, you realize progress can’t come while you hold the lid down on another facet of the issue–it’s a lot to wade through. it’s really tough to let other people into the hard stuff, but i have found that there’s a lot freedom to be found in being openly broken.

    Adriana says:

    I’ve never related to something as much as I did with this post.
    Much love Bri

    Antonella says:

    Dear Bri,
    as a life coach I applaude your being so brave! :-)
    Anxiety is really tough, it can paralize you and suck all joy out of life. Your growing self-awareness is beautiful to watch. Do you knw this quote? I think is very simple and effective: ‘I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business’, Michael J. Fox.

    hugs
    Antonella Bassi

    Molly says:

    Wow Bri-
    I commend you for putting this post out there and oh my gosh how I can relate to it. I work in a very corporate world where I am rarely told I “did good.” I can be viewed as a bit of a perfectionist as well which has resulted in people misunderstanding me. Sometimes I want to scream, “you think I am hard on you, you should see how hard I am on myself…you should get inside my head for a day.”

    Each year, I tell myself I am going to take it day by day and only look at what’s in front of me, but it is something I continue to struggle with. I was recently telling my younger sister that I was very disappointed in how I participated in 2013. My rant went into, “I didn’t get to travel as much as I have in the past, I didn’t advance in my career, I didn’t get to spend as much time with family or friends….I probably was a bad friend in 2013…”

    Then I read someone’s blog post last week (cannot remember for the life of me), it basically said it isn’t about what you did or didn’t do or what you are going to try to do…it is about living in the moment and it is about the journey. That blog post made sense to me and it made me completely re-evaluate how I viewed 2013.

    I think it just goes to show that this whole world wide web thing (haha) can really bring people together and help inspire us. It is just important to know when to discard the negativity when it is not coming off as constructive criticism.

    For what it is worth, you have inspired me so much and if I had a dollar for every time I told my husband or my friend Vicky, “I really need to get my blog up and running and participate in the next blogshop chicago” I could quite my corporate job.

    Happy Friday Bri and please realize how inspiring and talented you are!

    YOU DID GOOD!

    Molly

    kristin says:

    this was amazing. thank you so much for this!

    Crystal says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty – I think you’re right, so many of us need to hear that others are going through the same thing we are! I watched this amazing presentation on perfectionism (and then read Carol Dweck’s book), and I’d highly recommend it! It’s really eye opening, and has helped me so much with anxiety and depression. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgUF5WalyDk

    Anyway, thank you for being you!

    Kitty Cotten says:

    I didn’t know I had an anxiety problem until I had a really, really bad anxiety attack and went to the ER. Sounds odd and dramatic, but I just thought that’s how life and my feelings are, not really understanding the depth and link to anxiety. Since, then I’ve picked up yoga, don’t over complicate my schedule (a big trigger for me), and talk to my younger sister a lot, who suffers with social anxiety.

    My very favorite ‘self help’ book is “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It isn’t an anti-anxiety book, but a philosophy of these four agreements to make with yourself for a happier, simpler and more fulfilling life. It’s a short read and a good one. Thanks for sharing!

    Megan says:

    Wow. I followed a link to this post and it is pretty amazing. Thanks for writing it.

    Claire says:

    I found http://www.flylady.net to be really helpful – not just in organisation for the home, but in being kind to yourself and booting the perfectionism monster out the door. I can be a bit ‘all or nothing’ and this did help me find peace and time and space for all sorts of things.
    Very best wishes to you :)

    kristi says:

    I’m so glad I finally had a chance to really read this! I’ve been feeling guilty that it took me so long since I was aware of it via pinterest and instagram!

    I have some of the same issues as well and when it comes to “getting help”…I have myself convinced that I am self aware of my issues and I should be able to “fix myself”. I always suffer from severe stress or worrying. My dad has been telling me “Don’t worry about everything so much” or “Stop being so stressed out” since as long as I can remember! Easier said than done, Dad.

    Over the past year (or I guess 3 years) since I got out of a bad relationship, I’ve slowly started to love some of my imperfections and feel ACTUALLY self aware of some of my flaws but embracing them anyway. My biggest hurdle is still fear of other peoples approval. I started a blog probably a year or so ago and I put SOOOOOO much pressure on myself for it be a certain way and have each look be perfect and professional that I just exhausted myself out of even writing posts and it’s faded. I have been dying just to write and share my life so my sister recommended maybe an anonymous blog which I recently started and I feel a little safer but STILL mad its not perfect!

    LOVE LOVE your blog!

    xox

    barbier says:

    Hello my family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include almost all significant infos.
    I would like to peer more posts like this .

    Vanessa says:

    Bri! Bravo!!! Thanks a lot for sharing this post to the world. Its nice to see that we are not alone with all our imperfection abd hard voices inside. Sport and in particular, running is doing so much for me. I suggest you to take one sport you enjoy and do it! Its does miracles to anxiety.

    Hugs and courage from Spain!

    Pernille says:

    Thank you for this! Thank you for being brave, and for being honest. All the best to you, -Pernille. (Denmark.)

    Emily J says:

    You said it, girl.

    It’s hard to admit that anxiety EXISTS as a real thing. And that it’s happening to you. It’s a mental but so very physical thing.

    I haven’t had an anxiety attack in two years. Two years! Because one day I sat myself down, edited my schedule, and told myself that it was all in my head. All of those physical symptoms were caused by mental triggers. Those mental triggers were set off by things like caffeine or lack of sleep. And the anxiety that comes from being anxious ABOUT a future attack of anxiety.

    So I cut out caffeine entirely. If I start to feel anxious, I turn away, talk myself out of it, and move on, calmly. I go for a run. I drink more water. I take control over my perception of my body. Have you tried floatation tanks? Do it.

    I am now somehow perceived as the master of calm (so dubbed by several of my clients). I wish you luck in your struggle, and hope that you too can conquer this beast!

    Paula says:

    Hi I have never read your blog, apart from this post, and found this via a link on Coletterie.
    Anyway, like your commenters I can relate. I am 47 years old, and it is only in recent years that I even realised I was suffering from anxiety. Seriously, I didn’t know the constant background hum of anxiousness was not normal.
    I could write a lot on this topic, how anxiety has affected me over the years. But I will cut to the chase of what helped me to overcome this affliction. Iyengar yoga. It helped me identify when I was anxious. It helped me still my mind, live in the moment and find space around the anxiety. It helped me be a lot kinder to myself on every level, and therefore kinder to others around me. It has helped me find peace.
    I hope you do too.

    Girlfriend, I rarely comment. (I rarely shower these days, but that’s because I just had a baby and can’t find time to do that either!)

    I know you are getting this a lot, but I’m really grateful for your words. I’ve been a fan for a long time and think you’re crazy talented. I’ve always been happy for you, and also a little envious of your amazing good fortune! Everything seemed so perfect for you and I wanted that for myself too! (I’m petty…)

    I felt like I struck gold a year ago with where I wanted my blog to go, and then I got pregnant and had a baby. Best thing I ever did! But my work had to take a backseat and it was a little hard. I’m just now coming back into blogland and it’s tough to see where all my friends are at. I could have been right there with them, but I chose to grow a human instead!

    I sometimes feel sad and lonely and stressed as I realize that I miss out on conferences and events and other opportunities. I stress myself out because I’ve gotta get that project photographed and edited! And I’ve gotta get the baby to sleep! And I’ve gotta shower! Yikes!

    Sorry for the novel, but I just had to say that I’m so happy you shared this. I’m not happy to hear that you’re stressed to the max. I hope that clears itself up right quick! But just, thanks. Thanks for making me realize that others are feeling like I feel. And that it’s okay to feel that way. It’s going to get better for all of us!

    Congratulations on all your success and I hope 2014 is a baller year for you!

    I luv ya!

    Thank you so much for this post! I hope the amazing wave of responses has helped you feel like this was the right thing to do. I think a person who has achieved your level of visibility is responsible to be good to themselves and talk about their struggle (to the extent their comfortable with of course). So many women already look up to you as a source of inspiration or find recognition of something in themselves in your work, and it’s great to see you take that one step further and add a deeper element of your own personal story to the conversation. -I know it’s a damn hard thing to do. ..but we unite in our suffering and we support one another through this sometimes cRazY life. By simply admitting your weaknesses, you make me feel more comfortable with the fact I am wildly flawed. So amazing.

    Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is super brave – but we only get stronger when we chase our fears. Similar to how the book said anxiety and calm are contagious, I have always believed being genuine and true to yourself can be the same. By you being you, for all it’s bright light and dark places, you celebrate the complexities of the individuality of others. Again, so many thanks! keep glowing bright <3

    Chelsea says:

    Such a brave post, Bri! You’re not alone, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    Becca says:

    This is such a great post. My anxiety started to take over my life this last year and having it really come to a head was one of the hardest experiences I’ve had in recent years. Since so much of my anxiety stems from being a perfectionist, I of course felt like a failure for having anxiety take over and for not being able to handle it on my own.

    I made a list of goals at the new year and quickly realized they were all connected to managing my anxiety. I’m now trying to take a lot of steps to get things under control and really return to my normal self after all these struggles. In addition to some coping mechanisms, I also saw my naturopath about the whole thing and she’s started me on a set of natural remedies that have been seeming to help a lot.

    I hope this book really helps you and I hope you can keep taking such great steps to get your anxiety under control so you can enjoy your life to the fullest. Sending lots of love and support your way!

    XOXO
    Becca | Ladyface Blog

    NEnz says:

    Thank you for this amazing and honest post, Bri! Wow!
    The past few days, I’ve been wondering about some of the feelings I’ve been having lately and why I’m not living fully in the moment. Your article made me realize that the feelings of anxiety I’ve been having, could possibly be coming from perfectionism and being hard on myself ALL the time. A little sparkly lightbulb just went up above my head! I never made the connection before, I just thought I was being weird. :p Thank you for your honesty. I think you are a beautiful person. I send you lots of ‘zen’ thoughts and support! <3

    Jeanine says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. I always worried about everything and thought it was “just who I was”. But a few years ago i found myself crying often, getting overwhelmed, not enjoying life as much as I wanted to and life just seemed harder for me than for everyone else around me, and for no good reason. I realized for the first time that something was wrong. I went to the doctor, took a class on anxiety and got assigned a therapist. Between the weekly therapy sessions and going on a very low dose of antidepressants, I now feel so much happier. The constant noise of worrying thoughts that used to occupy my mind just disappeared. I no longer worried all the time and it was so nice not to feel debilitated by that noise in my head. While it was hard to admit something was wrong and scary to try meds, I think it is one of the best and bravest things I’ve ever done and I would recommend anyone with similar concerns give it a try. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share this very personal experience.

    Judith says:

    Hi from Stockholm!
    It’s kind For the past 10 years I have also struggled with anxiety. It comes and goes in various degrees. I have nothing to complain really.

    On the outset all is perfect. I’m engaged to an amazing guy, I have an amazing apartment in central stockholm, I’m not to bad look at, I’m starting up a new business, I travel, and I can go on. But for some reason this doesn’t stop me from getting that feeling. That feeling that stops you from breathing, from feeling your hart is going explode, that nothing is in your control.

    I know how to deal with these feelings now and I had some help from therapists. I never took medication in stead of that I started running. And I can honestly say that nothing worked better then working out. It’s a cliche but it’s so true!

    Everyday I am telling myself to live in the moment. Realise that I am actually really lucky. Even in the most stressfull moments I try to do something for myself so I can feel a little better. So as you said you need to figure out what makes you feel happy and relaxed and do these things regurlaly even if you don’t feel like it. And if things get to much then it’s all about prioritising sometimes you need to let go of some plans for now…

    But in the end I think, isn’t everybody’s ultimate goal to be happy and content?. We are all striving to achieve to be in that constant happy place. But life just isn’t that perfect and that’s ok. Sometimes you have to feel shitty to be able to feel really good. Maybe if we just stop trying to be so perfectly in balance and content the whole time we might just be ok with feeling not so perfect sometimes.

    Keep up your amazing work Bri, You are an inspiration
    xoxo

    Lou says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Two things struck me;
    1. Your incredible honesty
    2. How many people responded

    I have suffered from anxiety for the past couple of years following a relationship breakdown. I was seeing a counsellor who actually gave me the courage to end the relationship in the first place but a year later, when I was hppy in a new relationship and *should* have felt great, I crashed.

    The feeling wasn’t one of depression, but exactly what you describe. Every morning would start with a feeling of panic. A prickly feeling all over my skin. Pain in my back and just a general dread of the day ahead. This went on for some time and the things that usually made me happy just didn’t do it. I met up with friends but I wasn’t ‘present’. I went on some pretty great holidays, which I can barely remember.

    Things are WAY better now so I wil share with you what helped:

    – Telling a couple of close friends and being very honest
    – Finding a GREAT doctor – if you don’t get the sympathetic ear you need, go somewhere else. My doctor was tough and challenged my perception that I was ‘depressed’. She made me write down anything in the past 5 years that had affected me. I found I had almost forgotten that I had recently lost my Grandfather, for example, and never really grieved. I was also seriously anaemic and drained of energy, which wasn’t helping
    – A little App called Headspace. Short ten minute mindfulness editations I heard about it via Birchbox – I have no idea if I am doing it ‘right’ but it has turned out to be an incredible coping mechanism for me. Try it!

    KG says:

    As someone who suffers from chronic illness as well as anxiety I often stare in wonderment at can do, never sleep workaholics because I know how important your health and well-being are to you.
    please take care of yourself Bri! imagine how much more you can give to the world as a well person! believe me, looking after yourself looks bad in the short term, but once you get into healthy thought patterns and priorities you’ll have more energy to throw into work and play!

    love your work! (like, actually, it brightens my day often)
    KG

    Beth N says:

    312, now 313 comments. That says it all…your beauty is in your flaws. Embrace them, you deserve it!

    Esther says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for being so courageous and allowing yourself to be seen. I know that it has helped others (not just those who have commented but many more who are struggling in silence).

    As a therapist and someone who has had my own bouts of anxieity, I just want to say that you deserve support and there are people out there- friends, family, and professionals, who can give it to you. Medication is great when neccessary but I know from experience that talk therapy, mindfulness, and maybe some yoga can be game changers.

    one of the reasons I do what I do is because I have come to understand the power of a healthy, supportive relationship- the kind you can get with a good therapist. It is my sincere hope for you that 2014 will bring comfort and a continued understanding of your anxiety. And maybe a really good therapist to talk to sometimes too :-)

    Best of luck…

    Tara says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I know how you feel and you’re brave for tackling it head on. Don’t give up! If anyone can beat it, you can.

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    Christina says:

    I really appreciate you. You are so incredibly talented and when you add in your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable… you’re making the world a much better place. Don’t forget that!

    Alison says:

    Thank you so much for this post – so many people will relate to what you’re going through and I’m one of them. I’ve suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for years and have tried different therapies/ medications over the years without finding something that really works for me. I’ve just started a course in mindfulness meditation – something I’ve read a lot about recently and thought I’d give it a go. It’s basically more of a way of life than a therapy and our homework at the moment is to do a 30 minute ‘body scan’ meditation every day and do everyday activities/ eat in a mindful way. It’s not easy to fit into everyday life but when I’ve managed to fit in a meditation session I’ve found it really makes me focus on the here and now and find a sense of peace. The main ethos around the meditation sessions is that you don’t have to achieve anything in particular – your experience that day is your experience – great for working on perfectionism, which I struggle with too. I don’t know if it will work for me in the long-term but it’s worth a go – what have I got to lose! I completely agree with what you say about appreciating the small things in life – I think this is so important and focusing on the small positive things that happen each day is really helpful. Finally, you shouldn’t feel weird about putting this post out into the world – there’s lots of us out here who relate to what you’re feeling and sharing this just makes us all feel a little bit less alone. x

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