It’s Okay to Ask for Help.

New York is not really the slowest place in the world to live. I know this comes as no surprise to you, whether you live here or not.

The past few months have felt like the busiest months of my life–long hours at work as my department grows really quickly. Taking on more responsibility at Junior League. Training for a marathon. Writing this blog.

Yes, three out of those four things are things I don’t *have* to do, but they’re all rewarding enough, in their own ways, to keep doing them.

Yes, all of those things are also outlets for stress relief–especially the running. I have amazing friends and an amazing family as a support system, and I certainly know my problems could be much worse…

But I’ve been struggling with anxiety lately, and this week it finally hit its chest-tightening, heart-racing apex.

Monday night, I had an awful anxiety attack, and Tuesday morning I woke up and not even a run helped. I got to work and tried to calm down, and I told myself mentally to put things in perspective, and honestly, I believed myself.

But I couldn’t control the racing of my heart and mind and my chest tightened so much that I could barely breathe. I ZocDoc-ed an appointment with my primary care doctor and somehow managed to walk over. I like her a lot, and she’s usually great, but I ended up having to wait for half an hour to see her, which, you know, didn’t really help with the anxiety. The nurse took my blood pressure, and it was 150/90.

She came in and didn’t believe my blood pressure was really 150/90, so she took it again. It was still 140/something. We started talking, she handed me a prescription for Xanax, and I looked up at her and started sobbing. I’m generally not a crier at all–except for at weddings and sappy movies–so this was terribly out of character for me.

She stayed and talked to me for a few minutes, and assured me that many people go through this at some point, and it was okay–and that this, too, would pass. She told me to sit in her office for as long as I needed to and suggested I call a friend or family to be with me. I called one of my best friends and she met me at Duane Reade, where I was dropping off my prescription. I took one look at her, too, and burst into big, sloppy tears on her really cute shirt. She totally took over bugging the pharmacist for my prescription and talking to my parents for me, while I stood there, just a little numb (and this was before the Xanax.)

We walked back to my apartment, stopping at Energy Kitchen to grab me something to eat for lunch, and she made fun of me for still trying to get something healthy even in the middle of an anxiety attack…so I got their baked fries.

My parents came over, and we talked and talked and talked. Another good friend came over when she got out of work, and my little support group really helped. Honestly, it was nothing they said, but just having them there helped more than anything…except for maybe the Xanax.

The doctor recommended I take Wednesday off, too, and so I listened. I woke up feeling guilty that I was taking a sick day when I wasn’t physically sick, but then I remembered that the anxiety was actually manifesting itself physically. I treated the day like it was a sick day and, other than searching for a therapist, spent the day doing not much.

If you think you need a therapist, you’re right. I think everyone could benefit from talking to a therapist. Not all of what the therapist said was ground-breaking, but sometimes it’s just easier to hear it from an impartial professional. Many insurance companies include behavioral health benefits now, so therapy can generally be no more expensive than your copay–and so, so so worth it, since mental stress can lead to so many more physical problems. (Caitlin wrote a post a few months ago that got some great comments on therapy and finding a therapist.)

As I walked with the therapist from the reception desk back to her office–a walk that felt interminable–I wondered if I really needed to be there. I sat down and thought what I was about to say might come out sounding stupid…and then I realized that there’s nothing stupid about admitting you need a little help. I left her office feeling much calmer–and like I had the beginnings of an action plan to get my stress under control.

I’m telling you this because I believe that we need to remove the stigma associated with therapy and discussing mental health. It’s okay to feel this way sometimes. I’d rather not, obviously, but it doesn’t make me a bad person, or a damaged person, just someone who needs a little help right now. And one who’s getting it from wonderful family and friends and a lovely therapist.

And if you’re feeling this way, or if you’re struggling, and you need someone to talk to, please consider therapy–or even just dropping me an email if you need someone to listen to you.

85 comments on “It’s Okay to Ask for Help.

  1. Linda

    I’m sorry that things kind of got to be too much, but I’m glad you found help and you have a support group.
    You’re really great for sharing this. It will make other people that need some help, feel better about asking for help.
    I hope things are easing up for you now.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Rebecca: Thanks πŸ™‚ If sharing this helped even one person, it was worth it. Even though, you know, my heart started racing a bit again before posting. πŸ™‚

  2. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    I absolutely love your honesty in this post. I saw a therapist a few times when I was in high school and unfortunately, I said everything right to get out of there as quickly as possible (it was clearly against my will). Since then, I’ve had a couple times where I thought about going to one (I even called a place for an over-the-phone screening) and for me, just getting to the point where I think I need to, or want to, or just consider it is huge for me. Despite having seen one before, I’m still dealing with the stigma myself and honestly, I think it’s silly. I agree, it’s totally okay to ask for help!

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Katie @ Talk Less, Say More: No stigma. It’s totally fine. Promise! But I absolutely understand. There have been a few times over the past few years I’ve thought about calling a therapist and ultimately talked myself out of it. It’s. okay. Also, booking online helped me a ton with making the process a bit easier to swallow.

  3. Tracy Schwartz

    I am very thankful that my insurance covers behavioral health and that it is not so expensive to see a therapist. I literally was making myself sick and one day snapped so bad my dad called the therapist for me, made the appointment and literally walked me into her direct office before leaving. I was terrified to open up to a complete stranger but today it makes me a stronger person.

    PS. You are an inspiration! Keep up the amazing Marathon & Volunteer Work!

  4. Vicky

    Amen!! Good for you for going to see your PCP, being honest enough with her for her to be able to give you some good advice, for reaching out to your friends and family for help, and for actually feeling, not numbing it!
    You’re fortunate to have found a therapist you like on the first try. I think it’s important for people to know that it’s perfectly acceptable to try out therapists–and if you aren’t connecting, don’t make another appointment, try someone else. You won’t hurt their feelings, they won’t take it personally. What they really want for you is to be able to do whatever work you need to do to feel better, and they know more so than anyone that it takes relationship to do that. If you don’t click, keep going until you find someone you do click with!
    I think it’s brave and authentic of you to share your struggles along your journey. We all have them, no need to pretend we don’t. Just keep taking good care of yourself!

  5. Lily

    Bravo to you! For recognizing your symptoms as unhealthy,taking the necessary steps to get help, and actually listening to your doc’s recommendations. BRAVO! I am so, so glad that you were strong enough to seek help from both professionals and friends/family-they are definitely more effective together πŸ™‚ Thank you for writing about and sharing your experience. I work in the mental health field and agree that everyone needs to work on reducing the stigma of addressing mental health. People applaud others for going on diets, exercising, and taking charge of their physical health. Why not encourage the same attention to our mental health as well?

  6. Ari @ Ari's Menu

    I struggle a lot with anxiety, and finding the right therapist has changed my life. It doesn’t necessarily change that I am the same anxiety prone person, and I still experience it more often than I would like, but it has changed my entire mentality and how I deal with it in the moment. It’s taught me a lot, and helped me to realize that the little things can sometimes add up to big things, and there’s no written rule for how “big” something needs to be to affect you. I’m really glad you shared about this, and that you are letting people in your life help you. Asking for help is so hard, but it helps to remember how awesome it feels to be that source of help for someone else. You are giving your friends and family a gift by letting them be there to support you! I hope that doesn’t sound like a Hallmark card. This, and so many of your posts just hit home with me. Thanks for your honesty!

  7. Meg

    Thank you for writing this, Theodora! I had a rough patch exactly a year ago, that sounds similar to what you are going through now. I talked to a therapist for a few months, and it was extremely helpful for me. Before that, I never thought I would “need” a therapist or even be able to benefit from one, but I found out that I was very wrong! I learned some great strategies for managing stress, and re-evaluated my priorities. I hope you have similar success.

    I really admire you sharing this on a public forum. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I only ever told my boyfriend, and one close friend that I was attending therapy. In retrospect, I wish I would have opened up to more people. I applaud you for doing so!

  8. Ella

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have read your blog for a very long time (I live in Aus!) but have never commented but today I just had to. I have just come from seeing my doctor this morning and in a similar method, totally broke down. Things have been getting to me more than they should and I’ve been teary and anxious for 8 weeks or more now – today I finally went to talk about it. I thought I was going to feel like a ‘failure’ coming out with a prescription for medication and a referral to a therapist, but my doctor was amazing and explained how common it is and even said that I was ‘brave’ to come in and talk. You should feel the same way – brave and inspiring. Reading this post could not have come at a better time for me. I’m one of the ones you’ve helped by writing it – thank you so much and continue being you <3 x Ella

  9. Courtney

    I suffered with paralyzing panic attacks…worked at a high stress residential school with Emotionally disturbed kids…So bad had to take 2 months off…medication lexapro and therapy helped nd I only take klonopin every few months now

  10. Ash Bear

    I’m so proud of you for writing this. Therapy has helped many and there are so many other people who really need it but are scared of the stigma or don’t want to admit it. I’m so thrilled you’re in a better place.

  11. Lizzy

    I’m a HUGE believer in therapy so I’m so glad you shared this. I don’t go often or with any consistency… but anytime I feel the way you described, I go see someone for a few sessions to get my mind in order. I appreciate this post because too many see therapy is a failure rather than a huge support! xoxox

  12. Maureen

    Thank you for sharing this. I saw a therapist for a few weeks in high school, but was so ashamed of the stigma that I refused to tell my friends what was going on. Years later I can see that I would have gotten so much more out of therapy if I had been truly honest with the people in my life. Your willingness to be honest and open about this situation is really inspiring. Best of luck to you.

  13. Dana

    Thank you for sharing this, and I hope you start to feel better soon! I really do believe that the hardest part is admitting we need help, whatever the problem might be, and taking those first steps toward figuring things out.

  14. Caroline

    Good job for taking the steps necessary to take care of your health. Sometimes as runners we focus too much on physical health, and forget there are other types of health that need to be focused on as well, so good for you! I’m a counselor and always appreciate when people reach out when they need some help and support. I hope it’s helpful for you!

  15. Meghan

    Anxiety is hell, and it definitely manifests itself in many physical ways. I’ve felt like I was dying in the past, and it was *just* anxiety. Therapy is awesome, and I also started doing some research on dietary changes that can help, like making sure you’re getting enough Omega 3’s and magnesium. I take a drink supplement called Natural Calm that helps keep magnesium levels normal. I guess it’s something a lot of us lack and can further stress and anxiety. Also, you might want to look up some pressure points that you can press on (like between your thumb and pointer finger) to help kind of reset yourself.
    None of those things have been 100% the answer, but over the past couple of years I have really minimized those awful, anxious spells. City living and constant social media stimulus definitely exacerbate anxiety, and I’ve really been working on spending time away from technology and noise in a quiet room with a book at the end of the day. It’s really helped to even things out, and I look forward to that little slow down, even if just 20 minutes.
    Most of all, be kind to yourself. Being frustrated with yourself or your anxiety/stress just makes it worse!

  16. Kelly

    Hi Theodora! I’ve been following you for a while but have never commented πŸ™‚ Just wanted to say how awesome I think you are for sharing your recent experience so honestly. I think the stigma associated with mental health issues and therapy is so unnecessary, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Posts like this help, and I hope you reach a lot of people that are hesitant about going to therapy or getting help. Thanks for posting – hope you have a great & relaxing weekend and keep up the great training!

  17. Erin

    I love that you posted this. Thanks for having the confidence in yourself and the trust in your readers. Mental health needs to be treated with the same thoughtfulness and sympathy as physical health.

  18. Katie

    I love that you took the time to talk to your support network instead of simply popping a pill and heading back to work. These things happen-especially in this crazy, modern world.

    I hope you are able to work through this and feel better!

  19. Jess

    Just sent you a quick email…but I’ll say it again here too. I adore your honesty in this post. I am SO glad you sought the extra shoulder to lean on when you really needed it. We all need to be able and willing to do this more often when the need arises…and without fear that you’ll be judged for it. You know?

  20. Mom

    Just wanted to tell you, We love you even more for having courage and being strong in your beliefs. You have helped so many people including standing by our family
    and teaching us what family means. You are becoming wiser and happier and I am so thankful. If ever you should need us there is nothing that we wouldn’t do for you.
    You’ll always be our winner!!!!!

    Love you
    Mom and Dad

    Mom and Dad

  21. Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans

    I agree that everyone could use a therapist. I’ve never been to one, but I went with one of my friends to a session with her therapist once and it was a much different experience than I expected. Even if you’re not going through a personal crisis, it’s nice to have a nonjudgmental person to just sit with and listen to you. No matter how mentally healthy a person may be, there are still things everyone could use a good venting about, but there’s such an unnecessary stigma to therapy that I think prevents people from pursuing the help they need.

  22. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    Awesome post!

    I definitely agree about the benefits of therapy. I went all through high school insisting that I could handle all of my problems on my own. Of course, this wasn’t true. I had issues with depression and anxiety, and eventually developed anorexia. It wasn’t until I finally got a therapist that I began to understand what was happening in my head and work on sorting myself out. No matter what someone’s problem is (or even if they think they don’t have any issues) I think everyone can benefit from it.

  23. jackie

    thank you for posting this…i have had my own issues myself. things have gotten overwhelming. i finally went back to running. i just truly want to thank you!

  24. dorry

    you already know I love this post since I sent you a text message, and like everyone else who commented, I admire your honesty. I know firsthand how terrible (and debilitating) anxiety can be, and many people will just continue to live with it because of fear of reaching out and asking for help or talking to someone. your choice to tackle the issue is the HEALTHY choice. xo

  25. Jamie @ StudioEats

    Theodora, I love this post. Please keep writing so honestly! I grew up feeling like I always had to hold it together and be perfect and only in the last year or so have I started to let myself off the hook, feel my feelings, and lean on others. It feels SO good to just let go and lean on other people. They actually WANT to be there for you! Also, I love what your Mom wrote in the comments… so cute, and you are obviously so loved! πŸ™‚

  26. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt

    Great post. I think a lot of times bloggers, all types, shade their lives to be almost perfect. It makes sense. Who wants to show the negative pieces of life. However, people’s lives aren’t perfect and posts like this let people know that we are all alike. We all have issues and we are all doing the best we can.

    Good luck. Good for you for taking that step to get help and don’t feel guilty for having a mental health day!

    1. Theodora Post author

      It is certainly easier to write about just the fun stuff and the great stuff, but–exactly, nobody’s life is perfect and I think that portraying your life as so does a disservice to your readers. And it’s funny–I always thought a “mental health day” was just a euphemism for playing hooky, but good lord was that a mental health day. Too bad we don’t get extra days for that πŸ™‚

  27. Nicole

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been teetering on the edge of finding a therapist and I’m convinced that I will now.

    I really appreciate you being so honest and straightforward. You never know who your words will touch and the actions that they will inspire in others.


  28. Alison @ The Peacock Diaries

    Very important post, thanks for sharing. It is interesting because so many bloggers work so hard to make things look perfect all the time (and from your previous posts, I would have assumed all was rosy)…but of course, no one’s life is perfect all the time. It really helps to remember that.

    Also, this hits home…had a few months of super anxiety myself. I’m about the same age and I tell you, I think the quarter life crisis is real. SO many of my friends went through the same thing, you kind of make this transition from being a post-college adult to being a REAL adult, and a lot of things change: more job responsibilities, marriage and babies (either yours or your friends), aging parents, money woes. I had a bad spring and ruined 2 family gatherings with my sour attitude (sorry Mom…I’ll make it up to you for your next birthday). But I am grateful that I was able to recognize I was hitting bottom, and it was what I needed to push myself through and on to better things. That’s what happened to me, and I’m sure the same will happen to you.

    1. Theodora Post author

      Thank you for this comment. There’s definitely some bloggers who make it look like their lives are all puppies and sunshine, and I never want to be that blogger. My life is pretty great most of the time, but it’s not perfect–and neither is anyone else’s.

      Although…I’m closer to 30 than 25, so I think this may be a third-life crisis πŸ˜‰ I hope things are looking up for you, too.

  29. Dad

    Many people have a problem now and then. You can be sure that your family and friends love you and support you always, even more in these rough times. We “have your back”!

  30. Anne P

    No shame in admitting you need some help! I hope you feel better and that life slows down a little soon (for you and me both).

    xoxo – always here if you need me.

  31. Jessica@sweatismysanity

    I love that you’re brave enough to write all of this. Seriously that was me 3 years ago. I’ve always been a worrier, but life finally just got to be too much. It sucks when you don’t even realize how bad your anxiety is, then the panic attack hits and it’s like WHOA! Just know that Xanax is awesome for the purpose of immediate relief when you just can’t get your chest to calm down. I cried a lot about it when I finally saw my doctor and then a therapist, but three years later, I still have the same bottle of Xanax w/ 30 pills in it. Therapy is really helpful…I only went once because I knew I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket $85 a week at the time (and he wanted to see me once a week for like six months) and didn’t feel I could commit to the time, but I listened carefully at that one appointment and remembered all the ‘natural ways to relieve anxiety’ and they helped a lot. Recently though, we’ve had some major life changing stuff happen…it’s going to be a BIG year of transition, so I finally caved and got put on some meds. I am taking Wellbutrin (after researching it and thinking about it for a year) and I love it. It’s helping a lot. Before I was against meds if you can avoid it, still am, but for now I just need it. There’s no shame in that. I have a brother who was ashamed he had a problem with depression. He kept it a secret that he was on meds, that he had tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists. He ended up committing suicide a few months later. It wasn’t until after he died that we found out he was struggling. SO sad. I also have a mom who suffers from depression…she’s always been too proud/stubborn to take meds. Let’s just say it’s a sad life for her and she’s SO difficult to be around. Anyway, sorry for the long comment Good luck…you’ll get through this.

    1. Theodora Post author

      Oh wow. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I’m trying to take care of this the way I do asthma–have an inhaler for emergencies, but learn to take care of myself so that I don’t need the inhaler/Xanax.

      I actually went to therapy when I first moved up here and was really unhappy with feeling so unsettled and nervous about the future, and only a few visits helped SO much.

      Thank you so much for the kind words–I appreciate it–and know you’ll get through it all, too. Do you remember any of the “natural ways to relieve anxiety” the therapist told you? Someone else commented here about magnesium/Omega 3s, which I’m going to look into, but any other natural ways are appreciated.

      1. Jessica@sweatismysanity

        Some natural ways to relieve anxiety are…don’t watch television before bed, maybe read instead. Exercise is a good one but calming exercises like yoga and Tai Chi are even better. Racing is not always great when you’re struggling with anxiety because it can lead to more stress. Healthy eating and more frequent small meals to keep your blood levels in check. Breathing exercises, though I didn’t go back to learn them. You could maybe google them but I just took a few minutes here and there and took a few minutes for slow, deep breaths. It seems that when we’re stressed, we hold our breath too much. There are some days where I’ll lay down at night and feel like it’s the first time I’ve taken a breath all day…like I’ve just been go go go all day. Not good. Yes, there are natural herbs, one is passion flower and I think Keva? Google it, I just never gave them enough time to work. They usually take three or more weeks. I also became aware of things that cause stress and tried to cut them out of my life. Of course you have to live a normal, social life, but for example, I don’t love being in huge crowds, or loud noisy atmospheres for too long so I limit those situations. I also took my doctors advice and decided to quit caring what other people think so much. She perscribed me Zoloft (which I never took), but she called it the “don’t give a shit pill”, and that’s always stuck with me. Violence is also not good for you so limit the news, or CSI type shows or violent movies. I just stay away from them almost completely. We both love running so I know you don’t like to hear this but, when you already have high stress hormones (cortizol), exercises like running aren’t the best because even though you feel good after and get that runners high, it takes ‘us’ longer than the normal person to calm down after. I can’t help it though, I prefer cardio over walking and yoga. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else. Good luck and email me at if you have any questions. @Theodora:

          1. Jessica@sweatismysanity

            OK, I wanted to check on the natural herbs for you. Passion Flower is good to take daily, non drowsy, no addictive side effects. Kava (not Keva sorry), is going to make you drowsy so like Xanax it’s better to take at night. Hope that helps. I also forgot to tell you to try and avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods, as they make it harder for us to feel calm. @Theodora:

  32. Alicia at Poise in Parma

    Girl, I get this. All of this. Anxiety can be just as physically paralyzing as other things – I know first hand. It’s not easy to take that step to say “things suck, I’m a mess, I need a break”. But GOOD FOR YOU for doing it. You needed it and don’t let others bring you down for it. I’ve been in your shoes so while I know I’m not in NYC, know I’m here if you need me.

    1. Theodora Post author

      I wanted to thank *you* for being so honest on your blog when you were going through this. It is so helpful to see others address this sort of thing and remind us we’re not in this alone. Also, why are you not in NYC?? xoxo

  33. Sarah

    I wanted to thank you so much for posting this. I went through something similar a few years ago. My normally managable level of anxiety skyrocketed when I was studying for the bar exam, looking for a job/worrying about how I would support myself, and dealing with the death of my grandma. I started feeling like I was having heart attacks and couldn’t sleep! It was a really hard period of my life and I so wish someone had said “It’s Okay to Ask for Help”. So thanks again for telling all your readers that! I hope you start feeling better soon!

  34. Clare @ Fitting It All In

    SO SO important – thank you for being open. I went on medication for anxiety to help my eating disorder, and while I definitely dont like being on medication, it helped SO MUCH and I was glad that I finally asked for help.
    Feel better <3

  35. Emily

    I’m glad you are asking for help!! I WISH I could see a therapist (my mom is so sick of being the person I cry to!) but most of the reasons for my anxiety is that I can find a job… thus I have no insurance. So I can’t afford asking for help. Such a problem with our country’s health care!! Thanks for being open!

  36. janet scudieri

    Theodora, I am so glad you are talking about this, that is half the battle of getting well. Also it shows you how many other people have the same problem. I had the same problem for about a year due to a job, and was on medication for about a year. I also still carry my bottle of meds with me in case I ever need it. If you ever need to talk and mom is not available, please call me. I will always be there for you. Moms friend Janet

  37. Kayla

    Love this! thank you for being so open & honest. I couldn’t agree more and think you are sending out a great message to others: it’s okay to ask for help and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed. πŸ™‚

  38. Jennifer

    I am so glad you were able to get the help you need and am also thankful that others can benefit from your post. I am a nurse practitioner practicing in internal medicine, and I wholeheartedly recommended counseling (in addition to meds, when needed) to ALL my patients who are suffering with depression, anxiety, marital problems, etc. Unfortunately, as you said, there is such a stigma attached to therapy when there SHOULD NOT BE! I have seen counseling help in not only my own personal situations but also in the professional setting with my patients. In fact, research studies have shown that counseling + meds is more effective than counseling alone or meds alone in most cases.

  39. Mads@ Mum's on the run

    Great post and good for you for sharing. All the more poignant because one of our friends has just had a monumental breakdown and tried to commit suicide by cutting himself (in front of his family). You would never even have known anything was wrong from the outside… Just goes to show you can never know what is going on behind closed doors. Especially here in the uk people are so afraid of talking about stuff and admitting anything is wrong. . X

  40. Chase

    You’re so right. It’s totally ok to ask for help. Would I try to fix my car myself? Nope. Call the mechanic. Would I attempt to buy a house myself? Nope. Call a realtor. I treat reaching out to a counselor/therapist/etc. in the same way. xoxo We’re all here for you

  41. Heather

    So sorry you are dealing with this halfie twin. I think you are a rock star for handling all you do. Confession: I take Xanax every time I fly. I get so panicked and nearly had a full on anxiety attack on a plane a few years ago, so its a necessity for me. I refused to let my anxiety stop me from traveling and living life, so it was something I felt like I needed to do, and I’m def not ashamed and you shouldn’t be either. Everyone has their struggles and hard times, this too will pass! hugs!

  42. Julie (@ROJRunning)

    Lovely post. Glad you’re doing what you need for yourself. I myself a licensed mental health therapist and yet I still get the impulse of thinking “What did I do WRONG” or “What’s WRONG with me” when I get to the point where I’m not wonder woman and I can’t do it all.

    I wish more people saw therapy or counseling the way we see a personal trainer. Someone who has gone to school to help us find the best method and fit for our bodies/minds. A way to keep going stronger, not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength in knowing how to best utilize resources. Hmm actually I think you may have just inspired a blog post for me. ( ;

  43. Devon Mills

    Sorry to hear that you’re going through this, but I’m very glad you’re doing what’s best for you!!

    I’ve had two panic attacks, and one caused me to feel so upset the next day at work (as in, sobbing at my desk) that I had to leave and take a mental-health day. Luckily, my boss had had panic attacks and totally understood. I relaxed, ate comfort food, went for a peaceful walk and saw a movie by myself. No shame in that.

    Take care of yourself!

  44. Tara

    Great post!! I am a new reader and love everything I see πŸ™‚ I am glad tht you have such a great support system. Everything will start to look brighter soon!! Just keep being you!!

  45. Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian

    This is a wonderful post, Theodora! You’re so brave for sharing! I too have struggled many times with anxiety and feeling this way and you’re so right – sometimes you just need to ask for help. There’s no shame in that and it takes a strong person to realize it. I hope you’re feeling better!

  46. Ang

    I have depression, and although I’ve learned to recognize the signs of when my mood is taking a turn for the worse, sometimes it rears it’s ugly head at the most inopportune moments. It’s hard to admit you have an issue, even harder to ask for help, but it’s also one of the bravest and smartest things you can do. I hope you’re feeling better and that the therapist brings you come peace and insight.

  47. Ali

    I’m so sorry to read that you’ve been having a tough time lately. NYC is a crazy, competitive place and it becomes natural to take on so much β€” too much, even β€” because it seems like that’s what “everyone else is doing.” You do a LOT, and I’m glad that you’re working your way through the challenges. I totally understand your feelings of guilt with taking a sick day, but anxiety IS a real thing and remember, that’s what sick days are there for.

    I also think that in this world of bloggers and runners, it’s natural to think that exercise or eating a healthy meal will “fix things.” Yeah, sometimes going for a run helps, but when things get truly difficult, it’s absolutely acceptable to ask for help. Keep doing what you’re doing and working through everything the way that’s best for YOU.

  48. Maggie

    I think it’s great that you realized you needed and sought out help and that you wrote this post. My family has a long history of depression and mental illness and although I’ve never personally struggled with it, I agree that there’s such a stigma around mental health. Just the other day a good friend from work was telling me how a friend of a friend tried to kill himself and was in an in-patient facility for a while and she acted like he was a mass murderer, which obviously is not the case.

    Everyone goes through good and bad times and there’s no point in suffering when there’s help available, whether it’s the support of family and friends, medicinal, or seeing a therapist. I wish you all of the best.

  49. Katrine

    Thank you so much for this post. As someone who has struggled with anxiety on and off for many years, it makes me feel good to know that I’m not alone and that there are people out there willing to help. I often find that just identifying my anxiety and owning it gives me some relief. You are brave for sharing your struggle and I, for one, am grateful.

  50. Katie D.

    As a mental health professional, I’m SO happy to read this post. It is okay to need help. Nobody would blink an eye at going to a specialists and taking meds for cancer. Why is getting mental health help so damn hard and scary still??

    Glad you followed your gut and are getting things back in the groove!!

  51. Margaret @ Have A Good Run

    Great post, Theodora! So important to talk about, too. There’s no reason why anyone should be afraid to ask for help. I’ve also experienced anxiety/panic attacks – the lack of control was SO scary, made me feel like I was the ONLY person experiencing them, and kind of just made me feel helpless. I’m so glad you recognized that you need help – so many people don’t, and they could benefit immensely from it. It’s definitely OK to ask for help! xoxo

  52. Amy

    Glad you’re feeling better! I had an anxiety/panic attack last spring, and I thought I was having a heart attack! It was the first time I ever had the sensation/feeling (I’m 29). What I found odd was that I went through college, where I handled a full class load, worked, had a very active social life, ate pure crap most of the time and drank way more caffeine than I do now and I never felt the way I felt after my anxiety/panic attack. My doctor reminded me that I’m no longer 21 and that my body is different and responds differently to stress. Glad you decided to take it easy and take steps that you know work for you.

  53. Shannon

    I know I’m like 2 weeks to this post, but I’ve been super busy and stressed lately so I’m finally catching up on my Reader.


    I’ve been seeing a therapist for about five months because I have family issues and extreme work-related stress. The day I decided to defer from NYCM, I just sat in her office and cried because I felt like a failure.

    I love that you wrote this post because there is absolutely still a stigma attached to therapists and getting help for mental health, and there shouldn’t be. I hope your readers who truly need help decide to take action as a result of your honesty.

    Hope you’re doing better, and remember – it’s all a process!

  54. Jessica

    I just saw this and had to comment. I used to read your blog everyday but haven’t lately after starting a new job a few months ago and lots of stress. Two months ago I ended up in the ER with a panic attack so bad it was affecting my vision and my BP was 160/90. I refused the meds and things have lightened up a little but have been meaning to “fit in” making a therapy appointment, so you have inspired me to do so finally.

  55. Vicki

    Thank you for posting this. For being so open and honest. I *needed* to read this today. I’ve struggled with panic attacks since I was a teen. I too have been prescribed xanex … But lately I’ve been feeling like the walls are caving in on me. I’ve been doing a bit of research and I think I may be what they call a “high functioning depressive” … and have been considering seeing a therapist or some group therapy sessions … so yes, thank you for this post.

  56. marie

    New reader here, and I have to say thank you so much for this post. I, too, have struggled (ahem, struggle) with anxiety and it’s definitely important to utilize ALL resources and support from friends and family.

  57. McKenzie

    Thank you for being so open and sharing your experiences with anxiety and stress! It is so common, and I am glad the negative stigmas around mental health issues is starting to fall away!

  58. Heather

    It’s great of you to share your personal story on dealing with anxiety to help raise mental health awareness. There’s definitely still a stigma, but the more people who open up about seeking help for these issues, the more acceptance will grow. Thanks for sharing!


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