Monday, April 21, 2014

Exposed: Living with anxiety.

Welcome back lovelies!! I was going through some of our recent posts the other day and decided it was about time to bring it back to our roots. Back to where it all began, to where we first started. That's right, no beauty tips, travel stories, fashion faux paus, or any backstreet boys references.
We wanted to take a step back and just talk.
Just the mere mention of writing a post about my anxiety for potentially hundreds of people to read literally terrified me. I spent days staring at my computer screen wondering if I should take the leap and publish this post, and after about a week of contemplating I still couldn't bring myself to do it. I couldn't swallow the fact that the one thing I've hidden inside for so long would be public in a matter of minutes. Since I've received an unbelievable amount of support from you guys in the past I started to realize I had nothing to be afraid of, and hopefully someone out there can take something out of my story. I am only one out of millions who suffer from anxiety, and this is my story.
            So what is anxiety?
As you may know anxiety comes in different forms:
1) post traumatic stress 2) obsessive compulsive 3) panic 4) social anxiety 5) specific phobias and 6) generalized anxiety disorder. Although anxiety is a completely normal human emotion to have, some people experience this constant worrying feeling daily, over things that normally shouldn't spark these emotions. An example of a normal situation would be right before taking a test that could possibly get you into your favorite college or before presenting a big speech in front of a huge crowd. For me even small tasks like returning a phone call made my heart race a mile a minute. To a lot of people this sounds crazy but for me it's normal. I know this sounds bad but I've learned to live with this constant fear, because I felt like I had no other choice. Nobody knows what causes anxiety, but as for any other illness having a mental disorder is as serious as having the flu. It's not a character flaw, or a result of bad parenting but is a disease and shouldn't be taken lightly.

                 Living with anxiety.
I didn't know and didn't accept the fact that I had this disease until recently. I was put off by the stigma that's attached to having a mental disorder. This idea that people think you're either crazy or weak was always on the back of my mind and is unfortunately very common among people who suffer from a mental illness. As you can tell I was focused more on how others would perceive me after telling them my story, and that just made everything worse. On top of that I had a new challenge to face everyday. Whether it'd be going to a party or trying something new It was fairly easy to be faced with a very uncomfortable situation.
I think I finally realized I had a problem about 2 years ago. I had just graduated high school and scheduled a trip for me and a friend to visit NYC (by ourselves) for the very first time. On the way to the train station, I felt excited it almost didn't feel real; But right before I boarded the train panic set in. All these negative thoughts invaded my head, I became extremely hot and couldn't breathe, before you know it I was having a full blown panic attack. I've had these feelings before but not as severe as this. At that moment I knew there was no turning back, the trip was already paid for, and we've gotten so far. All I could do was breathe and think about the amazing opportunities that lie ahead. 15 minutes into the train ride and It was almost like taking a road trip to a family members house. All the negative emotions that raced through my head earlier seemingly vanished. That is until we reached New York. Stepping  off that train was equivalent to stepping into a nightmare. There we're so many people, and being our first time there we had no idea where to go, how to get a taxi, or how to get around. I can't even describe what I was thinking, and The next clear thing I remember was reaching our hotel. We got around the city by subway of course. Which to a native New Yorker is completely normal, but to me completely foreign. I'm originally from a small town, so in the city I felt like a fish out of water. I felt like everyone was watching me, like they all knew I wasn't from there. That whole trip was awful for me. Part of me wanted to stay and explore the magic of New York city, while the other part of me wanted to go home and hide away in the comfort of my own room. The thought that we came so far by ourselves only for it to be ruined by my anxiety is what really annoyed me. My whole trip was spent in constant fear, we we're thrown into crowds everywhere we went, we we're even offered a chance to attend a show in the city, which the thought alone terrified me. I almost didn't go but decided to at the last minute so I wouldn't ruin my friends trip like mine already was. At the end of each day I felt drained, and exhausted and not just because we we're touring the city but because of the constant worry and anxiety that followed me around. I can't put in words how I felt that week but believe me, it was terrible. I looked forward to this trip for months and for it to be nothing that I dreamed of crushed me. I was so upset that I even thought traveling would just be a no - go from now on, not after that first horrid experience.          
        How I cope and what helps me.
I will probably suffer from anxiety for the rest of my life. It's become a part of me and I've learned to accept that. Since my very first experience I've accomplished so much and I keep telling myself that every morning instead of worrying about the day ahead. Everyday I try to push myself to do new things to break out of my comfort zone, while constantly reminding myself nothing bad is going to happen. Trust me the more you repeat it the more you begin to believe it. I'm still not the most confident person, and building up my self-esteem has always been an issue, but having anxiety shouldn't control your life, and I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't let it.
        My tips on dealing with anxiety.

Tell someone - I can't express how important this first step is. I kept these feelings to myself for a very long time. I was embarrassed and felt like everyone would judge me or treat me differently. When that obviously was not the case. My family couldn't have been more supportive, and going through something like this alone can tear you up inside. Sure there are going to be people out there who will say things like "suck it up" or think what you're going through is just an attention game. The key is to ignore these hateful comments, as hard as it may be and surround yourself with supportive people like your family or best friend. Which leads me to my next point.

Take a look at who you surround yourself with.- there was a point in my life where I realized that the people I considered my friends we're doing more harm than good. I was just learning how to deal with my anxiety and I started to realize the people around me we're a big cause of it. I wanted to be around positive people because that's really what I needed, and half of my friends we're the complete opposite.

Don't over think. - over thinking a situation can lead to panic, or a panic attack. When you're focused on something else like listening to music or writing you're not worried about the situation in front of you. Take up a hobby or stay active it can help ease the worry feeling and keep your mind of things.

Fake it till you make it. - My anxiety took a toll on my confidence and self-esteem, so I constantly told myself I am a strong confident young women, and I can do anything I put my mind to, even though I didn't believe it. I repeated this daily until the positive thoughts outweighed the negatives. Positive thinking like this can make a huge difference in your life and can be a massive game changer.
 So, what now?
I've managed to overcome so much since my first panic attack, I still suffer from anxiety but I'm sharing my story in hopes of showing you that anything is possible even if you may think it sounds crazy. I've managed to start traveling again, I'm even planning a trip across the world. I now live in New York city and speak publicly on issues that many people suffer from daily.
The idea behind this post is to shed light on some of life's biggest obstacles. Obstacles often overlooked by people like you and me. These challenges are what make each of us human but are often followed by a stigma or label that can make us feel ostracized from society, and well alone.. We wanted to show through writing this post that Even though you may think it's impossible you can do anything you put your mind to no matter what obstacle you may face. I know that going through something like this is hard especially if you have no one to talk to, so feel free to email me at or tweet us using @beauty_breaking. Writing this post has helped me tremendously, so if you've written an article about an obstacle you face link your blogs and we'll check them out, and possibly feature you in our next post. Thank you all for your continued support, it means the world to me and all of us here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Around the world in 90 days.

(A big shout out to Lauren Blenkinsop, @lblenx for inspiring this post!!)  A few weeks ago, I came across an amazing contest being held by, challenging bloggers to document their next big adventure or to share what their biggest adventure has been so far. Seeing as I've been planning some major projects for the future, what better time then now to share them with you all.

Traveling the world has alway been #1 on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. There's just something about immersing myself into another culture that really fascinates me. But for as long as I can remember I never thought my far fetched dream could ever become reality. Atleast not until about a week ago.

See, I'm from a small town where everyone knows everyone, and chasing a dream like this was always a thought on every person's mind, but never a possibility. After years of only daydreaming, I started to feel stuck. The same routine everyday. Wake up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, and do it all over again the next day. I was living my life on repeat and  I couldn't take it anymore. So I did what everyone else wanted to do but can't or won't. I quit my job, and started living my life by my rules. Admittedly I was terrified. I was thrown out of my comfort zone, and left with no money and no life. Constantly wondering what should I do now? Look for a better job? Maybe go back to college? Or continue living in the same county with the same routine. I was stuck, again. But then I thought why even go back, why continue to live my life as if the only way out were those 3 options.
And just like that everything changed.
I started to see the world in a glass half full sort of sense. There were so many possibilities hidden with every step, tucked in behind every door, and I was finally ready to embrace that. Starting this blog was only the beginning, now I'm ready to take on the world.

It was only a matter of time before my seemingly impossible dream became reality. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to travel the world, experience new cultures, try new things, and meet new people all in just 90 days. So I took the next big step in planning out my next big adventure, I put together a list. A list that contained all the places I've only dreamt of visiting. From places in the United States to anywhere around the world. Being that I live and grew up in the U.S. I figured I would begin by backpacking across the continent, hitting up all the big tourist attractions on the "things you must see before you die." List. My number 1 sight I must see in America, is the Niagra Falls. Being that I live in New York and still haven't experienced one of mother nature's most mind blowing sceneries still eludes me. After I successfully make it across the U.S. the plan is to branch out and go global. The first place on my list??? Europe. I've always wanted to say I've lived in another country and Europe being one of the places every bucket lister has probably checked off their list multiple times, how could I not go? Plus there's so much to do that I don't think I'll ever get bored. A must see for me is london. There's nothing more spectacular than living amongst remnants of history, it makes you feel like you're apart of something much bigger than yourself. Also with Paris and italy being just a train ride away, london makes for a great place to travel around. Now would also be the best time to freshen up on my cooking skills. I hope to take lessons from the pro's whilst in Italy. I've heard Sicily has some of the best pastas and pastries that I for one am more than excited to try. We have a whole list of places we want to visit but in hopes of keeping this post relatively short, we'll save that list for another time. 

The next big step in our journey proved to be the hardest. Saving up and organizing the trip. Planning something this big calls for a lot of work and obviously money. So we went out looking for ways to make this dream come to life. The next couple of days were spent making phone calls, and sending out emails. Only to end up with a handfull of empty promises or just no replies. Once again, I was stuck, and was forced to switch up the way we went about making this happen. In an all too familiar spot, we realized we should be focusing on the journey itself not the destination all whilst keeping our 90 day goal floating in the back of our head. So instead we set up numerous amount of meetings. Creating lists of what we wanted to do before leaving each destination. Like visiting the seven wonders of the world, or to dive with sharks in Australia, and of course each list is tailored to fit that destination. In Africa, I'd like to live amongst the native tribes and to visit one of the worlds biggest mysteries (to me atleast) the great pyramids in Egypt. Then we focused on making it all happen, which to be honest is still a work in progress but we plan to take it one city at a time slowly reaching our goal of traveling the world in 90 days. 
So far our next big adventure has been put on hold, but as the saying goes "A journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step." Our journey has never stopped it's only just begun

Planning this trip has been the most amazing experience in my life. I've been forced out of my comfort zone and will continue to challenge myself in ways I've never imagined possible. As someone who particularly struggles with social anxiety, by taking part of this experience I hope it will help me build up my confidence and help me meet new faces that'll hopefully take something from my story. We'll be documenting every bit of our adventures from when we first board the plane to successfully checking off an item from each new list. More importantly we'll be taking you guys along with us every step of the way!

Like they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Our journey has never stopped, it just begun.