the story of my #realbloggerbeauty

#realbloggerbeauty

when i read Maya of Charmingly Styled‘s post on #realbloggerbeauty, i instantly knew it was something i wanted to be part of. i have been in the blogging world for over four years and it is a fabulous community of people. through blogging i have met people from all over that i never would have known. and they are truly lovely people who have real stories, real issues, real talent, real passion, real insecurities. and most of the time are really down to earth. but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. most of the bloggers i read and interact with are women. and ladies, we can be downright mean. and with all the different social media outlets we now have a growing list of places to compare ourselves to each other. blog envy is a real thing.

it’s hard to see these blogs that every single post seems are so perfectly written, outfits every day that like they belong in a magazine, pictures of bagels that look like art, an instagram of the sky that gets thousands of likes, a blog post that gets hundreds of comments… it’s tough not to compare. it’s hard not to base part of your self-esteem off of how many likes, favorites, retweets, comments and follows you get. none of us can deny the instant gratification of an instagram picture rollin’ in the likes. or that we question how good a post was if nobody comments on it. i love being a blogger; and as a lifestyle blogger my blog is all about me and my story. but it’s very scary to put yourself out there in the world. for all to read. and judge. but if one person can read my story and say, “me too” or “i’m not alone” than that right there is something special. well here i am. sharing a story, my story, one that i’ve not told you before. but thanks to #realbloggerbeauty i am proud to share what makes me beautifully imperfect.

a dear friend once said, having a mental illness is like being part of a really cool club with a really shitty initiation process. which is so true. there are so many people who struggle with mental illness of some sort but the social stigma around talking about mental illness is strong. through blogging and social media connecting people with the same struggles, the stigma is losing strength, but it’s still there. and through #realbloggerbeauty i want to break the silence. i have dealt with depression, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, and anxiety since i was 17. throughout the years i have learned a lot about myself. and while i wouldn’t wish my mental illness on anyone, it is part of who i am. and i’m still learning to be ok with that.

depression

the majority of my junior year of high school was spent in tears, feeling left out, not good enough, not cool or pretty enough. i was losing interest in things that at one time i had enjoyed, was extremely irritable and constantly sad. i didn’t have many friends. at first, i thought it was just part of being a teenager. but my mom saw something deeper was wrong. i’m so thankful she did, because as difficult as the road that followed was, i couldn’t imagine going through it without help. after a visit with a psychologist/ psychiatrist it was determined that i had clinical depression. aka depression. and i started on a continuing journey of therapy, medication and learning how to be stronger than my mental illness.

one of the hardest parts of dealing with depression is pretending that you are happy. it’s truly exhausting. the fake smiles, small talk, the constant burning desire to just run away and cry. after an extended period of social interaction, i would be wiped. emotionally, and mentally spent. it’s hard to pretend that you’re ok, when you aren’t. but when people ask you how you are, you just say fine. because it’s not worth it to say how you really feel. it’d be too hard to explain and quite often people aren’t sure how to react when you say you struggle with mental illness. more often than not they say something that is supposed to be supportive but comes off hurtful. like, “oh you don’t look depressed. yes, i’m sorry. i forgot to carry my literal dark cloud around with me today.” and we are getting to overuse the word now, depressed, that it’s thought of just meaning to be sad. but it’s this overwhelming feeling of nothing and everything; wanting to cry for hours about nothing; just having a conversation with someone feels like a chore; telling everyone you want to be alone, but secretly praying they will come and ask if you are ok; feeling like it will never be better. and the scariest part? finding comfort in that. because you would rather be certain that you are miserable, than risk being happy.

fast forward to last summer. i loved school and knew i wanted to get my MBA. i thought it would be a great time to start; had a few years of work experience, minimal responsibilities, it would be great. i applied and was accepted and i was ecstatic. i couldn’t wait to start learning again. after my first class i was feeling great. and then suddenly i was in Indianapolis at a conference sobbing in my hotel room trying to write my first paper. i couldn’t do it. i didn’t know how to write a paper anymore. i didn’t know how to put my thoughts into words. everything i wrote i instantly deleted. it wasn’t good enough. i was up until the final hour but i finished it. i thought (wished/hoped/prayed) that it was simply because it was the first one. the next one would be better. i wish that was the case. and i could say that i would be graduating in the spring – but this story has a different ending. school became paralyzing for me. i had a physical reaction to working on a paper. i would get extremely panicky, short of breath, unable to focus, i quite literally couldn’t write a paper. i just started sobbing. i couldn’t write anything because in my head it wasn’t perfect. and it had to be perfect. it had to live up to my extremely high standards. and if it couldn’t be perfect, then it couldn’t be done at all.

brene brown

i thought i could “battle” my way through. i really wanted to be back in school. i didn’t want to quit. but the week that followed was even worse than the one before. and when i found myself practically running away from my computer cowering in the corner having a panic attack… i knew i couldn’t continue like this. it wasn’t healthy. and sometimes knowing when to stop it better than trying to keep going. and before i even finished my first class, i had to leave graduate school. i couldn’t understand what had happened to me. and after talking with my psychologist i started to learn about obsessive compulsive personality disorder (ocpd). being able to call it by name, makes it somehow more bearable. and reassures you that other people out there feel like you. i am not alone. that feeling of being unable to complete a task due to perfectionism? that feeling that i have to abide by rules, lists and a schedule? unable to be flexible and the feeling that either it’s going to work out or be utter disaster? i’m not the only one. what is ocpd? it’s a gift that needs a little grace.

i’m my worst critic. i never feel good enough. and i still have anxiety and lay awake at night because i can’t calm my thoughts, or feel sad just because that’s how i woke up that day, or unable to write a blog post such as this because i’m afraid it won’t be perfect. and that’s something i will continue to work on. and thanks to my mom and dad, my friends, starks the pup and my incredible fiance, it’s getting easier. and thanks to them i’m reminded how far i’ve come. no apologies, no regrets, no excuses – this is my story. i have depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive personality disorder, i take medication, i see a psychologist, i have meltdowns, and panic attacks, i live in fear of perfectionism and that’s my #realbloggerbeauty

note: first, thank you for making it this far down. i know this was a bit of a novel. but this is one of my stories i’ve wanted to share for some time now. it’s hard to put how i feel into words, so that you for bearing with me as it’s a little choppy. if you struggle with mental illness, i hope this brought you some comfort of “me too” and i’d love to hear your story. xoxo emma

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27 thoughts on “the story of my #realbloggerbeauty

  1. Jess Zimlich says:

    I have goosebumps! You are so inspiring and so brave for sharing this. I’ve dealt with my fair share of anxiety and depression over the years and it’s ALWAYS nice to know that we aren’t alone :)

  2. amy says:

    i’m really enjoying reading all of the posts from maya’s linkup today :) thank you so much for sharing your story, and please know that there at least one person out there (me) that struggles with depression and anxiety and feels the same way you do. ” “oh you don’t look depressed. yes, i’m sorry. i forgot to carry my literal dark cloud around with me today.”” that line really hit home for me – it described exactly how i feel some days. even though we don’t know each other, know that i am here for you and totally understand what you’re going through! xo

    • Emma says:

      Hi Amy! I LOVED reading everyone’s posts! I still have some that I need to get to. Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your “me too” it is so comforting to know that I’m not alone and though I wouldn’t wish what we struggle with on anyone, it’s nice to know there are people that deal with the same thing. I am here for you as well, dear! Take care! xo

  3. jessikalyngarcia says:

    This was such an amazing post! I couldn’t stop reading. I think I have anxiety, I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor, but I’m pretty sure I do. Everyone on my mom’s side has anxiety and it’s a tough animal to handle. I commend you on being so brave on sharing the details of your story. I’m glad that you have such a supportive family and network of friends (especially your fiancé) that cares deeply for you! In my experience, it’s hard explaining your anxieties to those that are closest to you (for my it’s my boyfriend). He doesn’t quite understand yet … But when it gets really bad, he’s always one of the first to comfort. It’s good to have people like that in your life. I shared my real blogger beauty story too! It’s on my blog, http://www.jessclassy.com. xo – Jessika

    • Emma says:

      you are the absolute sweetest! Thank you SO much for your kind words!! (My fiance also thanks you for your kind words towards him :)) I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles but I hope that my post helped you feel that you are not alone. Mental illness runs in my mom’s side as well. and so often we forget that part of mental illness is genetic and means that we can’t be so hard on ourselves when we struggle some days. I am so glad to hear you have such a wonderful support system around you – it makes the world of a difference! I enjoyed reading your story as well!! Take care, Jessika, and please feel free to reach out if you are ever having a rough time and need to chat! xo

  4. Katie @ Live Half Full says:

    This project made me think about the same struggles- I’ve always been my worst critic and it’s manifested itself in different ways. Growing up in the world of competitive figure skating, it was with my weight and dieting. In college it was how much I could put on my plate, which translated into me way overextending myself. These days I’m working on it and I’ve learned that my #1 is taking care of myself. I’m so proud of you for sharing your story, I am so glad you wrote it!

    • Emma says:

      I am proud of YOU for learning to put taking care of yourself as #1 priority. It is too often see to be “selfish” to worry about taking good care of ourselves, but nobody else is going to so we need to! Thank you so much, Katie!

  5. Aisha says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was very inspiring. It’s SO hard to live in a world of perfectionism and on top of that have our own personal issues to deal with. It can get to be too much! I will be praying for you, girl. Thanks for being brave and sharing this to so many. I am so glad you did!

  6. Erica says:

    This is probably one of my favorite posts for the #realbloggerbeauty campaign. Law school was an absolute nightmare, to the point where I gave up trying and just survived. I am impressed and so glad that you listened to yourself and understood that school wasn’t right in that moment…I didn’t have the guts to make that decision even though I should have. Thanks for your story!
    x, Erica

    • Emma says:

      You absolutely made my day with that comment Erica! It was truly one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. And even after I made it, it took time to accept it and not beat on myself for it. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience but my oh my you must be a strong lady for making it through! Thank you! :) xo

  7. Shalene says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, it really takes a lot to come out and tell people. I have suffered with anxiety for quite awhile now too, it’s hard to deal with. I have depression too but that seems to have gotten better. These are things a lot of us and others deal with on a daily basis but it’s teaching us a lot about ourselves along the way which is a good thing. So again, thank you!

    • Emma says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Shalene. It’s a constant struggle but together we have a community of people who are there for each other and teaches us how strong we really are! “On particularly rough days, I like to remind myself that my track record of getting through tough times is 100%.” :) take care!

  8. Ivy Boyd says:

    I knew I wanted to sit down and read this when I had a quiet moment. I’m so glad I did. Your honesty is such a beautiful trait. When you put something out there you feel is the “ugly” part of your life, it takes extreme bravery and humility. I know we briefly chatted about it over sushi, but anxiety is a part of my life as well. When I first began experiencing it during college it was scary because I couldn’t put it into words. I’m so glad I treated it, and continue to do so as I feel it’s been both a hinderance AND an advantage. My mind is always busy, which is good and bad. You are SO not alone in this and help someone with every word you type. I’m so thankful to have met you! <3

  9. Heid 'n Speak says:

    amazing. Thank you so much for writing this, I am so happy that you are working through this, it gives me hope.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Putting all this out there takes so much courage! I loved reading it and can definitely say it helps me to feel a sense of solidarity with those who are experiencing so many of the same things. I’ve had issues with anxiety since my teen years, but even through all the highs and lows, I was able to manage it pretty well. This year, it seems to have snowballed into something more and it is much less manageable than ever before. It can feel very isolating. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  11. Brenda says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for opening up, I needed to know I’m not alone in this daily battle! As I read this, tears falling, all I could think was these are my thoughts and fears. Every day is a battle to get up, the anxiety is beyond what I feel I can take anymore, I just want to hide from the world because I don’t belong anywhere. I too put on a smile and do my best to make it through the day. I cry on the way home most days and pull myself together before I get there so my family does not see me struggling. I hide my tears and anxiety from them even though I know how much harder it is to keep it all in, the fear of them knowing how much I’m hurting scares me even more.

    Your post gives me some peace and hope that things can be better, so thank you again for sharing your story!

  12. ackovitz says:

    I am late to the party here, but I am so, so glad that I found your blog and this post via tonight’s #ellechat. I, too, have struggled with OCD, depression, and a couple of anxiety and panic disorders since the age of 9 (yes, that young), and it always feels like such a taboo subject even though it has been such a big part of my life.

    I love reading other people’s stories, and it makes my heart happy to know that there are women out there who are strong enough and comfortable enough with themselves to share their hearts and minds fully with the Internet.

    Thank you for being you, and for sharing your story. I am looking forward to reading more of it!

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