This post isn’t pretty. Anxiety isn’t pretty. The photo above that you see is how I look in this exact moment, sitting in the exact same spot, hair half-damp, traces of makeup down my face, wearing only my giant NASA sweatshirt that I only seem to wear when I’m having a anxious or depressive episode. Before taking this photo, I ate roughly 2000 calories in one sitting, took a bath in attempt to calm my nerves (maybe you saw it disguised as a mini self-care tutorial on my instagram story), and I sat in my own thoughts, shaking and anxious. This photo isn’t posed — you may notice that it is out of focus. I couldn’t keep my hands steady enough to get the manual focus right. My living room looks a bit less polished than it normally does in my other posts. I just had a panic attack. I was fine this morning. Earlier today I spent time with good friends and enjoyed a cup of coffee and some one-on-one time. I had to take the day off to focus on my physical and mental health, and this is how my evening turned out. I told my friend this morning that nothing seems to be in a good place right now and that I’m trapped in the life I have in this moment, with no easy escape plan or big change I could make to improve my life. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is not a diagnosis to throw around. Being the transparent person I am (obviously), I will talk about my mental illness openly with others. It’s always the same conversation. “Oh, I have GAD.” “What’s that?” “Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My symptoms are… (blah blah blah). I like to be transparent about it to contribute to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.” “Oh, yeah, SAME. I have that too.” If I had a nickel for every time I have had that conversation, I could probably fund a program to educate everyone on mental health. If you have gotten this far and you are beginning to wonder why this is posted on my blog, I want to explain why I am doing this. This is a lifestyle blog. I document parts of my life to portray to you what my daily experience is: what I like to eat, wear, do for fun. How I decorate my house. Having a crippling anxiety disorder is an aspect of lifestyle, and honesty is my only policy. Some people who claim to have anxiety call it an “invisible illness.” I do have a high level of respect for that term — not all illnesses are visible, and that doesn’t mean that they are not legitimate. However, I wouldn’t call anxiety a 100% invisible illness. It is visible all around me: from a kitchen cabinet full of natural remedies I use to avoid a xanax prescription, to the stack of self-help books teaching me how to reduce my stress levels and stop being codependent on others, to the lights that are always on, even when I sleep, because I’m too afraid to turn them off, to my mannerisms at my workplace, my illness is anything but invisible. It is everything around me. I felt like I was lying posting my instagram story about the natural ingredients I was adding to my bath. That bath was to calm me down and attempt to curb low feelings, rather than to enjoy myself. I want to call myself out on that. Blogs are amazing things. They inspire and create and generate new ideas for others. But another thing they can do is lie to you and make you feel inadequate. Here’s the thing: nobody drinks matcha at brunch every day. Not everyone is naturally skinny. Nobody is happy 100% of the time. People feel like shit sometimes, and that’s what makes us stronger people. I’m not ashamed of my mental illness, and I am not ashamed of this awkward and ugly photo of me. I know that tomorrow will be better, but this is right now, and this is part of my life too. If you want a true lifestyle blog, you’ve got one on your screen right now.        
  • Hannah

    Thank you for sharing this post! I know it cannot be easy, and no one but you truly knows the struggles you are going through. This post allowed me a glimpse into your life, to me that seemingly before was picture perfect in its own edgy way. Honestly more lifestyle posts should be more like this, to showcase we are all human and not just that perfect image we choose to upload. Even this photo of you, captures a beauty in a raw form. I could go on and on… but enough with my rambling. Thank you for sharing, being you and being open of who you really are. If anything this post has impressed me with you more!

  • Becki @The Uncommon Common Law

    Ashley, thanks for your transparency! I can’t imagine what you are going through at this moment in time. This post is so real and raw, so much of what we see on the Internet is just “highlights”, the pretty pictures, I feel it’s important for bloggers to share a glimpse into real life. Thanks for being so honest, I know putting yourself out there is like this is not easy. I hope tomorrow is better! ❤❤

  • Acton Naq

    I find it very cute . .. Really nice 🙂 Amazing total look
    I love so much this your looking :)♥

  • Alexandra

    Thank you.. so, so much.

  • Hannah | Not Very Obsessed

    You are right; honesty is good to have as your only policy. It helps to educate and raise awareness for the everyday showing we are all human and no one is ever perfect.