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Anxiety Stories

Anxiety Stories: Tyese K.

Welcome to ‘Anxiety Stories!’ I (Laura of The Mindful Mom Blographer), started Anxiety Stories after I read Brene’ Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’. In the book, Brown talks extensively about shame, which is something I think many people who suffer from anxiety feel – as well as feeling alone.

We all know there is a mental health stigma in today’s society. So how can we remove that stigma? By removing people’s shame, and let them know they’re not alone.

Anxiety is a lot more common than people realize – I know this from all the comments and DMs I get whenever I get vulnerable about my anxiety experiences. Yet still, the stigma!

My hope with Anxiety Stories is that we can normalize anxiety by showing people’s stories from all walks of life. I ask that each person who conducts an interview be willing to be a little bit vulnerable, and each person who reads these interviews holds the interviewee in a loving space, knowing they’ve put themselves out there for a good cause.

*If you are dealing with anxiety or another type of mental illness, please talk with a 

There are some great resources on how to get help below:

Last but not least, please note that I nor my interviewees aren’t medical professionals, and the resources and tips are not to replace professional medical advice. We are simply sharing our stories and what we know from working through our anxiety with professionals in our own life. If you are feeling any type of mental health symptoms, please seek medical assistance.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What types of things do you enjoy doing?

My name is Tyese and I am a blogger at Strong Mom Sad Mom. I live in Maryland with my 2 children, husband and our fat, orange cat Pumpkin. I love spending my time watching baking competition shows, traveling, decorating our home, hosting family gatherings and writing. I started my blog after a battle with postpartum depression as way to heal from sharing my story.

What does the anxiety you experience look like (obsessive thoughts, extreme worry, intrusive thoughts, anxiety disorder, etc)?

My anxiety usually starts with ruminating thoughts, then extreme worry, then full blown panic attacks. I am naturally an over thinker but sometimes I fall down a “hole of despair” where all the worst case scenarios manifest themselves as intrusive thoughts. My panic attacks feel like heart attacks. I get chest pains, my arm gets numb and I feel a sense of impending doom like I am going to die. I have never experienced these symptoms before and I didn’t even know that anxiety was an actual thing until I was diagnosed at the age of 30.

Do you see a therapist/psychologist?

Yes, I have been seeing my therapist for a little over a year. I started off seeing her once a week, now I have appointments twice a month. My therapist says that I am doing a lot better but the thought of stopping therapy makes me anxious, of course, so I will continue my appointments for a while.

Do you take medication for the anxiety?

Yes, I am currently taking the lowest dose of Zoloft. I started taking it when my daughter was 10 months old after experiencing some postpartum OCD symptoms.

I was initially opposed to starting medication for fear of being on it for the rest of my life. Now I honestly can’t imagine coping without it. It is terrible to think that a stigma about anti-psychotic drugs almost kept me from saving myself.

How long have you been dealing with anxiety?

I remember feeling symptoms of anxiety as early as 9 years old. Of course at the time I had no idea what I was experiencing and my family just labeled me as “dramatic”. So I suffered with it as a teenager, throughout my college years and after becoming a parent.  I was never formally diagnosed until I was 30 years old. Now that I know the symptoms of anxiety, it bothers me that I experienced these feelings for so long without getting help. I just started to believe that my anxiety was just who I was.

What are some triggers for the anxiety you experience?

I have a ton of anxiety triggers. I seriously don’t know how I am able to leave the house because I worry about everything!

My biggest anxiety trigger is my children. I obsessively worry about my children whenever they are out of my sight. I would drive by my son’s school during the day just to make sure the building was not on fire. I quit my job so I would not have to put my daughter in day care. I couldn’t bear to spend a moment away from them. These fears have gotten better but this was a big hurdle for me to overcome.

The news is also a big trigger for me. I very rarely watch it now. There are so many horrible things that happen in the world and I feel like I take in all of the world’s pain sometimes.

Related: How to Take a Break from the News and Still Stay Informed

Have you ever dealt with the dreaded anxiety spiral?

Heck yes! I can tell when I am spiraling out of control. I am antsy and I can’t keep still. I can’t concentrate and I can’t sleep.

Do you experience panic attacks?

Not as frequently as I used to. A few years ago, I would have panic attacks every day. It was paralyzing. I couldn’t even go to work. I had no idea what a panic attack was until I had one.

What are some things you do while you’re having a panic attack or are in an anxiety spiral to help pull yourself out of it?

I always tell my husband to hug me tight if I am having a panic attack. Sometimes when I am having a panic attack I feel this need to flee. It is almost like I am having an outer body experience. When he hugs me or holds me back, it helps to bring me back down to Earth.

I also have breathing exercises that I do when I feel myself spiraling. It helps to release tension and brings me awareness.

Being honest and open about how I am feeling through my writing helps too. I think that is why I love blogging so much.

What are some preventative measures that you take to help prevent the anxiety you experience?

I know what my triggers are and I avoid them as much as possible. If it is something I cannot avoid, I am open about it with my therapist or another trusted friend so I can talk it out beforehand.

What are some of your favorite anxiety resources (websites, books, etc) that other people could reference if they’re struggling as well?

Well, my blog, Strong Mom Sad Mom, is a great resource for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or just plain burnout.  I am always sharing ways to cope with mental illness.

I have an app called Relax Melodies that has soothing sounds that help with my anxiety. The app also has meditations, binaural beats, and breathing exercises. I also use a mood tracking app called Daylio to keep track of patterns with my moods. It is basically an easy to use daily journal. No writing required! Just select an emoji to describe your mood for the day and include the activities you did for the day. It even creates reports!

Why do you think the mental health stigma exists? Why are people afraid to talk about their mental illness?

The mental health stigma exists because mental health is still very unknown. There is still so much we don’t know about mental illness. Another generation ago, anyone with a mental illness would have been locked away or treated unfairly. It is still a very taboo topic. That unknown leaves room for people to create generalizations or stereotypes about people with mental illness.

People don’t want to discuss their mental illness because they are afraid of being judged. Mental illness is sometimes treated as something that is your fault. Like you should be able to just “get over it”. And if you can’t just “get over it” you are seen as weak. What people don’t realize is the brain is a part of your body too. And when it is broken, it deserves as much attention as your heart, kidneys or lungs.

A huge thank you to Tyese for sharing her story!


Bio: Tyese is a mental health advocate, aspiring postpartum doula and blogger at Strong Mom Sad Mom. She started her blog as a way to share her story about healing from Postpartum Depression. Tyese loves hilarious mom memes, snacks, and green tea. Make sure you connect with her on her social media!





Want to share your own anxiety story? Check out the guidelines here!

Want to read more Anxiety Stories? Check out the other interviews here.

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Do you suffer from anxiety? You're not alone. Anxiety Stories is a series that aims to normalize anxiety in today's world. This story is from Tyese of Strong Mom Sad Mom. #anxiety #anxietystories #mentalhealth