My Battle With Anxiety

Hi friend and happy Tuesday! Coming at you for the second time today and I have decided to share a personal struggle with you. Today, I’m going to share a bit about my recent aggressive bout of anxiety. A little background on me… I’ve always been high energy and high strung at times, but my anxiety really became prominent after my mom was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, when I was in college. I’ve always been able to manage it, or so I thought. But the past few months have been some of my worst. I want my blog and social media channels to be a happy escape for you from real life, but I built this business 10 years ago and vowed to always share the good and the bad. While, I’m about to take a deep dive into the bad and share probably too much information, I just hope that it helps one of you feel less alone. So, let’s get started…

SWEATER // JEANS // BAG // SNEAKERS

 

My Battle With Anxiety

I can’t really tell you exactly what started this terrible bout of anxiety, but I can recall lots of events that no doubt contributed to it. Covid, job stress and pressure, loss of work, being taken advantage of by people who worked for us, being told by a brand and company (that boasts inclusivity) that I wasn’t enough to work with them, a good friend, who I talked to daily, dropped me-literally just stopped talking to me. I still don’t know why. I think the realization this summer that people I trusted only wanted to be my friend when they could gain something from me, that was hard to bear. I was excluded from events of close friends, I had exciting things happen, only to realize that the lack of support was different towards me, our house almost sold, but then didn’t, even after the agent pressed the fact that it was a sure thing and then my kids started school in the midst of even more Covid chaos and a new school at that. The list goes on, but these are a couple of the big things that I have realized triggered this breakdown and they stand out to me months later. There is a TON more because this has been going on longer than I realized, but these are big to me things that came to mind as I wrote this. They just triggered the breakdown that was impending and looking back, I’m glad it all happened because I’m now in a way better place. It all came crashing down one day and while I have struggled with my health a lot, this was hands down the worst I have ever felt.

I started having panic attacks, but not the typical attack that I had ever known. I felt like I was going to throw up, I had indigestion, I was nauseous, I was dizzy, I’d have dry mouth and then started to panic about where I would in fact throw up. I also have throw up anxiety (it’s a legit thing). My heart would race sometimes, I would feel dizzy, like I was swaying on a boat. I would wake up in the night with a racing heart like I had been running. So, I started to panic about having a panic attack. Like I was always just waiting for one to strike. It was scary and I was panicking about my health almost 24/7. My anxiety all stems back to my health. It’s all health related for me. It always has been this way, ever since my mom had cancer. The day it got terrible (and started peaking worse than ever) was my birthday. We went to lunch and I basically had an internal panic attack. It happened again at dinner that night. I tried so hard to move past it all, but I truly couldn’t seem to make it stop happening. I tried it all, mind over matter, deep breathing, natural remedies, I exercised a ton, nothing was helping and it was getting worse. I literally tried EVERYTHING.

I pleaded to God to help me feel better and he didn’t and that was also depressing. I was so down about the way I felt. Because I knew I needed to snap out of it and I just couldn’t. I’ve since learned that lots of people become depressed because of their anxiety. I was so in my head that I knew I didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t fix it. I tried to get into a Dr and no one had availability. I will say I think that is such a downfall of our society, that even in a crisis, it can take weeks to be seen by a specialist. The day before my appointment, after weeks of waiting, it was my worst day and again a blessing in disguise because I contemplated canceling it prior to this. I woke up hourly that night with a racing heart. I was terrified. I wanted to go the ER but also was scared to go because of Covid. The next morning, I googled cardiologists and called the first one and begged them to see me that day. And they did, but I had to wait THREE grueling hours. It was awful because at that point, I was panicking anytime I was out and in a mask. The mask made me feel claustrophobic, so it just added to the anxiety. All that to say, My EKG was not normal, so I was then scheduled for tons of testing. The cardiologist also thought my “eyes looked sad.”

From that appointment, I went to the psychiatrist that I had waited weeks to get into. She was nice enough, asked a million questions, listened to it all and I just said “I know I can’t live this way anymore, which is why I’m here” and when I say that, I mean, I just knew I needed help to move past this. I just knew it was getting worse and as much as I didn’t want to take anything, nothing else I had tried, worked. And she said “you don’t have to.” I told her how I prayed and pleaded to God to fix me and she said “sometimes this is how God helps. Medicine can help get you over the hump.” And that was profound to me. I never thought of it that way. I’m not against medicine, I’m actually a huge believer in it. It can save lives, help people live full and happy lives, etc. But, I was always of the mentality that I was strong enough to figure it out on my own. Like somehow it made me weak (it doesn’t), yet I’d support a friend in taking it (and have many times in my life). Such an Ashley way of thinking, I swear. I have always, my whole life, just figured things out. And a lot of times, by myself, so I think I just saw this as yet another thing I needed to do on my own.

So, this Dr recommended Lexapro and I was so sad to even have this as my option, but also knew I needed a reset. She said, let’s try it for 6 months. I remember thinking, I can do anything for 6 months. I still remember taking the half a pill that I started with and praying that it would help. That is how bad I felt. The first week was rough, nausea and exhaustion, but she assured me it would get better and slowly it did. I can still remember waking up and thinking that I felt more like myself. Slowly but surely, my worrying became less prominent in my day. I have started calling myself Ashley 2.0, because I feel so different than I had. I no longer dwell on things. I’m an empath, so I would physically be ill and sad about things that had nothing to do with me. This has gotten better, too. I have moments where I actually feel happy. My mind has stopped racing. I could go on and on, but it’s been life changing for me. This little pill that I had to will myself to try, it has helped bring my joy back. The craziest thing is how I realize that I hadn’t been in a good place for a long time. My only regret was not trying a medication sooner and I still cant believe me, who is not a fan of taking anything, is saying that.

I feel gratitude every day that I take the pill now, because it has given me back my life. I no longer see myself planning my exit from the pill, my plan is to work through some stuff and get off or stay on. To be honest, most of what I realize is that I wish I had started it sooner. My struggle lasted more than just this summer, that was just when a few big things threw me to rock bottom. My Dr asked me the other day if I felt like a failure for taking a medication and my response was “no, the old me, she would’ve, but Ashley 2.0 is proud of the step that I took.” I am grateful to feel better. I have tinges of random anxiety about what I do if it the attacks or aggressive anxiety comes back, but then, I’m sure thanks to the pill, that thought moves on out and I can let it go.

I was extremely fearful of how this would affect my kids and my husband if I didn’t get help. My kids didn’t seem to notice anything, which is great and let’s be honest, I am pretty good at covering it up and realized I have done that for a long time. But, I know that it took its toll on Mr. Fancy. It’s really hard to watch someone you love go through a patch like this and not being able to fix it for them. He was there for me through it all, but there was little that he could say or do that helped, besides just being there, which he was. That being said, him not traveling was a blessing in disguise, because I needed him here during my lowest.

Sharing my story is vulnerable for me. I’ve shared a lot over the years, but this might take the cake on personal. I share it with you because I want you to know that this is the path I took and it took me a long time to get there. It took me a long time to ask for help and realize I couldn’t do it alone. And gosh, I tried like hell to do it alone. I’m sure there are people out there like me and at the end of the day, whatever journey you choose, it’ll be the right one for you. I just wanted you to know that I have truly been there and it has taken everything to drag me out of it. What I have realized personally is there is no shame in healing. No matter what you need to do to get there. We’ve realized I have PTSD and lots of these events just triggered that for me. I have a clear goal with therapy now and even though, I have gone for years, I really want to focus and work through what I have struggled with. My journey is just beginning, but I am grateful that I hit the bottom, because if I didn’t, I’m sure I’d still be living that way. The Dr told me “you don’t have to live this way” and I felt like that was such a profound moment for me. It was like a huge relief. 

My friend told me today that she thought God took me through this so that I could share my story with others and I truly believe that is part of the reason. I had to hit this low to realize I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. And to share my story with you because maybe you need someone to tell you that you don’t have to do it alone anymore either. Asking for help is never a bad thing. I think particularly as women, we tend to think we can handle it all ourselves. I’m actually grateful that I realized that I cant. If anything, I hope you read this post and it helps you to realize that I am far from perfection. I struggle and I fall. I did fall, but I’m getting back up and I’m grateful. I use the word grateful a lot because it is a word that is so powerful to me because I truly feel that way. I am truly filled with gratitude to feel better. Do I still have my anxious moments? Of course, but the difference is, I move past them instead of dwelling in them and that for me, has been huge. If you are in a bad spot, you can come out of it. Maybe without help like I did in the past or maybe with help, like I did recently. Either way, I hope you know, my friend, that you are never alone. I’m here and I truly understand what you’re going through. XOXO, Ashley

Welcome to The House Of Fancy

House of Fancy is the lifestyle brand created by wife, mom, blogger, fashionista, foodie, home project addict, wine enthusiast, entertainer and sometimes DIY Queen, Ashley Lastovica. We believe in bringing a little Fancy to your everyday!

The Fancy Tees

Where I Love to Shop

House of Fancy is the lifestyle brand created by wife, mom, blogger, fashionista, foodie, home project addict, wine enthusiast, entertainer and sometimes DIY Queen, Ashley Lastovica. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of chardonnay and join Ashley and her husband Mr. Fancy, for a peek into their everyday life and all the fun, fashion, fabulousness, home renovations, family and sometimes chaos that is the House of Fancy!

ABOUTCONTACT

Leave a Comment

46 Comments

  1. Sara wrote:

    Thank you for your honest post. You will never know how much I needed this today!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  2. Bethany wrote:

    What a beautiful, heartfelt, vulnerable post. It is amazing the power of sharing and being vulnerable. My husband and both children suffer from Anxiety and medication has been life changing for each of them. Talking about mental heath normalizes it. Thank you for being brave, for being honest and for sharing your journey. I hope every day is just a little better than the last and one day you look back and are amazed by the peace and joy you have created in your own life!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  3. Monica Converse wrote:

    You are SO NOT ALONE! I am right there with you and totally get it! I drove to work one day and couldn’t get out of my car. I drove across the street to my Dr. And they took me in right away. Took me out of work for two weeks and I was very fortunate not to have to return.

    Always thinking of you!!! ♥️

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  4. Lori wrote:

    Hi Ashley.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I have lives this too. God is using you to shine a light. Keep taking care of yourself. You are a blessing.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  5. Sarah Weise wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Wish you continued success feeling healthy.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  6. Michelle Dobes wrote:

    I am thankful for this post….I am going to share with my husband who struggles with anxiety. It’s a tough journey. I’m so thankful that you are feeling better!!! I thought you seemed a little different, in an even better way than normal. I love your content and realness. I think you are doing a great job and I love your account!!!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  7. Jennifer wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your journey! I can relate on so many levels. I’ve been anxious my whole life, but more on the worrying side. It has peaked during Covid and my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in April. Things went downhill from there. I started therapy in July and started on Lexapro in September. It’s been a lifesaver! I always prided myself on not being on medications at 49yo. That pill has made a very difficult period in my life a little more manageable. I’m proud of you for taking that step. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  8. Carol wrote:

    I’m so sorry that you have had to deal with so much. The courage you showed when you asked for help is so good for others. Finding the right doctor and care you need can be very difficult. I truly respect you for your willingness to help so many others. Blessings on you and your family.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  9. Glori Smith wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I started taking Lexapro 3 1/2 years ago after having a heart stent. Best thing I ever did. I take 5mg once a day which keeps my anxiety at bay. I feel like myself but I do not become overwhelmed like I used to in the past. I believe it takes courage to get help. I had breast cancer in 2020 and I know the Lexapro helped me get through the waiting for surgery. Take care of you❤️

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  10. Kerry wrote:

    Oh Ashley, thank you for sharing your heart and your journey. God is good all the time, even when it feels like He is far away. He knows our every joy and our every worry, even before we do. Be proud of Ashley and Ashley 2.0. You are perfect in the eyes of our good God.

    Your story has inspired me. Thank you!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  11. Susan wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have struggled for many years with panic attacks. I am currently struggling more than usual and reading about your symptoms made me realize I need to go back on meds. I haven’t been on them for 20 years. I know I will feel a ton better if I pull the trigger on this. Thank you again for putting yourself out there. Xoxo

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  12. Melissa wrote:

    Thank you Ashley for your honesty and courage!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  13. Mandy wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad you are feeling better.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  14. Kristi wrote:

    So much of what you wrote I went through this past year. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s comforting to know that others have struggles too.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  15. Karen wrote:

    I’m so glad you’re starting to feel more like yourself again and perhaps even better than your old self! I think you have a wise friend and going through this may be to share your journey and in turn help others! God doesn’t always answer when or how we like but he can send answers in ways we perhaps never thought!
    Praying that your days continue to get better as you go through this season … and remember it is just a season ! I have no doubt that you will come out happier and a better you 💕

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  16. Katie wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! I think anxiety and depression are running rampant through our society due to the additional stressors that have been brought on by Covid. I am so glad you found a solution, and I am sure you will help others thru sharing your experience.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  17. Kathy wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  18. Kristen wrote:

    This is the best post I’ve ever read from any blogger. Your honesty and vulnerability is very rare and much appreciated and needed. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it resonated with me and makes me want to take the next to a better me. And I know it’s going to resonate with so many women. Thank you so much for having the strength and bravery to post this!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  19. Julie wrote:

    Thank you for being so brave and honest! I’ve followed you for many years and have always admired your willingness to be real. We’ve got a lot in common. I too recently started taking a pill and I keep thinking I can’t believe it took me so long to just do it. It’s so nice to calm all of the “chatter” that was going on in my head as I was trying to manage it alone instead of letting others in to help. It’s so nice to hear I’m not alone going through the struggle. So your friend was right💖

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  20. Pat wrote:

    You are indeed a strong person and I think it’s very brave that you’ve shared your heart here! You have the most beautiful smile and I hope it comes easily each day and you continue to move forward. You seem to have great doctors and that is wonderful! It doesn’t always happen. I know you’re helping so many others by sharing and maybe that’s a part of God’s plan! He does work in mysterious ways. 😁 Wishing you all the best! ❤️

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  21. Kim Harrigan wrote:

    So proud of you sometimes asking for help is the hardest step forward.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  22. Kim wrote:

    Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  23. Suzelle wrote:

    So proud of you ❤️

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  24. Peggy wrote:

    I thought for awhile there you had lost that sparkle in your eyes and I also noticed one day that it was back . I take Lexapro myself , no shame here, best thing I ever did. Thanks for sharing Ashley .

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  25. Michele Farmer wrote:

    Please know you are not alone and you have probably impacted a lot of people with your story. Thank you for your willingness to be open and honest about mental health issues. It is so important for our society to remove any stigma attached to them. You are making a positive difference! Prayers and hugs to you during this time and so thankful things are getting much better.💙

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  26. Erin Brautigam wrote:

    So glad you did all of this! My 17year old has gone through the same thing this last year… it’s brutal to watch, but so wonderful to see the medication bring the real person “back”. Geez… these days a little Lexipro may be good for everybody 😉. Thanks for sharing! 💗

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  27. Ann Singleton wrote:

    I’ve always loved following you and think you are beautiful inside and out. I’m so sorry for your struggle and celebrate your healing journey. Keep being the bright light that you are!!⭐️

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  28. Christina wrote:

    Thank you for this blog post. I CAN def related.

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  29. Michelle wrote:

    Thank you for sharing, I went through the same thing a few years ago. It’s crazy how anxiety can be so crippling. Big hugs to you!

    Posted 11.16.21 Reply
  30. Amy wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your personal insight for others who have anxiety. I have public speaking and throw up phobias, and had my first panic attack reading aloud in class in the 8th grade. Having a professional career and raising children requires so much exposure to the things I fear. I have attempted to take Citalopram and Duloxetine, but gave up after a couple of days with both due to the side effects of nausea and migraines. This gives me encouragement to keep trying and possibly wait out the side effects for a week before I give up. Thank you for being so down to earth and reminding us that even when someone’s life seems perfect, we all have similar struggles inside. 💜

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  31. Francene M Katzen wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story, opening your heart up to so many of us. I just know by you being honest and sharing you will most likely help so many others here.
    I hope you will continue to be well, thrive and succeed.
    Much love to you.

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  32. Krista wrote:

    Ashley,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been following you for awhile now and love all your stuff. I am also a therapist and am so happy that you have found some relief from your anxiety. Keep plugging along as things will continue to improve for you.
    All the best,
    Krista

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  33. Ellianne Rivers wrote:

    Makes me want to hug the breath out of you— thank you for sharing and know that this is happening all around us to many people that we perceive have it all together. The fact is, NONE of us have it all together. My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression and it is debilitating. Medication has brought her out of the fog. Keep doing the work, keep learning about yourself and I think the best lesson you are teaching your kids is to ask for help when you need it. I’m proud of you for being honest!

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  34. Patty wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story and glad you are on the other side of this!! We went through this with our 29 year old son and it was horrible. He went to the ER thinking he was having a heart attack! He is also on medication and life has improved dramatically!! A mother is only as happy as her saddest child! And boy…was I sad, too!! Thankful to be in a much better place and glad you are too!! Better days ahead!!❤️🙏🏼

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  35. Elise wrote:

    Dear Ashley! I was about your age when I had my first panic attack. You are being pulled from all directions and trying to do it all! I gave in and took meds as well. It was like a reset button! I eventually stopped taking anything and have not had a panic attack in 30 years! But you never forget what one feels like! You are a smart, beautiful young lady and you will get through this!

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  36. Mindy B. wrote:

    ❤️❤️❤️

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  37. Mom wrote:

    You are very brave and I am so proud of you!

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  38. Lacey wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! I related to this so much, but I was also very resistant in taking any sort of pill….not that I think it’s bad, but I just thought I could figure it out on my own. However, my anxiety & self sabotaging thoughts kept getting worse & worse. So I started Lexapro, and like you, feel more like myself. I am able to see a bit more clearly & work through the anxious thoughts I have versus dwell in them. I am so happy you’re doing well. 🙂

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  39. Margaret wrote:

    I skipped your post but then I saw it again on Instagram and decided to read. You see I am you, just 15 years older. I had my owns struggles 20 years ago. I have so much anxiety I have seizures though and lose consciousness. It only happened when I had my period and was sick or under a great deal of stress. I wanted to share with you that it does get better. If you want to reach out or have any questions feel free to contact me. I live in Houston too. Sending ❤️ And 🙏🏻 Your way. Margaret

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  40. Rhea wrote:

    very honest and thank you for this. there is still such a stigma associated with mental illness and getting help. I’ve been in your shoes more times than not over the past 20+ years… the first psychiatrist I saw said, “if you had a broken arm, would you just look at and say, ‘heal!!!'” its the same thing.. you can’t just tell yourself to get better. sometimes it takes medicine. I’ve recently had to come to that realization again too… I always say “lexapro just shuts the door to all the anxious and obsessive thoughts”. I wish you the best and so happy its a little easier to smile :). I’m getting closer

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  41. Kim wrote:

    Thank you for sharing, I am going through the same thing right now that you experienced with your friend just stop talking to you, friends excluding you from invites and definitely work stress.

    Posted 11.17.21 Reply
  42. Jennifer wrote:

    Like you I have always (it seems) dealt with anxiety. Mine liked to skip and run through my brain hand in hand with depression. September 2020 I had a nervous breakdown. I wasn’t actually sure what was happening but I knew it was bad. Really bad. I had been on different meds throughout my life so I had some experience with them. I knew I needed help and quickly. I was prescribed Lexapro and started weekly therapy sessions. I have had to except that medication and regular therapy will be part of my life for the foreseeable future and you know what? That’s okay. I thought I could handle it by myself for the longest time then Covid hit and all the lovely (not!) life altering events that went along with it. Like you I am here to say if you need help-GET IT! It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you a whiner. It makes you someone who loves themselves enough to know when they need to reach out and get that help. Love yourselves everyone!

    Posted 11.18.21 Reply
  43. Sarah wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It can be hard to open up and trust, especially something so personal. Your honesty and openness about everything are what makes you stand out among all the bloggers. You are true to yourself and share! The past few years have been crazy and hearing how you worked through this inspires me to reach out and not try to do it all on my own. Thank you! ❤️

    Posted 11.18.21 Reply
  44. Erin Leckey wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Our stories seem very similar and I appreciate your honesty. I have been taking anti-anxiety medication for years now and can’t imagine why I waited so long to get started on it. I had such a negative view of medication for myself, but like you, encouraged it for friends when they needed it. It was only when I found enough grace to be kind to myself that I started healing. Good luck and great job, we don’t hear that enough but taking care of yourself if always the right thing.

    Posted 11.19.21 Reply
  45. Crystal Pollard wrote:

    Ashley, I just want to say Im proud of you telling your story to help others. I also have Anxiety and have for years. It seem to get worse as I got older. But it really got bad when I was told I had breast cancer. I had a biopsy and found out I did not have breast cancer but that tramatized me. And cause such very high anxiety in me. Last fall I really caused my self to crash, I thought I could get off my Lexapro and That was such a big mistake. It took me six months to get the Lexapro to build up in my system again and another six months to completely settle down, which brings us to today. Im doing awesome now and will never stop the Lexapro. It gives me peace and joy. Thank you for speaking out, Love your blog , Crystal

    Posted 11.21.21 Reply
  46. Judi Herr wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It will help others! And, it helped me!

    Posted 11.22.21 Reply