this is my anxiety story.

Jul 19, 2012 | Life in Progress

I’ve written this post in my head countless times. I kept waiting to get to the other side of this particular struggle before I shared. And then the other side never came, even with lots of effort. I often wondered if I’d ever get to the other side at all. I *think* I’m there….and I want to tell the story…

your story matters II

This is my zoloft story. My OCD story. My anxiety story.

For most of my life I’ve struggled with some variance of anxiety – perhaps related to losing a parent at a young age, perhaps to genes, perhaps to early life trauma/drama, perhaps to life. Whatever the reason/root/cause – I’ve had it. Lots of it, especially before I started making art. All the women in my family seem to have it, too. And most of the men. For me my anxiety manifested itself all the way to the extreme of the spectrum when I had a run in with full-on OCD when I was 19 years old. I was in college, and totally completely utterly freaked out by what my brain was doing. I will spare you the details, but I will say that it was extreme, causing major interruption in my life (school, work, sleep, etc). Luckily, a nine month effort of counseling and a newish OCD drug at that time (called Luvox) helped me tremendously. Add in some amazing friends + family, a supportive (but equally freaked out by my compulsive/repetitive behavior) boyfriend, and a major reduction in stress (my course load was too much, work hours were too much, etc etc), I made it through and successfully weaned off the drug within a year.

maya + me
(that’s me on the right around the time of my OCD journey)

I never forgot that experience and how on-my-knees-grateful I was to get through it without suffering my entire life with OCD. I wouldn’t wish it’s merciless grasp upon anyone and I have deep compassion for those who suffer.  I also remember feeling grateful that modern medicine was able to help me, coupled with traditional counseling (cognitive). Even then, I was skeptical of popping a pill, but I was desperate and in big need. And I’m so glad I did it.

15 years later, I would find myself in that space again of desperate need, this time it wasn’t OCD, but rather PTSD.

photo-2
(me, during my PTSD journey)

I’ve shared a little bit about my birth trauma here in this space. The PTSD hit about two-three weeks following the birth and it was unrelenting – in the shower, in the car, in bed – could not escape it. A constant reliving of specific moments, a constant stream of phantom crying, a constant stream of awful visions of worry that something or someone (other than me) would harm my baby – all related to a specific moment during my labor where I felt my and True’s safety were in danger, a moment that pushed me over my physical capacities and sent me, truly, into a dissociative state. I talked about it over and over. I cried about it. I tried very hard to process, but I found it impossible to manage and process the symptoms while also managing a newborn and the lack of sleep and not a moment to one’s self that comes with being a new mom.

It was a very, very difficult time and in some ways, I am still grieving those first few months of new motherhood. True was everything to me, still is, but I just wish my heart wasn’t so broken at that time.  I waited  until True was 7 months old before I called my midwife. I was in our parked car, alone, in the driveway when I finally mustered up the courage to call. I got her voicemail. I sobbed on the voicemail. She called me back. I started zoloft the next day.

ask for what is needed

That was a little over a year ago. The relief came quickly, and I found myself in that place of on-my-knees-grateful for the gift of medicine. It gave me the relief I needed to distance myself from the sheer acuity of the symptoms so that I could find my way back to stability. It totally worked and I was incredibly, incredibly thankful to Zoloft. Eventually though, after about 7 months, I was ready to wean off of it. I felt like I had done the work, the soul work, the processing work and I was ready to wean. Not so simple! Every time I tried to wean off of it, I’d have major, debilitating fatigue, and uncomfortable zaps in my brain for what seemed like weeks. This went on/off for about six months – my trying to slowly wean, but without success due to the strange, overwhelming fatigue and brain zaps. Six months. Wow. It affected my work, my home life, my everything.

Depression starts to slowly step in. Helplessness starts to set in. Vicious circle.

Finally, I landed in the office of a naturopath earlier this year (Dr. Noel Thomas – can’t recommend her enough for those of you in the Portland area). Intuition told me this was the way, and I began LENS neurofeedback treatments. Having never sought out alternative practices, I was 1 part skeptical, 2 parts hopeful. Over the course of a a few weeks, I was 100% successful in weaning (quickly and without the side effect that came with previous efforts) off Zoloft. The neurofeedback also helped (tremendously) with general anxiety symptoms that lingered: sleep, motivation, mood. I am crazy grateful for this alternative method. Crazy grateful to be free of PTSD’s grasp and crazy grateful to be free of Zoloft weaning symptoms (arguably worse than the PTSD symptoms).

It’s been many weeks since my treatment completion. And I’m all good. The neurofeedback has unlocked some potential, some awakening, and I’m not looking back. Now that I have this particular PTSD/anxiety struggle under control, I can inch my way toward my next wellness goal which is losing my pregnancy weight (finally) and sustaining important diet changes to maximize my health – another thing Dr Thomas is helping me with. I’m on a bit of a wellness mission 🙂

embracing the journey

I wanted to share this story because I believe in telling the truth of our stories. Not all stories we hold close need to be released, but some do, I believe. And this is one of those stories for me. With every piece of art I create, I release it out into the world in an effort to make more room in my heart spaces for more, new, fresh art. If I hold onto it, I can’t move forward – I need the mental space. Same is true for some stories – they need releasing so that we can make room for new, fresh, emerging experiences and new stories, so that we are no longer defined by a particular story by holding it too close.

Besides, our connections live inside our stories,
where we see ourselves mirrored in one another’s stories, where comfort
and belonging reside. Some of these stories are private and some are not. Either way, there is just so much, so much beauty in our brokenness and our wholeness. I believe in sharing both.

I know that anxiety will likely always be a close companion for me. Although I hope to never experience the extreme of it again, I’m also realistic that it’s a possibility. I am comforted that there are therapies if/when that time arrives – alternative therapies like neurofeedback are effective (for me) and traditional therapies are also effective (for me) as well as talking and sharing – all effective, all necessary for healing. I don’t believe in continued suffering (staying in a place of suffering vs reaching out for help). I don’t believe that one must stay in suffering to evolve or to reach divinity or to be more whole. I do believe that our sufferings bring us together, that they teach us something, that they mean something.

So in some ways I am grateful to this particular piece of my journey, this particular road of suffering. It wasn’t for nothing, and it was meaningful to the whole of my life.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (100 comments)
100 Comments
  1. Maureen Hayes

    I started following you becaus I admired your talent and your work, but I have ome to admire you who you are as a person even more as I have gotten to know more about you through your blogging. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest and real. One of my main complaints a out some blogs is that they only show the "perfect" side of things. I think that is dangerous and misleading to people. NONE of us is perfect and when we start to think others are and compare ourselves to that u realistic standard, we get hurt.

    I have struggled with anxiety in the past, so I feel for you. I am currently going through a very difficult physical struggle because of high doses of steroids that were given to me for a chronic condition. Long story short, I have muscle and bone damage, have gained 65 lbs. in less than 6 months, and am losing my hair, just to name a few of the many "fun" effects. Needless to say it is frustrating, upsetting and downright depressing some days. I have found solace in art, especially art journaling at this point in my life, it provides me with a safe place to expresss all I am feeling.

    Thank you for allowing us to see your struggles as well as your triumphs and for reminding us that all of these things make us who we are, the good times and the bad,

    I am on the weight loss journey along with you, as well as a general trying to be more well in general. Please keep us posted, it makes me feel good to have someone else to share my journey with! I wish you nothing but happier and healthier times ahead!

    Hugs and many prayers,
    Maureen

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    That is so awesome. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I'm a long time taker-er of zoloft, since 2004, and other drugs (what I call "mental health" drugs 🙂 My anxiety/OCD was with me for a long time, thru childhood, etc… but I never got treatment for it specifically… just lived with it I guess, and it did make my life and others' lives difficult.. then it got very bad shortly after the birth of my son… then I was divorced when he was a year old…and my current family situation is quite stressful in itself, I must say.

    I've heard of a treatment that may be neurofeedback but have not explored that option. Wonder if it's available in my area and how much it would cost.

    Thank you again for sharing your story, and for giving me hope.

    Reply
  3. simplydelicious

    I swear, we are kindred spirits! I sit here now, trying to breathe through this all consuming anxiety! I called my doctor this afternoon and begged for some relief from this gripping, skin crawling, agitation, anxiety that has overwhelmed me for the past few weeks. I have had bouts of it before but never this bad. I honor you for sharing your story as it makes me ease a bit to get my feelings out….Hope things continue on the wellness path for you.
    Karen

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  4. Karen Thomas

    Hi Kelly,

    I've known depression and I've known and unfortunately still know anxiety, for me it manifests with full-on panic attacks, often in the middle of the night. I've also known trauma through birth although mine was not the birth itself but the fact that my twins were born at 29 weeks, I didn't even make it into my third trimester! Luckily my boys are 7 now and apart from some learning difficulties with one are both well.

    What I've learned is to never take any kind of anti-depressive or anti-anxiety medication, although they make you feel great when you are on them. I have two friend who define their life through the adjustment of their medication, not a great way to live.

    What works for me is meditation, stopping in that moment of anxiety or panic and just concentrating on my breathing, regulating it, calming it and just focusing on it. Eventually the panic stops and I can start thinking again. I also find creating helps as I'm sure you know.

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your intimate feelings.

    Reply
  5. Lolita

    Hey kelly, I'm "double dipping". I forgot to mention that journaling and writing was like therapy for me. I started an online blog (www.myblessedlifelife-lulabelle.blogspot.com) where I would go and write about what about what I was experiencing. At first I was embarassed to share my feelings so openly, but then I reconsidered, and thought that maybe there were other women who might benefit by hearing my words as I worked through my depression and a whole host of other emotions. If you go to my blog, go back to my first entry (Jan, 2011) where I wrote about "The Broken Vase." At that point, I had lost my job, was going through a divorce, and used an analogy to describe my situation. "Remember the quote; "All Who Wander Are Not Lost." Sometimes, some of our greatest lessons are learned through the 'wilderness" and "fire."

    Reply
  6. Lolita

    Thank you Kelly for sharing and being so completely transparent. I tend to think that highly creative people often struggle with anxiety and/or depression. I speak from the heart & from experience. I always felt I was so strong, not invincible, but almost. Then, when the things that mattered so much to me shifted, I felt myself go into a downward spiral of depression, that left me in a pit of hopelessnes and dispair. I too, have used medicine, and therapy to help me. I am learning to quote the "Serenity Prayer" as needed, to remind me that I need to surrender whatever circumstances are happening in my life ( be it chronic pain, divorce, unemployment, financial difficulties, etc,) to my higher power (which for me is God). I am learning that there are a lot of things in life that I do not have control over, to find balance in my life, and enjoy those things that I can control. You are amazing, and only you can write your own creative story; even with "bumps" in the road!

    Reply
  7. ashley:)

    From one artist to another, I had to share a similar post earlier this summer and have learned a lot about my what I thought tuff self and still learning to deal with things that continue to creep up in my life. It seems the older I get the harder it is to deal with things! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this it truly makes me feel less alone! Your sentence about the effect on your life/home life looks just like a sentence I wrote! It's so easy to look at others and think there no possible way they deal with such! http://​ashleysartcloset.blogspot.c​om/2012/06/i-am-back.html

    Reply
  8. Carmen Patti

    It totally amazes me how the connections through your blog, through FL and especially HSHB have brought me to a place I need to be. I'm a adoptive mom of the sweetest 16 year old son. Anyway, he suffered from anixeity, and depression from a very early age.
    I'm writing and illustrating a picture book on all the different ways we are brave aimed for young boys….
    Anyway thanks as always for your openness and support for all of us, I'm so happy for you that you have found your way….the journey continues:)

    Reply
  9. Tracy Verdugo

    dear sweet Kelly Rae…i only signed up to your blog last week although I have had your book for a year or so and participated in Soul Sessions. I relate to you on so many levels and I am so proud of you for opening up….i had my first full blown panic attacks at 18 and they have reappeared along with anxiety at various times in my life. When I shared in my FB group recently that I felt I was "on the verge" again I had over 150 messages of love and support, many of them from creative friends who also deal with some form of anxiety. Why do we feel the need to act like everything is fine when its not? I see such shame around these issues when as women we really should( and want to) be reaching out to support each other. We can inspire each other both in our shiny moments and our vulnerable ones…beautiful sharing my friend ♥

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    I first found art journaling and your art when I was experiening major life/career changes that included profound anxiety and depression. Art and artists such as your made a tremendous difference in my journey, along with medicine, yoga and a life affirming choice to change careers after 30 years. Thank you for all the ways in which you share. It makes a tremendous difference in the world. Donna

    Reply
  11. Erika

    How incredibly brave of you to share your story. I tell women that we all have a story and that it needs to be told. Not only can it be freeing to let go but someone out there needs to hear what you have to say.

    Reply
  12. Nicola

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am no stranger to anxiety. Two and a half years ago I lost my husband to cancer. He became ill 11months before when our son was only a few days old. The devastation to learn that my best friend and soulmate had cancer while trying to look after a baby pushed me to the edge and I started suffering panic attacks, migraines and all sorts of other horrible systems. At times I thought I was having a heart attack or that I would die. For the next 11 months as we learned his cancer was terminal and he underwent treatment I tried my best to look after him and our baby but after my husband died I went to pieces. It was only months later when I went to see a kinesiologist who did all sorts of other alternative therapies and who listened to me and slowly helped me find my way. I still battle with the panic and the fear. I have a fear of life and death that I didn't have before but I am okay most of the time. It is good to know that I am not alone and that there are people who I can reach out to. Hugs xxx

    Reply
  13. Willowseed

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are very courageous and such an inspiration.
    It takes courage to love all parts of ourselves and to allow ourselves to be seen. It takes courage to reach out and ask for help and it's comforting to know that we're all in this together and that there are all sorts of different tools that can help.
    I've struggled with anxiety, depression and panic attacks in the past and it has been a journey finding what works best for me.
    Learning to approach myself with gentleness has been such a gift, but I think that the best part of this journey has been remembering what it feels like to love myself and life.

    Reply
  14. Kelli Watcherson

    My heart aches for you and celebrates at the same time! I had severe panic attacks the last trimester of my first pregnancy and terrible post pardum depression that stole most of my precious son's first year and a half and strained my marriage to the max. I applaud you for sharing your story!! So many women struggle alone for different reasons. I am so happy to say I found a naturpath path at the time who helped me tremendously! My marriage, my life everything is so much better AND I did not experience a repeat with baby number two! Good luck to you and thank you for sharing and helping! You are amazing!!!

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  15. Anonymous

    Wow — very powerful motivating stuff. My children are 8 & 7 now but I remember post partum exactly as you described it! I made my heart swell to hear you acknowledge your "grieving the first few months of motherhood". No one, including myself, has expressed it so well. Even though that was many years ago for me, it means a lot to know that someone else felt the same and I was not/am not alone.

    Prayers for you and your family.

    Tammy

    Reply
  16. debbie

    Kuddos to you<3 I wear a smile for you to feel so comfortable to share your story and your journey with us all who have grown to love your work as well as "you"…Life is a journey! We must embrace and share…never to be alone<3

    Reply
  17. Blessed Serendipity

    Kelly Rae,
    First of all I am extremely PROUD of you to share your story. I know that it took a lot of courage to share it. You will without a doubt help many who are suffering themselves. I am so sorry that you have had to deal with these things in your life. I pray that life only gets better for you. Thank you for your attitude, your art and for YOU.

    xo,
    Danielle

    Reply
  18. Robin

    Definitely a powerful post, I've been through many challenges (health, divorce, abuse, family, money) and I think it is challenges and traumas that give more strength, passion and purpose to inspiring ourselves and other people. We connect deeper with the world and can bring out beauty, hope and healing this way 🙂

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing! Sharing is what helps others to realize what they might be struggling with, if they're not fully aware.

    I can relate to so much of your story, thank you for being brave enough to share.

    One of the hardest things about anxiety and depression is feeling like you are alone, especially when you haven't even figured out what is wrong with you…I bet you helped countless people today by posting this, people who might not have realized what was wrong with them until they read your story.

    Also, it's always nice to hear that someone else knows what a brain zap is and how hard it is to deal with the weaning process.

    Thanks again…and P.S., I love your art, I purchase it at hallmark and have it all over my house.

    Mel,
    Lansing, Michigan

    Reply
  20. ~ Donna Peter

    THANKYOU!!!!! I myself have anxiety and suffer from dpression on and off, mostly SAD. This past winter it got bad enough that it actually physically affected me, felt horrible.
    What impresses me is that you keep going on, how do you do it? I've lost my drive.
    I wish you the best!
    LOVE that you shared, again thankyou!!!

    Reply
  21. BL

    Powerful post…you sharing your messy story gives me courage to share mine. Seriously. This has been an upside down year for us too…involves a breakdown and meds and counseling…none of which was part of our story in the past. And just when I think we have gone horribly off track and will never catch up with life and will never feel fully whole again, I read this post and see what someone inspiring like you has been going through. And you know what…despite what you have battled this year, your posts have inspired me all year. So there is a lesson in that for me too…that you don't have to be 100% together to inspire others along the way. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Nicole Austin

    thank you for your courage to share your story. i think when we as mothers (and women in general) share our tough moments, it makes us all stronger. we know that we are not alone and that we should not live in shame or fear when we feel we need extra help. thank you.

    Reply
  23. Otter Blue

    You are NOT alone! I too have suffered some pretty horrific traumas and dramas of life, been at the brink, needed meds and counseling, and have learned the importance of sharing our true stories. For our stories are more true, more real, and more common than the misconception of perfection perpetuated by society. You are brave, courageous, and most importantly …. honest! When we are struggling hope is the hardest thing to grasp and hold on to so my wish for you and for all of us with true stories…I wish for infinite hope. Cyber hugs all around friends! Marnie

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  24. Heidi M

    Dear Kelly, How giving you are in sharing your experiences, your truth enables others to feel less alone, to share there own experiences and to take heart that it can get better. I have suffered with anxiety and OCD for most of my life, i am so thankful for the gift of creativity to help loose myself in, and in other creatives such as yourself who inspire and bright light xx

    Reply
  25. Natalie Jean (Bottoms) Kelsey

    Tears and much love to you Kelly Rae 🙂 this makes me so happy to see that you are flying healthy again and on your road back to where u want to be physically and mentally. I too have had my ups and downs in life…leaving out the details…but I can say that NOTHiNG has helped me more that a gentler natural approach…and I can say this from deep within..because although yes, pharmaceuticals have helped in the past…they never brought me to the happiness I have now…always my intuition was saying that this is not right…taking a pill will not solve this…getting healthy and changing your lifestyle will. Huge turning point for me was getting out of an unhappy relationship…using essential oils, affirmations and regular trips to the chiropractor…huge changes…HUGE..We must break this energetic cycle for our children's sake, and even though things can be passed down genetically, I am a firm believer in energy…if we reset our energy to a more positive state, then we pass that down to our children as well…reprogramming:) hope you have a great weekend..
    Something helpful for me…anytime I have a thought that is not healthy or doesnt feel good I say, (in my head) cancel- then delete..you may at times be walking around saying to yourself cancel-delete a lot , feeling perhaps like a crazy person, but believe me…it erases things…and soon your mind will get that you do not allow such negative thoughts….filling that space with love and what you want….that is the new program:) love and hugs!

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  26. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing. I've been dealing with OCD my entire life and only this year have finally been able to put a name to this piece of me I thought was crazy and tried, so desperatly, to hide. I've begun a very light medicine routine and hope to be able to wean myself from it when ready.

    When I stumbled across your work, I felt an immediate connection to it. Almost as if the pieces had come right of my heart instead of yours. And the fact that we are both "Kelly" connected me even further.

    Thank you for sharing your story through words and art. It helps me with my own.

    xo!

    Reply
  27. Jules Dolly

    Kelly Rae, what a heartfelt piece of writing. I bet you took a deep breath when you hit the 'publish' button but you have released a powerful piece of writing out there, one that touches all of us. Your inspiration helps us to do the same – to publish those stories so we can all help each other.

    Jules xx

    Reply
  28. Rebekah Ruswick

    Wow, Kelly. This is a courageous story. COURAGE is what we can do in spite of our fears. And COURAGE is something we have to practice. You inspire me.

    Reply
  29. Celena

    I'm so grateful to come across your FB post this morning, as I sit here trying to organize my thoughts. Almost impossible when struggling with anxiety and depression. It's nice to know there is some light at the end of our difficult journies. It's also a great feeling knowing I'm not alone, crazy or a hopeless case. Thanks for sharing your story and for the valuable information. God Bless You!

    Reply
  30. Mairi

    I love you, Kelly Rae. I love you for sooooo many reasons. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  31. Kim Silver

    The very thing I love about your art is the fact that I can feel your vulnerability and your strength in it. AND yes, I can identify. You have an amazing spirit and I am loving your blog as much as your art. As I have shared with you already, your words inspire me to be better to myself and find the passion and joy in life that can easily be covered up by life's obstacles. Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage is also inspiring.

    Reply
  32. Nina W.

    What a beautiful post and expression of self love. Thank you for sharing your journey. I love hearing your voice and outlook on life…inspiring & motivating. Surrounding you in Light & Love you magnificent soul.

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I go through times of anxiety and obsession about what some may write off as trivial but it is very unnerving for me. I hope to get a better handle on things possibly with therapy and/or meds. Thank you again! I enjoy your blog and beautiful art!

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    glad you've had relief from those troubles.

    thanks for sharing this part of your story; it will undoubtably help other people to also seek help and feel better. may all the good you've done through this post come back to you.

    kathy

    Reply
  35. Adventures In Babywearing

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have suffered PTSD and anxiety since a traumatic time with my child 9 years ago and it's only crept up and gotten worse as time goes on. We are moving and on the top of my list is to find a really good naturopath. That is the only way I can imagine being treated as the idea of seeing a regular doctor and taking medication is one of my triggers- it had something/ a lot to do with what happened to my son. I'm so glad to hear you are doing well. I know how much it takes to be able to just write it all out and normally I don't even read because it's s trigger, but I'm so glad I read this today. Thank you.

    Steph

    Reply
  36. Sarah McMurray

    Kelly Rae, first, thank you for sharing your story! I have been thinking about telling our brave stories all week and this is right there! So many of us deal with struggle, but so few of us find the courage to share so openly, and I'm so thankful you did! It's beautiful and I'm excited for you to continue this healing journey. Blessings on you, sweet woman!!!

    Reply
  37. the turquoise paintbrush

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kelly Rae.
    For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with generalized anxiety. It is so so helpful to read your journey and know that I'm not alone.
    It is a constant battle, trying to maintain this 'image' on the outside – pretending nothing is wrong…and then watching the aftermath unfold (after a social gathering, or something of that nature), where it takes so much time and energy to feel 'normal' again. I love your bravery and courage in telling the truth.

    xxo

    Reply
  38. Ama Livia

    Love you so much, Kelly. So brave and good of you to share your story with so many who are shamed by their own humanity. Knowing we're not alone is perhaps the most healing aspect of any disease. I miss you always. XOXO

    Reply
  39. Susan

    me too !! me too !!

    overcoming my, at times debilitating fear (worry & anxiety with a little OCD thrown in the mix) has become my biggest bravest battle yet but I am so very determined. Currently reading Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein. I soak up everything & anything on the topic I can – Love Brene Brown's blog & site.

    thank you for you & your big, brave heart muh love xoxo Susan

    Reply
  40. Marcia

    You are very brave and courageous for posting your story. I think I had PTSD after giving birth as well. I would have flashbacks of terror for weeks afterwards. Good luck and don't be afraid to go back to medicine if you need it.

    Reply
  41. Shahrul Niza

    Oh Kelly, all the HUGS and LOVE in the world to you!. I prayed that God send you angels of healing to help you in the healing process. Thank GOd you made it thorough with courage and grace!. I lost my mother when I was 18 and I became emotionally 'numb' to protect myself from being angry or sad about losing her. I lived thru that for 20 years (thru college & work life), only now that I am able to talked about it and think alot about my mom and all the good times I had with her. I'm grateful to discovered so much love in my life and there is always hope. I'm ever so inspired by your art and all the positiveness they transpire. Thanks so sharing this with us today. Hugs.

    Reply
  42. Allison

    I am so incredibly grateful for your courage and perspective. Thank you for being willing to share your struggles, because you are so right, you're not alone and our suffering does bring us together. I have been reading your blog (and loving your art) for about 2 years now, and I look up to you as a woman who feels her feelings, shares vulnerability, and also goes forth boldly. I too struggle with anxiety, and I'm not "there" yet, but I'm working on it. It gives me such hope to read your story and know that someone I admire and enjoy so much can struggle and work through these things too. Much love, Allison

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  43. Sherry Williamson

    I have so much compassion for you- thank you for bravely sharing your story here. Hopefully it will inspire others who are feeling some of these things to reach out.

    Reply
  44. BEEstung

    So glad to hear that you are doing better..and thank you for sharing your story.
    I have suffered from panic disorder and anxiety most of my life…but it got much worse in college…accompanied with anorexia. lucky me.
    with the help of a very, very amazing therapist, who was more like a grandma, i started taking zoloft and went thru a few years of on and off therapy.
    unfortunately because of some things going on in my life, i have never been able to ( maybe too scared) to wean off of the zoloft. Some day I hope to be able to do this…but as you said in the beginning, you were waiting to get to the other side…i'm still waiting for that and wonder if it will ever come.

    It has taken a lot of effort to get as far as I have but i've somehow gotten thru it, beat the anorexia ( it's always there but I haven't acted on it for about 5 years)….I am thankful for my journey because it has made me who I am…but I still struggle with my art at times. It helps, but on days when I can't produce…when it's just not working, I have to make myself stop before I get too upset…and go for a walk or a swim or listen to some good music!
    Anyway…thank you, Kelly, and everyone who has posted here. It is always good to hear others stories and not feel so alone.
    xoxo

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  45. Puanani

    Xoxo. Well done, you. You are so brave.

    Reply
  46. Isabel

    I am happy you are doing much better and that you have shared this journey with us, it helps to know you are not alone and helps to know and be informed of other alternatives, I too have suffered and still suffer from PTSD and anxiety again Thank You for sharing lots of HUgs:O)

    Reply
  47. Anonymous

    Oh you gorgeous girl. I too suffered from anxiety after the birth of my 4th child & it took
    me a year to wean myself from the Zoloft. The brain zaps were the most debilitating thing I had ever experienced, ever.
    Worse than the anxiety itself.
    I still suffer anxiety now, but I am better able to manage it. It is a life journey & I take one day at a time.
    Love to you. x

    Reply
  48. Julie Kirk

    I've known anxiety and depression in my life too. At the time when I was in the middle of the worst of it my greatest fear was that someone [beyond my immediate fammily] would find out my 'secret'. I was ashamed.

    Many years on I found I could mention it, casually, in conversations. And that's when I began to learn just how many people have suffered similarly.

    I've always used the analogy that, once I spoke about it, said its name out loud, I found myself as a kind of magnetic north pole attracting the 'confessions' / stories / shared experiences from others.

    I have no doubt your story will be the magnet that someone else needs to draw out their own.

    Julie x

    Reply
  49. Becky

    I'm pretty new to your blog but find your work and your story incredibly inspiring. I just wanted to let you know how amazingly brave it is for you to share your very personal story like this. Well done for getting through the tough times and coming out stronger for it. Best of luck and lots of love for your journey!! and thanks for all the motivation and kindness you share with the world!

    Becky

    Reply
  50. Samantha Jenkins

    I too have known anxiety …from that distant fluttering of unease to full-on waves of fear. It is truly awful to experience, and at the time I felt so alone in it all and feared it would never go away. For me it manifested around feelings of being trapped, and not being able to get home …strangely enough I do believe this was a metaphor for how I did really feel in my life ….a message from my psyche and soul. This may not be the case for everyone, but now I have not experienced anxiety for a couple of years I can see the gifts it brought to me …freedom, empowerment and living true to who I really am. Good for you for being courageous enough to share your truth.

    Reply

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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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