Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks: This SH¡T is for Real! (VIDEO)

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I was in San Francisco this week for a the PBS Kids Annual Meeting as one of their VIP (Very Involved Parent) Ambassadors. This was the FIRST time I was able to travel to any event/conference and I was excited for a few days away. I’ve been dealing with depression since my daughter was born in January 2013 (on medication) and more recently began having severe anxiety and panic attacks.

This was my second and third panic attacks ever, and they happened two days in a row, clear across the country where I was away from home, alone and scared.

This shit is for real. The mind is incredibly powerful and can play some nasty tricks on you. Take care of it. Take care of yourselves. Get help now. Don’t wait like I did.

I’m still me, but this shake up has left me re-prioritizing things in my life and FINALLY putting myself first. I’ll keep you posted and thank you to everyone for their support.

You have keep your sense of humor and despite the tears and fears, what I had on to go to the hospital ended up being a topic of conversation with the EMT’s and nurses. But when a homeless woman yelled out that she liked my pants as I was wandering around looking for a Walgreens — I just started to laugh and cry all at once! My Real Mom Style will be dedicated to mental health and my PJs.

POR FAVOR, Let’s talk about this. No more hiding away otherwise we will wither away.

  • Maybelline

    I wish I could just reach out to the screen and give you the warmest hug ever. Estoy rezando para que te mejores and soon this chapter can be closed. Like I said on FB, one day at a time. You’ve taken a HUGE step and that is the beginning of the end. Te quiero mucho!

  • http://babymeandfashion.blogspot.co.uk/ Alex

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this Maria. I wish I could walk next door & hug you. You know I understand all of this. Huge congratulations on being so honest & brave. I need to heed your advice now because it’s getting closer to 1am and I really need to sleep. I’m thinking of you a lot. XXX

  • http://www.unknownmami.com/ unknownmami

    María José, I couldn’t watch your whole video because I am not doing so well myself at the moment. You are not alone. I have a long history with panic attacks and anxiety disorder. When I became pregnant with my first daughter the mierda really hit the fan and I finally started taking medication, now I realize I needed help long before that. Even with the medication there are times like now that I am still very susceptible to panic attacks. Things that are very easy for others are a huge struggle for me. Sometimes I have to talk myself into being able to leave the house to do something as simple as pick up my daughter from school. It’s a complete and utter drag. When I finally got help, I learned that this happens to so many people and especially this happens to so many mothers. There is a lot of shame attached to it and there shouldn’t be. I still feel ashamed and flawed even though I know I shouldn’t. Today at the grocery store my husband had to let me know what it was doing to him. It’s very hard for the whole family. This is a conversation that needs to happen widely so that more people can get help. Big hugs being sent your way. P.S. I live in San Francisco, I am so sorry that you did not get to experience my BEAUTIFUL city under better circumstances.

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  • http://www.desumama.com Vanessa

    Lots of love sent out to you, amiga. I’m proud of you for speaking out, but even more proud that you are seeking help. Xo!

  • Monica Olivera

    Giant abrazo, María José. Set small goals for yourself and celebrate when you meet them each day. It makes the journey less overwhelming. Wishing you strength and happiness.

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  • Dawn | SexGetsReal.com

    What a brave thing. A brave, brave thing. I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for about 5 years now. My very first panic attack hit when I was on vacation with about 10 friends, floating around the lazy river in Las Vegas. We were there celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday, and I started not feeling well. It built and built as I watched all of my friends having a blast, getting drunk, and I realized – holy shit, I’m having a heart attack. I am actually having a heart attack. So, I pulled my partner at the time aside, and I said, “I don’t want to spoil her birthday, so let’s just slip out. I need to get to a hospital immediately.” The pain was shooting down my left arm, up my into my jaw and across my upper back. We walked next door to the CVS and the MinuteClinic guy said, get in a cab and go to the ER now.

    And we did. And I sat there thinking, “I’m going to die.”

    I didn’t die. The physician told me it was a panic attack. So they loaded me up on Xanax and told me to sleep for the rest of the day. I missed dinner that night and the Cirque show they all went to.

    The second panic attack hit a few weeks later, and it was BIGGER. And I knew this time it was actually a heart attack. My partner raced me to the ER of our local hospital and they zoomed me in. God, that’s the scariest thing in the world. When you are rushed ahead of everyone else in the ER, you know it’s bad. You know you’re going to die.

    And blood work and EKGs and a billion questions later… panic attack.

    I’ve been seeing my therapist for about 6 years now. And she has been such a help. The panic attacks are better. I’ve slowly learned some of my triggers, and I can also feel it coming on now. I can feel it in the beginning stages, so I can take action before it slams into me like an 18-wheeler. But that fear – fuck. That fear is indescribable.

    This stood out to me in your video: “I’m a pretty happy person…” I am, too. The other Femworkers will tell you that I’m always upbeat and bubbly and happy. And honestly, sometimes that disposition is a fucking burden. Because it means you can’t have a bad day. You can’t be down in the dumps and pissy and frustrated because it would be too shocking and everyone would want to know what’s wrong.

    For me, the crappy thing about panic attacks is they tend to happen when I’m NOT super stressed. It’s like, I have a stress event, and then days or weeks later when my body has worked through it, then the panic takes me out right when I least expect it.

    And like you, I’m horrible at self care. I push myself too much. I get down on myself for not doing more, being more, being better and faster and more productive. It’s awful how we beat ourselves up.

    If it makes you feel any better, it does get better. As you begin to identify your triggers and your super early warning signs, you will get better at managing it. And, honestly, my co-worker started getting panic attacks around the same time, and having someone who UNDERSTOOD helped immensely. On days I would have an attack on the way to the office, I’d come in and look at her and she would just know. And she would hop into action – making me laugh, distracting me, talking me through it. And I would do the same for her.

    So, find a friend who gets it. Your husband and kids and family will support you, but there is something powerful in having someone who REALLY gets it who can step in say “you’re not crazy, this happens to me, too, and you’ll be OK.”

    Thank you for being so brave. You are not alone. It will get better. I’m here if you need anything.

  • thriftychicmom

    You are an incredible person and I am so glad you are making yourself a priority it can be so hard to put yourself first! Hugs and prayers.

  • Anita

    Estaba demasiado triste viendo tu video hasta el minuto 8: “girl I love your pants” y me reí demasiado. de hecho lo retrocedí un par de veces para verlo denuevo. :p

    Me alegro que al fin hayas decidido buscar ayuda y te admiro por lo valiente que fuiste al contar tu historia! de seguro ayudarás a muchas mujeres pasando por lo mismo.

    Un abrazo grande

  • http://www.mimicutelips.com/ Michellette “Mimi” Green

    I love you for being real and for being transparent. I don’t have any experience with depression but I certainly have had some really bad anxiety and viritgo. I’m looking forward to the update, I hope each day gets better and better for you.

  • http://www.chantillypatino.com/ Chantilly Patiño

    Thank you for sharing this. I went through a short period of depression a couple of years ago, before I had proper care for my hypothyroidism. It was the worst feeling in the world…much like you described…and it caused so much stress in my marriage and my life. I didn’t know what was wrong at the time or if it would end. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t “control” it. I’m not the type of person to be ok with the fact that I’m not in control of my life.

    After several months of hell, I finally dragged myself to appointment after appointment (which you know is an enormously overwhelming effort when you’re suffering from depression) until I got help. I hated myself and I hated all the stupid people and their half-assed “help”. It took a lot of time, energy and mental stress to get results, but I’m here. You’ll get there too. ♥

    I’m saying a prayer for you and please keep us posted. It means so much to me that you shared this part of your life with us. Take care of yourself girl. ♥

  • Vicky Mason

    Oh, we all have these days, months, years. When I say this, I really, truly mean it. I’m so here for you. I have been in your spot more often than I care to admit and I can just listen. I’ve had panic attacks since I was 12 years old and have learned how to deal with them in just the last few years. Sending you love and strength and peace. I’m here. Love you.

  • Laura Tellado

    You are just AMAZING. I am not a wife or mother, so I can’t claim to have the same stressors or situations as you and so many other women do. I wholeheartedly believe that I have been predisposed to depression due to my family history of mental illness (on BOTH sides!) and my having been born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, having struggled socially as a kid and enduring many hospitalizations and challenges, triggered it in full.

    I have been blessed with a wonderful support system, although I’ll admit that often, I could be doing MORE to take care of myself. It should be first and foremost my responsibility to do that.

    Thank you for the reminder. <3

  • Supermom3b

    Wow!!! Incredible strength & courage you have to share your story ..your life with all of us. I had a old friend post this on Fb & cried & laughed right along with you!! I’ve been desperately seeking help for many many years now. Watching your video was heart breaking but great at the same time. Just to know I am NOT alone ..I’m NOT crazy ..which I know but you know how our minds ..mind fck us all the time. It actually made me feel like I should find a support group with other moms/ wives because yes the mission we have to go on to just try and get help is insane it self !! So i HAD TO REPLY & say THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE WORLD & YES!!! We MUST TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES BECAUSE IF NOT…the outcome most likely will end up worse!! Thank you thank you thank you!! I have never read your blogs but I sure do 100% can have empathy for you because I almost ended up where NONE OF US EVER SHOULD!! Yes please..everyone who suffers from this Awful illness ..please ..ASK FOR HELP & KEEP FIGHTING!! Big hug & kiss to everyone who can totally relate!!

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    Oh Maria, I am so sorry that I have been behind in my blog reading and just reading this now. I CAN SO RELATE TO THIS AND TO YOU. You are so awesome for sharing this, we women DO hide when we’re not our best because we feel this need to be perfect, to handle everything. And we CAN’T do everything. And if we admit that we’re not perfect, even fellow struggling women see us as failures. And I know how stressful and overwhelming blogging can be, and then to have two littles and dealing with everything else… you’re an amazing and brave woman for sharing this and you’re helping fellow women know that not being able to do it all flawlessly doesn’t mean they are flawed.

    I think it’s hard to be a blogger, especially since we’re in an industry where we’re expected to be on all the time, be a model, an editor, a photographer, a writer, a spokesperson, a videographer, a coder, a graphic designer, an accountant, social media guru, and a friend and supporter of readers and fellow bloggers. All that and create daily regular content and manage a home? It’s the work for a dozen people, not just us, by ourselves, unable to complain because we get to be our own boss and get free clothes in the mail and “get paid to do nothing.”

    This year having my arm situation, my panic attacks have returned, and I often felt claustrophobia in the cast, and now I have to have it again and I’m so angry and terrified. I haven’t been good to my body and it’s hard to dig out of the hole, especially alone. Do know I am here for you, DO NOT hesitate to contact me, I understand, and we can help each other. Much love to you <3

  • Dania Santana

    Eres una mujer muy valiente María José y definitivamente no
    estás sola. He visto la depresión de cerca en familiares y es totalmente real.
    Generalmente lo más difícil para la persona es enfrentarlo, admitirlo en público
    por el miedo al estigma y eso no los ayuda. Tú estás haciendo eso, enfrentando
    y quitándote la carga de tener que fingir. Te vas a recuperar, ya verás. Tu
    determinación y el cuidar de ti misma dará los frutos que esperas. Es un
    proceso lento y poco a poco verás como te vas mejorando, no te desesperes. Te deseo
    que hoy ya estés un paso más cerca. Te mando un fuerte y caluroso abrazo y
    todas las vibras positivas que tengo.

  • http://ladydeelg.tumblr.com/ LadydeeLG

    It is incredibly courageous of you to share this with the world. Thank you for doing that! If your story helps even one person, that that is a good thing! We are all rooting for you and we all support you!!!

  • http://www.micaminar.com/ Mi Caminar ~ My Walk

    Hi Maria Jose, I watched your whole video and my heart truly ached for your pain. My very first thought is that you must have the most courage of anyone I know to put this out there and share yourself raw. And yes…take good care of YOU. It is not a selfish thing to do. Be well..and know that many love you and support you.

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  • Gina Lincicum

    Hi sweetie. I also can’t watch your video because that’s a trigger for me. I remember having an anxiety attack when my twins were infants in the stroller and being terrified that something would happen to them. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for over 20 years, and knowing what my triggers are and avoiding them is key for me (along with a lot of self-care and sticking to a healthy daily routine). I’m proud of you for coming out with this and encouraging other mamas to speak up. Will keep you in my thoughts.

  • http://cherryblossomsdesign.blogspot.com Cherry Blossoms {the blog}

    Maria!
    You are amazing and I applaud you for your strength, realness and for bringing depression and anxiety to light. It is NOT easy. You can have all of the love, strength and people around you and still feel incredibly lonely when dealing with depression. Being a Mother, Wife and blogger can be incredibly stressful but you make it look so easy, fun, and stylish. Can we be best friends already–because you truly are incredible and I am blessed to know such a REAL person!

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