my deepest thoughts

By Dana Fox
 photo: lieke anna

a personal anxiety journal….

I ran out of shipping supplies and have orders waiting. The moment I realized this, my stomach began twisting itself into knots. I’ve been putting off going to the store for a week now, half purposely, half due to being busy… but the time has come and I need to go.

Thoughts keep racing through my mind… playing out my entire journey from leaving the house, to the car ride, to the store… and that checkout line. Oh how I hate that checkout line.

I imagine the worst things happening. I see myself having that uncomfortable feeling of panic moving through my bones… up to my brain, and wanting to hurry, hurry, hurry the entire time. I know in the end I will be fine, but the “what ifs” drive me bonkers. To the point of nearly telling myself that I can put this off for another day.

My stomach tightens. I feel hot just at the thought of having to do this. I try to use some coping techniques I’ve pick up along the way and nothing seems to help. Sure, you think that it would be easy to apply some kind of technique you’ve learned because you know it so well, but when the time comes to put it into motion, you freeze. It’s the same feeling I would get when sitting down to write a test in school. I would study my ass off, and I knew my stuff, but as soon as that paper was in front of me… blank.

I wish I could just get some form of amnesia and forget that I was ever afraid of anything. Erase these fears and start fresh. Remember all of the good things but eliminate the bad. Wouldn’t that be nice? The things I would do!

So I’m sitting here, delaying the inevitable, knowing I am going to force myself to do something that makes me uncomfortable. This is a normal day, not one of my worst, but it’s strange how I can move up and down the scale so easily.

The most frustrating part is that I know how good I will feel once I accomplish this insignificant task. I will feel as though I just had the best workout of my life and I will feel like I can keep going and can do anything.

So I did it… and I came back in one piece. It was busier than usual for a Monday night and the moment I reached that dreaded checkout, the lineup filled with ten people or more. I can do this.  I focus on the aisle of candy behind me. This checkout guy is young and seems to be new. He’s taking forever. It feels like forever. Finally, another girl opens her register. I scurry over and empty my basket as if I was in some sort of race to the finish line. “$14.13 please”. I give her exact change and leave while releasing that oh-so-common sigh of relief. I did it.

My stomach relaxes and my body is loose… and then tomorrow it will all come back….

disclaimer: those that suffer with anxiety understand how difficult things like these are to post. those that don’t “get it”, i hope to bring awareness and understanding to your hearts. i don’t wish to bring down the happy vibe of this blog, but i believe that if i have a voice i want to use it to let others know they are not alone. maybe together we can become stronger.

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Dana Fox
Dana Fox
About me

I am a country loving Canadian with a mind that never sleeps. When I'm not running the Wonder Forest blog ship, you can find me creating artwork for phone cases and home decor, whilst managing the daily tasks of Dana Fox Creative. Visit me at the links below if you wanna be friends!


51 Ways to Destroy Anxiety
51 Ways To Destroy Anxiety
December 09, 2015
How I Overcame Severe Anxiety and Agoraphobia
November 30, 2015
Secret Anxiety Fighter: 6 Things You Didn’t Know
November 09, 2015
If You’ve Ever Felt Like Giving Up On Life…
August 10, 2015
Weekly Review // 1
February 21, 2015
The Little Mentally Ill Me
January 07, 2015
To Panic, Or Not To Panic? Anxiety Update.
November 22, 2014
Mental Illness: Getting Help Isn’t So Easy
October 01, 2014
What is Anxiety, a Panic Attack, and Agoraphobia?
September 24, 2014
  • Pocket Moss

    I hear you. I've had chronic social anxiety ever since I was about 15/16. i'm 31 now. It's not easy and so many people don't really get what social anxiety really means. With a whole lot of hard work, I've improved so much from where I was when I was in my early 20's but it's something that I have grown to accept that is just not going to completely go away. It'll always be there and there will always be certain things that trigger no matter how much work I put into it.

  • Jessica

    It's nice to read something like this and know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. It's been getting better for me through my 20's and practicing yoga over the past year has really helped too. Has your anxiety gotten better or worse with age?

  • Alli

    While I don't personally suffer from anxiety, a very dear friend of mine does. I've watched her struggle with it for years. It's wonderful to read someone share their experience, to use their voice to draw attention to this issue.

  • Liz Brown

    I have to be honest and say that I've never experienced anything like an anxiety disorder. But reading through your train of thought like that was sure eye opening. Its like, the majority of the world will never know how much bravery its taking for people like you to just get through their day normally. Keep sharing!

  • Yuri

    I hear you sister..
    My anxiety is something that in not around for everyday life, I can go to stores, drive, you know the very day.. but then, some days.. I just have this horrible feeling of anxiety come over me.. and its not towards anything in particular, its just this feeling that I have and I cant seem to shake it.. I just have the feeling that something awful is gonna happen.
    Thank you for putting it out in the open, I know you definalty helped me feel, like im not alone.

  • Vegetarian Abroad

    It must be hard dealing with this on a daily basis. I can only imagine how hard it must be in a world that is always so busy. Thank you for this post.

  • irene @ inspiration from the little things

    i know EXACTLY what you are talking about, dana. i've had anxiety for years and when i'm having the attack, a simple task becomes so difficult just because i imagine the worst case scenario. sometimes i get ridiculed by people who don't understand (or those who keep their minds closed and refuse to understand).

    hugs to you ❤

  • Nikkiana

    I have days like this…. Like, I'm currently terrified to go to the post office to pick up my mail for absolutely no rational reason. I know I need to, but the whole getting up and walking to the post office thing is killing me.

  • Clair Neal

    I know exactly how you feel, and have experienced the same things over and over! I've been suffering for a good couple of years now, and has even come to me NOT doing things i want to do because of it, plus stopped going into certain shops and certain times of the day. its horrible and theres no words that i could say to help you other than Well done, and just remind yourself that you have done it and can do it again :) Unless someone else is going through the same thing they'l never understand what we have to go through. It's heartbreaking.



  • Mademoiselle Michael

    This was such a brave post to write, and I mean it when I say it was like a treasure to read- to be allowed that close to someone's heart and mind. So, thank you for being willing to share. I think as women, no matter what we go through, we shouldn't have to apologize for it- we should just be lights to one another, encouraging one another as we inform one another about what we all go through…cause we all go through something.

    I see no reason for blogs to be a perfect place…I appreciate genuine posts like this so much. They are gritty but because so, they are all the more beautiful.


  • Cara H

    Maybe together we can become stronger. I LOVE THAT.
    I love this. I have some of the same fears of meeting new people or spending time with people. My biggest fear? "What will we talk about?" I think that's why I blog and email so much… but how I crave the in-person intimacy. Thank you for sharing this, Dana. xoxo

  • Niamh.

    I've been really stressed about lots of things lately, and I have started finding the slightest things that used to be easy, extremely difficult and scary. I went to my doctor and he has told me this could be mild stress induced anxiety, and that I need to just slow down and take a look at everything and sort it out, but it isnt that easy at all. these posts by you and other bloggers are really helping me put it all into perspective though. thank you.

    • dana @ wonder forest

      Ugh it's such a shame and makes me so angry that there are so many doctors that have no idea how to help people with this issue. There are so many millions of people who suffer with this. I know there is no easy fix, but it would be nice to have more doctors who just simple understand it.

  • Kay

    Thank you for sharing. I know how anxiety feels and how draining on your life it can be, how some days it hardly touches you, but others it is in the driving seat and you are screaming for it to slow down from the backseat. I remember once driving 45 minutes to go to look (just look) at some tiles in a tile shop. I got all the way there and my anxiety stopped me from getting out of the car. All I did was drive another 45 minutes back home again. I hope the more people talk about their anxiety, the less others will suffer as they will feel their 'burden' is shared. Dana that was a huge step sharing your story.

  • Char

    I feel for you. I have the same feelings entirely. Just leaving my house drives me insane. I never get the physical symptons because I never put myself in the position. If I have to go shopping, or into a shopping centre, I get somewhere I'm close to and comfertable with to come with me! I literally only go to and from college on my own. My house is my safety and I hope to stay there. Thanks for sharing beautiful xxxxx

  • Trish

    I am the same way. I have a social anxiety that kicks in to high gear in crowds. When I was younger I could barely talk to strangers, it was physical painful for me to utter two words to someone I did not know. Thank you for posting this because I always thought that I was a little crazy. It feels good to know I am not alone.

  • Hollie Ryan

    I can get anxious over the stupidest things! I would love to be able to just be confident but its never that easy. Such a horrible feeling but you've just got to try your best to beat anxiety! x

  • Kendra

    Dana, you are so brave. I've been suffering from generalized anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember, but I've never been able to put it into words. I have so much trouble trying to describe it, especially to friends who don't understand what the "big deal" is. It's so nice to know that someone as successful as you has similar problems as I. Thank you so much for this post.

  • Stone Seer

    I applaud your bravery, friend. ♥

  • Noor

    I am so surprised you have panic attacks or anxiety about leaving since you seem so confident to take videos and pictures for your site. You should see a doctor if your afraid to leave the house, that's not good at all. I hope you get well and overcome anything you may have though.. Thanks for sharing..

  • Meela

    I know exactly how you feel.

  • Dalia

    I started to deal with anxiety about five months ago, I'm only twenty. I keep trying to remember if I had a traumatic even in my life that could've started this. To no avail have I been able to recall anything, it's not funny to deal with all the unexpected fear for the most unnecessary situations. My heart starts racing by a simple door bell ring. I totally understand where you're coming from and comment you for speaking out. c:

  • Felicity

    This story reminded me of how I get when I need to go to our local post office (where all my packages are delivered to). It's only a 1 minute drive away but the street it's located on is really busy and it's impossible to find a car park, so I have to walk.. and it's the walking there alone part that freaks me out. The first time I walked there alone some random guys started harassing me on the way, so now my mind thinks that's going to happen every time I go and yeah, just no! I've even started not wanting to drive places on my own, which is insane to me because I used to love doing things on my own. I never had this problem before I moved to this new town with my boyfriend though, so I'm thinking the isolation (which in all honesty I brought on myself) has caused me to feel this way. I'm not sure that I have anxiety, but I am aware that my fears are irrational and let them take over me anyway. I also had a panic attack once in my boyfriends old share house when I was having a scary and painful allergic reaction to some antibiotics. I was being deathly sick all over his bathroom and kept calling out for help but no one could hear me as it was a big house and everyone was asleep. I then had a full on panic attack, which at the time I thought was part of the allergic reaction, but in hindsight (after reading about anxiety and panic attacks from other bloggers like you) I realise that I was in fact having a panic attack. So thank you Dana, thank you for sharing your story! x

  • BeckyWise.

    I know exactly how you feel, I've had anxiety so bad that I couldn't even step out the front door to go to school because I was so scared. I get hot flushes and feel nervous around a lot of people. I hide this by trying to act comfortable and happy but people can see through the cracks. Anxiety and depression is an issue that a lot of people have and we need to look after them. My dad has suffered with it for years and growing up with him being a teen is very hard. He couldn't even answer the door to people he was so anxious. I love my dad and I hope one day he can break the cycle and become more confident and comfortable in his own skin. It's an very emotional topic to talk about. From a 15 year old girl <3

  • Stella

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I've been dealing with anxiety for almost 4 years now and there's times when it just gets really bad, like last month when I ended up dropping out of college AGAIN! I get even more worked up about it when I think about others my age who are in uni, go out with friends etc and I can't even leave the house. It's so good to know there's others out there who know the feeling, the worst part is probably KNOWING that friends and family just think I'm making it up or I'm just being silly. It's so annoying when doctors don't seem to help either, no matter what kind of medication they give you. I have to say though, small changes will help – baby steps! Right now, I'm focusing on my health nothing else. I hope you feel better soon! :)

  • Alexandria

    Ugh, I know this feeling so very very well. I've spent weeks at a time housebound because of my anxiety. Mine got so bad in the end that I was scared to even leave my bed, and the stress was so severe I started having episodes of derealisation. It was the absolute worst. I still battle with it a lot now, but medication certainly helps. It's one of those things, isn't it? Once you have it, you have it, and there's so little that can be done other than sheer perseverance. I haven't found the "other side" to come out of with regards to anxiety yet, and I remain skeptical as to whether that even exists. But it helps so much to know you're not alone. I used to be so super outgoing, getting anxiety was not only unexpected, but a HUGE change for me. I really appreciate you sharing your experience, and I hope you're able to push through what you need to do. You and I both know how relieved you'll feel afterwards!:)


  • Leah

    You've captured those panicky feelings of having to do something uncomfortable so well it's unbelievable, hopefully this can help people who don't understand anxiety disorders to see what it feels like to live with it every day <3

  • meganet

    This is so beautiful and honest and open, and from someone who has dealt with her own variations of anxiety, I appreciate your courage in releasing this. <3

  • Catherine Denton

    You have such a vulnerable, generous heart. I love you for sharing this.

  • Heiress

    Proud of you Dana for sharing this. And it's good you did, since we can see so much support poured in for you, with other bloggers facing similar things. Proud of you to be brave enough to go through it all too.

    Much Love
    The Heiress Blog

  • Jen

    Dana, this is something you won't conquer on your own. Anxiety is an incredibly crippling disorder but it is possible to deal with it. It's like an onion and you need to peel each layer away and work through it's triggers. I can highly recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (with a trained psych). My daughter has been working through some issues and has already gone from constantly saying 'what if' to now jokingly singing 'what if, what if, what if!' and laughing at herself. It's remarkable. The therapy focuses on training your mind to recognise your triggers, to really hear what you are saying to yourself and to find ways to tackle it. My mother has struggled with anxiety for her entire life, and she is now on medication and in complete denial and hardly ever leaves the house alone. It's a terrible shame and makes me more determined to help my daughter fight her own anxiety from a young age. I understand how crippling it is, and you are very brave indeed to share. If you can find a physician who is more supportive that would be a huge step forward. It is not 'all in your mind' in the way that normal people's fears are, and structured assistance could go a long way to helping you. The very best of luck to you, and good for you on making it through your shopping hell!

  • Emmy

    I literally had no idea there were so many people that suffered from this. I began having an 'anxiety problem' just over a year ago when my drink got spiked in a club (the experience ended up triggering an anxiety that I have found very difficult to get rid of). You feel stupid, alone and like nobody cares. Being someone who is really confident and outgoing normally I found I was becoming very insular and well scared of everyday tasks. Thanks so much for sharing! xo

  • 289land

    Dana, so proud of you for posting this. I think each success strengthens you…day by day. :)

  • Milex

    this is huuge!

  • Lauren

    Wow Dana, this is really brave for you to share this with everyone. I'm not sure that I could.

    While I don't know what it is like to go through this, I feel for you. This post really touched me and I can't imagine the struggles you must face and overcome daily.

    Thank you for sharing this and for bringing awareness to the struggles that so many people have.

    And to comment on your "disclaimer" – I don't think there is anything wrong with posting this. It's your blog and you can write what you want. Even if it's something that isn't necessairly positive (although, I think it's great that you went out despite feeling the way you did, and proving your strength to yourself) it's so nice to read PERSONAL stories. Stories that people (even if it's not me) can relate to.


  • Stephanie

    Dana you're not alone and I love you for posting this. Keep fighting, lady.

  • Lindsey Leitner

    Oh my goodness I can get the exact same way. My stomach actually started to tighten and hurt just reading this because I can relate. No one I know really understands why my stomach hurts at weird times and you described the feeling perfectly, tightening! I know this was difficult to post but thank you for doing so! It is nice to know I am not alone!

  • Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird

    This is the exact same reason I haven't been to the bank to deposit any money or paychecks in over a month.

    You aren't alone.

  • Chelsea Dawn

    Love this post because I have the exact same feelings about driving. I work relatively close to home, so driving to work or to places nearby I am fine with and don't think anything of it (comfort zone). However, I have major anxiety about driving on the highway, or to new places I am not familiar with. I hate it, so I try to avoid it the best I can. If there is a police officer behind me, following me, I panic. In my head, I am convinced I am doing something wrong and at any second, they will pull me over. Thanks for sharing!

  • Coline Chavaroche

    I love this post a lot…


  • Angela Jones

    I think it's incredible that you shared this. It is nice to know that you're not alone in the world of anxiety.

  • Melissa

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel as if this could be a manuscript from my own mind. It's comforting to know that someone I look up to suffers from this too. You're so successful and it's great to know that I can be strong and carry on, too.

    <3 Melissa

  • Heidi L Barber

    I Know what you mean!!! Wow, thank you for posting. You are SO not alone! God bless you & hang in there!


  • Pretzel Thief

    So sorry to hear you've been feeling like this (sniff!) and you're a brave woman to have shared it (and so beautifully and eloquently, at that). Give us a shout if any of us can be of any help. I actually wrote something short about fearlessness the other day, interestingly enough…it just kind of popped in my head. Take care of yourself, be safe and, remember, you are fabulous! xo

  • Jemma x

    This is such a great, inspiring post xxx