What Anxiety Taught Me

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow on Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow on Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

I have anxiety.

The kind that jolts you out of bed in the middle of the night. The panicky breathing that creeps up out of nowhere during coffee with a friend. The feeling of dread and loop of worry that prevents you from pursuing your dreams. The hammering heart in your chest because the stage fright is too much to bear. 

Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow on Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow shares Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow shares Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

My first bout of anxiety happened when I was 16 years old. I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say this time in my life was tough. I had a lot of personal things going on (thank GOD I had ballet) and didn’t know how to process those feelings so I would get anxious about little things… an exam, a ballet rehearsal or seeing my good friends in the hallway. The smallest things would trigger it and next thing you know, my heart would race uncontrollably and I would be in the bathroom stall trying to catch my breath. Ten minutes would pass and I would walk out like nothing happened.

Last weekend while having dinner with friends, I learned one of my friends had anxiety too and had dealt with similar struggles. Hearing stories like these are reassuring (especially when they come from really successful people you look up to) because it means you’re not alone and everyone has something they’re working on. We talked about the ways we both overcame our anxiety (therapy being the anchor) which had me thinking, “Why don’t I talk about this issue more often?” My blog started as a place where I share style advice, but today it’s morphed into something much bigger. If my story inspires you in some way to take action (whether that be through fashion, pursuing your dreams, conquering fears or simply breathing a sigh of relief because we share the same struggles) then I’ve done my job.

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow talks about Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill from The Style Bungalow talks about Lessons I Learned from Anxiety

So today I’m sharing a few lessons I’ve learned from having anxiety… because what we think is a huge flaw, can actually turn out to be an incredible lesson.

1.)   I try to trust my gut

The positive in anxiety is that you are capable of feeling intensely. That is why I believe that when something’s wrong, you’ll know it because your gut will tell you. Think of it as a warning sign that comes with an answer at the precise time for you. Trust your gut.

2.)   Try to get organized

I’ve realized that being organized when you’re in a state of anxiousness helps so much! And once you start organizing your life around (i.e. sleep time, less caffeine and balanced exercise, etc.) reflect on your thinking pattern. Organize the clutter of negative thoughts in your head, too and let the incentive for you to be successful create momentum to move closer toward your goals.

3.)   Fears can be fuel

Anxiety is no stranger to me because it runs in my family. Some days it’s hard to push through my worries – but I do anyway. That may look like sitting down at my computer and staring at a blank document; even if the only sentence I write all day is absolute garbage. Forcing myself to public speak. Shooting an outfit that’s different and risky. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. No one is going to help you more than you are going to help yourself. Plus, some of the anxiety can actually enhance our performance and encourage us to put in that extra effort. So, use your fears as fuel!

4.)   I’ve learned to embrace my flaws

Sometimes friends and family don’t always understand anxiety and may say things like, “why can’t you just fix this and stop feeling anxious? which can make things worse. But believe it or not, having anxiety makes you so much stronger as a person. You become more conscientious, detail-oriented and you respond well to crisis. As I mentioned above, not only do you develop strong empathy for others, but you have efficiently learned how to process life when things aren’t always going well. Dealing with challenges as often as you do with anxiety makes you realize you can do anything. A perfect example of this is my blog. For years, I feared the thought of putting myself out there and here I am today, 5 years later…

5.)   It’s OK to stay home

Anxiety can be exhausting. It’s perfectly fine to skip out (every now and then – you still need your friends) to enjoy a night of solitude and reflection. For me, that means I take a bath and write in my journal. Every time I do this, no matter how big the event is, I feel so much better.

6.)   We all need help

Just because you see a therapist or ask a friend for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, you’re the complete opposite – you’re strong. Sometimes you can’t control anxiety because of your circumstances or family history, which is why you need a good support system around you. I’ve learned to ask my friends and family for help and routinely see a therapist. (Hi! My boyfriend, my best friend Jen, my mom, my brother – I love you all for picking up my calls at 2AM and being there for me through some of my hardest times!)

7.)   Empathy for others

This one is huge and perhaps the most important lesson. You never know what someone is going through so always be kind to others (even when it’s hard) because you might be the only one who is. Sometimes a smile or a small conversation with a stranger can completely change their day. I’ve developed a great deal of empathy for others as a result of my hardships.

Stephanie Hill from shares Lessons I Learned from Anxiety on The Style Bungalow

Focusing on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative has changed my perspective and helped me through the years. If you have any tips you would like to add to the conversation, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

Xo, Stephanie

Jacket: (c/o) & Other Stories 

Pants: (c/o) & Other Stories 

Tank top: (c/o) & Other Stories 

Belt: Johanna Ortiz 

Earrings: Zimmermann

3 Comments

  • Thank you for sharing your struggles with anxiety and the coping mechanisms you use to overcome it. Currently I’m going through attacks because of a huge life change and find you’re words confronting and inspiring.

    • Aw, thank you so much for reading and for leaving a comment. I know exactly how you feel. Life changes can do that. When I left ballet and decided to go back to college, I dealt with bad anxiety too. I felt uncertain about my future and had no clue how I would replace my passion for ballet with something else. Eventually, I started my blog and things got better for me – my anxiety was manageable. Sure, it was a bad season in my life but one that guided me in this direction and for that, I am so thankful. You never know where your hardships and struggles will lead you… sometimes it’s towards something amazing!

      Sending you so much strength and courage! You got this – and if you don’t feel 100%, it’s perfectly fine to seek help from a counselor or a therapist. All the best <3

      Xo - Stephanie

  • I really loved this post, Stephanie. I feel really anxious in social situations and I totally understand the stage fright aspect because I’ve played oboe in orchestras for about 7 years. Thank you for sharing!

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