by Suzie Bonaldi

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The Past 9 Months.

Last year, June 2016 to be precise, was a huge turning point in my life. After living with on and off anxiety for the majority of my life, things started to change and become less manageable. Everyone feels "anxious" at points throughout their life, that's normal, but feeling anxious and having anxiety are two different things. I'd have 'feelings of anxiety' before tests and interviews but I'd also have the occasional panic attack here and there brought on by absolutely sod all (being alone in an airport or whilst watching TV), though I didn't always understand them as such and without knowing it, I developed coping methods to avoid them. But over the first six months of 2016 things started to change. Running my own business singlehandedly, whilst keeping up with my personal life and trying to be everything I thought everyone needed from me had really taken it's toll. Rushing from place to place, working until midnight, hopping on and off planes and trains. I spent a lot of time feeling guilty for not devoting enough time to the wonderful friends and family around me, and beating myself up for it. But I didn't and wouldn't stop for anyone, I kept pushing and pushing myself to do the most I could, until I couldn't anymore. I've never really talked about what happened in Paris, and why I changed so much last year, but I finally feel like I'm ready to let you in on what has been a huge part of my over the past 9 months.

In a little hotel room in Paris on June 21st, my mind finally stopped me moving. Think being on the cusp of passing out; dizziness, nausea, unable to hear much, unable to speak very much. All I could hear and feel was my heartbeat and I struggled to catch my breath. It almost felt like drowning without the water (and yes I do know what drowning feels like) I felt like something was really wrong - something I now know to be a sense of impending doom - but having never felt this type of physical response to anxiety as it normally presented itself far differently, it's no surprise I didn't recognise it. After 8 hours, at 4am, things finally started to ease. I made it home the next day, but I didn't leave the experience behind. For a good two months after I struggled to cope with day to day activities - feeling breathless and dizzy when leaving the house, a new fear of feeling lightheaded when working out, a crushing tension on my temples when in meetings or events. I felt overwhelmed by the tiniest day to day tasks, even just speaking to friends and family. Being away from my house made me feel extremely worried and I also started binge eating as eating and drinking (and I don't mean "drinking", I just mean consumption of any kind of liquid) was one of the few times the anxiety subsided (your body naturally focuses on those things instead of everything else you'd got going on - makes sense).

One of the worst parts of that time in my life was how isolated I felt, with only a few people in my life that I could really talk to. Anxiety is a funny thing in that, most people who have never experienced it are very sceptical. At first this made me feel so angry that others could be judgmental or dismissive, but I've learnt to accept and feel comfortable with the fact that no everyone can understand it, we're all built differently after all. And not all anxiety is the same - this is a huge factor in the discussions I hear involving anxiety - lot's of people are told they can't be experiencing it because their symptoms aren't the same as another's. Last summer my anxiety presented itself in new ways every single day. Some days it would be my breathing and heart rate, some days my blood vessels in my nose would swell so I suddenly couldn't breathe. On days when I didn't feel those symptoms, I suffered with depression and some days I juggled both. I felt scared to tell family members, who see me day to day as a strong, confident human being, and over this time I felt like I was just living in that girls shell. Filming videos became harder and harder as I didn't feel like me (and the whole breathlessness thing made filming for an hour a 3 hour ordeal), and writing on here basically stopped as I felt like I was hiding something. I wasn't in a positive place and I knew everyone would feel it. I wish I'd had the strength then to say "no" if people asked me if I was okay, but I put so much pressure on myself to make sure I didn't make others around me feel uncomfortable.

By September things started to turn around, I started seeing a Therapist in August and having weekly sessions made such a difference. It's not a quick fix, and I still speak to my therapist weekly. In that time I've learnt to cope with anxiety when it starts to brew, I've also been working on changing the thought processes that were feeding it, and I've learnt to better manage my life so that I don't feel overwhelmed the second I wake up in the morning (or at any point in the day). By October I was finally ready to get back on a plane again (a successful hour long flight each way to Barcelona!) and in February I completed two long haul flights with ZERO anxiety. I actually enjoyed them. There were tears after purely from the fact that I was so proud of myself and how far I'd come. And last month, I returned to Paris, something I had been so hesitant to do, in case the mere being there triggered previous behaviours. I was so nervous, but it was a wonderful trip, and I'm so 1) proud of myself and 2) grateful to everyone who helped me over the past 9 months. 

I'm not saying things are perfect now, there are things I'm still working on and I still have days where it all flares up - when I'm sick, tired, stressed or over worked. But I've learnt to accept it as part of my life and calmly work on it instead of being hell bent on beating myself up for feeling this way. My aim of this post isn't to romanticise anxiety, it's a serious mental health disorder that affects everyone differently and it shouldn't be dismissed. I knew early on I needed professional help, it gave me a space to get the help I needed but also to speak free of judgement, to voice my feelings and have them be respected and taken seriously. It's not a miracle worker, you don't just sit and talk and magically it goes away, therapy takes work and commitment, and for me it was so worthwhile. But my point of writing this post isn't to encourage everyone to do this (you can encourage someone all you like but it's not going to be effective if they're not doing it because they want to), I'm writing this because every time I've read that someone has had a similar experience I feel like I'm not alone. I also felt comforted by the stories of people around me who have been there, and are living happily (mostly) anxiety free lives. I wanted to know that it could get better.

And that's the thing, it does. It gets better.

You are not alone, and it gets better.
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47 comments

  1. Wow, what a brave blog post to put out there Suzie. I totally understand where your coming from, and I'm so glad your feeling a bit better now xx

    www.natalieleanne.com

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  2. This was such a lovely post, thank you for being so open about it all. I'm glad you're feeling better. Wishing you all the best.

    Thuy xo
    thuysedit.blogspot.com

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  3. Such a brave post and so beautifully written. Thanks for letting us know what happened in Paris, you didn't have to but I bet your words will help so many others. Thank you Suzie x

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  4. Many thanks for your honesty! You had really hard times and I admire you for your courage to deal with it. All the best to you!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  6. I oddly feel really proud of you for posting this. Anxiety and depression is horrible, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Some days, it's nausea and throwing up and literally feeling like the walls are closing in on you and there's nothing you can do about it. I am so pleased you're feeling better - I really believe that talking truly does help, so good for you.
    You know if you ever do need a friend, I am always here if you need one.

    You go girl xxx

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  7. "Anxiety is a funny thing in that, most people who have never experienced it are very sceptical" this is so SO true. Keep strong, girl, we love you. xx

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  8. I'd written a whole super long comment and I just unvolontarily deleted it :'( So let me try again:
    Suzie, it's late and I'm having trouble finding the words to say what I want to say, but I just want to send you a lot of love! For us it was quite guessable that what happened at Paris had really badly affected you, and I did notice this year how you started mentioning anxiety here and there, but this blog post really is a much bigger step, as we really don't know what goes on in your life from behind our screens. I'm so happy and proud that you're getting help and that you've started feeling better, it really makes me very happy. It's great that you're seeing a therapist weekly, I did that during 2 years and it was of great help for me too. I'm also glad that you seem to have a small group of people who look very supportive (like Josh obviously, but I also think Alix seemed like such a helpful friend back then in June when you got sick, and just overall she seems very supportive). You're on the right track! And you should never be ashamed to feel a certain way or tell people about it, but this is easier said and done. Writing this post means that you've also made progress on this front. I just keep thinking about your words here, you're a very brave and good human being Suzie. I understand that having a following on Youtube and social media puts a lot of pressure on you and probably makes you feel like you need to be perfect and not have problems like this, and that you may be afraid of people judging you for it, because sometimes it's hard for people to realise it's an actual human being on the other side of the screen. But at the end of the day, considering you're "just" a human like us, you're doing pretty fucking great :) We all have our struggles, some of them are mental health related, don't be ashamed of yours; just be proud that you're fighting and getting better one small step at a time.
    Anyway, this is very rambly (and the second time I'm trying to write this comment! I've literally read your post when it came up but I've probably been trying to write this for half an hour haha), so I'll stop. I just wanted to say I feel very lucky to follow someone as genuine as you on social media, and that I'm sending as much love as I've got in my heart! (And I'm sending it from Paris too! A city where you're always welcome, to come and be yourself, and I can promise you that here, this memory of the 21st of June is nothing but a memory, that will be contrasted by all the new great memories you'll make here and have already started to make recently!)

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  9. Such a brave post to write Suzie, but I am sure it will help many others. Thank you for continuing to make content when you were dealing with all of this. I always really enjoy your content especially the hauls, keep going Hun, you are killing it xx

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  10. Well done Suzie, this is such a brave post - hopefully this is going to help a lot of your readers going through similar things, you should be proud!

    Rachel Xx

    the-potofgold.blogspot.com

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  11. I was already expecting that it was for this reason that you left Paris last year, and I have been pretty sure it was a bit more than just 'illness'. I feel so sorry that you thought you had to hide it from the world but trust me, the two times that I have met you over the past months, nobody would have ever guessed that you were suffering like that, so well done for dealing with it so well, especially on stage at Beautycon in London! I wish there was anything I could do for you personally but let me tell you what you already know: You are never alone!
    All the best to you, Suzie xxxx

    lum0slondon.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Loved this, such a helpful and beautifully written post. Thanks for sharing!

    XX

    Love, http://herrendezvous.com/

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  13. Such a brave post to write Suzie! I'm sure it's going to help a lot of people! Wishing you all the best xx

    irememberaprilxo.blogspot.com

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  14. Such a brave and open post Suzie - thanks for sharing it. I'm sure it will really help anyone who is feeling similarly, plus in general I think it's so important that you are contributing to public conversation around mental health. Good on you and all the best. Sophie xxx

    www.sopharsogood.com

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  15. This made me cry just reading it. It's so brave if you to post this and so helpful that you have. You are so right when you say that it's nice to know that other people are going through the same things and that it has got better for them. I'm so glad that you have had such supportive people around you and wish you all the best for the future and well done on everything you have achieved so far xx


    www.jessicatonge.co.uk

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  16. <3 Such a lovely post even with such an awful thing to explain.
    I had anxiety attaks too, I'm still dealing with them, I know what's like.
    I've loved this post, you're such a sweet amazing person (anxiety does never make you less strong, I see as the opposite) and I can tell it even behind a screen :)

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  17. thank you for being so open about all you have been through, you are certainly not alone. xx

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  18. A raw beautiful post...accepting anxiety as part of your life is a hard step to make, so thank you for letting the rest of us know that its okay and we're not alone in this x

    A Girl's Journal
    http://girlsjournal95.blogspot.co.uk

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  19. This is such an important post! I went through a similar experience a few years ago with my anxiety, so I know how crippling it is. I think it is so important that those of us who are going through it put it out there... the worst part of anxiety for me was feeling so alone and I think it's helpful to those currently going through it to know that they're not alone!
    Kisses,
    Sarah
    EverydayStarlet

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  20. Thank you for being amazingly honest Suzie ! I hope your post will help people 😊❤️

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  21. This is a really brave post and I'm glad you decided to write it. I can understand how you feel although I don't suffer from anxiety, I do worry a lot and suffer because I tend to overthink. To make it worse I always bottle things up which is not good. Anyways, I hope you keep feeling better and better. Sending you lots of love and strength, Suzie xo

    www.memoriesofthepacific.com

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  22. Thank you for sharing Suzie, I can relate so much. I have anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder and it has affected my life in so many ways. At the end of 2015 I got so ill due to anxiety that I am still recovering but it taught me so much and I am becoming so much stronger as well. Therapy is a great tool and can help a lot, it has helped me. Asking for help is so important. Great that you are feeling better, take care. Lots of love and hugs xx

    www.lienasnow.com

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  23. Beautiful blog post Suzie and so honest. I can relate to the feelings of anxiety and the struggle with day to day tasks.
    You have done so well to overcome parts of your anxiety!
    www.flareaforte.com

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  24. It's such a brave thing to do, to talk about anxiety especially when it's your own. I too suffer with anxiety and have had some really bad experiences with it, and although anxiety is different for everyone, I completely understand how you feel and know what it's like to go through something like that. It's exhausting and consuming but it's such a big achievement when you overcome a part of it. Thank you for sharing this post Suzie x

    Kayleigh | anenethusiasmfor.co.uk

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  25. Really courageous thing to talk about and I love that you shared this. There are so many people suffering from anxiety, including myself. I'm learning bit by bit how to overcome it, to just live my life without feeling like I'm shaking or can't breathe. Just keep going, one day at a time!

    insta | bloglovin’

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  26. Thank you for this post Suzie and for being so honest. I've struggled with anxiety off and on the past few years. Lately it's been pretty bad again, simple things like going out to dinner or going to church have started to make me so anxious that I'm sick to my stomach. I tried a new meal at a restaurant recently and it was delicious, but I could hardly eat it because of my anxiety. I just hate that I know in my mind that everything is fine, but I can't control how I feel. I do find talking about it helps, just with my family and friends, and I read my Bible before bed to help calm me as well. I am so happy that things are starting to get better for you and please tell me your ways to not feel anxious on a long haul flight, haha!

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  27. This is such a brave post, thank you for opening up about a topic that needs to be talked about more. I love reading about things like this because even if there is no one around me who understands at least I know there are people out there who do.

    Xx | www.miflare.com

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  28. This waa a bery brave and courageous thing to write about Suzie and you should be very proud of yourself. I've also been suffering with anxiety for a while now and it's still something that's not spoken about or understood. Posts like this helps that. Thank you x

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  29. It's amazing that you've written this! I know this post will help so many people! Than you! xxx
    https://harryssisters.blogspot.co.uk/

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  30. Wonderfully written babe and hopefully it will help you move past that time in your life from writing this down. It was such a tough year for you and Im so proud of you for overcoming this and letting it make you stronger. Youre my little cupcake and I love you lots and lots xxx

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  31. You are such an inspiration - and I know how difficult it can be to share these times in our lives with others. You are very brave to be able to share your experiences with others for their benefit too. I hope 2017 brings you much deserved happiness and ease. I admire your strength xox :)
    https://daisychaindaydreamsblog.wordpress.com

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  32. Thank you so much for sharing this Suzie. It is beyond brave of you and I know it will help so many people either find peace or realize that they are not alone/abnormal/isolated etc. Wishing you all the best, strength and (additional- you already have a ton) courage on your journey. Keep it up!

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  33. Thank you for sharing this with everyone, so brave of you! As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I am so happy to hear that you are doing better!

    http://itsjustbecky.blogspot.co.uk/

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  34. I love you and i love this! I too have been through very similar and i'm always here if you need a little chat! Loved this post! xxx

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  36. This is such a brave and honest post to write and I am so proud of you! I also suffer from anxiety and I know how horrible it can be to go through it alone.
    Thank you so much for sharing this, it reminds other people that they aren't going through it alone.
    It's so great to hear how far you have come and I am sure you will continue moving forward - I admire you so much for writing this post!

    Love Emily xx | http://emimarieblog.com/

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  37. Finally I see a blogger who admits that anxiety has to be treated with therapy! Congrats to your honesty, Suzie! I'm a blogger and a psychologist on the verge of becoming a therapist - speaking openly about mental health is one thing, sharing trips and tricks can actually be negative because not everything works for every individual but admitting that you need to see a therapist if you're struggling with anxiety is really positive! I hope your post helps a lot of people who struggle with similar issues!

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  38. Brace post, but good that you are bringing awareness to this subject! I totally understand as I suffer from anxiety too and get that light heaviness feeling when I leave my house!
    Glad you are feeling better and got some help x ��

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  39. That once more proves how little the person we seem to see in videos and on social media shows the true struggles that person is foing through. I started following you a little before that epsiode and while I joticed you were quiet afterwards, I never once had thought this was the reason. You seemed happy and confident as always. Thank you for opening up, and great thing you got help and see an improvement.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  40. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had a very similar experience about a year ago when I was working abroad - physical symptoms like the ones you describe, and others as well, plus fatigue and feelings of depression - and while I'm so sorry that this happened to you, it does give me courage to know that I'm not the only one (though I was met with a lot of scepticism from both friends and professionals) and that you're doing a lot better now. Keep up the good work!

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  41. Wow Suzie, you are amazing. Had no idea you'd been struggling (I've been travelling for the past six months!) but am so happy to hear you're in a better place and think it's incredibly brave of you to share this! I'm sure it'll help so so many others.

    Sending all the love!
    Verity AO
    www.verityao.com

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  42. I'm sorry to hear that, I do think that blogging takes its toll as we are constantly multi-tasking and there are never enough hours in the day. I also think that the body is clever, sometimes it tells us to slow down a bit. I got into the habit of staying up till 1 am when I was combining my blog with a day job and I haven't really got out of the habit yet! A very inspirational post, thanks for writing it

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  43. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I relate to this post so much it's unreal. There really is nothing like finding a blog where you literally feel as if the blogger is taking the words and feelings out of your mind and writing them.

    Hearing a success story was just what I needed today and I'm so happy you are doing better :) Many people will benefit from this post, I am positive.

    Dominique | dombagnoche.com

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  44. As someone who also suffers from anxiety and OCD I really appreciate you sharing this. It truly is a struggle and there is such a stigma around mental health. It's so important to talk about in order to understand that you are not alone. I am so proud of you for finding the courage to push through your anxiety and for opening up about it. You are wonderful and this only proves how strong you are. Just take it one day at a time.

    - Olivia

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  45. Suzie I can relate on so many levels you have no idea! I am so glad you are feeling better!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

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  46. This is such a scary honest thing to post and I am so happy that you have started to feel better Suzie! Anxiety is still so unknown to people and it still has a stigma about it. Thank you for sharing your experience in order to help others dealing with similar problems! Keep well, you do some incredible work- focus on yourself.
    www.ambermariemarie.com

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  47. What a brave post! I am happy to hear you are feel better, Stay Strong

    http://Fatima8450.blogspot.com

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