let’s talk about anxiety.

anxiety. in technical terms, a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness & apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. in MY terms, living hell. 

this post isn’t easy to write. but, i know i need to write it. i have suffered from anxiety ever since i was a child. & from childhood to present day, i truly haven’t met many people who understand what it means to have anxiety. the few people i have met, suffer with anxiety themselves. & i want to change that. there’s always a barrier put up between people when we are uneducated. i have felt extremely distant from my closest of friends because of their unwillingness to learn or even plain misunderstanding of my struggles with anxiety. that being said, anxiety is difficult to understand. it is different for every individual. it affects people in different ways, physically as well as mentally. i think it is important for those of us who do struggle to no longer sit in silence. there is an overwhelming sense of shame & distaste that is pushed upon you when you open up about any sort of mental illness… & i hate it. so this is me, being as open as i can, about the particular aspects of my personal struggles with anxiety. for your education, not for your judgement. & if you’re inclined to judge? you have my permission to leave.

so here we go, answering questions about my personal struggles with anxiety::

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what does it feel like?

my anxiety is being constantly overwhelmed & constantly exhausted. it’s a feeling of being trapped & being unable to do what has to be done. it’s trying to mentally handle everything you’re going through & short circuiting. it’s feeling like life is just impossible. & when it all adds up, & you’re too overwhelmed physically, emotionally, & mentally, the only thing you can do is hide under your covers & hope the world resolves itself, because you sure as heck aren’t currently capable of doing anything yourself.

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are there different types of anxiety, & if so, what do you suffer from?

it’s important to note that there are also different types of anxiety. some people suffer from general anxiety disorder, some with obsessive compulsive disorder, some with panic disorder, & some have a combination. i mostly suffer from panic disorder, & have frequent panic attacks. panic attacks are lovely. racing heart, blurred vision, inability to breathe, uncontrollable crying, incredibly dizzy, weak all over then going numb… oh yeah, it’s great. & due to how amazing these panic attacks are, people with panic disorder frequently begin a lifestyle in which they avoid people, places, & things that have given them a panic attack in the past. the frustrating part for me is that pretty much any time i am in an uncomfortable setting & feel trapped in it, i will have a panic attack. when i was younger, that meant any time i was at a sleepover or a school field trip. these days, it’s anything from crowds to airplanes to being around people i don’t feel safe with to being without my “comfort items” or without the people in my life that i know will keep me safe.

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does your anxiety hold you back?

well if you can imagine, all that panicking makes it kinda of hard to push myself “out of my comfort zone” as they say. being uncomfortable is such a battle for me. & frankly, the life path i’ve chosen is very uncomfortable to me. being a full-time college student, living in a college c0-ed dorm, eating in a cafeteria, being in college classes… it’s all very difficult for me. i wake up every morning hoping school was canceled. i wake up every morning dreading what i’ll have to overcome next. & you know, it’s difficult to find the balance between a good amount of pushing yourself, & knowing your limits.  i’m still struggling to find that balance. it’s like i love pushing myself to discover new things, but in a safe, somewhat controlled environment. unfortunately, i think going to a public university might not have been the right choice for me. i’m still learning that i am allowed to ask for help, & i am allowed to say no when it’s getting too much. anxiety, & any mental illness really, takes time to navigate & understand & cope with. it’s a long, grueling process for everyone involved.

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doesn’t being anxious just mean that you worry all the time?

this actually ISN’T actually what i experience. some people who suffer from general anxiety disorder have constant thoughts of worry & questioning. i actually happen to be quite a positive person who tries to think the best & see the best in people, & thankfully am also a super rational person who can usually reason with myself beyond trivial worries. but i live in a constant state of fight-or-flight, or a constant state of panic. i definitely have my moments where i overthink or worry, but no more than anyone else.

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& one more thing! being anxious isn’t the same as having an anxiety disorder! as humans, we do all experience anxieties, but anxiety itself is a serious mental illness. it’s a huge difference!!! so be careful when throwing around the terms “anxiety” or even “panic attack”. it can be offensive to someone whose state of life is deteriorating due to a crippling mental illness, when you’re just stressed about an exam. just make sure you are using the words in the correct way.

 

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isn’t anxiety all in your head?

an important aspect of anxiety is the physical aspect. personally, my anxiety affects my whole body. any time that i am anxious, my body gets incredibly sore from head to toe, which in turn makes me very exhausted. my adrenal glands will begin causing me excruciating pain, often too extreme to move. my anxiety affects my stomach, causing me to develop abdominal & intestinal disorders & an eating disorder. my anxiety gives me chest pain & trouble breathing. my anxiety triggers my chronic migraines. basically, NO, my anxiety isn’t just “all in my head”. my anxiety affects my entire body, making it quite the feat just to get out of bed in the morning. it’s a stigma that anxiety or any mental illness is just all in your head & you just gotta think your way out of it & be positive. oh how we wish it were that simple! while this is a mental illness, people feel it physically as well, which makes it all the more difficult to participate in daily life. so if you know someone who struggles with a mental illness & still is a full-time student or works a 9-5, you better believe they are a rock star.

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how can i help someone who’s having a panic attack or bout of anxiety?

panicking::

firstly, don’t ask for an explanation. don’t pester. the last thing someone who is panicking needs are questions. the absolute best thing you can do is just be there & provide support. & for a lot of people, that just means sitting in silence & possibly being the shoulder to cry on. personally, i just need someone to get me to a safe place (somewhere away from people & somewhere i can sit down), & then just sit with me until i calm down. but it is probably different for each individual. do not be judgmental in the slightest, because while their reasons for panicking might seem trivial to you, it’s life or death to them. treat them with the utmost respect & love. & that’s the best you can do!

bouts of anxiety::

if it’s just general anxiety, it’s good to provide distraction. for example, get out a coloring book, put on the television, start telling a story, really get them engaged in something (without them really having to do much themselves). don’t try & start a conversation, because most likely since this person is anxious, they won’t have much rhyme or reason going on in their brain. engaging them in an activity where they can focus their attention elsewhere than their own thoughts is the best.

now, if their anxiety is toward a certain event or situation, it’s okay to start a conversation to try & simplify the situation. what part is making them anxious? how could we tackle this in the best way possible to limit anxiety? who can we ask for help? now, while some situations are easily solved, others have no solution. some situations or events are just going to be the most anxiety producing for that person, & there is nothing they can do about it. the best way to deal with this situation is to make sure they know that they will not be stuck. as i’ve stated before, i get extreme amounts of anxiety if i believe i can’t escape a situation. so, provide them a way out. let them know you are a phone call away & can pick them up from the event if things get too difficult. even better, offer to accompany them or make sure that someone who they trust is with them. & if it’s truly all too much, help them come up with a great excuse to cancel, & make plans for a self-care night instead.

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any last words? (about anxiety)

well, high five if you’re still reading.

i don’t really know if i’ve accurately portrayed this mental illness that encompasses the lives of many of us, but i hope i’ve at least shed some light on what it’s like. it’s not easy. it’s not fun. we didn’t ask for this nor do we want this. but we fight, every day, to participate in life. we fight against this illness & do our best to live to our fullest extent & not let this overwhelming struggle define us. i’m a person, not a illness. i’m defined by laughter & love, not by panic & disorder. but it is a part of who i am, & i do want to educate those around me about it.

know that if you are struggling, this space is a save haven for you. you will be met with words of love & prayers of support. my email, craftedfragments[at]gmail[dot]com, will always be open to those who need comfort. know that you are worthy, you are strong, & you are courageous.

i think that’s all that i’ll say for now.

all my love,

meredith.


 

all images taken from pinterest.com

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pinterest peeks: if you’re having a bad day.

…because if we’re being honest with each other here, i’ve been having some bad days. & sometimes i just need to go on my pinterest board & look at pictures of puppies & babies to help me feel better. here’s a peek for ya::

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i hope these images brought you some joy & added smiles to those bad days!

group hug,

meredith.

images not my own. all images taken from pinterest.com.

light the candle, everything’s alright.

hi, i’m meredith, & i’m addicted to candles. but i swear, they provide some sort of therapeutic comfort for my soul so it’s not like this addiction is a bad thing… right?

i recently bought some new candles because, little secret for you guys, for some reason every store is having candle sales. & if that isn’t the perfect cure for my bouts of depression, i don’t know what is. nothing warms my soul like a candle that smells like homebaked goodness. so i thought i’d share with you my top 7 candles at the moment, if you guys need ideas on what candles to get for yourselves. let’s get started::

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first up:: herb & irma’s lemon & olive leaf scented soy candle. dudethis candleit smells so good i could cry. i’m not huge on citrus, but i really really adore the smell of lemon. i’m obsessed with lush’s bohemian soap, & this candle smells really similar. but due to the olive leaf, it’s a little less sweet & instead has a nice floral/herbal undertone. also, i mean c’mon, this packaging. it’s precious. perfect candle for the kitchen in my opinion!

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next up:: sonoma’s balsam & oak scented candle. “winter’s aromatherapy is the relaxing experience of fresh eucalyptus, bergamot and lemon zest infused with golden oak, hinokiwood and fresh balsam. cedar wood, creamy sandalwood and vintage oak add richness.” what a description! my all-time favorite candle has been bath & body works’ fresh balsam candle, but this one may beat it out. balsam is one of my favorite scents. i don’t really know many other people who like it, but i love it. it smells like the outdoors at christmas. of course it’s a woodsy scent, but this combination of balsam & oak is a little sweeter perhaps than just the fresh balsam. i’m really liking this candle.

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in no particular order, next is:: vintage lace scented soy candle from targetthe only description given for this candle is that it has a “light, flowery fragrance”. which honestly, i don’t even think describes it. the love bug says it smells “fabric-y” & my roomie says it smells like “vanilla with a twist of lemony linen”. so. there’s that. it just smells really nice to me for some reason, even if it is a weird smell you can’t really put your finger on. plus i love the gold container it comes in!

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& now:: sonoma’s pumpkin farm scented candle. “softly spiced pumpkin and warm chestnuts combine with wild greens and sweet apple embraced by earthy patchouli, glowing amber and smooth vanilla bean.” yep, this candle is quite the combination. but if i were gonna simplify it, i would say it just smells like the holidays. it’s sweet & spicy & floral & all around yummy. it’s not really heavy on the pumpkin, it’s just enough pumpkin spice mixed with woodsy & fruity smells. i definitely may save this candle for thanksgiving, but it just smells so warm & lovely.

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announcing:: threshold’s costal tide hand-poured wax pillar candlei genuinely don’t know how to describe this scent for you people… but i basically bought it because it smells like the love bug’s aftershave. & i’m sorry, but the love bug’s aftershave smells amazing. i know i annoy the crap out of him because after he shaves i won’t leave him alone & want to smell his face a lot. i always said i would just buy myself a bottle of it so i could smell it whenever, but then i discovered this wonderful candle! so now whenever i miss this smell, i have my own coastal tide candle to smell. this is getting weird. it smells good though!

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here is:: sonoma’s pumpkin pecan pie scented candle“the rich, authentic aroma of freshly made pumpkin pecan pie is captured in this mouthwatering blend of sweet mandarin, cinnamon sugar, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, and vanilla bean.” so this is one of the sweetest smelling candles i’ve ever smelled! but it’s absolutely wonderful. now, i don’t know that i ever knew pumpkin pecan pie existed? i mean i know pumpkin pie exists, and pecan pie exists, but the two together? hmph. never had it. but, the candle smells like caramel & sugar & pies & homebaked goodies & candy. it’s sweet & delightful.

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& last but not least:: signature soy’s coconut cake scented soy candle. i absolutely love coconut & the smell of it as well. this little candle packs a punch. it smells like the most deletable coconut cream cake you’ve ever had. you can even smell the toasted coconut on top, it’s like magic. it’s not sickeningly sweet but has just enough creamy goodness to entice you. perfect for a warm bath & some chocolates. (now i want some coconut cake…)


 

& those are my top 7 of the moment! do any of y’all love candles? if so, what are your favorite scents? do you tend to like the sweeter scents, or the more floral smells? let me know in the comments!

 

hope you’re all doing well.

much love,

meredith.

valentine’s inspiration.

hello lovelies! i hope you all had an absolutely splendid valentine’s. valentine’s actually happens to be one of my most favorite holidays aside thanksgiving. & when most people hear that, they usually respond with a “uhh, but you hate pink & all things girly?” to which i respond, firstly, don’t put me in a box. ahem. but secondly, yes i do usually dislike pink & all things girly, but i am totally allowed to enjoy myself as a girl once a year. i just love that there is a holiday about love.

so many people try to ruin valentine’s day with grunts about being alone, not having a significant other, not being loved, hating the mush gush… & that just makes me sad. i mean, coming from someone who suffers from depression & had extreme bouts of it in high school, don’t get me wrong, i am the queen of the cynical. but i have never despised valentine’s day. only in the past two years have i had my love bug on valentine’s day, & for the rest of them i was single. & that didn’t bother me one bit. some of my most favorite memories are my past valentine’s day adventures.

why do we have to focus on the negative when it’s a holiday of love! don’t promote these ideas that valentine’s is just for couples. valentine’s day is for anyone who loves anyone. & yes, that includes just you loving yourself. take the day as an excuse to pamper yourself, love yourself, & treat yourself right. this isn’t just for husbands & wives, it’s for you, it’s for your friends, it’s for you cute doggies & for strangers! & don’t you forget galentines day too! (parks & rec reference anyone?) in fact, head over here to read about one of my most epic galentine’s with my bestest gal pal. february 13th is a perfect day to celebrate those girls in your life.

in past valentine’s, i used to make forts in my room, set up tea lights & candles for myself, bake myself some goodies, write valentine’s for all my friends & family. i used to buy myself a box of chocolates as well as one for my mom, & we’d watch old movies & laugh. my dad would take me out to a tea house & we’d pretend to be posh. i would put on a pretty dress, do up my make-up, & just sit in my room listening to the sweetest of love songs. i would go craft-happy & make all the valentine’s goodies. it was always a great time.

& now that i’ve got my love bug, it’s all the more wonderful. showing people that i love them is what gives me the greatest joy in life. i spent far too much of my life feeling that i wasn’t loved, & i don’t want anyone else feeling that way. this year i had so much fun making all my friends valentine’s & going on a galentine’s brunch date. i loved spoiling (& getting spoiled by) my love bug, celebrating in some of the most romantic ways.

originally, i meant to take so many photos of the love bug & i’s valentine weekend & create a look book for you guys! unfortunately, i was too in love & forgot to pick up my phone even once to take a photo. i blame love. it makes you crazy. so, instead, i’m gathering a bunch of photos i used as inspiration for our valentine’s adventures to hopefully inspire you as well for your next valentine’s. i hope you enjoy!


 

 


 

& that’s all folks!

again, hope you all had a delightful valentine’s day & treated yourselves like royalty.

xoxo,

meredith.

you are so worth loving.

love.

loving yourself, loving others, & letting others love you.

& always remembering that you have worth.

no matter your past, your present, or your future. no matter the amount of bad days. no matter what lies your heavy heart might be telling you. you are so worth loving.

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hello people of worth! i’ve wanted to make this post for some time. i work alongside an amazing community over at so worth loving. so worth loving, as the video above detailed, is a clothing company. but so much more than a company, it’s a life style, a way of thinking. a message that you are worthy of love & respect. a physical reminder that you deserve to be treated with kindness & that you believe in yourself & in those around you. being a part of this movement has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. & i’m just getting started!

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i discovered so worth loving probably around 3 or 4 years ago, at a time in my life when i believed i was completely worthless. it was one of the darkest times i’ve ever been through. i latched on to the message, but only in regards to other people. i spread the word, & constantly uplifted others, but never could apply it personally. then a couple years later when i started at university, i again went through one of the most difficult & painful experiences of my life. guilt, depression, shame, & overwhelming feelings of worthlessness took over my soul. & i began to realize that the more my heart was encompassed in grief, the less i was able to pour out love to others. my heart for others is one of the only things i’ve ever been able to admire about myself, & i didn’t want the one good thing about me to be compromised because of my pain. so i clung to this message in hope. i spoke in faith. it took months of doing everything i could to shun this disbelief, but i soon began understanding what it meant to love yourself.

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& that, dear ones, is really where my genuine involvement began! this slogan of SWL, “love you, love people”, truly encompasses what they’re all about. it’s not enough just to love others. & it’s not about just loving yourself. it’s about loving everything you are, in order to be capable of loving those around you. i began seeing this wonderful change in my life when i committed to believing i was worth loving. & since then, i’ve had the amazing opportunity to work as a campus representative for this company, spreading this wonderful message of worth.

just thought i would let you all in on this incredible part of my life, & remind you all that::

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xoxo,

meredith