Let’s Talk About Anxiety

I woke up this morning in a sweat. My heart was racing as I jolted awake from some sort of nightmare. I immediately started thinking about things that make me nervous about the future, and how the heck I’m going to get through it all. My stomach dropped deep down into my abdomen as my heart leapt straight through my chest. Apparently you sometimes can’t even escape anxiety in your dreams.

Anxiety is a cousin of depression. They’re close in the sense they both can be based on fear and uncertainty, but they give two very different feelings. Depression is hollow and dark. It feels like a rainy day in a swamp, with fog as far as the eye can see. You know it’s a wide open space, but you can’t muster up the energy to move around freely. You are curled up in a ball, only vaguely noticing that there is a world around you. I think often with depression, the person in the middle of the fog can really only see a few feet around them and can’t tell that there is light and beauty outside the dark swamp. In fact, there are still beautiful flowers and little glimmers of light while you are there, but they can be difficult to see if you give up and stay curled in your little ball. Rays of light come in the form of good friends, puppies, working out, and helping others. There is always a reason to keep fighting, but everyone understands if you need to take a break for awhile. It is exhausting when you feel like you’re alone and don’t know how to pull yourself up off the ground.

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Anxiety paints a different picture. Instead of being a more introverted feeling, anxiety is the craziest extrovert you’ve ever seen. It is wild and red, and hot to the touch. Anxiety makes you feel claustrophobic in your own body, and creates a strong desire to run away from yourself. With depression, you would rather be able to get back in to your own body and figure out how to find yourself again. Anxiety makes you want to forget everything there is about you and run away to create a new life. You want to turn your brain off to stop thinking about anything and everything and find a way to sleep again, but you can’t take a vacation from your thoughts. Both depression and anxiety can create a pit in your stomach, but they’ve often settled there for entirely different reasons.

I have tiptoed along the line of depression sometimes, but I think having some down days is part of the human experience, so it’s very different than it was being in the darkness I have only been in once before. Anxiety is a much more familiar feeling I let sneak into my heart. It starts by catching the door with its foot, then shoves its way in guns blazing. “You’re not good enough,” “You won’t be able to handle the future,” and, “You can’t do the thing” are all lies anxiety screams as loudly as it can. It makes up elaborate and unlikely stories of what your future is going to look like, but speaks them with confidence and as truth. It’s a lot easier said than done to choose not to believe the lies, as a simple, “just don’t worry about it,” or, “calm down” won’t ease an anxious person’s heart. It is possible to find peace, but takes a lot of swallowing your own pride, accepting help from others, and being gentle with yourself.


Anxiety and depression are both so prevalent in today’s world. I don’t know if the age of social media has caused a rise in mental health issues or we’re just more open about them now, but I’d say more people than not have had a taste of these feelings, even if they haven’t been officially diagnosed with anything. I think we underestimate how not-alone we are in the world and how similar our feelings are to one another.

Talking about anxiety makes me anxious. I still think people are quick to judge, label, and make assumptions about people they don’t know. Despite genuinely believing most people have a good headspace about talking about mental health, I know there is still ignorance and confusion in this space of the world. I know that therapy is still stigmatized, and that people don’t always love and support things they don’t understand. So many people, though, who you would never guess are fighting difficult battles by themselves. Sometimes the most beautiful, smiley rays of sunshine have a darkness that is clouding their heart, and I am so thankful that celebrities and people in the limelight who have platforms are speaking up about their struggles more. Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, and Stephen Colbert are all people who live to make others laugh, but struggle with anxiety. Jim Carey, Owen Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sarah Silverman have all been very open about dealing with depression. It isn’t just comedians who struggle with mental health, though. There is an enormous list of people who range from athletes to astronauts who have been affected by depression or anxiety. Even Abraham Lincoln is thought to have had severe depression and anxiety; they just didn’t have a word for it then.

My purpose in writing this is because I think it’s so important that we realize we are never alone in our thoughts or feelings. People need to be taught from a young age that it’s okay for everything to not be okay sometimes. People should realize that we all have battles we’re fighting, that we can share our struggles with our loved ones, and most of all, to be kind to everyone we meet. I am not “Instafamous,” do not have a large group of followers, or a particularly captivating life to share about, but I want to open my heart to the people who do read this in hopes it makes someone feel less alone. I see you, and care about you. We need you here, and you are important. Please don’t ever forget that.

Authentic Love Isn’t Selfish

We’re going to pick up where I left off in my Corinthians segment. I know I am really breaking this down, but I think there is just so much more than meets the eye that I don’t want to miss any of the beauty that is intended to teach us to love others more selflessly.

“[Love] does not envy, it does not boast. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

Social media is the perfect breeding ground for the first two traits that do not exhibit love. Being envious of others online lives is super easy because all the content is curated. Whether it looks like a perfect love life like Channing and Jenna displayed on Instagram for millions to see or is an incredible collage of beautiful sunsets all around the world from a favorite travel blogger, it’s easy to wonder how other people have perfect lives while you are going through something difficult. It’s often through others boasting online that people can begin to channel feelings of jealousy and get a bad case of the green-eyed monster. I think it’s more important now than ever to learn how to cheer on each other throughout the good parts of life and lean on one another in the more difficult stages. That is the incredible part about social media that we can all choose to focus on. If we learn to count others’ victories as our own we will have so many things to be joyful for each and every day.

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Dishonoring others is such a wide range of things. With a friend or family member it could be talking about them behind their back, being unsupportive of a big life adjustment, or being cruel to someone for something they can’t control. With a romantic partner some examples would be thinking about being with someone other than your significant other, looking at pornography, yelling or talking down to them, or acting on inappropriate feelings. When you dishonor someone you love it is often one of the most obvious ways to hurt the relationship. It almost always goes hand in hand with destroying the bond and trust built, and depending on the severity might even end a relationship.

Self-seeking strangely enough includes a lot of the things under the “dishonoring others” umbrella. To truly love someone, you have to put aside some of your selfish desires and look to see what is in their best interest. I’ve dated people on both ends of the selfish and selfless spectrum and it’s incredible to see the difference in the quality of life with the two extremes. I do believe someone can love you even if they are completely selfish, but they aren’t showing love when in that state of mind, and that’s a really big part of any kind of relationship. There are givers in the world, takers, and the people who are “just right.” Although I think giving is a really beautiful thing, it is so important to still take care of your own dreams and not give every single part of yourself away to someone else. I am definitely someone who gives until I become empty if someone is willing to keep taking and had to learn the hard way how damaging that is. When a giver latches onto a taker they become drained and depressed. Living completely for someone else isn’t healthy or normal. Living with someone and chasing after both of your dreams together is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given mankind, though. There’s a big difference between chasing dreams together and choosing to be partners in crime and being someone’s glorified sidekick.

That being said, if you are a giver it’s wonderful you can use your heart to make someone else’s life more bright and beautiful, but make sure to keep your own dreams alive and be with someone who gives back. I think givers should actually be with other givers — or the people who are “just right” in the middle. This offers a great way to monitor how equal a partnership is, and makes the giver sometimes receive too. If you feel like you haven’t given in awhile and might naturally be a taker, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person by any means — it just means you have to make a more conscious effort to give in whatever love language your partner enjoys receiving (Which may be different than the kind of love you enjoy!). Lastly, if you feel you’re a giver and often become exhausted, I’d like to challenge you to ask someone you care about for something. Whether it’s an act of service like driving you to a doctor’s appointment (This is my go-to example since it’s just like, my life right now) or for a small gift like a coffee delivery, I think it’s important to be able to ask for what you want in life. Selfishness is definitely something that just makes us human and we have to work to find a good balance of give and take in our relationships. Notice how many times I’ve used the word “work” in my posts all about love lately?


We’ve talked about four different things that categorize love so far: patience, kindness, selflessness, and honoring others. Later this week we are going to touch on anger and forgiveness. Thanks for hanging around with me through this short little series! I am currently working on a different post that is close to my heart, but that also makes me feel nervous. I will gather up some nerve and share that with y’all next week. Stay tuned. ❤

You Aren’t Responsible for Your Ex’s Happiness

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How do I stay friends with my ex?” My answer is simple enough to make one word: Don’t. 

Y’all know I’m all about spreading kindness in the world. I strongly believe you should leave every person better than you found them, and one of my favorite quotes from Taylor Swift is,

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

This is such a beautiful sentiment and I think making people’s hearts feel warm and fuzzy is such an amazing superpower we all have. One person you absolutely shouldn’t worry about making happy, though, is your ex. Whether you guys dated for 6 months or 6 years, there are very few circumstances where I think it’s healthy to remain friends with an ex once you’ve broken up.

Sometimes people argue that they think remaining friends is the “mature” thing to do, however, I think many often just an excuse to keep tabs on someone you once dated. As an adult it is so important to look out for your own mental health and wellbeing, and it’s rare that people end a relationship and one or both parties isn’t hurt by the breakup.

I’ve never stayed friends with anyone I dated. The way I see it, I already have enough friends, and there isn’t a place in my life for someone who was once romantically involved in my life. Furthermore, it saves the drama that could possibly come up when you find someone new. You don’t have to worry about your ex’s heart hurting, and you don’t have to make the special person in your life feel at all uncomfortable about a past.

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If I saw any of my exes now I wouldn’t have any sort of feelings — negative or positive — about them. Time heals the heart well, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone in the world other than Robert. Still, though, I don’t have a need for any of my past relationships. I learned the lessons I needed to from each of them, and hopefully anyone who’s gone out with me can say the same with the confidence that I wasn’t the right person for them.

My advice to you if you’re wondering when to reach out to someone you broke up with is to choose to never text them. Choose to move forward in your life, cut ties completely, and to realize that there are bigger and better things ahead of you. Unless this person is absolutely the exception to the rule and you feel like you want to try one last time to make things work, realize that there is someone out there who you won’t have the same problems in the relationship as your ex with. You likely didn’t work for a reasonand there are so many other people in the world that you can now have room to find a person who will work beautifully with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you this will all be so easy. The first few days of a breakup are the hardest because you go from having someone in your every single day life to never talking again. Don’t use the excuse that you need to “be there for” your ex to talk them through your breakup, though. Block their number, delete them on all forms of social media, and cut ties in any way that you need to so that your heart can heal and you can have a new, healthy relationship one day. In the meantime, rely on friends and family to get you through your breakup and realize that your forever person is still out there — it just wasn’t your last boyfriend.

You Are Meant To Be Here

You know what’s such a mindblowingly amazing thing? There are 7.4 billion people in the world, and God decided He still needed you here. That’s how absolutely special you are.

Like, He thought about it and decided that we need a “Krista” somewhere on this earth, and He has a great purpose just for me. I can’t even really wrap my mind around that, other than the fact that I try my best to make a positive impact on those I come into contact with every day… Because maybe part of my purpose of being here on this earth is to help touch an individual — or a group of individuals. I don’t know what my big purpose in life is, but I do think I have a bunch of small reasons I am here and valuable to others, which are just as important.

There is absolutely a purpose each and every one of us is here, and my hope for you is that you realize that and continue to work toward whatever it is that makes your heart beat fast. I know for me that some of the scariest things I have done have been the most rewarding. The writing that makes me the most nervous to post on here is what really moves people and makes them feel less alone in the world. At the end of the day, I believe that’s one of the biggest reasons God created me — to help others realize their heart might feel a little broken sometimes, but that our Creator can heal them and put them back together again. It’s okay to feel lost in a broken world and as long as you keep pushing forward something beautiful can come from heartbreak.

Keep going, and never forget that you are loved, and that YOU MATTER. I can’t say that enough. You matter, you are loved, and you belong here.

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Putting Pen To Paper

One reason I think my writing sometimes speaks to people is that I feel so deeply. I sometimes joke that my feelings are as strong as Taylor Swift’s, but I think creative people are often just wired like this.

When I posted my story about forgiveness the other day, my friend Kristie said something that resonated with me. She said that I know how to put words to feelings. This has actually been something that has scared me in the past because I do think I know how to put pen to paper and explain the way I feel about things. I’m not extraordinary at a lot of things, but I definitely know all about feelings. On top of that, I’m not so scared about what people think anymore that I have trouble posting my intimate thoughts.

So, why is this a scary combination? Because I’m afraid of what God has in store for me. Writing and openness is a gift, but it’s terrifying because I don’t want to go through the hardships it takes to relate to others. Now that I’ve been through some of the scary stuff — like depression and chronic illness — I love that I can share my stories to help others, but I want it to end there. I enjoy writing about love and exciting twentysomething things and want to do that instead of writing about the things that hurt. I don’t want to ever have to write about how heartbreaking a deployment is again. I don’t want to deal with illness or loss anymore, and I don’t want to ever hurt deep down to my core ever again.

I know life isn’t perfect and that we’re meant to hurt sometimes in this world. Some people have it harder than others, and often times life is absolutely not fair. There are ups and downs, and nobody in the world has a completely easy and constantly fulfilling life. We all struggle, whether it’s with something catastrophic or minor stresses. As long as you’re alive pain is inevitable, but the way we deal with it and use it to lift others up is what really matters. The message I really want to get across in this is that life and love is worth the pain we have to deal with. You always have someone who loves you (And if you don’t feel that way, please message me and I will absolutely be there for each and every one of you!), and you matter in this world.

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Today’s lesson: Your pain and heartache can be used for good. Sometimes you’ll never know why something bad happens to you, but other times you can look back and realize the purpose was to help you grow. Having a chronic illness has made me more empathetic, kind, and compassionate than I ever was before. Dealing with depression has given me new insight to how others might be hurting and makes me want to write about my past and my feelings to help others feel less alone — and to show that even the most heartbreaking of things can be overcome. I still don’t have everything all figured out, but I am trying to use my pain and heartache to connect with others and wrap my readers in a gentle, virtual hug. You may not know why you are struggling today, but please always keep fighting. You never know who you might be impacting with your life and what kind of incredible plans God has for your future.

Guarded

My last relationship left me with dust and rubbish. It was as if a storm came in and demolished everything beautiful I had taken so long to build. How could someone else completely ruin me like that? When did I give him that kind of power?

I spent months sitting in the middle of the wreckage. I was paralyzed from the shock of it all and couldn’t move — until I saw a little flower peeking out from the middle of the place my comfortable home used to be. I cautiously walked over to it and took note of the beauty that was before me in such a gray space.

Finally after gaining my strength and seeking help from others, we rebuilt a new, stronger foundation. I had been naive last time, failing to build walls on my home and trusting the man I loved not to destroy it. This time I put up giant concrete walls. No one would even think about trying to break them down; they were my fortress and protection. Nobody could come in, but I couldn’t get out.

Then I met someone new. He tore down my hard, concrete walls and rebuilt a home with windows so the sun could shine through.

Now there’s a garden with flowers and I can come and go as I please. He can come inside and sit with me. I notice the clouds when they’re looming outside, but more days are sunny than not. I go outside and dance in the rain, and I have realized that a life filled with love is completely worth risking another storm. I now know that I can make it through any kind of weather that comes my way and that there is always going to be beauty in my life — even if it’s just a single flower in the middle of a bunch of ruins.

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This picture was taken by my beautiful friend Audrey, who also did my hair and makeup for our shoot. Check her out if you need a photographer in the DMV!

Anxiety Isn’t Love

One thing about love is that you sometimes don’t understand how it works. I think we often mistake anxiety for feelings of love.

Taylor Swift’s music has always spoken to me, and Out of The Woods was my anthem with a guy who was once in my life. When the acoustic version of the song came out, Taylor introduced it perfectly. I could so relate to every word she said and felt like she was speaking about my connection to this gentleman.

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Things with us felt so shaky and I never knew when what we had might just decide to crash and burn. I felt myself slipping down further and further on his list of priorities and did everything I felt was humanly possible to try to pull him back towards me. Nothing worked.

After months of feeling like this I finally realized we were falling apart.

We still had fun when we were together, but I was so up and down and didn’t realize that wasn’t normal. I cried as much as I laughed with him, but my feelings were so all over the place that I mistook them for butterflies. I thought that was the way love was supposed to feel and that even though I wasn’t currently a priority of his, that I would be one day.

Now I realize I wouldn’t have ever come before things like work in the future for him if I wasn’t even in a dating relationship. I would never have been a priority in the way I want to make someone mine in my life. Relationships just don’t work if you’re not on the same page with the really important things in life.

Today’s lesson: It isn’t normal to feel like your relationship is always on the verge of breaking. You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel secure. I promise those kind of relationships do exist, even though it might not feel like it when you are used to being on edge.

Kentucky Vibes

The last time I was in Kentucky visiting my grandparents was when I was in the darkest place in my life. It was about a year ago, and I had just been diagnosed with depression — I couldn’t think about anything other than my tanking relationship.

I honestly don’t remember anything that happened last summer until we broke up. All I could focus on and think about was him, and I kept trying to keep it together knowing that the man I was supposed to be walking through life with was slowly marching out of it and leaving a ruined girl behind him.

He told me he wanted to be with me, but pushed me away when I tried to come to him. He had new priorities now, and I wasn’t included in the list.

I cried myself to sleep every night, but never actually slept. I couldn’t seem to focus on the present, and felt so sick that I couldn’t eat, and shrunk down to skin and bones. I tried to laugh whenever I found the chance, but the only thing that seemed to come out were tears. I was a zombie walking around in the shell of a very empty person.

I have never felt so alone in my life. I was so sad and helpless until everything just turned numb.

Today is completely different. I am a new woman. Not only have I gained a new strength that no one will be able to take away from me like he did, but I am also smarter and learned so many lessons from my ex. I will never, ever settle for someone who doesn’t greatly enrich my life. The sun is shining on my face today and I can actually feel its warmth on my cheeks. I have had great conversations with my grandparents and feel present while I’ve been here.

I’m not shooting to be happy every day of my life — that isn’t realistic. My focus is to be content. Now that I am free, that is exactly the way I feel. Content.

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Recognizing Emotional Abuse

He made me feel needy. But he also made me feel like I needed him. It was a twisted cycle I was thrown around in until I didn’t know which direction was up.

I didn’t get reassurance that I was truly loved, but was told another man would never care for me the way he did. Other men may lust for me, but they wouldn’t want to be with me. He said I would never find someone who treated me the way he did. Other men would pressure me to do things I didn’t feel comfortable with, yet I found myself worn down by him. He told me if I loved him I would do things to make him happy, even though I wasn’t ready.

I later found an article on “emotional abuse,” and he fit the category. I cried alone in my room as I realized that even I could get lost in the blurred lines of an unhealthy relationship.

You never think bad things will happen to you — that you’re smarter than that. It is so clear when you see a friend being mistreated, but it’s harder to realize that when you’re in so deep yourself and you trust your partner to not hurt you.

Scars, though faded, still remain, but the deep and painful wounds are finally healed. The scars are important to keep — not only to remind myself of how much stronger I am now, but also to serve as an example to others. By showing off my own battle wounds, I will hopefully help someone else dodge a bullet. I won’t take shit from anyone again, and now I actually have a chance for my forever and always to be a 1 Corinthians 13 man.

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If you feel like something isn’t right in your relationship, please seek help. This relationship changed very gradually from being happy, carefree, and healthy, to an enormous mess of emotional abuse, depression, and anxiety. This is not normal and there are so many better things out there for you. I feel so strongly about this and about being treated the way you deserve — with respect and love. I am always happy to talk and help you find the resources you need, and I will be sharing more of my story of recovery on here.

Dealing With Depression

This post is from about a year ago, and I finally feel like I want to share it with you all. Depression isn’t something that you can see when you look at a person. I started carrying this weight towards the beginning of the end of my last relationship and as soon as my ex and I broke up I snapped out of it.

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This picture breaks my heart, as it was taken at one of the darkest points in my life, but I look so happy in it. It’s one of the most “liked” pictures on my Facebook, and shows that you really don’t always know what someone might be going through.

Depression can be a chemical imbalance in your brain, but it can also be related to crummy circumstances in your life. I feel like we don’t hear about that side as often, and I want anyone who is in a situation like mine was to know that life can and will get better.

Since the breakup I have felt like myself again. I have normal feelings, I have been happy, I have been content, and I can feel again.

I know not all of you can relate to this, but I always feel like I want to help the ones who can realize that they are absolutely not alone. I know it feels like you are, but I promise you are not alone. I will gladly be there for each and every one of you who needs someone to lean on and although I can’t get rid of the problem for you, I’m more than happy to fight with you to get your life back.

Without further ado, here is something I wrote in December 2014 right in the middle of everything:

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I never thought I would hear this about myself, but I was just diagnosed with depression.

This is a very tough pill to swallow because I have always tried my best to remain positive even in the most trying situations. First, I would like to say that I realize this is NOT MY FAULT.  So please, if you are suffering with this too, realize that nothing is wrong with you. You are not broken and you are not less of a person because of this. Depression does not define me and it does not decide who I am as a person.

I’ve had a lot to deal with the past two years. My life has been turned completely upside down and to be honest I am surprised that I didn’t have to battle this even sooner. It really just became a problem that escalated quickly in the last few months.

I’ve said to friends that although I have sometimes felt frustrated about things since getting POTS, I haven’t been depressed. I’ve told them that I feel lucky that I haven’t had to deal with that throughout my chronic illness, and that I was fairly certain that kind of thing wouldn’t happen to me. But here I am.

Depression can happen to absolutely anyone. It doesn’t mean you are weak, and it doesn’t mean that you are going to be depressing to be around. I will write more about that another day, though.

I’ve never felt as alone as I have the past couple months. Sometimes I feel like I am in a fog or just dreaming. Life feels like it is just going through the motions of daily activities that need to be done, and I don’t feel motivated to pursue my passions. I have moments of happiness, but it isn’t the way it used to be. I sometimes feel completely numb, and I sometimes just feel the most extreme kind of sad and helpless that a person can feel.

The lack of motivation might be the worst part. I can sit at home and watch TV, but I don’t really care about what’s on. I actually hate watching TV — it bores me — but I don’t want to do anything else. I have trouble feeling present.

It’s hard getting up and doing things, but I make myself because in the back of my mind I know that I want to live my life to it’s fullest. I know that deep down the normal Krista is cheering me on and pushing me to make a better life for myself, even though I don’t necessarily feel like it.

Depression is by far the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. I feel so broken, but I know that am going to come out of this even stronger than I was before. Deep down I am a fighter, and I won’t stop until I find myself again.

I just want you to know that if you are dealing with anything like this, you are not alone. I still consider myself one of the most joyful people that I know, and I will not give up until I find that girl again.

This is the first post I’ve truly felt uncomfortable sharing. I’ve gone back and forth for weeks on whether I wanted to share such an intimate and personal aspect of my life with, well, everyone.*

I think it was important to share, though. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have so many people supporting them through life, and I don’t ever want any of you to feel alone in dealing with something like this. If you ever want someone to talk to I would love to be that person. We are never truly alone, and I promise things can and will get better. I’m confident that this is just going to be another chapter in my life that I’ll be able to use to glorify God one day. I’m just not really sure how yet.
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*I was going to share this on Facebook about a year ago, but never did. Then when I felt better about things, I didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about who I am today and whether or not I was still depressed. I can tell you that I am in a completely different place in my life now and although I still have my chronic illness to deal with, I feel like Krista again.