a girl and anxiety

Finally! I’m back.

The month of September has proven to be pretty hectic for Florida. My writing has suffered – not from a lack of something to write about, but from a lack of time to actually sit down and put those thoughts in blog-form.

When I was in my late twenties, I made up my mind, after seeing the movie, Baby Boom, that one day I would live in Vermont. I fell in love with the landscape of covered bridges,  apple trees and utopian-style living I saw in the movie and vowed to one day live there.  In May of this year, my husband and I took the leap, via a work project, and temporarily relocated to Vermont, leaving our adult children to take care of the Florida house and doggies.



The work project was supposed to last three months, but here we are, going into month five with no promise of an end. We are still living part-time in Vermont, and I am loving it. If you have never been, make sure you put it on your bucket list!

In August, I started having some minor health issues. I had a gall bladder attack, migraines, muscle aches, depression and a whole lot of anxiety. I have just recently turned forty-nine and it seemed that all the stories I had heard about your body falling apart as you approach fifty were coming true. But seriously, did it really have to all happen within the same week?

My anxiety and depression made me feel like I was worthless and had no value. And as amazing as the project I am working on is, I felt empty. In having pride of not being a hypochondriac, suddenly, I found myself in a loathing pot of misery, swirling in self-pity. And then, Hurricane Irma decided to make her appearance in the Atlantic Ocean. You talk about a peak of anxiety! I was in Vermont, getting on a plane heading to Oregon for a week and my kids were in Florida; preparing for a massive and catastrophic hurricane. Everything inside of me completely shut down as I turned into an insane mama bear with no other thought in her mind other than to “save my babies”.

The Oregon trip cut short and plans finalized to get back into Florida the day before airport shut-downs helped stir this pot of misery even more and by the time the wheels of that beautiful Delta jet touched down on the tarmac, I was the perfect picture of a pre-menopausal, almost fifty, over-heated, bloated, no make-up wearing hot mess.

My daughter met us at the airport and instantly – Just like that – I was better. The anxiety completely left my body as the Florida humidity reached out to slap my face and make my feet sweat. In replacement of depression, my maternal instincts set in as if to say, “Irma better not be coming to our house, cause mama is home!”

The fact was. My body was telling me I just needed to be home.

And Irma did come, and she made her mark of destruction. Friends lost much. Lives were torn apart and some ended. As I write this blog, many are still without power and our state is refusing to take down the hurricane shutters as Maria follows the path of her predecessor.

We are blessed to have suffered only minor damage (see, Irma listened and didn’t come too close to this mama!) with the loss of a tree and were without power for a minor two days.

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Anxiety can do so some pretty awful things to the human body. According to studies conducted and published by The Mayo Clinic, anxiety can create symptoms that include: “nervousness, being restless or tense. Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom. Having an increased heart rate. Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation) Sweating. Trembling. Feeling weak or tired. Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.” [Mayo Clinic] Many have even ended up in the hospital with palpitations that mimic heart attack symptoms.

ABC News recently published an article in April of this year, stating; “An estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from serious psychological distress, an evaluation of federal health data concluded. Previous estimates put the number of Americans suffering from serious psychological distress at 3 percent or less, the researchers said.”


With the value of learning that vulnerability is a positive in our lives, we have begun to experience how to share our joys and tribulations with others. We are finding that more and more of our friends and family have secretly suffered from anxiety and depression, afraid that they would be judged or condemned for what they feel is a “weakness” in their life.

As we age and see that life is sometimes hard and isn’t always fair, we can become disillusioned by the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world. There have always been and will always be disagreement, injustice, inequality, poverty, hatred and bad weather. All of these can mean some serious cause for anxiety. If we look around and only notice the evil, we are doomed, because there will always be evil. If we constantly look for the injustice, we are doomed, because there will always be injustice. And the same for all the awful qualities mentioned above.

As I age, I feel more stress and anxiety than ever before and this worries me, making me even more anxious. How can I fight this urge to sink into distraught and damnation of body and soul?

It isn’t as simple as one may think, but I have noticed that my mind feels better when I change how I look at things and how I take care of my body.


*Photography by David Talley

So, how can we reduce stress and anxiety? I have created a list of things I do and have researched to help me in times of anxiousness. [Please know that if you are unable to find peace in organic life changes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking medical attention for anxiety or depression. And as with all suggestions, make sure your medical physician is ok with you trying these suggestions.] What works for me may or may not work for you.

  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation. I notice that there are times when anxiety keeps me up at night. I found this beautiful little, non-addictive OTC herbal supplement called MidNight at Target. It helps me rest without feeling groggy the next morning. If you don’t wish to use a supplement, drink a good decaf Earl Gray Tea. It contains Bergamot, a natural ingredient to help to calm and relax. Another great way to relax is by doing simple yoga exercises or walking.
  • Drink lots of water. As we age, the percentage of water that makes up our body mass is reduced. As infants, we are about 75 – 80% water. We decrease to 60 – 65% as adults. Water keeps us hydrated and since our brain is approximately 85% water, it stands to reason that a dehydrated brain can created havoc and depression.
  • Find quiet time everyday – yes! EVERY DAY. I wish I could just shout this from the roof-top. I haven’t researched to see if this helps with anxiety, but I know it helps me. A few years ago, I decided to get up one hour earlier than my family. I did this twice a week and now it is a ritual. The house is completely quiet and I sit. Meditate. Plan. Read. Think. This quiet time has motivated me to be a business owner and during those wee hours of the morning, I have more ideas than I know what to do with. I find peace within the quiet times in my morning.
  • Use essential oils. I began using oils about three years ago – no, I do not sell them! They are diffused in my home, used to chase away zits and even freshen up my carpets. Our household staples are Frankincense, Lavender, Patchouli and Rosemary. There are lots of stories about which brand to use, causing anxiety in the choosing. Reduce the stress by choosing the one that is obtainable at a price you can afford. I have used doTerra, Young Living as well as brands from Whole Foods and health food stores.
  • Eat healthy. Three years ago, I had a very busy year. I was teaching theatre, directing/co-directing five dramatic productions, traveling on the Oprah tour, taking a college course, home educating my daughter all while performing my wifely/momly duties and going through personal drama with removing myself from a toxic friendship. There literally was no time to prepare food. I was eating fast food every day. My hair started falling out – by the handful. After researching, I found that oils used to fry foods causes hair to fall out. So does stress. Mix the two and you are in for some kind of trouble. Make sure you are eating fresh vegetables, fruits and plenty of protein.
  • Stop trying to fix everything and everyone. One of my favorite movie lines is by Dev Patel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, when he is trying to keep others from worrying. “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end” We women have a horrible thing we do that causes us alot of stress. We try to fix everything. And everyone. Girls… we just can’t do this. It is virtually impossible to fix everything, and everyone. And, it only causes resentment from the ones we try to fix. Learn to let some things go. All will be ok in the end. And if it’s not ok, refer to the quote I mentioned above.
  • Laugh… Often. Numerous studies prove over and over again the benefits of laughter and how it reduces anxiety and helps with overall health. Did you know that two different chemicals are released in our bodies when we laugh? One is Endorphins and the other is Dopamine. Endorphins have been proven to be our body’s natural “happy drug” and it also helps with pain tolerance. Dr. Matt Bellace of Lynn University in Florida states: “laughter releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which serves as a reward for the brain, creates a sense of euphoria, and plays a pivotal role in our motivation to continue the behavior.”   10616536_10203450096347790_5795338513072435802_n
  • Thin out toxic relationships. Now this one is a “tread carefully” because sometimes spending time with friends and family can actually increase stress. If this is the case, it’s time to clear out the friend space. If you are finding yourself in a toxic relationship with family or friends, it’s time to make some changes. As mentioned above, about three years ago, I had to remove myself from a toxic friendship. This friendship wasn’t just with one person, it was with a group of people I thought were friends. I invested a lot of myself and time into a group of people who were stuck in, what I call, a hamster ball. Doing the same thing – with the same people – all the time. Everything was subjective to the approval of the group and I was miserable, stressed and depressed. Leaving this group was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I cried more tears and thought I was never going to have a life without them. But guess what? My life has been so much better! I can’t even explain the difference in my health, spirituality and mental status since removing myself and our family from this group. There is life outside of a toxic relationship and it can be beautiful!
  • Hide or un-friend toxic social media relationships. Take a break! Hide people. And yes! It is ok to de-friend someone who only brings depression and anxiety to your life. Social media has become the breeding grounds for political discourse, meddling and down-right smut. During this past election, I literally hid every single person that created political charge – no matter who they were voting for. I was anxious for every single potential elected official because every single one was the devil in person (according to social media). We were all doomed and heading for war, poverty, injustice and I’m pretty sure every person was going to be swallowed up by the monster we elected – no matter who that may have been. My friend, get rid of this nastiness and watch your anxiety dissipate.

I know this has been a pretty long post, but it has been building up inside of me for some time. Anxiety and depression are not friends, but they can be a tool in realizing change needs to happen. Pay close attention to it. Allow it to speak to you and then make a change.

So… how do you cope with anxiety and depression? Post on this page to help others.



a girl and her purpose

The other day, in moment of lamenting to my husband that I had no purpose in life, he looked at me and asked the foreboding question we all wince in pain when asked; “Laura, if you could choose to be or do anything, what would it be?” Ummmm… Pain… agony… I had to stop. Think. Ponder and twitch my lip into a thinking pose while glancing up toward the ceiling.

I had no answer.

And to the non-answer, came his reply, “You have raised two beautiful girls. You are the owner of a small business. You have traveled far and wide. You love adventure and most important, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for you.” (yeah, he’s pretty awesome like that!)

With this little verbal interaction, I found myself thinking about what I had accomplished in my lifetime, searching deep inside to see if there was something missing. Is there still something out there that I need to accomplish before I get too old to get out of bed? – Which on some days, doesn’t seem too far off!

They say that when you face a tragedy in your life, you have flashbacks where memories of childhood and young adulthood suddenly burst before your eyes, taking you back in time.

Is it possible to have these flashbacks even if there isn’t catastrophe awaiting you around the corner?

And… is it safe to say that it is ok to have memory flashbacks, even if misfortune hath not besought thee?

Later that evening, I asked my own self the question, “Laura, when you were a little girl, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?” You know, others can ask you that question, but it isn’t until you are in a quiet place – like the bathroom – that you really stop to seriously interrogate yourself and it really hits home! “What do I want to be when I grow up?” And even worse… here I am in my final year of the 40’s, and I still haven’t figured it out!

Why am I here?


What is my purpose?

In 2004, I accepted a job with a company that toured across America. It was a special live event tour that ministered and communicated hope to women from all over the world. It was an incredibly fun job and during the twelve or so years I traveled with them, I literally met thousands of women. Since I worked for the tour, it seemed to the attendees that I had a special gift of having everything all together and found myself in a place of motivating and doing my best to inspire women when I myself was wallowing in pity and extreme lack of self-acceptance. In spite of my tragic emotions, I put on a happy face and offered encouragement to all who crossed my path.

The thing that I noticed the most about these women is that most were finding themselves standing at an intersection in life and they all had similar things in common with each other. They were all 40-something or older. Some were facing divorce, while others; a second or third marriage. Some were becoming empty nesters with the changing of seasons as their baby headed off to college. Many were already empty nesters. A few had lost everything due to poor financial decisions and one lady, in which I will never forget, lost her son to prison after he was found guilty of murder. The thing they all had in common? They had no idea what to do with their life. They had given everything to their family, husband or job and now, they were finding themselves in a place where they were no longer needed to the extent the past had held them so captive.



While scrolling through social media the other day, I came across a Facebook Live posting by Brene’ Brown. I stopped to listen and even though I can’t remember everything she said, I do remember this quote; “There is power in owning our story. If we own our story, we get to write the ending.”

I began to think about this quote from Brene’, and the thought of purpose seemed to slap me upside the head – as we say in the south.

Our story is our purpose. It’s our story that inspires others and changes the way we look at life. It is the actuality of who we are and the roadmap for others who are following close behind.

Our story is our entire existence and it is our entire purpose. Not only do we need to own our purpose, we need to be able to write the ending by finding that purpose. By realizing our story, we find purpose. 

So, what is your purpose? What is mine?

I took a moment to look up purpose in the dictionary. Purpose is a reason for which something exists, or is done. It is an intended or desired result, a goal. It is determination and resoluteness, and finally, my favorite, it is a practical effect.

Forget about everything you thought you knew about purpose and think about this one thing… Purpose is my story. It is the story in which I am the author. Since I am the author, I get to write the ending. And… in the end, my purpose / story is the practical effect I have on others.

It is my determination to travel and see the world. It is my purpose to help those who are in need and lift up my family when they need me. It is my purpose to be the best co-worker or CEO the company has every experienced. It is my resoluteness of power to inspire others and be kind to everyone I meet.

When we can focus in on our day-to-day purpose and find joy in it, we can then find purpose for our future. What we build up in our lives today is building purpose for our tomorrow and that gives us the ability to write our story and have an unbelievable ending that causes others to then find their purpose and write their own ending.


Have you found your story? If so, write and tell me about it!