Hi there

So I’m not sure how to jump into this post, but here goes. As some of you know, 2013 has been a really challenging year for me. However, in true Whoorl fashion, I always expected to write about my struggles after the fact. You know, the way I like to do it. Solutions to problems! Positive outlooks! Well, it’s taking a lot longer than I expected.

On the bright side, I made it 38 years before dealing with a 1-2-3 punch of insomnia, anxiety and resulting depression. Flip side? Man, things have been bleak around here. I’m certainly not feeling like myself and composing blog posts about concealer is not on my to-do list. In fact, I have no to-do lists. (See? I told you I’m not myself.)

I am so thankful to have a loving, supportive family and healthcare professionals that are my advocates and helping me through these unchartered waters. Although some days feel incredibly hopeless, I know brighter days are in my future. (They have to be, right?)

One of my very favorite quotes by Coach John Wooden seems to be apropos at the moment.

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens–and when it happens it lasts.”

Perhaps you are going through something too. If so, please know that you are not alone, and that I am sending love and light your way. Big time.

  • Emily @ Peck Life

    September 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I am SO with you. You are not alone! 2013 has by far, been my worst year of life for lots of hard reasons…things I never thought I would EVER have happen to me. Sending hugs your way. Everyone is here for you! <3

  • AlisonC

    September 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Hope you feel more like yourself very soon.

  • Kristin

    September 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Anxiety is so horrible to live through. I really hope brighter days are ahead for you. Hold on to your children like there is no tomorrow and let their sweetness take the edge off a little. I am sure you will come out on the other end a much stronger & wiser lady. I like the quote. And I believe its true. Hugs. Be kind to yourself.

  • Roxanna (miguelina)

    September 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Big hugs to you, Friend.

  • Schmutzie

    September 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’m intimate with the triple punch of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. I hate that you are now, too, but it’s still so good to see you here again! We like you even without concealer :)

  • Megan

    September 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing this today.

    And don’t worry about posts about concealers. We’re all still using Clinique Airbrush, and it’s working just fine. :)

  • Rebecca B

    September 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    A big commiserating sigh coming your way. As someone who has been blindsided by life the past couple of years, I hear you. This stage in life is tough for many of us…the best is yet to come…the best is yet to come…

  • Adrienne J

    September 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I feel for you! Last year was my year of struggle and I did not think I’d be able to get back to my old self but I have. Take it one task at a time. It will get better.

  • lynn

    September 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Hang in there! I’ve been going through something similar these last few months and it’s so, so hard. But it has been getting better, slowly, and I hope it will for you, too. :)

  • sarah

    September 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Good luck to you while you fight the good fight. Sending good thoughts your way. I’m going through my own 37 year old malaise, and OH! to not have ALL THE FEEEELLLLIIIINGS to such a degree would be SUCH a gift. In the moments when things are ok, it’s such a contrast. But I’m thankful for those moments, and working on not fearing them when they re-emerge. you aren’t alone :)

  • Angella

    September 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Love you, friend. You’ll get there. You have my number any time you need to talk. xoxo

  • Melissa

    September 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    2012 was that year for me. (My mom died of cancer and we were trying to sell our house and my husband was commuting 4.5-5hrs every day, and during it all, I was pregnant.) What started out as stress turned into a freefall.

    With help and time, you’ll find yourself again… not the same “you” as before, but an even better version because you’ll be able to use your experience to reach out to others. At least for me, that has been the best kind of healing.

    I know that just sharing this takes a lot of courage. Sending hugs & good thoughts your way.

  • Kathleen

    September 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Breathing a sigh of relief for you. Xo

  • Erica W

    September 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing – sending positive vibes your way :)

  • Tracy

    September 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Hope you’re feeling more like yourself soon.
    I know it is exhausting to act like you feel fine when you just…don’t. And knowing that so many people have it so much worse, and that I’m SO lucky, but I still can’t get past this, — only made me feel like MORE of a loser.
    I have been there, and I fought against it for a long time, but anti-depressants help. They really do, and you don’t have to be on them for the rest of your life. I was on them for a little over a year. And without them, I don’t konw if I would have ever gotten over the hump.

  • Emily

    September 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for posting this! So often we feel that we have to hide the icky parts of our lives, which just ends in even more isolation. Let’s push to make these topics less taboo! Sending prayers and good vibes to you and yours.

  • San

    September 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    2013 continues to be a rollercoaster for me too. I hope there are brighter things on the horizon soon for you and for me (and everybody else who’s struggling!). xo

  • Margot

    September 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    Last November was my stuck between a rock and a hard place month in which my steadily worsening anxiety, depression (that I was in denial about), and insomnia came to a head.

    Having been an anxiety sufferer my whole life, I had structured things in such a way that I thought I was coping. Working part time, not over-scheduling myself or our three boys, spending evenings with my husband. Avoiding crowds, germs, trying to be prepared for every eventuality. I thought to myself, I am a happy person. I am optimistic, I always look for the silver lining, I don’t take on more than I can handle.

    On the flip side of that, I favoured yelling (it’s fun, I like to yell, not at my family but just in general to get my point across), swearing like a sailor (again, fun, swearing is my forte!), and trying to be perfect all the time. “Jesus F-ing Christ, who spilled this tiny drop of water on the deck??” (Ummm irrational much?) I was also a professional worrier. Got something to do in 7 years? I’ll worry about it, obsess about it, non-stop, along with any and all day-to-day worries!

    I had a constant heaviness behind my eyes, my joints ached, I never felt rested, I would be awake for hours in the night. I couldn’t relax, my mind was going all the time. I went to the doctor because I figured that I was dying, that he would take one look at me and tell me I had some fatal diagnosis. Instead, he took one look at me, and I burst into tears on the exam table. He suggested diet changes, more exercise, less stress. I said that I had been doing all those things, and still here I was nearly vibrating with anxiety.

    He prescribed Escitalopram for me. I didn’t want to take it as I am not one to pop pills. I was judging myself as a failure, berating my brain for failing to override itself and just get over “this”. I realized I was perpetuating the stigma about mental health that I work hard to break people of in my work as a nurse.

    I cried the entire drive home from the doctor, mostly tears of relief at having had the courage to ask for help, some tears of wondering if others in my life would judge me as a failure. I told myself what I tell my clients, which is your brain is an organ in your body like your kidneys, pancreas, etc. One wouldn’t hesitate to seek care and follow recommended treatment for something like diabetes. Mental health/wellness is no different. Sometimes no matter what we do, our brain chemistry is out of whack, and thankfully there are treatments out there that can make a big difference.

    I took two days to think about taking the escitalopram. I decided that I had nothing to lose, so I started taking it. I noticed a difference the next morning, which is very fast, but the buzzing in my brain had stopped. I stopped yelling and swearing within a week, and within 6 weeks felt the most like my true self that I have felt in 15 years. I stopped worrying, like I literally couldn’t get that part of my brain to make a worry. I had some side effects initially, dry mouth, nausea, feeling “high”. Those subsided within a few days. The sexual side effects last about 7 weeks, in which I lost my ability to have an orgasm. As Elaine from Seinfeld would say: “The sex was like a big budget picture that goes nowhere!”. I was most upset about this, as my high sex drive, and enjoyment of sex with my husband is extremely important to me. Fortunately, everything is back into good working order again!

    I am now almost a year into my relief from anxiety, and depression. I am so thankful that I decided to take medication, and that it has worked for me. My relationship with my husband and my boys is the best it has ever been.

    I am sorry that you are having a rough go this year. I am sending tonnes of positive energy to you as you work through this. You are so brave to put yourself out there, and share some of your struggles. You are not alone.

    Sending a hug!

  • Brianna

    September 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    That is a great quote! I am praying for you- and you also, are not alone.

  • lisa

    September 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    sending you PEACE, LOVE and LIGHT…..you will get there. ONE day at a time, sometimes one hour….thank you for posting this and being candid and open. :)

  • Kandi

    September 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t often comment here, but I wanted to let you know you’re in my prayers. I hope you get everything figured out and can overcome this.

  • Raluca | WhatWouldGwynethDo

    September 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Feeling your pain in so many ways. 2013 is for the dogs. Take a deep breathe, decompress and look forward to 2014. It has to be better for all of us. xx to you.

  • Wockyjabber

    September 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I was 37 when this hit me. I spent 3 lovely years in therapy and discovered the joys of medication. Lexapro is your friend. Good luck on your journey. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I promise that it isn’t a train.

  • Rachel

    September 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm


    So sorry you’re going through this. It sounds horrendous.

    You have to research magnesium deficiency. All three of those symptoms are related to magnesium deficiency. Lots and lots of people are not getting enough magnesium. Plus, stress, caffeine and sugar make you use up your magnesium supply. Then if you don’t get enough in your diet, spiral downward.

    Here is one article that speaks to all three symptoms too. From pubmed.gov http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786

    Also, I saw (maybe on facebook) you mentioning that your hormones are messed up. (Search magnesium deficiency and hormones.)

    There is tons of info about it and it’s incredibly easy to fix. And low risk compared to prescriptions.

    Some will say they tried it and it didn’t work. But you have to use a type of magnesium that is absorbed in the body and enough! When I was at my worst I was taking 1000 mg a day. And tolerating it fine. (start slow) You will know if you’ve had enough if you get loose stools. Now? I can only take 4-500 mg a day. It is seriously amazing. And magnesium is needed by every cell in the body. I could obviously go on and on but I’ll let you get your google on.

  • Amy

    September 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    This has been the hardest year for me too! Be gone 2013! I am right there w ya. I have an amazing therapist if you want a referral:)

  • Rebekah

    September 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. You are not alone. I went through a bout of depression a couple of years ago, and am having a mini re-occurance at the moment.

    It can really affect your self esteem, because after a while of not having energy to do, well, anything, you start to feel like a pretty crappy person. Keep loving yourself. You are the same cool person you’ve always been, and someday, you will feel like yourself again.

  • Leta

    September 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Similar things going on here. Always the strong one and i have no idea how to be the one who accepts help. Swnding good vibes to cali. Xoxo

  • Ninotchka

    September 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Many hugs to you, sweet Sarah! I know all too well that 1-2-3 punch you speak of and way, way more. Sending you so many well wishes. Hang in there! xo

  • Pamela

    September 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    That’s awful Sarah, I’m sorry. I hope you work with everything you’ve got to be the best advocate for yourself. When it’s hard, imagine it’s one of your kids who have this and make yourself do the next thing. There is HOPE. Don’t worry a bit about your blog; we will be here.

  • Sarah

    September 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    *sending good vibes and blog fan love your way*

  • Zizi

    September 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Sending loads of love to you

  • Cassandre

    September 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Sending much love your way. Never stop asking for and getting help. I will pray for you.

  • Amanda Jayne

    September 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    For me, fall of 2011-spring of 2012 was especially horrid. It was the worst season of my life so far. Then we moved, my husband got a new job, and we started to pull ourselves out of a pit of debt and depression. Finally, two years after the beginning of that terrible time, I am finally starting to feel like my normal self again. Hang in there-I’m so glad you have help and support. It gets much better.

  • Meredith

    September 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I am experiencing severe anxiety this year and although it is great for weight loss, I am struggling with the 1-2-3 punch as well. May this year end better than it started. All my best.

  • Cori

    September 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Sending hugs, well wishes and my sincere hope that you are feeling better soon!

  • Holly

    September 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Sending love and prayers your way. Wish this stuff had a quick fix :(

  • Janet

    September 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Sarah, I’m so sorry this year has been so tough. I really like that quote and hope it comes true for you. Sending hugs back to you. xoxo

  • Kari

    September 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Your quote is right on point, I am certain things will prove for you. I love reading your blog!

  • Julie

    September 28, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Sarah – so sorry that this year has been so rough for you. Thanks for sharing so publicly, you know that you have a cheering section whenever you need it.

  • Julie

    September 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I have had a similarly difficult year and seem to have forgotten what being really relaxed and not anxious/depressed feels like. I too am working through it and trying not to rush it, because that clearly doesn’t work. I feel we all connect more when we in fact share our vulnerabilities; at least I know I do. My very best to you! (And family is the best. I am a single mom and just moved home to be closer to mine. Whew! That has helped for sure.)

  • Beth B. TechMama

    September 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Hugs to you for being brave, getting help and taking one day at a time.

  • jane ellison

    September 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    39 the insomnia started for me, awake from 3-5 am every night, 4 teenage kids, one actinng out. Than depression.
    Hormones, pre-menopause, I was told.
    The medications do help but some side effects (afternoon exhaustion for me) everyone is different.
    54, thru menopause, moods and insomnia have stablized.
    Hang in there, you are not alone!

  • chrissy

    September 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Hang in there!!!!!

  • Sizzle

    September 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Sending love & light to you, sweet friend. Xo

  • Tiera

    September 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    “Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not a sign of weakness. They are the result of remaining strong for too long.”

    Be well, take care of yourself.

  • Dana

    September 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I always find honest and real posts more inspiring than any post on the best concealer. This time last year I was experiencing similar issues. You are right. It will get better, slowly. It takes time, support and lots of love for yourself.

    Take care of you. We’ll be here when you’re ready. xo

  • Monica James

    September 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Really proud of you.

  • Jill V.

    September 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Hey there, xo and thinking of you!

  • Aura

    September 30, 2013 at 9:02 am

    oh, i can so relate, lady. sometimes that’s the most helpful thing for me, too… just knowing that others are having these kinds of hard times and struggles, and that it’s often an absolutely understandable response to our lives and our world, and our often times wacked-out health.
    having a serious health scare at 34, with subsequent major abdominal surgery and recovery, has really opened my eyes to the impact our physical health, or lack thereof, can have on our mental state. it is no joke.
    i got help, went on meds, lived in a fog for a good while. it’s better now, but i get that whatever comes next is unpredictable and unknowable. you just never know, and i’m attempting to get comfortable there…
    wishing you lots of sleep and peace!

  • Luisa

    September 30, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Your blog is such a bright spot of happiness on this big wide internet – I’m so sorry to hear how much you’ve been struggling. I hope you feel better ever so soon. xoxo

  • jrm

    September 30, 2013 at 9:59 am

    As a veteran of the triple punch, I will be brief and say rest (I know, easier said then done), take care of yourself and hang in there. Like really hang in there. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  • Mary Sue

    September 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Hey Sarah – I don’t have any advice for you. Everyone always thinks they have the “key” to fix people, but it doesn’t always work that way. I hope you can remind yourself that it won’t always be this way. Things will get better. I did hear an interesting stress study recently: they found that people who acknowledged the stress and the effects it had on their body had less negative health impacts from the stress. I always spend a lot of time beating myself up about stress and anxiety, thinking I am in some way “doing it wrong” (where it=life). I have been trying to recognize my anxiety and accept it instead of judging it. So far, I haven’t been very successful, but it’s a nice thought! ;)


  • Cat

    September 30, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Good for you! I have experienced a little of what you’re talking about. I thought it was interesting to learn it’s pretty typical for us type-A-ers. Thank goodness we live in the age of addressing these things:) Best of luck. In my experience, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel (and not to sound too new-age, but I found cleansing – Dr. Jungers – really helped a shocking amount and finally ended my year of anxiety paralysis after Paxil, Doctors, workouts, etc). Good for you for dealing with this:)

  • stacey

    September 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I just recently found your blog (hi fellow OCer!) I think its so brave for you to put your struggles out there. Best wishes in your journey to find inner peace.

  • Lisa H.

    September 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I’m sorry you are going through a rough patch. I don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet, but I had very similar symptoms and started taking a Magnesium supplement. I won’t lie and say it fixed everything, but it definitely helped stop my heart palpitations and some of my anxiousness. Just google it and you’ll find all kinds of info. Good luck to you!

  • Lisa M.

    September 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Sending you hugs! The past year was a tough one for me as well. Sometimes you take one step forward only to take two steps back… but you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually you leave all that tough stuff behind. Let us know if there is anything we can do!

  • Jen Campisano

    October 1, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Hang in there. My wise sister-in-law once said to me (about parenting) that if you remember to breathe, you can get through most any moment, and soon those moments add up, so that suddenly you’ve made it through whatever hardship you didn’t think was possible. So often, I apply that to living with cancer. And then I take Xanax and/or Unisom to help me sleep. As you know, the anxiety/insomnia/depression cycle can feed itself and be hard to break. Get some rest, recharge your batteries, and we’ll all be here when you do feel like posting about concealers again.

  • Kala

    October 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Hi Sarah,

    I am so sorry to hear you are going through this!

    I had a similar experience that began this time last year, when I was 40. It took me months to figure out why I was experiencing anxiety, especially at night when I put my head on the pillow. I was also experiencing a sore back and PMS(depression) and would spend my days worrying about something happening to me or my children. I had never had any of these symptoms before turning 40. It became worse after I took a round of antibiotics (Cipro). My regular doctors were trying to put me on anti-anxiety meds, but I am a health nut and didn’t want to take them. I really wanted to find the root cause. I discovered my hormones were way off and began taking bio-identical progesterone (the calming hormone) and testosterone. It has taken me many months to get all my hormones to their optimal level, not just within range, but optimal. I feel so much better and still have a little ways to go! On the nights that I feel even a twinge of anxiety, I take Calms Forte which is an all natural sleep aid with chamomile. I chew 2 to 3 tablets 30 minutes before bedtime.

    I am confident you will get through this!


  • Sally

    October 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm


    Thank you for being willing to share your story. It is a brave and powerful choice.


  • Rosa

    October 1, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I so needed that quote. Thank you.

    Definitely not alone.


  • Akiko

    October 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Sarah!

    Thank you for your post. You sent me an encouraging message when we first launched our site and I am guessing you were totally in the thick of it…which brings me to think what an amazing person you are that despite your struggles you keep showing up for all of what this wonderful hard crazy life has to offer us!

    Take Care,

  • cyrie

    October 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    xo. you are beautiful and strong!

  • Megan

    October 3, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Re: your post on Lyme on FB (my thoughts are too long for a comment there…), my friend has struggled with Lyme for more than 5 years, and it has been devastating. A person who was once vibrant and striving was able to do little but lie in bed for 2 years. She’s on her way up now after experimenting with many, many different treatments.

    All of this to say: I am SO GLAD you have a doctor who “believes” in Lyme (so many don’t!), recognized it and treated it seriously. I hope you’re on your way up, too.

  • LK

    October 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hey Sarah,
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been a longtime reader and I can identify with wanting to stay sunny for your family and yourself, in the midst of bizarre physical/anxiety issues. It him me this summer after 34 anxious free years and i’m coming out of it. A health scare triggered 3 months of constant anxiety, but I also found a few things very helpful. Maybe they can serve you well. Natural supplements: Kavinance, Valerian, Cortisol manager and something called serotrex. Ask your naturopath. Also, try taking gluten out of your diet and getting your gut checked. It can really trigger anxiety!! Also, one more important thing. I finally started breathing!! It really works. Use guided imagery for stress/panic attacks and also check out coherent breathing. Not sure if you’re taking any anti-anxiety meds but they really made me feel, much, much worse. I say avoid if you can. Good luck and best wishes!

  • Em

    October 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    I’ve been through those dark times and have come out on the other side. You will too. If you need to ease up on the blog posts, don’t worry. You won’t lose your loyal readers who appreciate your honesty, advice and style. They’ll just keep checking back to see how you’re doing.
    Thank you for everything you share.
    Em x

  • Asha Dornfest {Parent Hacks}

    October 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Sarah! I’ve been haunting Whoorl a bit, wondering how you’re doing, thinking of you! So happy to see your post here even though you share news of hard times. I’m so sorry things have felt bleak, and things are hard. I’m with all of your other lovely readers who want to reassure you that we will be here whenever you’re ready to post, even if that’s months from now. Sending peaceful thoughts.

  • katie

    October 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    uh…so sorry to hear…i’ve battled on and off with the ugly depression monster my entire life….it’s like a wave i can’t stop crashing down on me…and for the most part i’m very much a “glass half-full” type of gal.

    you’re not alone. thank you for being so transparent….us girls need to stick together and admit…life is fucking hard.