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Mental Health Struggles

It has been a month since
 our daughter's wedding
I feel like I'm finally coming up for air.

Her wedding came out so wonderful
and was
 such a truly joyful event
it was still one of the harder things I have done in my life.
Not in the work and money
the sheer  emotional aspect.

I knew  most likely there would be emotional ramifications
after the fact 
especially since I put much of my life/ business on hold
to be able to invest 110 % in the wedding
not wanting to miss a moment of the journey to the big day.

That and the whole idea of 
"giving our daughter away"
was a tough one for my heart.

I thought I was doing so well after the wedding.
I had been warned by many Mother of the Brides
to be wary of the "After".

I sailed on smoothly for the first week after.
So happy to be back to "my life".
I had a house to fluff and gardens to attend.
So much had gone without attention
in the last months leading up to the wedding.

That first week I was sure 
I  had returned from the wedding 
relaunched successfully into "My Life".

But then things felt like they began to slip
in what I look back and see
'as a perfect emotional storm'.

The quietness in my house began to set in.
Not only was our daughter married and onto her own new life
both of my boys have launched successfully
into lives of their own.

The fact that Jeff and I were
 definitely and completely Empty Nesters
set in like nobody's business.

Panic attacks began to set in.
At first I would wake up
with a heart clenching panic
several times a night
in almost agony
worrying about my kids
at the same time
realizing they were truly 'gone'
with lives of their own.
After parenting for so long
my life felt so unnatural to my soul.

Then the panic attacks
began to manifest while I was driving.
They began as impending dread
then full fledged fright.
Freeways began to be far too much to navigate.

I have battled depression and anxiety 
most of my life
but this had a frightening depth
that scared me like no other.

I began to think I might be truly losing my mind.
Being in the throes of menopause
only added to the emotional abyss.

After a lifetime of battling anxiety and depression
I realized maybe I was in over my head this time
decided to try an anxiety medication for the first time in my life.
At first it seemed promising
but after feeling progressively worse
I realized
it wasn't a good match for my particular body chemistry
at this time in my life.

But what I was reminded in the foray of trying  medication
was how absolutely important is one's mental health.
Nothing like thinking you are truly losing your mind
to be reminded of  the supreme importance of  ones own mental health.

I know I  will continue to navigate my own personal road
with peaks and valleys
of anxiety and sometimes depression.

But I also know now
that is one of the things that makes me, me.

I see it as having a different set point than some.
But with that set point
comes an ability
to see and feel things
I might otherwise miss.
As a creative
I realize 
I will take the good and the less than
that makes me who I am.

I no longer 
want to hide my struggles
I now know they are a part of who I am.

That doesn't make me less than.
It just means my life path 
might be different than some.

I also know I have the personal strength to navigate 
the waters that are my life.

I will continue to be open
to remedies that may help.

I will continue to invest in the very best quality
Self Care
I can manage.

But I will also give myself Grace
this phase where I feel a bit

I am sharing this today
in the hopes it might help someone else know they are not alone.

I have felt almost mute here on my blog
without the ability to be transparent with my emotional struggles of late.

Before the wedding
I didn't want to talk about my struggles
as I was afraid it might lead to me becoming completely unraveled.

But now with the wedding behind me
I know I can rise to the occasion when need be.
And now not to speak of my struggles 
for good mental health
would leave this space
just one of pretty pictures.

Where to me the real story is
  the ability to find a beautiful life
in the midst of real life struggles.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life


  1. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing this personal struggle.

    1. Thank you ever so much Heather! I so appreciate your sweet words my dear! xoxo

  2. Dearest Tamera,

    I am so sorry to hear you have been struggling so these last few months. I am familiar with panic attacks as I used to have them often in my mid to late 20s. I will never forget my first one that happened in the car - alone - just before getting on the Golden Gate Bridge. I had to pull off at the last exit and get out of the car until my hyperventilating passed. I remember still so vividly, twenty some years later. Panic attacks are horrible and that feeling - that threat - of not knowing when the next one will happen is almost as bad as the attacks themselves.
    Thank you or your honesty, transparency and braveness in sharing this with us. Many hugs to you, my friend. I am only a phone call, text or email away if you ever want to talk. XOXO, Adrienne

  3. So sorry you are dealing with this. My husband has dealt with anxiety for many years. It took about three different medications before finding the one that helped. He went off of it for a bit and I saw the anxiety coming back and asked him to please take it again. He hasn't stopped since and recently he has still had some anxiety issues. Sometimes the medicine isn't enough, but he knows it's anxiety and tells himself he will be okay. It was really bad when it first started and he was even taken to the ER thinking he was having a heart attack. It was a panic attack and it took him weeks to get to somewhat normal. My mother and sister also deal with this. So glad you shared this to let others know they are not alone.

  4. Oh I feel for you so much. I suffered with panic attacks when I had pnd after my daughter was born & like you say I really felt like I was loosing my mind. It was horrible & I take so much care now of my physical & mental health to ward against them returning.

    So many people suffer in this way but it takes a really strong person to speak out & share the experience- too many hide away mistakenly believing it is something to be afraid of.

    It's a cliche but yoga & walking in nature really helped me, along with dietary changes. Journaling & making a point of being present also helped- I spent 2 years literally chronicling 3 things I was grateful for every day (and sometimes that was just getting through the day, or not having an attack) - that seemed to help both my overall mood & in the moment of an attack I'd mentally try to remember my latest "gratitudes" which would help distract/calm me.

    Sorry I seem to have written an essay, but just want to finish by sending you much love and support & all wishes to help you through this season xx

  5. You, my friend, have more strength than any woman I know! There will be many who read this today that will feel so uplifted to know they have a friend sharing in their struggles. Let it continue to shine��

  6. Your strength is so lovely. Much love my friend.

  7. Ah, Tamera, my thoughts are with you. I have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life, sometimes hidden, sometimes unavoidably out in the open. I spent 18 months with my doctor to find the right combination of medications and will probably take them for the rest of my life. They work for me...but that's not for everyone. Getting enough exercise and restorative alone time also helps. There are many of us who understand and wish you well...

  8. Oh, Tamera, I just want to give you a hug and sit and have some calming tea with you. I'm so sorry you are suffering the way you are. I struggle with clinical depression and PTSD. They are more difficult and painful than any solely physical issue I've ever suffered. I just encourage you to continue seeking the help you need and taking good care of yourself. I will pray for you. Much love. <3

  9. Thank you for sharing. Love and light to you.

  10. Wishing you much love and prayers Tamera!

  11. Tamera, I am one of those who is so uplifted by you and your words today. I thank you for sharing and for being so honest and daring! I send you much love......

  12. I guessed something might be up. Thank you for sharing this. You are definitely not alone.
    I suffered empty next syndrome in my very early 50s. It is such a cruel twist of timing that an empty next happens when a woman's hormones are all over the place.
    With advice from a doctor friend I managed things. I then sailed through the empty-nest-menopause-50s, knowing that what I was experiencing was not abnormal and that I could get through it. The rest of my fifties were so pleasant!
    I know in my heart that you will find something that works for you, to get YOU back. And if it helps, the 60s are so much easier to deal with!!

  13. I am so impressed with your decision to be open about what you are going through. Bravo to you. I think bringing things out in the open helps. Putting light on your troubles help put them in theri place. I have friends wsho took medication. Some times you have to try two or three to find the one that helps. I'm sure your openness will help others. So thank you.
    Sandra Sallin

  14. Tamara, I understand your fears about doing something that will push you further down a road you don't want to go. Five years ago, my husband died unexpectedly, Christmas Day, while out jogging on our ranch. I've grieved and seen a therapist but what helped most was my guided imagery audios from Belleruth Naperstek. You can download them onto your mobile device and listen to them without earbuds. If I felt a panic attack coming, I would immediately lay down, close my eyes and listen to her soothing voice. She is very well thought of and is considered the founder of guided imagery, which is essentially self-hypnosis, which I've practiced for 20 years.

    At the beginning of this year, I sold our beautiful Texas Hill Country home and panic and depression set-in, again. I felt untethered to my home and the familiar. While I talked with my doctor about anti-depressants, I decided they're not for me. I've boosted my self care with exercise, massage and getting to bed earlier, and am looking into building a smaller home... downsizing, and am back on a healthy mental track. I wish the same for you. Brenda

  15. PS. You look gorgeous. I just went to buy a bathing suit. Big mistake. I looked in a three way mirror!!!! Yikes.
    Sandra Sallin

  16. Tamera the way you talk about your children and your love of being a mother it warms my heart. I can only begin to understand the complete Empty Nest Syndrome you are going through. My two oldest stepsons have left and both are married and this year my daughter will be leaving for college and I found myself crying at the drop of the hat through most of her senior year. You inner and outer beauty truly shines through on these pages. I wish you the best and am so glad you shared your story.

  17. Thank you for your honesty..I cried myself to sleep last night after my youngest daughter came home late...she'd been in a car accident last week.That along with a death in the family last month and the tears came quickly and for awhile. I'm seeing a therapist and have help to sort through my emotions. Thanks again

  18. Thank you for sharing this, Tamera - it takes courage to talk openly about our emotional struggles. And good for you for trying meds, even if this time they did not help much. Medication for short periods of time can be life-changing. You're so lovely, in and out, and I wish you the best through this transition. xox


  19. Tamera, it takes a lot of inner strength and courage to be as open as you have been. I send you hugs and applaud you for speaking out and reaching out to others who may also struggle with these issues. I wish you healing and to find meaning and joy in your new life.

  20. Dear Tamera, you are very much in my thoughts today. I sincerely hope in time your new family dynamic will open a new path that brings much joy. I so admire your strength and ability to share both good times and difficult times. Take care and be kind to yourself. XX

  21. Dear Tamara, Your beauty truly comes through in your honesty and forthrightness. Thank you for sharing. And you're so right - without the real words that express the real you, the blog would just be a lot of pretty pictures. It's now so much more than that. Take care. We're all rooting for you.

  22. I'm so sorry that you've been struggling, Tamera! Mental health is so very, very precious. I've been struggling with severe anxiety since my dad's stroke last year and am finally getting better. Thanks for sharing your journey. Love this sentence "Where to me the real story is the ability to find a beautiful life in the midst of real life struggles." It applies to so many of us!

  23. Hi Tamera, your honesty and admittance of the problem is the start of recovery and there is help out there. I have never 'spoken' to you before but I do know what you are going through as I was very ill over 10 years ago and I was desperate to get better and it was at a time when there was little understanding. Everybody is different but for me CBT worked, it took a lot of therapy sessions and it wasn't easy but I learnt to stop taking too much on and being so hard on myself. I wish you well with your recovery and do contact me if you want a 'chat'.

  24. Bio-identicals help a lot with panic during menopause.

  25. Dear Tamera, thank you for a beautiful, honest, and yes, uplifting post, and I am so sorry you are going through this struggle. You look absolutely, heart-meltingly beautiful in these photos. Since my father passed a month ago, I have also been going through some difficult emotional times, unable to sleep, and consumed by a grey hole. I think of you often, and self-care is what I keep telling myself. HB is being wonderful about taking me to beautiful places for some mood elevation, when possible, and I am taking medical advice about it this week. All the very best wishes for your recovery. xx

  26. Hoping you're feeling better pretty lady! XO ~Shauna

  27. Dear Tamera, Your honesty is courageous and strong. I have friends who have walked the exact same journey and it is telling to me how many women experience this at about the same time. Perhaps it has always been that way and other generations just did not discuss it openly. You are a bright, creative woman with so much to offer and I know by sharing this you will help others.

  28. Oh, I completely understand. I struggle with panic/anxiety and depression. I have to take medication to control it. It still gets the best of me some days, but I have more good days than bad now that I take medication for it. Big, soft hugs, and many prayers for you.

  29. O my dear. You are so brave in your honesty. I think you and I would have A LOT to talk about if we ever meet. You know that it is often the most creative and sensitive people that struggle with anxiety and depression. That's the price we pay for being so aware of life. Just know that you have tons of support from your friends out here in Blogland. Take strength in knowing how much joy you bring to so many people. Much Love.

  30. So beautifully expressed Tamera. I have struggled similarly for a long time as well. Never diagnosed but I for sure feel things to a different extreme..both the highs and lows. I know how difficult it can be and I'm sending love to your while you are going through this particular low. I just want you to know that you are inspiring us all to live fully and continue to adorn and care for ourselves inwardly and outward through self expression. XOXO

  31. Sending much love during this time. Like many others, I know this pain too. It comes and goes, but when the light seems to be out, just putting one foot in front of the other is courageous. I don't have any magic answers, but it sounds like you have support and resources, which is a blessing. You'll find your way, your healing, your growth, whether it's in the form of medication, therapy, or any other of the myriad ways to take care of one's self. Thank you for your loveliness. It's contagious, you know. :-)

  32. Sending a hug and some warmth - as a lover of your blog. Sending those things to you too as a gerontologist who does understand. Even though I knew that "the older we become" the more difficult it is to accept change, at 68 years of age I moved 2 years ago, to a really beautiful place. It sent me into a depression which once finally recognized took me 6 or so months to find the right dose of meds to bring me back from depression. you will come around - be well my friend in the blogosphere.

  33. Thank you for sharing your story and your struggles. Mental health should have parity with physical health, and your post helps all of us respond to our down times with self compassion. You are very beautiful, inside and out.

    Thank you also for your ongoing participation in Hat Attack. Your headwear is always spectacular.

  34. I am just catchng up on your lovely posts. I am having the panic attacks at the advanced age of 73. A grandgirl is not doing well in school, a grandboy is struggling with eating issues. I have taken a minimal doze of lexapro for years but it is not antianxiety medication. I can't release the worry. Thanks for this post.

  35. Thank you for your wise and kind words here Tamera. I have been in that 'dark place' before as well. As with one of your readers, I spent months, which extended into more months. Finally, (after much consulting with drs. gave me no relief) yoga, walks in nature, and buying one of those high intensity lights for seasonal affective disorder really helped. The initial whammy began to set in when I hit the empty nest time, right after moving from the mid-Atlantic to New England, leaving my work, kids, friends, and decent weather in my old home. It was harder than I thought it would be, then along came cancer, & menopause. Things have worked out finally, but it was a rough way to head into my 50s. whew. Better on this end of things. Grateful to all those who encouraged me along the way!