Everybody Hurts

Shortly before turning 50, my world went dark. Wrapping up a 20 year career, I’d misplaced my purpose, and strayed from my path. So I did what any normal person would do, and buried the depression deep beneath my feet.

This perfect storm was sponsored by the letter ‘M’. A milestone birthday, menopause, money mishaps, and marital melancholy.

Good morning, let the stress begin…

I experienced heart palpitations, shed 10 pounds (opposite day in the life of a stress eater), and got butterflies over simple acts such as lunch with close friends.

I was humbled by this newfound Eeyore anxiety. After carefully cultivating a semi-charmed kind of life, how could anyone understand my heartache?

Unable to find my footing, I finally raised the white flag (which I considered defeat) by seeking help from a psychologist. My therapist pointed out that when I coughed up the deep dark shit, it was done with a sunny smile.

I always wore a game face, proving that people who come across as unflappable aren’t always what they seem.

Therapy was agonizing, but it put humpty back together again. I detested dealing with daddy issues, ancient history, my triggers, my flaws. She patiently explained that in order to rebuild a home, you have to tear the foundation down brick by brick.

Like miranda rights, human rights should read: If you can’t afford a therapist, one will be appointed for you.

I didn’t know Kate Spade, or Anthony Bourdain, or Robin Williams, but I felt the ripple effect from their pain.

Anxiety isn’t mind over matter, because my mind is the matter.

I learned that vulnerability doesn’t equal weakness. That there’s no shame in asking for help. Anxiety isn’t a chink in my armour. I’ll avenge it however I see fit; naturally, medicinally, or pharmaceutically.

Treat people with kindness, compassion, and understanding. Give back to unearth true happiness.

When it feels like the world’s gone mad, look for the laughter, the love, the light.

We all love someone who lives with mental health issues. It’s time to end the stigma.

The Sisters have been there. We’ve got your back.

No judgment. No shame!

Canadian Suicide Prevention Line: 1-833-456-4566

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Join the discussion

  1. Jodi

    Reality bites! A much needed read for so many. Thank you.

  2. Margot

    Good post! Good of you to share ❤

    • Sangria Sisters

      Thanks anxiety grrrrl! You’ve always been open and honest with your battles, which is SO important!

    • Laurell Slusar

      Once again, we’ll said!
      I sure know the “put on a happy face” routine.
      Thanks for your honesty, it takes guts and hard work to get where we all are today.
      Love you girls!!!❤️

      • Sangria Sisters

        For all our ups and downs, we’ve definitely experienced genuine happiness! Us small town girls have got each others back! ❤

  3. Jeanette Pearce

    Wow. Thank you SO much for sharing. You are a woman I admire!

  4. Bonnie

    Thanks for this! And take care of yourself! ❤️

  5. Danny

    Thanks for this Val ❤️.

  6. Terri

    “I get by with a little help from my friends” John Lennon.
    Thank You

  7. Joanne

    Thanks God! I’m not alone!
    Even when it feels like I am…

  8. shellie murchie

    Very inspirational. Thank you for your frank honesty and openness about something that affects each of us in some way or another. Sisterhood is a beautiful thing…

  9. Jamie

    Awesome. Just awesome. I appreciate your honesty and openness. I can relate in so many ways. Thank you for posting this.

  10. Rice

    Great Piece Girls! A wonderful journey of ups and downs we all share together!

  11. Carla

    Thanks for sharing Val… it really hits home. I have tremendous admiration for you and couldn’t be prouder to know you .. one of the strongest women I’ve ever met! Full steam ahead girlfriend ❤️

  12. Denise

    I feel every family struggles with anxiety, in one form or another. my husband and one of our sons struggle daily with stress and anxiety . sometimes it feels as a Mom I have the weight of the world on my shoulders trying to help . We are learning to manage our lives, but it is not an easy journey.
    Thank you for your honesty,

    • Sangria Sisters

      Anxiety in society is through the roof, making it hard to understand why it’s such a deep dark secret. On a gentler note, Mother’s are gifted with gigantic shoulders to help carry the load. Your family is lucky to have you! ❤

  13. Lesa Hegland


    As a family that has dealt with mental health issues its always inspiring to have somebody else step up and admit they share it too. I believe so many people have a time in their lives that pulls them through that rabbit hole, some deeper than others. Those that can ask for help are so inspiring – stronger than anyone I know! #noshame

    Love and Hugs for sharing your story!

    • Sangria Sisters

      Thanks Lesa, I agree. It’s a matter of what and how much you’re given, and how you handle it. Throw in some horrible hormones, and you’ve got yourself a party! ❤

  14. Michelle

    So honest, well-written and, as always, just the right amount of humor.

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