I have long suffered from Anxiety. This week I started to listen to Brene Brown’s new book Atlas to the Heart. I am going to be purchasing a hard copy of the book it is one that I think I need to hold physically and reread once I get a good listen.

“You are afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control. But you never had control; all you had was anxiety.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

As Brene read these words I was like yes that. I relistened like three times so I was able to write it down. I was stressed out at work nothing was going correctly and I was hurting. Feeling like a failure. I got home and had to continue to work because there was not enough time to finish everything I needed to.

Grandma has been still not bouncing back from Covid and I was hearing about people dying. My anxiety spiked. It told me that things were going to get worse. My grief wanted to come out to play but I was doing my best to try and keep it way.

I had someone tell me that I need to know when to unplug from work. What he didn’t know is if I stopped doing things my grief jumped in and screamed you are alone. So I worked on spreadsheets and created new processes until I was ready to crawl into bed.

Thursday night I had nothing to keep my mind off missing Matt. I tried to draw but in the end, I ended up just crying uncontrollably for hours. Grief will do that it will sneak up when you are not expecting it and just say cry it out.

My anxiety and ADD make it so that I need to be perfect and strong. Never showing how broken I am in front of others. Anxiety attacks leave me feeling empty and alone. They trigger a memory from Matt’s service when I panicked I could not breathe through the mask. I ran out and just fell apart on a sidewalk I did not want a room full of people to see me crumble.

My anxiety was always calmed by his hugs because early on in our relationship he figured out it was mostly fear that triggered it. Most of them were about him. Now it is random and when I am stressed to the max, I don’t have that person that will listen to me freak out and tell me everything will be okay and hug it away.

I don’t know how to surrender because I know the worst can happen. Fears sometimes consume me. Anxiety keeps me from fully living. It makes me wonder how I love again after this experience. Tells me Matt was the only one.

My dad made a comment last week when we were watching the Superbowl, and he was explaining plays that someday I might go to a game with a guy and need to know this. I said that is not going to happen because I am not looking for that. He told me you never know someone might come into your life.

My dad does not have the anxiety of losing another partner that I have. He wants to see his little girl happy. The hope for moving on that I don’t have he has for me. He is fully aware of how much I loved Matt and how it all ended but, in the end, he knows I need love.

Anxiety holds me back and I need to figure out how to say F#@k you to it. Surrender to life and make connections to people cause when Anxiety shows itself, I hide away not even my friends know that something is going on. Grief is the reminder of what I have lost but also of the love I had. I can’t let it hold me back and someday I will let go of the regrets and hurt.


Laurel became a young widow on October 2, 2020, her husband Matt had a heart attack he was only 37. Matt was a juvenile diabetic and they always knew he would die young but she never thought that she could be a widow at 32. Navigating grief with anxiety, regrets and guilt have been a struggle for Laurel. They had gotten into a fight days before he died and they had talked about divorce. One of the things that helped her the most is finding other widows who understood the pain she was feeling. In February she decided to start writing her story. Self-care is something else she started to do daily and art has become her outlet to get what she is feeling out which she shares on her Instagram. Being a young widow comes with its own challenges but we are not alone in this journey.
You can find her on Instagram @HealingPorcupine or her personal blog link- Healingporcupine.com.