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February 23, 2016



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I’m going to be kinda deep with you for a minute. This blog post started because of some keys. You’ll see. I want to open up to you because we’re all human and we all conquer things every day whether or not we’re open about it. I’m going to give you the medium length nutshell version – when I was in middle school I started having anxiety. Like really bad. Like so bad that I would cry every single night knowing that in the morning I had to go to school. The thing is… I LIKED school BUT I had this looming dark cloud over me. I had this irrational fear of my parents dying. I stopped going to sleepovers, I hated when my parents went out of town, I would have meltdowns on Sunday nights FEARING Monday. (I know we all “hate” Mondays) I would spiral into a black hole. Every little change FREAKED me out.  I digress…

SO – I started taking anti-anxiety medication and I was cured! The End… I wish. It DID help. It did. When I took it, I suddenly felt balanced. The panic attacks slowed down and I finally could be “me” again. Fast forward to college. I came to a point that I felt like I didn’t need the meds anymore. So I stopped.

Bad idea.

I fell into a horrible 2 week depression right before winter exams. I wasn’t myself at ALL and in a few weeks after winter break – I was going to be leaving for London for an amazing study abroad experience. I got new medication and I went to Europe. Part of me thought I was going to freak out because I was going to be away from home for nearly 4 months. Let me tell you something. I never panicked ONCE. I LIVED in London. I was ME and it was AMAZING.

(This medium nutshell version is turning into a longer version… almost done.)

So most of you know, I went full-time photography in June 2015. You would think that would spark a HUGE anxiety firework but actually, I felt like a completely new person IN A GOOD WAY! It’s like the fog has cleared and I’m in an open field where I can breathe.Don't be-2

So now – I’ve actually been off medication since October 2015 and I feel fine, I’m honestly F I N E. Sure, I still have the same stress over taxes and all that jazz, but now I’m able to look at a stressful situation in a new way. I tell myself – “you’re not going to die… you will get through this.” I can’t believe that after years of therapy and my mom telling me that I could learn to control my thoughts that I’m actually in a place where I believe that now. I CAN.

So anyways – the reason I decided to finally publish this post in the first place was because of something that happened last Thursday. I went to meet some friends for happy hour and in the rush of getting out of the car and greeting everyone… I locked my keys in the car. Yep… there they were on my Hollins University lanyard just laying on the floor. Cool. I looked at the keys – looked up at my friend and said “oops.” and even laughed about how silly it was.

So you’re thinking, Brett, why is this so profound?… I’m getting there, k?

It’s profound because the old me would have panicked, cried even, and been like OMG freak out and call mom and dad. The old Brett would have had a meltdown over a silly key. So, new Brett was calm and collected and called AAA and waited for the locksmith. My heart didn’t even skip a beat. I felt accomplished. I texted my mom and told her I was proud because I didn’t freak out and I wanted her to know.

I felt proud of myself. It was a small victory. A silly, small one but a victory nonetheless. After 10+ years of anxiety I’m finally am able to calm myself down when things seem “impossible”… I’m able to work through problems a lot easier… and I’m saving money on tissues. But in all seriousness – I’m proud of the person I’m becoming.

Don't beSo you, the you reading this, don’t be “too proud” to be proud of yourself. Treat yourself with love and celebrate YOUR small victories.

xoxo bd


  1. Stephanie says:

    Brett! Thank you for sharing your story! Someone told me about a month ago that I shouldn’t talk about my depression and anxiety on my professional blog, but the truth is, it NEEDS to be talked about. Creatives like ourselves tend to be prone to depression and anxiety and it can’t be ignored! <3

  2. Lundi says:

    Proud of you for sharing, and proud of you for working to feel better. Here’s to “small” victories!

  3. Phil D says:

    Authenticity! You Rock!

  4. Kerry-Ann says:

    Absolutely Brett! I loved that you’ve shared you struggles so openly. In so doing, I’m sure you’ve moved someone into a space where they know and understand that they are not alone. Also, that they too, can overcome the toughest challenge.

  5. Emily says:

    One of the practices I’ve been thinking about this year is celebration, and your post re-grounded me in just how important that is. It feels like as we get older, we don’t put stock in rituals that might let us reflect on how far we’ve come and celebrate the small steps that got us there. I feel like when I’m not celebrating the small strides, it’s a sign that I’m probably not being as attentive to my life as I really want to be… cheers to you for paying attention and for being willing to share with the rest of us!

  6. Alisa says:

    Go girl!! I love little hints of growth almost ESPECIALLY when they pop up out of no where. Thanks for the perspective, Brett.

  7. Bethanne says:

    Love you so much Brett!
    Thank you for sharing your heart! Despite our trials and struggles, these tough times (past, present and future) help shape us and make us stronger! I love who you are, and I believe that you went through and conquered what you did in order to be the person you are today! 🙂

  8. Emily says:

    Love this post!!! “Don’t be ‘too proud’ to be proud of yourself” really resonated with me! So tonight, I am going to celebrate this weeks victories by going to be early! 🙂

  9. Dana G says:

    I love when someone can be REAL, RAW and HONEST! This world needs so much more of YOU. Thank you for sharing your experience. There are moments in your truth that are exactly the same moments I have had on numerous occasions and you are spot on with your words. I need to start focusing on my small victories, which will eventually lead to big victories. Thank you again for sharing! This is exactly what I needed to hear at this very moment.

  10. Dorothy Ramsey says:

    Your writing “voice” just blows me away. And I just thought of a word I haven’t used in ages (if ever, now that I think of it) — to me your writing has VERVE!
    I couldn’t agree more with Dana G: “This world needs so much more of you.”

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