Sometimes prisons can be beautiful

Five weeks ago I had a breakdown.  It was ugly and frightening and I spent most of the next month in bed or on the couch.  Last weekend (with the help of my therapist, more drugs and the support of you all) I started to come out of it, and last night I actually left my house and went – alone – to see Amanda Palmer in concert.  Or at least that was my intention.  Instead I went to a hotel room a few blocks from her stage and cried pathetically because I didn’t think I could handle the crowds.  I was afraid of being alone if I had a panic attack.  I was afraid of not being alone if I had a panic attack.  I was just afraid in general.

This probably comes as no surprise to any of you because you all know I have a severe anxiety disorder and that fear is my constant companion, but it’s usually sitting quietly beside me while I watch Doctor Who in my pajamas rather than with a thousand strangers in a new city listening to songs that seem rawly pulled straight from my head.  I watched the clock click past the time I was supposed to leave and I was still trapped in the hotel room.  Then two things happened.  An amazing songstress sent me a song she’d written for me:

And I listened and realized that she was right and I was building my own terrible cage to keep myself in, watching life at a distance.  Then I checked my phone and saw that Amanda had arranged for me to watch the concert away from the crowds because she knew I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

And so I went.

And it was amazing.

And as I sat, huddled with my arms around my knees in the corner, I felt safe and secure and…brave.  And then I laughed to myself because I looked around me and realized that I was literally inside of a cage above the stage, peeking out at life below.

Amanda Fucking  Palmer

Baby steps.

PS. The great thing about cages is that if you put your face in between the bars the world looks just as beautiful and free. So here’s to each of you, reaching through your own personal prisons. I hope you all find helpful hands reaching back.

Amanda Fucking  Palmer

Amanda Fucking  Palmer

446 thoughts on “Sometimes prisons can be beautiful

Read comments below or add one.

  1. The thing about panic attacks: you will overcome them. I had them when I was about your age. What helped me was breathing exercises (in the form of swimming).

    And then I changed something in my life that needed changing, and they went away.

    I’m 61 now. Proof enough.


  2. You are not alone. There are lots of us out there that battle anxiety and panic disorders on a daily basis. You are a courageous woman. Thank you for sharing about your battles. It’s nice to know that I am not alone, either.
    Sending you hugs and good energy from California.

  3. Simply amazing! Amazing that you were able to see Amanda from your own beautiful cage and amazing that a beautiful song, created for you, helped lead the way! Kim, Amanda, and Jenny, thank you for sharing the wonder that you all are!

  4. 1.) So glad you were able to go. Paralyzing anxiety is brutal.

    2.) Fucking love Amanda Palmer more for doing that.

    3.) You’ve got one hell of a support network there, darlin’, and it’s a beautiful, wonderful thing. 🙂

  5. I don’t suffer from anxiety problems, nor trouble with crowds. I can’t say I truly understand your problems, but reading about you overcoming them makes me proud, gives me hope for the people I know who also struggle with anxiety, and motivates me to be a better person. Thanks for sharing, and for being an inspiration to those who need it.

    Also, Amanda, if you read this, YOU ROCK!

  6. You are f*cked up. You are seriously f*cked up. And is such very similar ways, so am I. I understand your pain, if not quite the depth, and I relish the beautiful way that you have of describing your feelings, our feelings, our pain, our frustration. I read your hilarity, I see your success, and I think, “Well, if she can pull herself together, than maybe, just maybe, so can I.” You think that we, your readers, support you. But I think maybe you don’t realize just how much you support us.

    And I can’t thank you enough.

  7. “The great thing about cages is that if you put your face in between the bars the world looks just as beautiful and free. ” Yeeeeesssss.

    Sometimes, we still need cages of our own making to help us get free. The trick is to not get too comfortable in them (that’s always my problem).

  8. I love that you love Amanda Palmer, and my heart broke a little when I read her tweet at you last night. It gave me hope for this sad, lonely world. I’m making my own baby steps – I went to work for a whole three hours today before I had to leave, so that made this a good day.

  9. I went to see you in Austin, but I couldn’t deal with the crowd, so I left before I got to meet you. I really loved the book though, and your blog, and the red dresses and all of it.

  10. Oh, bravo! It always amazes me (I deal with anxiety as well, though not to the same degree) that the most beautiful things I’ve experienced have also been the most terrifying.

    Of course, my baby steps mostly just carry me to drop mail off. I don’t know that’s an issue for most people…

  11. You are awesome. I know you cannot believe that every day (and even those of us without depression cannot either if that helps at all), but when you are feeling tight and unhappy and the world is closing in, please try to remember that we are here and we think you are better than sliced bread!

  12. It always surprises me when people like yourself who are funny and seem to have a very large personality also have these types of anxiety disorders. Fear of spiders? I can relate. But you shouldnt fear anything at all.

  13. I’m struggling with my own anxiety issues right now. I desperately need to get my DL, passed the written exam with flying colors, but am now too afraid to practice.

    It’s nice to not feel like I’m the only person in the world with a shrieking fear-monkey on my back.

  14. This blog made me cry, I’m so happy that these wonderful things happened to you.
    (I have a generalized anxiety disorder too)

  15. Thank you for sharing. I too purchased tickets to see AFP, when I still felt good. I’m terrified to go but I know I’ll regret not going. I’m so pleased Amanda was able to make it a positive experience for you. Rock on, Jenny.

  16. This reminds me of a recent post of mine, where i talk about how living with depression and anxiety is like walking a tightrope. You never really get to leave the tightrope and walk on the ground, but you can learn to dance on that swaying wire.

    Literally everything i hear about Amanda Palmer makes me like and respect her more. She is truly an amazing person.

    As are you, Jenny.

  17. I don’t have the same type of anxiety problems – they don’t manifest in the same way – but I do understand how crippling they can be. Setting ourselves free from them, as you did, makes certain they don’t define us. Rock on, girl.

  18. And now I fucking love Amanda Palmer. Because I feel like she took good care of my friend. (Even though we’ve never met, whatever.)

  19. That’s beautiful!

    And I really love Amanda Palmer. 🙂 That was kind of her and the world can always use more kindness.

    Thanks for sharing these things so honestly.

  20. Fear is also my constant companion. I am so glad you have friends who love you. The internet is amazing, and all of us amazing people with fear and cages should have a cage party.

  21. As long as you keep trying and face your fears, then that is real strength. Even if it’s a tiny baby step, it’s still courage and shows that you’re overcoming the fears that try to hold you back.

  22. Because of you, I may go to the gym tonight. I’ve been avoiding that place like the plague, because I don’t know how to use the equipment, and because I am overweight, and what if someone laughs at me because I look weird and don’t know what I’m doing? But I may go tonight, because you went to that concert.

  23. Wow. I know exactly what this is like, and I’ve done the “hide away in a hotel” thing so many times because the fear is just so damn intense.

    And I’m so glad that you were able to go in the end and that Amanda set things up so you could see it safely. I actually cried a bit when I read the first bit. Sometimes it’s knowing that somebody out there knows what it’s like to live with this every day, and still gets to have a life.

    Joely xx

  24. This post has me in tears…painfully aware that the point was to convince us not to curl up in a ball in the corner.
    You are brave for going to that concert, but you are even more brave for doing what you do every single day. Every time you share something REAL and acutely painful or beautiful or terrifying or liberating it makes another woman reading it feel like she can fight her battle too.

    And if that doesn’t do the trick just remember…

    “Some people quit because their progress is too slow, not recognizing that slow progress is still progress.” (or something like that!)

  25. Personally, I tend not to listen to the moody music. Where I think most people find empowerment or catharsis in it, it just brings me down. Rather, when I listen to music for enjoyment, I listen to stuff like Weird Al or Jonathan Coulton, stuff that requires me to listen to it to truly appreciate, but makes me smile at how silly life can be. As such, I haven’t listened to much of Amanda Palmer’s music.

    That said, the more I hear about her, the greater respect I have for her, both as a musician and as a genuinely awesome person. That she arranged this for you… Amazing.

  26. I feel ya. I had to walk out of a Terry Pratchett book talk on Monday night, because of my freaking anxiety. My bf came with me, but at least the other 1298 people in the ancient cathedral stayed.

    Sometimes we can do it, sometimes we can’t. Solidarity, my Sister in Anxiety *holds fist in the air*


  27. I’m crying tears of happy for you!

    I promise to watch that video when I get home tonight, because she deserves views and comments for being amazing.

    In the end, we all make it through because of our friends. Friends who write songs for us, and friends who show up at your door with chicken soup when you have a cold. Friends who know your comfort level and help you to work with it, and friends who push you to go out to movies that it turns out you really liked after all. Friends who say the things that need to be said, and those who cheer you on silently through their computers.

    You go girl!

  28. How wonderful that you got to see the concert, and how truly fantastic that someone recognized how to help make that happen for you.

  29. I am SO SO happy that you got to go. Very thoughtful of Amanda to make those arrangements for you. The song is fantastic and it made me have cries! *squishy group hugs*

  30. No. I love you Jenny, but I work in food manufacturing…’s the land where dreams are broken at an early age……

  31. Beautiful, moving song.

    Amanda Palmer is an amazing person for making such arrangements for you. <3 I'll bet that concert was absolutely fantastic.

    I'm glad you're doing better, even if just a little bit so. One thing that keeps me going when things are really bad is to remind myself that things might completely suck today, but tomorrow they might just suck a little bit less. And I won't know until I see it. Anxiety and depression suck, but they're temporary.

  32. I AM SO GLAD YOU WENT! I was so sad when I first started reading this, thinking you didn’t go.
    I love Amanda Palmer and I have for years, when Neil Gaiman and Kyle Cassidy (photographer) introduced me to her through their blogs.
    She is an awesome and amazing force, and I am so glad you got to experience one of her shows–and it just shows how kick ass she is to find a safe place for you. She always wants people to experience and go out and do…but not at the expense of sanity, so this was just amazing.
    I found you through…I’m not sure. Neil Gaiman? Wil Wheaton? Who knows, all of my fandoms collide these days anyway (like when Neil and Amanda got together). But I’m so glad to read what you have to say, and I’m rooting for you so hard when you’re having a rough time. So this outing was a triumph, even if you were in a cage. You still had a kick ass view. 🙂
    I will say this again. I AM SO GLAD YOU WENT!

  33. I love that Amanda Palmer did this. It makes me think, though, of all of the people who aren’t as well known and therefore don’t get the same accommodations (there are so many separate cages one can put into a venue and still have them separate, I suppose). Breaks my heart, you know? It also reminds me how many people venture out into the world carrying so much fear and pain and self-doubt (myself included) and we look at them and have no idea. How very brave, those everyday unseen moments. Some people, I know, struggle more than others, but it just reminds me how seldom we think about the weight on others’ shoulders.

  34. This post couldn’t have come at a better time as I sit in my room unable to leave it realizing that I don’t have anyone to call that could open the door for me as all my friends are from the interwebs and not within coming over to open my door range.

    But … the best part is I do have friends. I am glad I forced myself to the computer to turn it on and click on this post. Next step is open the curtain to let some light shine in, then the window to let some fresh air in, and take a deep breath.

    Now for the best part: You made it to an Amanda Palmer concert. That is fan-fucking-tastic and now I can live that moment vicariously through you. Sooo happy you went. Both you and Amanda totally rock! <3

  35. Dearest Jenny – yay for you! Keep peeking through those bars girl – there is a big, beautiful world out there – keep enjoying it one adventure at a time 🙂

  36. So glad that you were able to push back your anxiety enough to be able to do something that you really wanted to do. It was amazingly brave and strong and I hope you counted it as another tick in the “victory” column!

  37. It is a great comfort to me that someone as brilliant and witty as you is just as fucked up as the rest of us. Takes a lot of courage to show your soft underbelly, Smaug. I’d like to be so brave.

  38. What an awesome metaphor. I always feel like sometimes you’re taking us with you on a journey of getting out of a cage and sometimes you’re taking us with you on a journey of realizing that you don’t have to wait until you’re out of the cage to start living. “My cage and I are going to a concert.” “My cage and I are going on TV.” “My cage and I are going on a book tour.”

    Which is pretty inspiring for most people who’ve been taught that you have to work through the crap so you can live, rather than that you start living and some of the crap comes along and some of it doesn’t but the point is that you’re living.

    Oh dear, your metaphor was WAY better.

  39. Ever considered getting a service dog to help with that? I have trained several dogs over the years to help people with severe social anxieties to cope. And I’ve seen remarkable improvement in their abilities to handle tense/crowded situations with the help of the right service animal. I used to be the guy who lost his temper when too many people were surrounding me, weaving through crowds felt like a personal assault and a gauntlet of tests between me and my destination. And I would get irrationally, sometimes uncontrollably, irate with otherwise innocent civilians. And then came Sully. With him at my side not only do people pay heed more readily and are more apt to ya know get out of my way instead of forcing me to weave around, between, through, under and over them, he provides necessary distraction from my own damning subconscious. My anxiety would manifest its self as anger and sometimes would travel right down to rage if I wasn’t careful. But I’ve worked with clients who have symptoms that you describe – paralyzing fear (often being more afraid of HAVING a problem then actually having problems). And dogs can go a long way to helping with that kind of stress, offering distractions and something else to focus on. I stress less about the world around me (even with my heightened sense of paranoia and zombie apocalypse alert) when Sully is with me. Most of the time no one pays me any attention, they just pay attention to the dog. And that serves me fine, just fine.

    Just thought I would put that out there. I know taking care of a dog can be a responsibility on top of a mountain of it when you have children/husbands/mortgages/work/etc to worry about. But I wasn’t sure if you had ever considered (or knew) that you can have service dogs to help with psychiatric problems. They aren’t just for the seeing impaired! Promise!

  40. I am a fan and supporter of your blog, and have been a fan of Amanda Palmer for many years (I’ll be seeing her show next week!). I am, therefore, so glad and touched to see this connection made and know that you were able to go and watch in a way that felt comfortable! I hope you continue to heal!

  41. My panic triggers are different (and exasperatingly irrational), but I understand. I thought you were incredibly brave for doing a book tour and I felt a little guilty for going, for being part of the reason you had to do something scary.

    Amanda’s kindness in making those arrangements is touching, I’m glad you had a good time.

  42. I’m so glad you got to go! It gives me some hope that someday I will get past my anxiety, even in a small way, and start to live a little more freely.

  43. Jenny I am so proud of you! You call it a baby step, but this was no baby step. This was a giant leap. Congratulations!

  44. You are not alone. You know that, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it. I am battling anxiety and depression, too. I thought I’d beaten it, but now it’s not only back but morphed into a completely different beast. My therapist tells me that this is how depression works – it’s a shape shifter. When you strengthen up the area that the depression and anxiety has been preying on, it seeks out another area of weakness and doubles down.

    I’m in the trenches yet again. I swore I’d never have to engage in trench warfare again. I was doing everything right – checking up on my meds regularly, telling my depression and anxiety the truth when it threatened me with a distorted view of reality, exercising and reminding myself that I’m ok. And yet, here I am, knocked on my ass again. I am thankful for my therapist. She has helped me so much, and continues to help me. I know I’ll get through this, and I’ll be a better wife, mother and person for it. We can do this.

  45. I wish I could have gone with you! I would have held your hand and shared my Xanax and shielded you during a panic attack, although I’d probably be having panic attack because OMG. And then somehow, we would have convinced Amanda and the band that the best use of their post-concert time would be to put on pajamas and watch Doctor Who.

    I’m really fortunate that I found a drug that works for me and keeps me balanced on a daily basis. But there are still days I’m one breath from rocking back and forth in the floor of my closet because there’s no way I can leave the house.

    I’m so happy you went. And I’m so happy that you share all this stuff so that people like us know we’re not alone even when it feels the rest of the world is swirling around without us.

  46. Love you, Jenny. **hug**

    Getting out the door and to the event can be ridiculously hard, but (especially with music) it’s always worth it. I so love that AFP took care of you…and, I hope, Satan did, too. (Um. You know what I mean.)

    I went to my concert (Delhi 2 Dublin) last night, too, book in hand, and sorta huddled by the edge of the bar, behind the sound board, and I’m so lucky..a friend came in and bounced along to the music with me. We were joined at our corner of the bar by an older couple – I’d guess he was in his 60s, and she could have been in her 70s – and they were as enthusiastic in their way as the kids on the dance floor Bollywooding it up. They were all ridiculously beautiful and happy and it was so worth facing down the inner beasts to go be a part of it…

    Rawr, baby. Rawr.

  47. It is impossible to go on a book tour like you have done to sooooo many cities, so many interviews,
    and see your book jump to number 1 or whatever, and not have a nervous breakdown.
    The marketers don’t tell you this, nor do the publishers. It is more normal and healthy than you think. If you did not have a strong reaction you would have to be a complete psychopath.
    Success, sudden attention, travel, crowds. Hotel rooms, pr people, interviewers, the whole machine..
    you said yes to it all, and I have been watching in AWE. Also, remember you have done this in the supersonic media age, at least quadrupling the pressure. The publishers and marketers don’t prepare you for this because they themselves have never been through it themselves, not to be mean. You are a once in a generation person. I love you and I have never seen such an outpouring of genuine love that your fans and followers and friends you continue to make in spite of yourself. but mostly because you are the real thing Jenny Lawson, a wonderful blossom of hilarity and love..and a sort of invulnerable vulnerability.

  48. I am so absolutely thrilled for you. You overcame the fear IN YOUR OWN WAY, and were able to experience that fabulous concert. Your friends/family/fans adore you– and I hope that every, single day you stop and remember that you are worthy of that love.

  49. On a day when I literally am facing the end of my rope and quite considering making it a noose, this has saved me.
    (Seriously…. I’ve called for help, I’m not going to “off” myself.)
    Sharing your story takes a certain amount of courage that I can’t quite manage, yet. But I love you for it.
    Thanks for saving this girl today. I’m sitting here, in the closet, crying like a baby because I know that the universe put this right in front of me on purpose today.
    Love you, Jenny, and your strength.

  50. Dearest Jen:

    In 2009, my ex-husband’s anxiety disorder and PTSD nearly killed him. And I mean literally, not figuratively. What started out as a series of panic attacks resulted in a freak accident that left him a bedridden paraplegic. What I love so much about you (among zillions of things I love about you) is your honesty and your willingness to reach out and accept help. I’m honored to read about your struggles and hope you’ll accept this this one-person round of applause for all you’ve worked through and will continue to work through. Terri

  51. I trust that you see that despite all these hurtles and fears… you ALWAYS seem to overcome.

    All of that anxiety and terror, and you did a motherfucking book tour and it is a number one seller!

    You got out there. You DID it. That is the most important thing. I know they call them exposures for anxiety treatment groups. NO, NOT THAT KIND OF EXPOSURE! Geesh.

    Glad you made it out and saw the show. You are so loved and admired, Bloggess!!


  52. What amazes me (as a fellow severe sufferer of anxiety) is that you got a ticket to see the concert with every intention of going by yourself. I couldn’t even get that far. If I thought I had to go alone it just wouldn’t happen, no matter how bady I wanted to go (thus why I missed your signing in NC). I can’t even go to the grocery store (most days) longer than 15 minutes unless someone is with me. So I applaud not only you actually going to the concert but having the intention of going. That is a bigger step than I think I will ever be able to make.

  53. Yesterday, I cried. A lot. Alone. For no reason. I also had horrid anxiety. Again, for no reason. I often don’t go to events, especially alone, for fear of the almighty panic attack. At least we know we are not alone. PS. i was just in Scotland and took a crap load of taxidermy pics, thinking of you everytime.

  54. I’ve had panic attacks since I was around 13. They’re miserable and debilitating. I’m so glad 2 women stepped up to pull you out of your head for the night b/c you are awesome and you deserve to experience beauty!

  55. I know what you are going through. Good, sweaty exercise has really, really helped me. For me, it comes and goes. I am so sorry that you suffer from this. You are a stronger woman than you might think! You have tons of people here supporting you!

  56. This is great. I have the same issue. I signed up for an $80 conference thing a couple weeks ago and didn’t go because I chickened out. I forced myself to sign up thinking it would make me go, and I still couldn’t bring myself to go. Ugh. Hopefully I work my way out of it. It looks like you’re taking steps in that direction.

  57. You are really brave to share this. I have struggled with anxiety too and you make me feel un-alone and even optimistic.

  58. I’m so glad you managed to go! Hurrah Amanda & Kim for the mental assist! Hurrah Jenny for sheer BADASSERY in the face of stupid anxiety!

  59. This was such a great post. Thank you for sharing it. I’m really getting the couch thing these days.

  60. I was so sad when I read the first bit of this post because I knew how much you’d been looking forward to the concert.

    How wonderful that Amanda cared enough to make sure you’d be ok and get to see her. And how wonderful that you went to the concert and had a lovely time.

    Thank you for introducing me to Amanda Palmer’s music. And I love the red dress song. Plus, you introduced me to Tim Minchin’s music. So, I believe you are an all-around good influence on me!

  61. I am lucky to not have severe anxiety, but I have suffered from panic attacks for years. It’s usually only when there are changes to my norm – like when I move, or when my work schedule fluctuates, or when my roommate comes home at a different time. It’s become more rare the last few years but flared up recently. I feel your pain and thank you for being able to write about it. It helps us all to have support, even if it’s through blogs.

  62. Awww! Congrats Jenny! I wish I could have been at the concert but I couldn’t make it. My friend Haley went and said she saw you up there, and she’s even in the picture you have with the crowd. 🙂 Hope it was an awesome experience! 🙂

  63. “Then I checked my phone and saw that Amanda had arranged for me to watch the concert away from the crowds because she knew I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.” These are some beautiful people who have your back…

  64. I just want you to know, as often as you’re in the prison, to us you’re just as often the helpful hands on the other side.

  65. I’m thankful that you write these things.
    I don’t know how else to say it. It makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel less ugly.

    About six weeks ago I had a major breakdown. I’ve been depressed for some time and I am on medication and going to therapy, but it was the first time I had actually been suicidal. I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit my miserable job. Those last 2 weeks at the office were the slowest of my life. I am now working on writing my first book of fiction, and I think I’m on the right track. The last 3 days I’ve felt more like myself than I have in the last 4 years, but every once in a while I slip. Last night I held a knife to my wrist and grazed it over the skin, thinking of how I would press it down if I were to actually do it. Ironically, I had been having a pretty good day up until that point. I feel so ugly in these moments, in these periods of time, like a complete mess, a fuck up. Why can’t I just get my shit together? My husband hasn’t been handling my confession of contemplating suicidal very well. It freaked him out, and we’ve been having problems for a while now anyway, and now we’re basically completely emotionally disconnected, so I feel very alone. Sometimes I wonder how your husband deals with your breakdowns, but I’m not asking you to answer that question, since it’s so personal.

    I don’t know if it helps you to hear that your words helped me. The state I’m in right now, everything is dark and meaningless, so I feel like my words are generally meaningless, that this connection is meaningless. But it does help, to feel a little less alone.

  66. I had no idea that was you up there (or the backstory) and thought it was just one of her local friends. I went alone, as well, and came back to Dallas with new art friends/collaborators, so that speaks to the quality of people that Amanda draws. We are all friends, whether we know each other or not. Kudos to you for facing the fear and I hope that by the end you felt as warm and fuzzy as I did.

  67. Your journey is inspiring. And a reminder to those of us without demons to deal with, that we should embrace the good fortune we have every day.

  68. You are the voice for so many of us, huddled in our lonely rooms crying and afraid. You give us hope that we will someday find the strength to leave that safety and venture out into the big crazy world. Thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there so the rest of us can follow in your steps.

  69. Amanda IS totally awesome to arrange a public cage vice your private one.
    And you are brave because you know what this is and you continue to deal
    with it….whereas so many others submit to their anxieties permanently.
    Praying for your continued bravery, patience and success at beating this

  70. How sweet of Amanda to make it possible for you to attend. There are kind and gracious people in this world who want to help.

  71. whenever I’m above a crowd in a cage, it’s normally so I can be lowered into a pit of fire to please the gods. glad that’s not what they had in mind for you.

  72. That has restored my faith in humanity! How amazing is Amanda Palmer?! And how amazing are you?!
    Bravery means knowing how scary something is, and doing it anyway… well done, brave, brave Jenny xx

  73. We went to see her in Chapel Hill, she was amazing. You are amazing. Love to you and love to her and love to everyone else who sits huddled in a corner and is taking a baby step.

  74. My friend, Stelly, checked in at Amanda’s concert and I immediately thought of you. And I secretly hoped you were going to be there and then, HOW COOL would it be if Stelly got to meet you?! And then I woke up this morning to a drunk text saying that he had met you. Which, I really hope is true because now I’m friends with someone who has met you and that’s sufficient for until I actually DO get to meet you for myself.
    I’m so happy you were able to talk yourself into going to the show and even happier that Amanda was so awesomely prepared for you 🙂

  75. It’s giving me goosebumps just reading your blog and all the supportive comments. We listen to the news, watch TV, and feel insignificant and like the world is going downhill fast. Then I read this, and thought, whoa, some awfully wonderful people out there! So go you–and Amanda (like I’m on a first-name basis) and Kim and everyone else’s who has posted supportive comments. Like somebody said, if you can do it, we can do it. You truly are an inspiration. And funny too. Both kinds of funny (the good kinds). (Ugh, I think I’m putting my foot in my mouth.) It’s a compliment, yes.

  76. I used to have panic attacks and my sister helped me greatly… She asked me ” What is the worst thing that could happen? ” And I said that I could die and her answer was, “So then you wouldn’t be afraid, Right? ” 🙂 I just thought of that everytime I felt one coming on.

  77. I’m in my office crying right now because this post and the song spoke to me so deeply. I am bipolar and was having a bad day (ie depressed) and then I saw this on my Facebook feed. Thank you so much to you Jenny, to the amazing songstress, and to all the other people that comment on these posts. It’s so awesome to know that even though I have bipolar and anxiety issues, that I am not alone. And every time I go through a depressive episode, I think about what you have said “Depression lies.” and then I come and ready some hilarious post here and everything isn’t alright, but it is a little better.

  78. Dear one,

    Here is something you can try, for major or minor times of panic. Lie down, with a pillow under your knees. Put something heavy on your belly, or up a little higher, on the diaphragm. I use 10# sandbags, but you could use a bag of rice.. Breathe in slowly , through your nose, all the way down to your belly, feeling the weight on your belly. As you exhale, through your nose. surrender to the weight of the bag. Let your breath slow down, and stay with this as long as you need to. I works for me, for my clients (I teach therapeutic yoga). It helps stimulate the vagus nerve and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, so the brain gets the message that you are really okay and not in danger. It helps me so much when I start to freak out, and has become a lifeline for my clients, too.

  79. I went alone as well and I was terrified, texting my girlfriend and telling her I wanted to leave because I couldn’t take the crowds. She kept telling me I could do. I could be brave. And I knew I could, but you know what really helped? You. When I saw your tweet that you were braving it as well, I knew I could do it. I didn’t have a cage, but I found a tree, at the foot of the stairs, and it calmed me (trees are so good at that). The entire night my hand stayed on that tree, giving me strength. Even when people pressed in around me, I didn’t leave that tree. The music made it vibrate, and it felt like the heart of the tree was beating and breathing with me. In a way, I became tied to that tree, my own little leafy prison, but sometimes those walls we build aren’t just there to keep things out – it’s as you say – they’re there to enable us to take the steps we need to feel safe so that we may finally leave.

    Once the music began, it was easier to lose myself in it and forget the people, but any time I was startled or the music stopped, I was aware that Amanda was there, YOU were there, my tree was there, and so was I.

    I made it all the way through the show, and so did you.

    Thank you for always being so honest and transparent and for making people like me know we’re not alone in the world. <3

  80. This is so beautiful it gives me a lovely ache, and it also helps me to think that someday, I too can see Amanda Palmer, that crowds won’t harm me. Thank you for that, and for everything.

    At Erin G: I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 34. It was terrifying as shit, but I did it, and so can you! I’ve had the damn thing for over three years now, and the freedom it’s given me is wonderful. I still don’t like the driving part but having the ability is empowering. You’ll be wonderful. Honest you will.

  81. You are *so* brave and inspiring.

    Regarding the song, I can relate to it too.

    “find comfort in walls of fear.” I do this. I think my brain rationalizes “better the devil you know!” and anything new, difficult, or out of my comfort zone present a million possibilities and uncertainties – all of them ending badly from my negative skewed perception. And while buried under the deluge of awful scenarios, I feel (almost) validated in not risking it – because the odds are already stacked against me. So I shouldn’t even try.

    That needs challenging as often as I can. (Which isn’t as often as I should).

    “stop waiting for permission from some outside force or person, and put your red dress on” is such a lovely sentiment – and you inspired that. And that, in turn, inspired you – in some kind of awesome feedback loop of courage. Isn’t that wonderful? Talk about getting back what you put in.

    So maybe you aren’t great with crowds and self-doubt. You’re a fucking master at inspiring others, though. I think that probably tips the scales in your favour.

    I read on twitter from “the book that changed your life” was inspired by a line in Sandman – the one about hell being a place, but you don’t have to stay anywhere forever? (paraphrasing). That – or that theme – has been a major source of inspiration for me as well (and a major reason why I LOVE Sandman). Here is another one of Mr. Gaiman’s insightful gems that I feel is pertinent here, this time from Coraline:

    “And soon he got home wearing his glasses. He said that he wasn’t scared when he was standing there and the wasps were stinging him and hurting him and he was watching me run away. Because he knew he had to give me enough time to run, or the wasps would have come after both of us.”
    Coraline turned the key in the door. It turned with a loud clunk.
    The door swung open.
    There was no brick wall on the other side of the door; only darkness. A cold wind blew through the passageway.
    Coraline made no move to walk through the door.
    “And he said that wasn’t brave of him, doing that, just standing there and being stung,” said Coraline to the cat. “It wasn’t brave because he wasn’t scared: it was the only thing he could do. But going back again to get his glasses, when he knew the wasps were there, when he was really scared. *That* was brave.”
    She took her first step down the dark corridor.
    She could smell dust and damp and mustiness.
    The cat padded along beside her.
    “And why was that?” Asked the cat, although it sounded barely interested.
    “Because,” she said, “when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, *that’s* brave.”


  82. I hate to see anyone else suffer from such anxiety, but it really does make feel like less of a leper to know other people deal with it too. I know life, adventure and awesome experiences are just outside my front door, but I just can’t seem to make myself venture out there. Meanwhile, my mind reminds me of all of the regrets I’ll have because I talk myself out of doing the things that I want to/ places I want to go. The pressure of feeling obligated to go do things (parties, holidays and even going out to dinner) is almost as bad as the terror of freaking out and ruining someone elses’ time out. I rarely leave my house, and I know my little warm cocoon of safety is just a facade. I’m hoping we can all take those baby steps toward where we want to be.

  83. I think what I find the most amazing and inspiring is how many people there are who are willing to reach out and make these experiences happen for you. Not everyone is willing to do that. I’m glad there are such awesome souls out there for you and (hopefully) for others who need that nudge.

  84. You are not alone in this. I, too, experience anxiety and panic attacks and they can be debillitating. But you are strong, you will overcome them. Don’t let them control you. YOU control THEM. 🙂

  85. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I’m glad you got to see Amanda! Please please convince Kim Boekbinder to make that song available for purchase or download. As soon as she began singing I started crying, because I have indeed built myself into a wall. I want to listen to her song every morning to remind myself to tear it down, or at least not make it any higher or thicker.
    Thank you again for sharing everything that you do and for making this world better by doing so, for so many people.

  86. Wonderful. All of it.

    No hands, nets, or support system here, only words… going to have to be enough for this lady.

  87. Your post today just made me tear up, and I wanted to let you know. Personally, I have never had any problems with mental illness, so it’s often hard for me to comprehend how difficult it can be for people to get out of the house and do “normal” things. I think it’s so brave of you to make the attempt to go to the concert, and was so touched by the thoughtfulness of the artist to provide a comfortable safe space for you to enjoy her music. It just made me feel good inside to know that people are helping each other as we all go through life, no matter what our personal troubles are. I enjoy your blog Jenny, and am really happy to have discovered it (not too long ago). I bought your book a few months back and laughed my ass off while reading it in a hotel restaurant in Ethiopia. Tonight I’m in my hotel room in Kenya (I travel a lot), and this post just made me happy, even though it’s about something scary. Is that weird? Along with a million other people, I’m thinking of you, and am glad you don’t hesitate to share your experience with mental health challenges with the world, as it helps people like me who are ignorant, understand what it’s really like. Thanks Jenny, you rule. And we’re all in a cage of some kind: I probably won’t leave the hotel much this weekend, as I’m too afraid of being robbed and I don’t like being a tourist by myself. Not a great trait for a business traveler.

  88. I don’t know who Amanda Palmer is but she is now my most favorite musician ever. So proud of you for leaving the house. Even proud of you for stopping at a hotel when you felt you couldn’t go on – instead of just turning around and going home. Even more proud of you for reaching out to your phone and getting the support and encouragement you needed to push forward.

    Baby steps indeed.

    You see … my anxiety would not let me go to a concert by myself. Not even sure I could go if I had a private room to watch it from.

    So proud of you!

  89. Hell, Jenny, most of the time I’m too afraid to comment on a blog, because I’m so intimidated about writing (yes, my novel is on sticky notes and bits of paper that are never actually coalesced), and for fear of coming across as a geek stalker fan. Good on ya, and your bravery (and your spectacular friends)!

  90. Wow. That was so considerate of her to arrange that for you. And how amazing that the private space she arranged turned out to be such a metaphor for your experience.

  91. No shit — that song was EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. I was about to talk myself out of a great opportunity. Now I won’t.



    I don’t know if I could’ve gone to something like that alone, for similar reasons. I’d have no problem with my husband at my side; he’s helped me beeline for the door mid-panic attack on more than one occasion. I’ve had to run to my hotel room crying mid-blogging conference without him before, and I’d like to never repeat that experience again.

    I’m so glad you were able to attend…The metaphorical cage becoming literal and all!

  93. Love.

    It’s like that song was written for me too, and, I imagine, so many others out there.

    You’re awesome Jenny, even when you can’t get off the couch.

  94. I am so proud of you for going! Every time someone with an anxiety disorder is brave like you were last night, it’s a victory for all of us. You are an inspiration.

    And a special note to Amanda– you totally kick ass for supporting someone with anxiety and thinking outside the box (cage/prison/whatevs)!

  95. This is so beautiful it brought me to tears. And I LOVE that Amanda Palmer did that for you so you could experience it safely. Beautiful moments like this give me a little more hope for the human race. <3

  96. When you told me to come and find you in the ladies room a few years ago I really thought you were kidding. Now I truly do understand why. Your song was great.

  97. Wow… Your post made me realize that I’ve put myself in a prison too, the kind where I hate myself and hide from everyone. Congrats for making out of that hotel room! So happy you made it to Amanda Palmer’s concert. Lots of love, you are absolutely lovely <3

  98. Those don’t seem like baby steps to me! I’m so proud of you. Working through the fear is so difficult. <3

  99. i don’t have anxiety issues and am fortunate enough to love crowds, but yet the lovely song ms. kim wrote for you brought tears to my eyes. so, so hauntingly beautiful. just like you.

  100. I understand about cages I hate, venturing from mine. Especially because I have a cool Yoda and Darth Maul (stuffed 6 inch icons of greatness, at least Yoda is) waiting to battle on my book shelf and I don’t want to miss when the stand off ends. It will be epic! Yet every time I do something despite my anxiety my cage gets a little bigger and my world a little less scarier.

    You truly inspire!

  101. This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books.
    Kurt Vonnegut from Breakfast of Champions.
    Kilgore Trout talking to his parakeet Bill.

    “He dabbed at his tuxedo with a damp rag, and the fungi came away easily. “Hate to do this, Bill,” he said of the fungi he was murdering. “Fungi have as much right to life as I do. they know what they want, Bill. Damned if I do anymore.”
    Then he thought about what Bill himself might want. It was easy to guess. “Bill,” he said, “I like you so much, and I am such a big shot in the Universe, that I will make your three biggest wishes come true.” He opened the door of the cage, something Bill couldn’t have done in a thousand years.
    Bill flew over to the windowsill. He put his little shoulder against the glass. there was just one layer of glass between Bill and the great out-of-doors. Although Trough was in the storm window business, he had no storm windows on his own abode.
    “Your second wish is about to come true,” said Trout, and he again did something which Bill could never have done. he opened the window. But the opening of the window was such an alarming business to the parakeet that he flew back to his cage and hopped inside.
    Trout closed the door of the cage and latched it. “That’s the most intelligent use of three wishes I ever heard of,” he told the bird. “You made sure you’d still have something worth wishing for–to get out of the cage.”

    Baby steps are some of the most important ones that we take in our entire lives.

  102. Oh Jenny! My heart hurts and soars for you! I live in an apartment with five other girls and sometimes the LIVING ROOM is too much for me. I’m so proud of you. And SO grateful to you for lending us your strength, for letting us see your weakness and thereby becoming stronger. Some rough crap is happening in my life, and I honestly think you have something to do with the way I’m handling it. And for the way I’m trying to reach out to the world and help people know they’re not alone. I LOVE you. Yep, I just said it. And meant it. And maybe I’m a stalker. So what? I’m a chocolate-bearing stalker.

  103. Okay, beautiful song, first of all. And second, when you need that cage, don’t beat yourself up for it. Okay? Don’t think of it as putting yourself in a prison. Think of it as putting the rest of the world in an asylum until you’re ready to cope with everyone else’s problems. 🙂 Really, Jenny, wherever you go, you should think of yourself as surrounded by a bubble of love. I know many of us here would just love to be able to make everything better for you and to be half as strong for you as you have been for us. -Rachel Y.

  104. I am so glad a friend told me about your book and your blog. I swear, you and I must be related. Big Texas hugs!

  105. I’m so glad you were able to go! Amanda sounds like such an amazing person. What a class act.

  106. I don’t know much about Amanda Palmer (I’m out of touch, I know!) other than I think she’s married to Neil Gaiman… maybe? Unless I’m thinking of someone else? But now I think I love her for finding you a safe space.

  107. The important thing is that you’re following the hints the universe is leaving in your path…the song, etc, and making your way. Don’t ignore the signs you are given they’re there for a reason, believe your intuition. Now if I could following my own advice, the world would be perfect!

  108. I went to her show in DC last week and I did have panic attacks at the show even though I had a friend with me. I also got really upset because when she read the stuff from the box, people were cheering and whistling at the stories that involved suicide and I was Not Happy. They calmed down but it took a while.

  109. Every step counts….I am not yet ready to lace up my shoes, but I have to start. My kids need me to do that, if not for me, then for them.

  110. I read your blog often and am really touched how you are so open about anxiety and panic attacks. I have been trying to live with agoraphobia since I was a teenager. Just when I think I’m out of the woods, I am pulled back in among the darkness. I’m freaking out right now because I had to take a temporary position for financial reasons doing basically the same thing that I was doing for another company, which caused me to take a leave of absence for anxiety and depression. I keep telling myself it’s temporary, but the anticipatory anxiety is overwhelming me.

    Anyway, sorry to vent. I’m just grateful for you and your blog. Thank you. *hugs*

  111. This week the walls of my house caved in. But not literally, it just felt that way. In my world, this means that things started breaking. My (only) bathroom sink faucet starting dripping like crazy. And the brakes on my car that I just got fixed last month started grinding horribly. Two broken things in one week = total mental breakdown in my world. Enough for me to stay home from work one day, depressed in a little ball on my couch. But then I put on my big girl panties, and called my dad to help me get those old taps off my sink. I hated those ugly taps anyways. Fortunately once they were off, I know how to put new ones on. And today I took my car back to the mechanic so they would do warranty work on my brakes. Baby steps off the couch. Thank you for sharing your baby steps. The world is a brighter place because you’re in it.

  112. Oh my gosh. I’m so glad that you were able to experience this despite your fears. I started having a panic attack on Monday night…the night when my husband works late…and I was almost afraid to go home because I didn’t think my crazy, racing mind could stand being in the house alone. But I picked up some kids movies and I was in good spirits by the time he got home later that night. Glad your experience turned out positive as well.

    Keep fighting!

  113. As I type this I don’t know whether to cry or laugh uncontrollably. I have never shared with anyone that I too have an anxiety disorder until this very moment. I live in fear constantly that I will be judged by friends, family and my employer. My husband knows that I have an issue with anxiety and depression, but he does not know how bad. Only my very patient doctor is privy to this information. I read your blog everyday to find light even if for a brief moment. I find peace knowing that I am not alone in my pain. This is all new to me. I used to be the life of a gathering but after hitting my late 20’s and into my 30’s I have changed. My mind set has changed. And now my meds have changed. My sweet husband thinks if I have a new dress or a new puppy my situation will get better. But 4 dogs and a walk-in full of dresses later, it has not. I don’t know that you’ll read this comment, but THANK YOU for always sharing honestly with your fans. I know it is not easy for you, but I want you to know that you have helped me. Hopefully, we can all lift each other up, so that we know we are not alone.

  114. I have always felt connected with you, although I have no fear of crowds and no anxiety disorder – and I never knew why until I read this post. We all have our own fears, and our own prisons because of them. You give me hope that I can step past my own brand of fear and be brave. Every post you write is an act of bravery and you truly inspire me. Thank you.

  115. So happy that you were able to go to the show! Amanda rescued me from my cage several years ago. Welcome to the tribe! I’m sure you could see from your castle window that the crowd was a motley, mixed and marvelous group where you will happily accepted. Next time, STAGE DIVE & CROWD SURF with your red dress on!

  116. Oh my Goooooooodness. What a gift you received. To be able to attend but to be separate. I am so, so glad you went. I am so glad you are recuperating. I get it, I totally get it. Be gentle on yourself. Know you have adoring fans. (Who are not at all stalky, by the way. Which I guess that makes me a bit stalky, because I *told* you I wasn’t stalky.)
    Anyway, you are doing the good things. Gently. Carefully. Good on ya.

  117. This is a really beautiful post Jenny.

    Don’t get your head stuck between the bars.

    Unless you have a huge tub of Vaseline.

    And if you have a huge tub of Vaseline, you have to ask yourself some tough questions, really.

  118. *sniffle* Amanda is full of win. And cake. Definitely.

    Also, *love* the song

    Also also, watching Doctor Who in one’s pajamas is, in my opinion, an incredibly productive way to deal with anxiety OR depression. For two reasons. One, if he can take weaping angels and daleks then I’m convinced he can handle my demons and two, Amy Pond rode in the Tardis in her pajamas so why can’t we? I think you’ll find my logic is quite sound. 😀

    From my couch in my pajamas having now decided to watch Doctor Who,
    Crys Wolf

  119. Once again one of my favorite people is posting about another of my favorite people. I am so jealous that you got to see AFP! No one amazing ever comes to Ohio.

  120. thank you. i extra needed this today, this week, and pretty much just this entire year.
    so again, thank you for your honesty, and courage to share.

  121. Your cage analogy is something I am going to carry with me.

    We moved to Colorado recently and I was so concerned about our daughter adjusting but it turns out, she’s thriving, while I am, unexpectedly, paralyzed and lost without my chosen tribe, while at the same time not interested in creating another as meeting new people sends me into a world of anxiety. It’s a vicious circle and has created my own cage – peeking out of it, I can remember why we moved here in the first place.

    Thanks for that.

  122. How amazing! I too suffer from depression and anxiety. You are a brave woman. I love reading your blog as somedays it’s the only thing that makes me smile. I hardly ever comment, but I am always reading. You’re great Jenny!

  123. Wishing you peace.

    I think you are aware of your own strength because of how you discuss this openly. I have tremendous gratitude to you for this. I also have tremendous gratitude for when you pull out of it. I have even deeper gratitude for when you are able to see the beauty around you.

    Jenny, you are moving, and silly, and broken, and wonderful.

  124. Beautiful post. As someone who has had this battle her whole life and just sought treatment a few weeks ago, this is encouraging as well as comforting. Thank you for sharing.

  125. I’m actually sitting in my own cage right now that I built. Ok, not as literal as your is but I’ve carefully constructed it over the past year and a half or so.

    61 year old Andrea got me with this, “And then I changed something in my life that needed changing, and they went away.”

    I’m stepping out, or am trying to, right now. (In between bathroom trips and crying on multiple floors in various buildings, that is.)

    Thankful for the company.

  126. Bloggess, I am glad you were able to go see Amanda and I am glad she is one of your tribe and helped you out!

    ErinG- #19- I am sending you {{{HUGS}}}.
    I, too, was abso*effing*lutely terrified of driving. Full-on, hyperventilatory, black-out and fall-down-go-boom, Panic Attacks even thinking about sitting behind the wheel. I was even fired from my desk job at the local library for not having a valid driver’s license (even though I had a valid state photo ID). When I turned 27, I knew I had to get help. I went to an amazing doctor- Dr. Beverly Stubblefield. She introduced me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I also started on PaxilCR. After a few years of therapy and slow-but-steady progress, I was able to get my DL after I turned 30. I got my first car at age 31 and drove farther than thirty miles away from home at age 34. I’m 36 now. I plan on driving to New Orleans for Comic-Con there in November this year so that I can meet Patrick Stewart.
    It *is* possible. It’s not easy; it won’t happen overnight. But I will think good thoughts for you.

  127. I’ve spent the last year fighting with a bogeyman. Actually for much longer than that, but it was nearly a year ago that the fight got to be so much I had to quit work to fight him full time. I am always afraid. I am afraid he is around every corner. He hates me, and he wants to take my children away from me. He wants to control my life. Even when I know he isn’t really there I am so afraid because I don’t know what he is plotting, or when the next shoe will drop. It is so hard because I know that I am giving him the power to destroy me, and that he can’t really hurt me unless I let him. But my stupid depressed mind is still so so so afraid. Part of me believes that he will always win, and I will always be powerless to fight, because in the end he always gets his way. He always wins.

    The most dreadful thing is that the bogeyman is a real person. Or sometimes he is. The scary, horrifying one in my head isn’t quite the reality, but there IS a reality. It isn’t just depression, which LIES, and tells me that I can never win. It is the real, flesh and blood person to whom I have to deliver my children every week. It is the real man, who really IS trying to get custody of them so that he can control them utterly like he used to control me. And it almost doesn’t matter that I know I have the law on my side. I know he can’t even afford to take me to court, and so must scheme and lie and angle to try to somehow get what he wants. I know that I am giving him this power to hurt me. I know that in reality I am safe from him now, and he is a trainwreck waiting to happen. That given enough rope he will hang himself. Because I still have to be vigilant. I HAVE to be ready to fight him ALL THE TIME. And I am so damn tired.

  128. Your courage is amazing. To keep on climbing out of the corner, come out from under the table, to stand in front of us and read your book–to do all this in spite of, or maybe in defiance of, all your fears–amazing.

  129. Anxiety attacks are horrifying. I’ve had them for years, and I can empathize with just how debilitating they can be. Ugh. I’m glad you were able to make it to the concert in spite of your fear! You’re truly brave, girl.

  130. What a wonderful thing! I am amazed by the cage/prison thing–its actualization! And its freeing power. Wooee. Oh, well, I should have known! I have read The Dark Night of the Soul of St. John of the Cross, who was in prison!!

    Best wishes to you, taking your baby steps.

  131. You may not know it, or feel it, but you ARE brave. For sharing yourself with us, you give us strength and belief in ourselves. I too suffer from panic/anxiety attacks….not to a severe degree, but enough that it keeps me from fun things because of crowds. But I’m gonna go somewhere with crowds, and know that you are by my side! Thank you Jenny!!

  132. It’s funny because as soon as I say, “anxiety,” people automatically assume something like claustrophobia, but I actually feel safer in small spaces. Never thought of it as a cage, but just my own cozy nook 🙂 Great song!

  133. Wow, that’s a pretty amazing song. And were all proud of you, you know that, don’t you?

    But don’t stop watching Dr Who. Never stop watching Dr Who!

  134. A few years back I felt a distinct urge to create something (that could loosely be defined as art) because I just needed to express something that I couldn’t really put into words. It took pvc pipe, spraypaint, lots of beads, two plastic paint by number suncatcher kits, a fluffy cushion, a glow in the dark crucifix, and some ridiculous amount of chain to create what was, essentially, a cage with a religious theme. The thing about the cage is that it didn’t represent a simple concept to me. It was simultaneously confining and liberating. It was a sanctuary. It represented the idea that while confining, it was also a safe place. Maybe you can’t get out of a particular cage, but the big-bad-scary whatever can’t get in to get you either. Building it was really cathartic. Of course now it just takes up storage space…

  135. Depression Lies. Plain and simple.. yet it does it so, so convincingly that even when we know it lies, we believe it. I know this all to well.

    Amanda Palmer is awesome, I have always thought so, but now she is even more awesome.

  136. My 17 daughter who is also the funniest person I know (you are the funniest person I don’t know) had a severe panic attack yesterday. It scared the shit out of me. And then I read your blog today and realized how liberating it might be to feel fear and know it in that “whole-body-holy-fucking-shit I’m falling apart” – kind of way. Maybe like being brave enough to say the hilariously honest things that no one else does, panic attacks are just another way of being honest enough to feel all the terrifyingly things that everyone else is pretending not to.
    Much Love Jenny

  137. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and your baby steps. I have bad anxiety that has lead me to miss out on many a show, night out with friends, and other fun times. This is a great reminder that sometimes it does work out ok if I push myself.

  138. I was asked to describe my life in 6 words… Here they are… Fought, Loved, Lost, Forgave, Found Peace. Soon after I said those words, I found out that at 36, I need a biopsy on my right breast. I had gone for a standard baseline mammogram as requested by my doctor. Not because he found something through a standard exam. I suffer from depression and Coping has become my middle name. You give me the courage to fight on. To know I am not alone in my fight is what gets me up in the morning. They are confident that it is not cancer, but wrapping my head around this news I received 3 days ago is still a struggle.

  139. SO needed this… you’re so brave sharing this with us and letting us know we’re not alone in this crazy world… I hope you’re feeling better by now and that you’ll feel more ready to face the crowds again soon!!
    I’m still in the bad depression/suicide/self-harm place with anger being the most prevalent (and only) emotion I have. 🙁 A pretty dark outlook (but my psychiatrist was thrilled when I told her about your email!)
    Wishing you a loooooot of luck that things will get better.

  140. I am so glad you were able to go and enjoy the show. I will keep you in my thoughts.

    I’m glad we still here from you, even when you are depressed. We haven’t heard from Ali at Hyperbole and a Half in, what, a year(?). I hope she is getting better, too.

  141. I sat in my prison all day today, refusing to leave my son’s childproofed room, because there are sharp things all through my house. My husband comes home, can’t understand why nothing is done. Why I can’t pull it together long enough to just do the damn dishes. I want to scream at him that all I’ve been able to think about are the fucking knives in the sink, but I know from experience that will only get me a ” grow up and stop acting crazy” look. I can’t take it anymore.

  142. A very appropriate post after this week’s Doctor Who episode.

    “We all carry our prisons with us.”

  143. I have been reading this blog for over a year and this is the second time I’ve commented. Even the thought of commenting here gives me anxiety. But I had to because I had to let you know that what you did was huge. I have extreme crowd anxiety and I have been forcing myself to go places and do things that I REALLY don’t want to. Sometimes I have to turn around and walk right back out. Sometimes I can’t make it more than fifteen minutes before I have to leave. But sometimes, just sometimes, I can stay the whole damn time and enjoy whatever it is I went there to do. It’s those times that make all of the other times totally worth it.

  144. I really love the lyric she writes “Put your Red Dress on” because it reminds me of how my friend used to tell me “Put your big girl pants on”, but it’s much nicer and much, much more inspiring.

    Jenny, you inspire people every day in everything you do. You are the red dress for so many people. Just look at the comments on this post alone. Please keep facing your fears and do not let them get the best of you. We all need you, we all need our red dress to keep us going. xo

  145. I had a panic attack this week at our (public) school’s fundraising dinner. It was kind of weird. I have gall stones and need gall bladder removal surgery but am too scared to schedule it. So at this outdoor cocktail/dinner party, there’s so much social competition, it’s awful. After talking to an ex-friend, I started feeling incredible pain below my ribcage. I tried really hard to tough it out but after 45 minutes, when I got to panting and crying, I got my dear hubby to leave with me. I was lying down in the back seat, wailing in pain, trying to figure out whether we had to go to the ER or home to bed. I asked him to pull over so I could call my doctor. He pulled into a driveway and we waited a few minutes for the doctor to call back. The call comes through and I was trying to explain where the pain was. She said she thinks it’s not gall stones and anyway since I’d recent eaten, they wouldnt operate for hours so I might as well go home and take Valium and Vicodin. Just the relief of knowing I could go home let my torso muscles relax a bit and BRRAAPP all this gas came up in a huge burp…just as the huge door of the fire station (where we’d pulled over to park) rose with a clatter and a fireman came out to tell us we had to move. So I’m still trying to hear my doctor on the phone, sobbing but feeling a bit better, and this fireman is leaning in the window and shouting at us to move while my husband tries to explain he’d parked there in case we needed their ambulance. Do firefighters have a tendency for hearing loss, or are they just accustomed to shouting over the roar of the flames?? It was very surreal.

    I’m so glad (and envious) that you got to have a private place to watch the concert. I wish I could have my own safe spot in public, too. And I wish more people understood how awful panic attacks are.

    Btw, I bought your book — and then checked it out of the library, too, just to raise its profile a bit. That also meant I could loan my copy to a friend while I roared out loud reading the library copy. Damn fine job! And congrats about the new contract, but no pressure. Thanks for sharing your humor with us to encourage us all. Lots of good healing belly laughs.

  146. I’m glad to hear that you’ve taken a big leap forward in your personal struggle, Jenny.
    You have a MILLION reasons to be happy with your life and a BILLION reasons to be pleased with your career! I haven’t even sold 100 books, my self-publishing career is a huge joke, and every day I serve hordes of ungrateful douchebags who think $2 is a sufficient tip for 15 shopping bags of stinky ethnic food, a microwave and 3 jugs of water!
    I think I’m going to chuck the notion of writing professionally all together; I don’t have an agent, a publishing company or any prospects to speak of. However, I know my life is of value, Jenny… And so is yours!
    Be well.

  147. Oh gosh, thanks. I came home from yet another court date today where I had to deal with my cruel and abusive former spouse. I left six years ago but still find myself being drug into court over minutiae because he can’t believe I had the guts to leave and is hell bent on punishment. (Who can’t let go?) Just as when I was married to him, I came out of today’s hearing wanting to DIE.

    I’m so glad I checked on my Beloved Bloggess because I feel much better now. Whether it be laughing at HST or Victor (we’re not laughing with you, Victor, we’re laughing AT you!) or remembering that I’m not alone in the depression/anxiety struggle, I always feel better here. Thanks Jenny and thanks everyone who comments and shares their stories.

    And I’m just kidding about Victor. I have a suspicion he must be one heck of a good man.

  148. I am so glad you’re slowly finding your way out. *HUGS* I’ve suffered from CAD (chronic anxiety disorder) and panic attacks since I was about 6, and depression.. always.. so trust me when I say, I can empathize. I dunno if you’ve ever looked into it, and lawd knows I didn’t believe it when I heard about it from my doctor, but have you ever thought about checking your vitamin D levels..?

    I’m no big health junky or vitamin guru or anything, and of course it doesn’t “Fix” me, permanently eliminating the anxiety issues, but after getting some bloodwork done & discovering that mine were INSANELY low (like 13 out of a “normal” 30), I started on a regime of mega D, and was amazed at how much that helped me w/my anxiety. Turns out D deficiencies can really play havoc w/anxiety & depression, and once mine started getting on track (from what I’m guessing is a lifetime of lacking- as I’ve never been a big “go outside and play” kinda girl), some of my anxiety-associated issues dramatically started to recede.

    See, along w/the garden variety attacks, (which happened mostly at night, but also could hit anytime- day or night), I also had a constant worry/death/morbid thoughts track going in my head. Like, I’d be at a movie, or sitting here working on the comp, and always behind what I was doing, my brain was obsessing about death, the end of existence, all that morbid stuff that no one needs to think about- let alone on a regular basis. I’d have sudden interruptions in thought, or “ideas” about things like how my flesh would be gone once I died- starting w/my tongue then moving to all my soft tissues, and it would move on from there. And I tell you this not to gross you out, but to let you know how bad it was for me- this constant, hideous record skipping behind my eyes, going over groove after groove, allll the time.

    And the only reason why I mention vit. D is because once I had been taking that for a long time, one day I was going about my business, and I realized all that nasty crap that’d been going on in the back of my head had just.. stopped. It had gradually faded away w/o my noticing, and was gone. It was like a whole half of my brain had been finally freed up to do PRODUCTIVE things, ’cause it was no longer obsessing about godawful shite anymore.
    ..And I cannot tell you what a HUGE blessing that was.

    That’s when I started noticing stuff like my waking up to have attacks had abated a HUGE deal (down to almost having none). And as time went on, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had “one of my night-time freakouts.” Of course, finding new ways to think and react and choosing to do things differently and look at life a little differently helps too- like attitudes and spirituality, behavior modification, etc. I know part of what helped me was being in a better place, having wonderful people around me, and having the time, space & opportunity to work on some of the issues that’d plagued me pretty much my entire life- ’cause I was also recovering from some other, unrelated emotional trauma. But I used the place and the people as something of a coccoon, worked on my thoughts, my attitudes, my actions, and along w/the D, it all helped.

    And ftr, recently I started having other medical.. abnormalities, and in trying to weed things out, I stopped taking most of my vitamins, including the vitamin D. I didn’t think anything of it at first, figuring surely I’d have enough D in my system to keep anything bad from happening now for a good long time. But sure enough, after about a month or so, the night-time anxiety attacks started back up, slowly but surely. Fortunately, the daytime “soundtrack” hasn’t come back too much, as I’ve begun taking the D again as part of the elimination process, but for what it’s worth, while I think lots of folks might benefit from all kinds of behavior mod. & spirituality help, I also think some chemical issues my contribute to the worsening of various pre-existing conditions, thanks to my little “experiment.” I’m not saying it’ll work for everybody, but seeing as how many of us stay inside so much and often don’t get the vitamins we need, I just figgered I’d share this. Maybe getting a little bloodwork and a D boost will help other folks, and help make dealing w/chronic anxiety issues and depression just a bit easier. ???
    Plus, I love my jibbly-wibbly little clear doodads. 🙂 It’s like taking a weee tiny vitamin E, and knowing that that’s a teeeny dose of sunlight/happy, going straight into my system. 🙂

    Hope you continue to get better, lady. We all know you’re strong, and we’re all with you. ?

  149. Jenny, you are amazing. Keep taking those baby steps. You have helped so many people simply by being honest and poignant and REAL about depression and anxiety. You’ve saved lives and created a community of people who save lives.

    It’s only fitting that the community, in turn, helps you when you need it.

  150. Thanks for sharing! Out of curiosity, have you ever tried a weighted blanket or wrap? I just found out about them for my son, who is 7 years old, has mild Asperger’s Syndrome and anxiety issues. In reading about them, I see they are also to help people with anxiety disorders. Here is the site for one that seemed really good:

    I am always in awe of how honest you are about things that are so personal and difficult to go through. It is truly inspirational. By the way, I LOVED you on Katie Couric! I also LOVE your book!

  151. I totally started crying when I read “reaching through your own personal prisons.” I spent a long time feeling like I was in a prison of my own making. I also felt it was even more sad that my cell was not locked and needed no key to exit. I was in there because my own fear and doubt held me there.

    When I had hit rock bottom and was ready to give up on life I found people on the internet that reminded that there are hands out there ready to reach out. That was only a year ago and I’m in a much better place today because of you, Amanda Palmer and my online friends. I’m out there doing things I never thought I would do and, at times, furiously happy. All because of a red dress, the song “In my mind” and posts like this one.

    You are awesome!

  152. What an amazing person she is to put aside a spot just for you to watch her! And you are so very awesome for going! I less than heart you so much! <3 You are an amazing person, and depression ALWAYS lies. I remember that, from you. I'm glad you remember it.

  153. Thank you so much for writing that. I suffer from panic attacks also, which makes eating out very difficult. And, like you, I’m usually so proud of myself when I actually go with my husband to a restaurant. Yay!!! We did it!!!

  154. My 16 year old son suffers from anxiety so severe that he can’t attend school. Your blog, tweets, etc., have made me a better parent, much more empowered and informed when I advocate for him. We’re starting meds now (he’s already in two different therapy modalities for it) and I know it will be a long and frustratingly slow process but I have hope, and much more importantly HE has hope, that he will be able to live with this condition. That is HUGE. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your openness and honesty. And I am SO GLAD you got to go to Amanda’s show. If you’re ever alone in Austin again and having a panic attack, I would be happy to help in any way I can, because I kind of feel like I owe you one now.

  155. Beautifully said. I feel so lucky to have gotten a pretty darn good grip on my anxiety, and I hope you get there. I think you will.

  156. Thank you for being so open with this. It helped push me out the door today to go get fitted for running shoes. Social anxiety (and, well, anxiety in general) is something I’ve always struggled with. I got a lot better, but I’m struggling more right now due to moving to a new city where I know only one person and starting a difficult program at a new school. It’s a very lonely time, and things like this help me feel connected to people.

  157. That is amazing, I’m so glad you were able to go enjoy the show with at least a modicum of comfort. You deserve it, and it’s Amanda F’ing Palmer; I haven’t seen her since the Dresden Dolls, but she’s amazing in concert.

  158. I am glad you got to do this. Very glad. I understand quite well what all of this is like. And it can be rough, so rough.Glad you’ve hung on through.

  159. This amazing community you have forged is why people are okay with not being okay, are able to embrace their insanity instead of exhausting themselves trying to conform…

    We love you Jenny, and posts like this are ALWAYS why! Some prisons can indeed be beautiful, and sometimes serendipity can save us when we can’t save ourselves on our own – even if it’s just by giving us a little nudge in a direction that means we can.

  160. I’m so freaking happy for you. I say this as a person who has been in the cage more than once. I’ve been the one alone in the hotel while everyone else goes out. I’ve been been the girl sitting in the very back so I could run away and not be noticed. I’ve laughed bitterly when people have tried to encourage by saying “but you’ll be fine!”. I’ve missed out, sat home, cried.

    When the anxiety rises up and tells you “you’re going to die, but I just can’t tell you how, have fun!”, it helps to know that there are so many people here who get it and understand that being in a panic because you THINK you MIGHT panic makes doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t make it feel any less real.

    I had a blast following your experience on Twitter and I’m so glad you had an amazing time.

  161. you are amazing. here you are this incredibly gifted, famous lady and yet you write about such painful parts of life and in doing so you help others. you are a gift. :o) huge smiles.

  162. I’m so proud of your achievements! You’re really an inspiration, Jenny! The fact that you have such wonderful friends is proof of the wonderful person you are. People will always be there for you, for sure.

  163. Speaking of Dr. Who, did you see Cyndi Lauper’s dress on Watch What Happens Live on BRAVO last night??? Check it out, it should make you happy also.

  164. You are amazing and brave. <3 I'm so glad you were able to go, and that there are so many wonderful people out there willing to support each other.

  165. i really needed this song just now, even though i didn’t really know i needed it. thank you. off to put my red dress on.

  166. That is excellent. I’m glad you went and glad to see the beauty of people reaching out to each other, having each other’s backs. How are you able to do tv and book signings? That’s bravery. For anyone, let alone someone with severe anxiety. You are awesome.

  167. It just makes me cry that you have these wonderful people that think enough of you to send you music and make a special place for you to watch a concert from. Because you’ve touched us all. And we believe in you. And love you. <3

  168. So awesome that you still got to see her perform, and she was willing to give you a special place of your own to watch! That’s amazing, honestly and you’re so incredibly inspirational to me because I’ve had a lot of fear come to me lately and you’re letting the world know how you feel. It’s fucking pimp, and inspires me so very much 🙂 I hope you’re feeling better though, nothing is better than those little silver linings through a dark cloud!

  169. I recently wrote in my post Simple Pleasures how much I love my Psychiatrist who helps me with my Anxiety Disorder because she is one of the few people that TALKS and not just throws pills at me and I am grateful. You are not alone, dear Jenny, we are all in this together and now I feel really, really guilty that I told you about the escapees hiding in Texas. My bad. Your friend, Laurie F. I think they are in England now. Yeah, England.

  170. I know I don’t actually know you, but I’m so proud of you for going. It inspired me to do my own (tiny) brave thing tonight–so thank you. (I mean, unless it doesn’t work out, in which case this is totally your fault.)

  171. I would gladly share a prison with you any day. And since I too have anxiety, I guess I do? Is that how prisons work? Well it is for this metaphor! Jenny you are so not alone. I know it feels like that, because I feel alone all the fucking time, but I swear you are not. You are loved and awesome and as NOT alone as you can possibly be without having a panic attack. <3<3<3

  172. You are some kind of awesome, kiddo…keep it up…I hope you are back up and running soon, but enjoy the view from your guilded cage in the meantime….they do not typically come with a live band you know!

  173. Thank you so much for sharing. I, too, have suffered through horrible anxiety on and off throughout my life. Even though I still have it, I have medication, therapy, and acupuncture to help me manage it. More than anything, though, the amazing power of humor and the sharing of my troubles with friends has helped me the most. You have helped me speak more freely and laugh about things that I used to be ashamed of. The way you write has done wonders to help take away the stigma of anxiety. You have a giant posse of people rooting for you. And thank you.

  174. Wow, that is awesome! Your own personal viewing balcony! Those are for like…VIPs ONLY!!!
    I would love to go to concerts, really I would, but I can’t.
    While I don’t get panic attacks, large groups on people put me completely on edge and I am exhausted and drained for days. I’m fine in large groups where things are fairly calm, like movie theatres or church, but anywhere where there is a lot of energy or chaos I feel like I’m a wild rabbit caught in a carnival and I’m just trying to get my head to make sense of everything that is going on, and I’m done in for days afterwards.

  175. I am so far trapped in a prison right now it is fucking hideous. Nothing means anything, but I can’t kill myself because of my two sons.

    I love that you write shit like this.

    (Spellcheck tried to change “prison” to “apron.” I’d much prefer to be trapped in an apron.)

  176. 235 People have responded before me. I would like to read their comments but I am wracked (and wrecked) so full of anxiety that I’m upset just thinking about reading those comments. UGH.

    So what’s my point? Why my comment? How do I go to work without getting fired? I am full of anxiety meds, I’ve been through therapy, and yet, I find myself bedridden each weekend, each night after an exhausting day of trying to keep from running out of the building like the crazy woman I am. And yet, I yearn to run out of that building like a crazy woman never to return….but alas, that doesn’t solve shit, now does it? UGH.

    So what’s my point? Why my comment? I’m so thankful that I have you, Jenny, because it allows for me to get through each day. I’m sorry that you’re suffering as well but I can also breathe knowing that I’m not alone.

    Thank you.

  177. You are just…simply…amazing. The fact that a person like you exists in the world, just a regular person with the power to touch and change lives, makes me happy. Depression has taken me down more than once, and I am inspired by your openness with your struggle. Thank you for existing.

  178. Jenny, I read all of your blog posts but rarely comment. I felt compelled to write tonight because I am still recovering from one of my own episodes. Sometimes people don’t understand that with respect to anxiety attacks, you can’t just “talk yourself out of it” because it’s a lot more debilitating than that. My heart goes out to you. By the way, I loved your book and wish you could sign my copy but it’s on my Kindle. Maybe if you come to Boston again for a book-signing, you can sign a piece of paper which I’ll keep with my Kindle. Thank you for being who you are.

  179. I decided after reading this and listening to the song that I am going to start a daily journal of badassery (its a word, I swear, or at least I think it is) and I will use twitter to exclaim my badassery to the world- maybe even my blog too.

  180. I decided after reading this and listening to the song that I am going to start a daily journal of badassery (its a word, I swear, or at least I think it is…anyway) and I will use twitter to proclaim my badassery to the world- maybe even my blog too.

  181. I hate it when I’m reading your words and I start crying (because you make me cry AND laugh) and then I have to get up to find Kleenex and I’m still not finished reading and then I listen to the song and cry some more and then …
    I know your pain is so scary and bad – but you make it better for so many of us because you are brave enough to share.
    As always – you are my hero….

  182. Jenny,
    I have only just found your blog and so I haven’t been following you very long, but I am so proud of you. I was so touched by your story and your courage. It really took a lot to go to that concert, and you did it!!! I have to admit, I’ve never listened to Amanda Palmer, but I will check her out now because what she did for you rocks. And then to read so many personal comments of so many people that were touched by your bravery. Girl, you are a light in the darkness! Stay strong, and know you are not alone. There’s a whole bunch of us out here supporting you. Sending love and light, Leslie

  183. I started three messages… Deleted each and just decided to say… Yeah you! Life sucks often, but hearing about a win for a deserving person always gives a little hope for the rest.

  184. I have same shitty anxiety/panic attacks. I think you’re brave, and doing remarkable. I love you, and wish u peace if mind. And for rest if us nervous wrecks, i wish us the same.

  185. Dear Amanda Palmer,

    Thank you for being kind to our Jenny. She has given us so much and asks for so little from us. It’s so nice to know that, in a fucked up world that frightens so many of us, there is someone like you who will give one of us that private, safe vantage point from which we can view your performance.

    Bless you.

    Jenny, I cry every time you speak or write about your anxiety disorder, because I know how you feel. Bless you, too.

  186. I continue to admire your courage, and more especially, your honesty.

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was overwhelmingly requested for a first book group meeting that I’m hosting. I was actually told by one of the members that she would “emit a siren whistle to deafen the gods” if I chose another book. So, you know, I guess that would be bad?

    I’m terrified to host! But in honor of you overcoming your fears, I will try to do the same. Here’s to you!

  187. Just when you needed a friend most there were two of them making it a little easier to get past the hard parts. Awesome!! The song is heartbreakingly honest and gorgeous, just like you. I think in my next life, I want to be you.

  188. I wasn’t expecting another post so soon… though I check your blog… oh about 50 times a day. 🙂 this made me so happy to read. I rarely have any social anxiety anymore. I thought I was falling back into it and had a few bad weeks this month. I used to not even be able to go to a grocery store alone. Or drive. This made me heart-happy to read. I love beautiful stories, especially when they are honest! Thank you so much for what you write, it is brave! I am so glad you felt brave!

  189. Amanda Palmer is amazing. I was lucky enough to watch her perform at MONA FOMA in Tasmania (Yay Tassie!) this year when I was pregnant. Now, my baby is sick and I’m spending all of my spare time out of hospital listening to her new album. I honestly think she’s saving my sanity. Really, amazing.

    I’m glad you went and that it was great. Cage or no.

  190. So proud of you! I’ve been feeling the panic creep up lately because of “things and stuff” and Tuesday was a bad day but today is better and after reading this much better. Thank you as always for sharing – it really helps.

  191. The song is…well…amazing just doesn’t cut it. I don’t have an anxiety disorder, I have a fear of success disorder and Red Dress is my new anthem…

  192. I love that you’re here sharing your story with the world.

    You make me feel like I’m not alone in this crazy journey of life, and now I’m considering a red dress.

    BTW – This song is the shit. I seriously am leaving it open and listening to it when I feel shitty.


  193. Likely story…you were totally just hired as a special guest cage dancer. Nice cover. 🙂
    Luv you.

  194. i saw amanda in houston on tuesday and it was perhaps the most amazing, fun, joyous, phenomenal show i’ve ever seen! i knew you were facing going the next night… but i didn’t realize you were facing going alone! i was thinking of you and hoping so very much that you would be able to overcome your anxiety and make it — her crowd is so open, and loving and wonderful and her show is just incredible! i was so happy to see the twitter exchange between you — leave it to AFP to create a safe space! i hope you carry only brilliant and joyful memories – that your heart left the cage behind and soared!!

  195. My brave beautiful daughter is going to a concert this week to see a group she has wanted to see live for at least eight years. She also has great difficulty with anxiety and being in crowds alone, but she bought her ticket for the show, made her flight arrangements and drove to the airport today, determined to fulfill this life goal.

    Jenny, I cried so hard reading this today while she packed or her flight. Her aunt is going to surprise her and go with her to the concert so she won’t be alone in the crowd.

    I’m so lucky she has a brave, beautiful woman like you to be her role model.

  196. I once bought Kim Boekbinder dinner after a show in Santa Cruz. Semi-anonymously. But she knew who it was and came by my table and took a little bird out of her hair and left it for me. It was fantastic. Amanda and Kim are some of my favorite people. This just makes me love them all the more.

  197. That’s amazing (in a beautiful way). That you would even try. That Amanda Palmer would do that. That you were able to go, and appreciate it. That you can see the cage, and that it keeps you from being free and at the same time, it keeps you safe.

    You are an inspiration.

  198. I have to confess, I don’t actually remember how I ended up having your blog post on my Facebook. But I’ve enjoyed it very much 🙂 so I kept it. I never knew that you had these difficulties, and I think you were really, really brave to follow through on this. Good luck 🙂 There are actually people out in the world who don’t even really know you who wish you well.

  199. Thank you for sharing all of this. I’ve been having panic attacks for years too. I’m holding on to a ticket to the Amanda Palmer concert tomorrow night, not sure if I should go. I’m going. If you went, how can I not?

  200. …… I don’t think you really ever read all these – I mean good lord look how many there are and this is a short list today – a testament to our reaction to you….

    but anyway, i type into the void…..
    you touch me everytime I venture to your page – sometimes it’s with irreverent laughter, or with sad understanding and empathy, you literally make me laugh and make me cry sometimes both at the same time.
    Here’s to a brilliant, touching solution – a cage to set you free!
    Keep on truckin’ momma! Keep on truckin’

  201. It was WONDERFUL of Amanda to do that for you, and wonderful of you to gather up the courage to do it! You are awesome!

  202. Thanks for always trying to explain to people what we go through, us panic and anxiety stricken souls. I feel very lucky that the people I surround myself with totally understand, accept, and find humor in my inability to move/breathe/function in certain situations. We are lucky to have you in our crazy, silly, and hopeful corner! With love!

  203. I also have anxiety disorder. My husband happens to be a musician… for awhile, it was very hard foor me to go to his shows and support him. I started by only going to shows that were at smaller venues, but there were still times when I had to leave and go hide in our car when I could not handle it anymore. I started then getting familiar with one venue at a time, getting to know all exits (seriously), all the staff, and the other musicians who frequently played there. Then, it was a lot easier to handle shows at that one venue. Very very slowly, I added new venues to my safe list this way. I can’t say that I don’t still have overwhelming anxiety some nights, but they are much fewer and futher between!

  204. I’m in a similar place. I can’t leave my couch. I can barely look out the window. It’s going to get better, right? It better fucking get better, because the thought that it might is the only thing keeping me alive.

  205. I miss you when you’re gone. I have a friend who is dealing with some kind of mental issues that they haven’t yet figured out. Your posts give me hope, and joy.

  206. So cool that other people have difficulty with crowds. On a bad day, one person is a crowd for me. On a good day, I can handle a large crowd in a mall or busy street, but I have never been able to deal with any seated or standing crowd in auditoriums, dances (e.g. high school), and certainly not concerts (even without people they’re too loud). I love that other people have some of the same fears. We’re so alike in some pretty strange ways and if we were all in one spot, I think that is a crowd I could not only handle but maybe feel okay in.

    Years back someone sent me a cartoon. The title was Ice-Cream Antisocial, and showed various people holding ice-cream cones and hiding at various places around the room (behind the potted plant, peeking over the back of the couch, behind the curtains).

    Oh…and thank you Jenny for being you and being honest. You move me to tears (in a good way).

  207. Your strength and bravery make me smile and want to cry all at the same time. Thanks for inspiring me with your fight to be furiously happy.

  208. Holy shit. It’s overwhelming to see how many people are struggling with the same crap as me… so grateful for you, your blog, your followers… it makes me feel like there isn’t anything WRONG with me. What a beautiful song by Kim..& Amanda Palmer has yet another new fan.

    P.S. I don’t know that anyone here would begrudge you for staying in your snuggie on the couch for the foreseeable future. Might as well invest in throw pillows.

  209. Amazing Jenny. Great read. I recently lost my sister who read you religiously and I see so much of her in you. I am so glad to have been introduced to your literature and endless laugh. Thank you and enjoying to read.


  210. How awesome is it that you got to have your own viewing area for the concert? Sometimes I wish I could just sit in a mirrored box somewhere… one way mirrors so I could see out but no one could see in. I have been battling a bout of depression myself, where I’ve found that my bed is my best friend. Sadly there are still ignorant people out there in the world who don’t think we should be talking about depression. See what I mean:

    Please Jenny, please help us educate those ignorant people who think we should NEVER speak of our mental illnesses because, as this person said on my Facebook page, that “It’s nobody’s business”.

  211. hi! I’m Trin! just wanted to start with points for Doctor Who in your PJs and extra points for attending the concert, even if it was so difficult for you to do. bravo. that took a lot of guts. 🙂

    as someone who is secretly EXTREMELY anxious, I know how you feel about the whole cage thing. it is a personal prison, and it takes great courage and determination to step out from within those bars. a whole lot more to keep them at bay. I’m in my 30s and I’m still struggling with it, to some extent. I’m nowhere near as painfully shy any more, but it took quite a long time for me to step out of myself enough to feel comfortable without my self-imposed prison. I commend you heartily. realisation is the first step. I can’t help but smile for you! today is the beginning of the rest of your life. savour it and relish it to the best of your ability!

    I wish you all the best of life and love for the years to come.

    T. xoxo

  212. Bloggess I hear you. I feel what you’re going through. I have been going through something similar although a lot less intense. I have been feeling very isolated from the people around me and the only person dearly close to me, my boyfriend is miles away in Germany. I am a student and I live in Kolkata, India. I read your post yesterday about the new book coming out and I willed myself to buy your first book. I haven’t been able to get a copy yet as price is almost my monthly pocket money here :p so I had a plan. I decided to ask Turbo (my boyfriend) if he’d buy me a copy in Germany and I would pay him back. This was a huge step for me cause I normally don’t find it very easy to ask for anything.
    So I very hesitantly broached the subject to him last night and he says “Diya you don’t get to buy a copy of Lets Pretend this Never Happened” And I’m all whaaaaa….and then he says “that’s cause I already pre ordered a copy for you, it was going to be an anniversary present” We complete 2 years this Dec 22nd! Is he the most kickass boyfriend or what?! And that was like a Turning point for me…I decided to be furiously happy…no matter what follows!
    Thank you for being there. I love you.
    P.S Turbo loves your blog too! particularly the posts about Hunter S Thomcat! 😀

  213. If we just let people know, the majority of them will do what they can to help us. It’s the confessing that’s hard.

  214. Jenny, you are an amazing woman. Beyond being a funny, i-really-wish-i-knew-this-woman-in-person person, you are a cornerstone for so many women. I know this time is difficult for you, and I can completely sympathize with what you’re feeling, but I want you to know that you are so much stronger than you realize. Even being in a cage, you were there. Present. And that is one of the first steps to overcoming this. I can’t pretend like the feelings of anxiety will ever go away. For some lucky women they do, for others they are a emotion that you can try to control in hopes that you don’t have to live your life with your heart pounding out of your chest, crying at the stupidest things in the world around you, and afraid of going out of your own house because the two-block traffic is too much to bear. Some of the feelings may not go away, but it is your strength that will help to calm the voices and help you step out onto your front porch, ready to face the world around you. You are strong. You are amazing, and you are the controlling factor in your life. Let the fear come, then face it head on. Ask it the important questions, like “Why am I so freaked out,” and “Who the hell do you think you are, trying to control my life? Bugger off, you obnoxious piece of shit. I’ve got a fucking concert to go to, and I’ll be damned if I let you ruin a great night and let this flask of gin martini go to waste.” You can do this, girl. Just take a breath. Think of kittens and puppies, sling that crocodile purse over your arm, put on that smashing pair of red kitten heels, and see you out there.

  215. Had my first official one not that long ago (which I recently wrote about) and ended up in the hospital because I thought I was dying. Can’t say I’m a fan. Would like to not do that again. EVER.

  216. I have anxiety disorder as well. I know that I have moments where it seems like the day to day stuff is exhausting. I’m so proud of you for going. You give me hope.

  217. The only person who might be as amazing as you, Jenny, is Amanda Palmer. Love you, love her, and love that you got your own personal space to enjoy her show and claim one small victory. Keep at it!!

  218. I am bipolar and have bouts where I can’t do anything except sleep or stay in bed wishing somehow I could get up and be productive for myself and the people around me. I get paranoid that they are thinking less of me, that somehow I am weak or making it up.

    I read your entry and I cried because I was happy for you and the victory you claimed! There are days where the act of breathing is a victory, and no matter how “big” or “small” you or anyone else thinks it is, it’s still a victory. A stepping stone to the NEXT victory and I want to say that I admire you greatly. You give me hope that there will be more days I can get up and put one foot in front of the other. On those days, I will rejoice in the victory, as I rejoice with you today in yours. <3 Keep strong. Mental disorders are mean and unfair and at times more than we think we can manage, but you can. Trust me, you CAN.

  219. PS. The great thing about cages is that if you put your face in between the bars the world looks just as beautiful and free.

    I had a friend in high school who kept a little notebook crammed with all kinds of bits and pieces of quotes he’d picked up along the way. THIS would definately go in the book.

    I don’t know when I’ve read anything that moved me so. You amaze me – through (of because of) all your inner struggles, the fact that you have the sense of humor that you have is incredible. Hats off to you, missy.

  220. As a mother of a 10 year old girl diagnosed with anxiety disorder, your blog has given me great hope. Yes, there are going to be ups and downs and ongoing battles in my daughter’s life. But, she is also going to kick some serious ass. If she grows up to be just a fraction as witty and creative as you, watch out world!

  221. Gods and Goddesses bless Amanda Palmer. She is just so real and so righteous.

    …and blessings on you for having the balls to trust her.

  222. This made me cry, but not in a bad way. When I read your posts, usually my first response is “I love you!” You are amazing and strong and brave and courageous because you are not afraid to admit that you feel weak, scared and depressed. You inspire me.

  223. You are such an inspiration. Way to walk part your fear and go to the concert. It looks like you had an awesome time. Huge kudos to Amanda Palmer for being such an amazing and supportive friend. I like her even more, if possible, just because she’s shown such sweet compassion. And what serendipity that Kim Boekbinder posted that video. Thanks Kim for inspiring us all to break down our walls.

  224. Wow. If you haven’t already maybe check out NAMI’s support forums. As a former spouse of someone with MI I found it quite helpful. Esp. to know that I was not alone.

  225. Great story!

    I wonder as I read your posts how many men in your audience can relate but are unwilling to seek help because it isn’t masculine.

    I just wanted to say, I’m 42. A former Airborne Ranger, and I have been hauled out of work 2 times in stretchers because that was somehow less embarrassing than admitting I needed help.

  226. To know I an not alone, makes the shame game 10000 X’s better.

    To know you are brave enough to speak so openly and honestly about it gives me hope.

    To read your books/blogs/writings brings me much needed laughter.

    To know that you know that you have made so much light shine into so many people’s lives is so important to me.


  227. One of my very best, long-time friends is a man. He’s lovely and smart and deserves all the best in this world but he’s so crippled by the can’t/shouldn’t/won’t that his life is atrophying. And he’s stubborn. Gawd, is he stubborn. And very, very private, frantically clinging to his fears and limitations. Only with a few glasses of alcohol in him does he open up about how he really wants his life to be, but then, the next morning when the alcohol has worn off, he’s right back where he started. He’s becoming the crazy old man who lives with cats. What can one do for such a man, who desperately needs something equivalent to a red dress?

  228. That song is amazing!!! It gives me hope and strength. This week, I have had a bout of depression and anxiety. I needed to hear your strength and that beautiful song. People love you Jenny, they will do anything for you. You give us all strength to fight another day and pull through bad times. I am proud of you for going to the concert and enjoying it. KEEP IT UP!!!

  229. You are blessed to have the understanding and loving friends to support you. I believe the Higher Power the is, creates us with our weaknesses so that we can find each other and grow.

  230. for me, 4 people besides me constitutes a crowd – SO many things i have wanted to see, and so many time i have been to scared to leave the house. Just spend 8 days in a hotel, because i couldn’t get past the fear to get to where i wanted to be. Jenny, i know you are busy, but would you consider starting an online 12 step program for us? I think there are enough of us, just in your followers, that we could keep it going even if you weren’t brave enough to show up every week.

  231. You are amazing.
    Thank you for making the rest of us “not” feel like the only freaks of our kind in the world.
    🙂 cannot wait for your next book.

    your biggest fan in NC


  232. Glad you were able to go and enjoy yourself! *sigh* Anxiety is such an ugly monster. I’ve been having massive panic attacks the last month and I know the fear that you are referencing. So happy you got to watch from prison….Amanda Palmer is a saint to help you out! If only the rest of the world was as understanding. God bless Xanax!

  233. I had a very long, complex dream about you (and Victor) (oh my god but not in that way) the other night.

    In real life, I read this post and realized 2 things: 1) I may be suffering one of the shittiest bouts of depression I’ve had for 10 years, but at least I am able to leave my house (as in, it could be worse for me) and B) As much as I can understand and empathize with depression and general anxiety, I simply cannot understand social/people anxiety, and therefore what must my condition seem like for non-depressed people?

    So, having thunk those thoughts, I then dreamt that you and Victor were sleeping over my parents’ house, and we were camped out in the living room. You and I couldn’t sleep so we ended up talking about anxiety. Since you were “worse off” that me, I mommyed you and gave you loads and loads of recommendations.

    Then we had a great epiphany about depression and anxiety and dealing with it and fuck if I can remember it. Damn.

  234. Oh. Wow. I’m gonna sing this all day. And your post? Best ever. Even better than a picture of hunter.

  235. I write this not as a person with depression but as an educator who worked with students K-12 (yes, that young) with emotional disabilities: DEPRESSION LIES. Keep focused on the peaks because you will come out of the valleys.

  236. Just breathe… That’s all you have to do some days. Oh, OK, eating and having something to drink is usually a good idea, but you really have to just keep breathing… You’re awesome and fantastic, and manage to keep us all on the right side of the buggered-up line so often you really should have a medal. Hope you’re OK m’dear, really and truly.
    J x

  237. One of the most anxiety producing situations has got to be travelling. I have a fantasy about air travel, and being able to be lightly anesthetized and rolled through the airport on a gurney, enveloped in fluffy comforters, listening to an awesome audio book on headphones, and not having to talk to anyone. I think there would be a market for that as a travel service. Instead of “First Class” we could call it “Anxiety Class.”

  238. thank you for writing this.
    this day, today, i couldn’t have read anything better.
    wishing you and your baby steps peace.
    sincerely grateful-

  239. You guys, are you familiar with the neuroscientist Jill Bolten Taylor and her TED talk on the stroke she had in her late thirties, while she was studying the brain chemistry of her schizophrenic brother and actively involved as an advocate for mental illness awareness?

    How she found nirvana during that stroke and understood—as a neuroscientist—how we can choose between the part of our brain that separates us from each other and the part that is one with all compassion and humanity?

    Please watch it:

    It will change your relationship to anxiety disorders and OCD, mental illness, and despair forever.

  240. What a beautiful, uplifting, inspirational and touching post.

    I don’t believe we humans, no matter our paths, are all that different. We each have strengths, weaknesses, ups, downs, struggles and battles.

    From the well of your darkness, I hope that you can look up and see light. And if, on some days you can’t, remember the gesture of love and safety that was given to you on a random Wednesday in September.

    And what a gift it was. Hers to you. And yours to us.

  241. Girl, you have my heart. I literally held my breath reading this post. As you continue your journey through this thing called life, know that you have this girl (and millions of others) rooting for you. You light the way for sooooo many people. God Bless.

  242. There must be something in the air. Lately I’ve been feeling like earth’s entire gravitational force is pulling me down into the mud. To make it better, I’ve signed up for a committment that’s going to last the month. Every Friday and Saturday from 6-3am in a haunted house, dealing with people over and over again. I’m totally panicked, but I know if I can just make myself do it that I will feel proud.

  243. You know what? *Whatever* works is okay. You went and that is literally all that matters. xxoo

  244. Ya know what, sharing how you are overcoming this is wonderful, you will help and inspire a lot of people suffering with the same problems.

  245. This is the first time I have read your blog, probably the 3rd time I have read any ones blog, but I love how you write. I just finished your book which was recommended to me and bought for me by my best friend. I think you are a wonderful and strong woman. You have such great stories to tell.
    An interesting thing happened yesterday where I was speaking with a lady and we started talking about anxiety and native culture. She was telling me that people who suffer from anxiety should go outside in the grass and walk around bare foot as it helps you reconnect with the earth and helps ease the anxiety. I know after reading your book you mentioned scorpions about once or twice 😉 so you might want to be careful, but it could help.

  246. I’m in agreement with Andrea. Find what works – breathing, meditation, just sitting with yourself and enjoying your own company, remembering that it’s not going to kill you, finding solace in knowing that there are always other people all over the world who are experiencing anxiety too so even when you are alone, you’re not alone.

  247. I went to an evening seminar about this new type of therapy, RPT that is a conglomeration of many different methods including CBT etc. I have personally used EFT for my fear of flying with great success. it’s based on our electrical impulses activated by past experience. anyhow maybeit might help. It is harmless anyway. Good luck and get well!

  248. Sometimes its one step forward and one step back, but hold on to that one step forward and hold on to all the love that surrounds you. We are all on this journey with your and wish you another step forward.

  249. I will be going to the Amanda Palmer and the GTO gig in London on the 23rd of October. I’ll be taking my beloved niece and showing her the sights, (she’s never been to the big city before). It will be great and it will be easy, (ten years ago, if they’d been playing in my living room I would have been hiding in my closet).
    When you went, you won a battle against an enemy as strong as you, as smart as you, who knew all your weaknesses. Your fear took a beating that day, Kim and Amanda handed you a bat and you whacked that lying bastard in the guts and walked away, (as you walked away there was a massive explosion behind you and you didn’t flinch or look back because that’s really cool and cinematic). My point is that you put on your red dress and howled at the moon, and that makes you a Big Damn Hero in my book.
    Also, anyone who has turned their back on a baby for ten seconds knows how far baby steps can take you.

    Love and massive respect.

  250. Today I wrote “furiously happy” on my arm as a reminder. I’ve been struggling with bouts of depression this year. I started seeing a therapist and I’ve been forcing myself to keep busy to not leave myself with my thoughts and sadness for too long. I guess I’ve been “faking it” not quite to the “make it” part yet, but not everyone sees the pain and only my closest friends know what I’ve been battling – even if they don’t really understand it.

    Jenny, thank you for sharing your stories with us. It seriously lets me know that I’m not alone with thoughts like these. And Amanda Fucking Palmer is amazing, yeah? I finally saw her in July and wish I could see her again.

  251. You really inspire me. I, like many, struggle with anxiety and depression. Keeping myself going is sometimes feels like moving mountains. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone.

  252. “I was afraid of being alone if I had a panic attack. I was afraid of not being alone if I had a panic attack. I was just afraid in general.”

    Yes. This.

    Also, can anyone give me more specifics on where the idea of “furiously happy” comes from? While it has generally percolated into my awareness, I feel like I’m missing a beautiful backstory.

  253. Depression is a liar. Anxiety is the weapon it uses to tell you that you are alone. You are NOT alone.
    There are those who are losing the fight, help if you can, but leave it to those who won if you hurt to much to help.
    There are those who are fighting in hope of victory, fight with them, maybe two will win where one may not.
    There are those who won. Their solution may have only worked for them, but if they beat fear, so can you, and they will understand and love you for trying. Never forget you are loved.

  254. I know how paralyzing anxiety can be, and I just want to say you are an amazingly brave person for continuing to live your life in spite of it. You should be proud of yourself!

  255. Jenny, what truly freed me from my own self-induced cage, was taking part in a play. You are not really yourself, and if that character looks stupid,well, that’s not you, that’s whoever you are portraying. Theater works wonders for Aspies like me, and others with anxiety disorders.

  256. I love that she arranged for a special viewing space for you! And what a view!

    Glad you’re feeling better.

  257. How brave you are on so many levels. I’ve had anxiety issues for years. They are finally receding with the help of acupuncture and yoga. Imagine the hilarity for you in both those settings!
    Thank you for all the joy and laughter you have given to so many of us.

  258. My ribcage feels like that of a 6 year old. I know you understand that. Blessings to you as you give us inspiration to take another breath, even when there is no room for it.

  259. I am just stopping by to say that I have just finished ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’. I laughed, I winced, I cringed and I wiped the odd misty bit out of my eyes.
    Thank you for your courage and your honesty.
    Like a stalker I tracked you down here. More courage, more honesty. Thank you again.

  260. “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” was a really important read for me when I was battling agoraphobia in my 20’s. I’m 52 now and pretty much fear free – except for driving on really big bridges. : )

    I sincerely hope this helps – It sucks to feel trapped and “broken”.



  261. I don’t have an anxiety problem of any kind but I feel like I should be proud of you and I’m inspired by you to be a more confident person and enjoy life more. So please, keep up with your baby steps because even a little baby eventually grows up and can take large, confident strides, or at least that’s what I like to think.

  262. Jenny, I recently had a breakdown as well. You helped me. Just knowing that being broken does not have to mean being unworthy or useless or too damaged to be loved has helped me get through. It has also made me realize that I may never be “unbroken”, but that I can still be well and happy – mostly. I love you and I love Victor for loving you. And now I love Amanda Palmer even more for giving you a safe place to witness her splendor.

  263. I’m pretty sure this is my all-time favorite post from you. I enjoy your sarcastic, raw, humorous pieces, but this really shows who “you” are and helps many of us relate. As someone who suffers from social anxiety – particularly when facing crowds of people (or pigeons – it really doesn’t matter), I think your baby steps were actually huge steps. Keep pushing forward! 🙂

  264. Jenny I really hope you get back on you feet but I admire your honesty as a Blogger. I think at times it’s hard to be so honest all the time on these forums especially if you are trying to promote a humor based Blog. Bravo to you and I really do hope you can get through it. I suffered from severe anxiety when I was battling with issues relating to my sexuality and coming out of the closet and after 26 years (I am 27 now) I think I’ve finally nearly nipped them in the bud. Counselling and finding out the root cause and confrontation of the feelings helped. I still get bad days but they are less and less. I wish you well and love you and what you do (not in a weird creepy stalker way).


  265. When I’m going through some of my own bag of hammers of problems, I often think of you and how amazing, influential in helping others and successful you are in your life both as a mother and as a writer and then I think that maybe I’ll be okay, too, to just keep going.

    Thank you for that comfort and inspiration. And I believe God or the universe sees us all as perfect beautiful souls who, even if we don’t see it or feel it, are exactly where we are supposed to be in our spiritual growth and progress at every moment.

  266. I wish I could have a breakdown and spend a month in bed. That’s not meant to sound snarky or bitchy, because it’s not how I mean it. And now that I think about it, it’s really fucking odd to be jealous of someone’s nervous breakdown, but I would kind of like the time, the space, to have one, to be completely self-absorbed and able to go to therapy daily and figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. (again, I know, weird thing to be jealous of, but there you go. I am.)

    I know if I did that, they’d take away my kids and I’d lose my job and I’m too terrified to let either of those things happen. I don’t quite know how I manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other most days – maybe the alternative just scares me enough to keep me getting out of bed. Maybe just reading about your struggles, and the struggles of all of the other people who comment here, is enough to keep me going. I don’t really know. I just know that between therapy, anti-depressants and your blog, I’m still upright. And that’s enough, most days.

  267. That song Kim wrote made me cry, I’m going to share it with my cousin and I hope it helps her a bit. She has been battling for a while with depression and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your battle, it really helps me understand what she is going through. You are so brave for going and I’m wishing you only the best out of life.

  268. Something about that cage makes me wish I could have been just outside of it and intoning, “It rubs the lotion on its skin…

    On a serious note: I’m glad that you were able to make it to the concert, girly.

  269. Beautiful… good on you for taking this step, especially since you just had such a hard time.. I’s all about the baby steps- taking one breath at a time.. remember to congratulate yourself for each little victory! I gave myself a pat on the back today for getting completely dressed… even pants.

  270. How frightening. It sounds like you have Claustrophobia as well. Sometimes an anti-anxiety med can help w/ this. But I think it would make anyone have anxiety to get a book published, do a tour, and be in crowds and around strangers for weeks on end, so kudos to you for getting out of your shell, however difficult, and making it to the concert!

  271. Oh, you bring tears to my eyes. I truly adore you, Jenny! Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  272. jenny, thank you for being so brave and sharing your life with us. you are not alone. the song posted is amazing and inspiring! i posted it to my facebook wall. its nice to know im not alone either!

  273. I started my blog last month because you’ve inspired me to write about my awkwardness and find catharsis in putting it out there. Every time you post about your depression and anxiety I want to repost it somewhere to help everyone I know realize they’re not alone. I hate the building back up process after a setback, but every step out of it is a success. Every step you take realizing it was a step you were afraid to take last week makes you a little a bit stronger. And be “you” I mean “we.”

  274. Today the only thing I’ve managed to do is lay on my couch or in my bed and watch Battlestar Galactica. I have barely convinced myself to put on yoga pants and a tank top let alone my red dress. My brain has been working all day convincing me I do not deserve my loving boyfriend, any of my friends, and that my body is the worst body that has ever existed.

    Depression lies. I appreciate this post, this blog, and you. Working on brain reboot…

  275. wow! I am constantly amazed at your ability to command the English language… regardless of topic. Extremely well said. Beautifully personally touching eloquent profound. It spoke volumes to me. I will forever be gratefull. Thank you. A gazillion thank you’s to you. (and a belated congratulations! I’m glad you didn’t miss your concert!)

  276. Jenny,

    I know that you don’t have the time to read all of these comments, but if you happen to see this one, I just want you to know that despite the issues that haunt you daily, you are an amazing woman and an inspiration to so many. Though I am loathe to glorify any form of mental illness, your demons truly are what set you apart. Your ability to communicate your struggles so rawly while still maintaining a level of poise and hilarity is awe-inspiring. You really are something special, and though I hope one day you are able to live in more peace, the way you handle your difficulties and how openly you discuss them is a testament to how strong you are as a person. Fucked up or not, you’re still my idol.

  277. *hugs* I love your fearless honesty and I am so grateful for your friend who helped you go and have this amazing experience.

  278. I am so happy that you took the step and went out. Even if they built something special for you, it still had to be a challenge. I’m battling with anxiety myself, not as severe, but still pretty troubling. Reading your stories helps me. Thank you.

  279. Aren’t we lucky to have a lure as powerful as AFP to get us out of our houses and off of our ASSES.

  280. I know it’s hard for this to come across as something other than shameless self-promotion, but this is how I’ve come to think of coping with depression–

    It just seems so ridiculous that we go through this stuff, dealing with depression and anxiety and panic attacks,and even when we win the fight we act ashamed that we’re fighting it at all. I say, yeah, it’s hard for me to go out in public, go to concerts or go dancing or sometimes even get out of bed, so when I DO it, despite everything my brain throws at me, I am going to shout it from the fucking rooftops that today, I BEAT my depression and I am fucking PROUD of that. Even if I don’t manage to so much as get dressed tomorrow, I won yesterday and I have another shot the day after next, and even if I lose that one day I don’t plan on dying

  281. Well done you! So pleased for you. Also, how sweet is Amanda Palmer for helping you? Awesome.

  282. Thank you for this. I’ve fallen down into a mental place I don’t like right now. Sometimes it makes it hard to even comment, but I wanted to say thank you. Your words remind me that it will get better.

  283. I’m going through a flare of depression right now. It’s been awhile (I think anyway, I could be delusional) since I felt almost incapacitated by it, but it’s here and I am barely functional most days. I’ve decided (in honor of the Doctor Who Fall series finale next week and the fact that the only music I can stomach listening to at the moment is the Matt Smith Doctor Who soundtracks, although I’m slowly introducing music from the David Tennant years) that the Weeping Angels are a physical representation of Depression and Anxiety. They want to take over and destroy. They look innocent enough but they sneak up on you (Don’t Blink!) without warning. And if you know they’re in the vicinity, you must be hyper vigilant to avoid being consumed by them.

    Off to steal my daughter’s sonic and maybe enjoy some fish custard for breakfast! Geronimo!

  284. Wow. That song is amazing. Something here I needed to see, hear and read, found you by accident. Thanks.
    I have “it” too…

  285. This post made me cry. In a Starbucks. Jenny, you are so effing, epically fantastic and you bring hope and joy to those of us who are struggling along with you. Thank you.

  286. Hi Blogess,
    I just saw this post. Although I am sure you get a million messages every day: I wanted to extend what I do, to you!
    Should it so fancy you. *hey I also write nursery rhymes, evidently. ^.~ I have worked with a lot of people with similar things going on ~ with some really dynamic processes…unsticking you in places that seem superglued and suffocated. My email: thanks for sharing and making yourself so accessible. x

  287. Jenny, I am so sorry you are going through this and I hope one day you conquer the anxiety. You’ve made so many people spew Diet Coke/ iced tea/vodka on our keyboards as we read what you’ve written. The replacement keyboard industry needs you!
    xoxo Hugs to you girl.

  288. How effing cool is that that you got to see the concert like that? That is absolutely awesome. I knew you had anxiety disorder but I hadn’t realized how completely paralyzing it was for you and I’m so glad you “came out”. That’s what it feels like to me sometimes, talking about depression: like I’ve come out of some closet, and boy IS it a closet because it’s dark and lonely and a hidey-hole, and it holds shit you feel you need to keep hidden. Why is being depressed or having some sort of panic disorder so stigmatized? I think public awareness is getting better and hopefully more tolerant and understanding, and it’s in great part because of people like you who speak out to the huge readership they have. And then, as you found out, you realize that you are not alone. It’s like that song Message in a Bottle: so many of us out there all thinking we’re alone sending our little SOS to the world. And I’m beginning to hate this comment because it’s not even remotely funny and it’s bordering on fucking CORNY to be honest, but that’s how I’m feeling right now, so here’s a big hug from me to you. Well, not TOO big. I don’t want to freak you out. Cuz if you freak out then I’LL freak out and neither of us needs that. But…YOU know what I mean. XOX

  289. SO touched by the beauty of community, by your willingness to share your bravery in the face of vulnerability, by her music, and the connections!

  290. I know I have a nervous disorder. I can’t drive on any highways, I freak out, which makes our yearly trip to FL a two day trip through back roads. But this last Saturday, someone confronted me and my friends during a 9 year old football game. I got the shakes and the blurry vision and truly thought I was going to pass out, all over the fact we do not sit down. We stood our ground, mostly because I was immobilized with fear, but I wanted to be there for my child. And guess what…. the other fans in the stands were so proud of me. They understood who I was and could not believe I made it. There are many others of us out there, we just need someone like you to be honest and give us the strength to carry on. And a little humor doesn’t hurt either.

  291. I am at a very hormonal place right now, raging hormonal place being in my 40’s and all. UGH. When I read this post this morning I started crying for you, for me and for everyone who is afraid or has anxiety disorders. I don’t have anxiety disorders but I deal with my own fear demons and this song touched me, your story has touched me. You are so brave even when you don’t feel like you are. You provide such inspiration and hope for those looking for hope. Bravo Jenny. Baby steps are steps and are amazing! Thank you for sharing and touching so many.

  292. I often sit home marathoning Doctor Who whilst my eating disorder berades me and chides that I’m too fat to go out in public. Somehow it helps, simply reading this. Congratulations on pushing past your fear!!

  293. Sometimes, there is such comfort in the prisions we construct for ourselves, that we have difficulty ever breaking free. So brave of you to step out, to risk and to overcome.

  294. Oh my God. Way to make me weep and weep and weep. I love you for your courage in telling all of us what’s going on inside of you. I cannot tell anyone, not really. And certainly not in public. Thank you thank you thank you. I will keep trying to see beyond the bars of my own, self-made cage. xoxo

  295. Thank you for sharing your stories. I never expected that I would find help in the experiences of others when it came to anxiety, but it does and the fact that you are so open about your struggles and triumphs really inspires me. I’m not there yet, but I hope to be eventually. So thank you.

  296. A friend recently introduced me to your blog. I’m really glad she did because there are so many things we have in common. (My boys have a life size Tardis picture on the wall in their room, a hanging solar system and a light up globe that projects the constellations on their ceiling. They’d approve of your Doctor Who loving self.) I am undergoing treatment for stage 3 endometrial cancer and that has thrown me into the deepest depression of my life. I have never been so sad, angry, lost and apathetic. I don’t want to continue treatment, I want to throw in the towel. I have three children, age 8 to just turned 3, and they need me. My husband, though I don’t know why at this point, still loves me and wants me here. I just can’t get my shit together. I have never been so low, so sad, so miserable. And I am. It SUCKS. I hate that you’re going through it, but its helpful to see that I’m not the only person who has a lot of good in their life, but the dark stuff keeps me down. I wish I could say I’m inspired to overcome it, but for right now the best I can do is say I’m motivated to maintain.

  297. I love Amanda Palmer almost as much as I love you! I’m SO glad you got to see her and I mean that you managed to break free from your prison this time and that you actually got to go and see/hear her.

    The next time you’re in town and need a refuge, save the cost of the hotel room and/or parking fees and holler at me. My apartment is really close to downtown, and comes with hot and cold water, an indoor toilet, free food and booze, a refrigerator and a microwave. And a pink porch light, which we’ll leave on so you can find the place.

  298. We love you, Jenny! That song made me cry because it finally made me realize I have been doing the same thing. Maybe my list of “can’ts” and “won’ts” is shorter than yours or other people’s; maybe, but it is there and it is CRIPPLING. I “can’t” get a job and I “can’t” go back to school, and I “don’t deserve” so many, many things… but it’s probably not really true, maybe. I couldn’t learn to drive. I tried many times to learn, took dramamine and screamed and cried and shook with terror and nearly drove my extremely patient husband to homicide but then I broke through… and suddenly it wasn’t as terrifying and somehow I made real progress and I DID IT. O.O I’ve been sitting on that accomplishment for over a year now, still crippled in many other ways but, able to make appointments for myself and my kids and drive there and not inconvenience anyone. ^_^

    So maybe it’s time for me to do some other things. Maybe I could try to do some of the things that scare me so badly. You got off your couch and went to a concert so maybe I can crawl out from under the bed and go engage with the world a little. Thank you, for sharing your weakness, for letting that dark shadow show us all how bright and brave you really are. If you can be, I can be too, maybe.

  299. I never leave comments – and I’m not sure you read all the comments since there are like 20 million of them (that might be a slight exaggeration). I just want to tell you, I feel you. I’ve always felt you, that’s why I love you. You inspire me – I’m 22 and someday I want to be like you. I want to have a husband or wife and have a life, a real one, where I do normal things and maybe even hopefully have a job. And Amanda’s concert was a release for you – it was a huge step for you – and I used it in just the same way. The night after yours, I went to her concert in Denver. I’d never been to a concert before and I hate crowds and generally don’t like loud noises. But I’d decided I was going to stop living a life of fear, and stop regretting everything, and I knew that if I didn’t go and if I didn’t make it I would regret it forever. I was so sick of regrets. She was my first real step towards recovery – my first step towards true bravery – and I went and it was wonderful. And I think it’s amazing that your experience mirrored mine, I think it’s wonderful that you made it there, especially so soon after an episode. You’re so strong, and you’re growing so much, and you inspire me on my worst days. You balance your illness with your life, and I know that someday I can too. Thanks. <3
    PS: You also got some amazing pictures which I will probably be saving and pretending were from my show since I couldn't get any. So thanks for those, too!

  300. I love you. Thank you. I came here tonight to know that I wasn’t alone. This is where I always come to feel that. I hadn’t read this post yet. I hadn’t heard the song. As I read, “So here’s to each of you, reaching through your own personal prisons. I hope you all find helpful hands reaching back.” The tears began streaming down my cheeks. Thank you. My prison walls are thick, but not insurmountable. I am unspeakably proud of you. Most days I can’t walk out my door. But you did. Be proud of yourself. You knocked out a brick. Keep it up pretty Mama.

  301. I’ve just poked around your site a few times. ( A dear friend turned me onto Beyonce, lol) What an inspiration you are now to me. I would never have guessed that you suffer these awful attacks. I hope you realize how wonderful you are! You give the gift of laughter: true, roll on the floor, tears in my eyes, gasping for breath laughter. I know, every time I come back to this blog that something will catch my eye, touch my heart and make my day better. You, beautiful soul, do all that. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that you continue to move forward in your journey of healing and will find what it takes to be free from your inner demons.

  302. I’m going through a major life-change right now, and though I am mostly okay about it right now, I am anticipating the future when I am NOT AT ALL okay about it and already feel anxious. I don’t feel like there is anyone who will be able to help me when I am at my lowest and most afraid. The more I tell people about it, the more I realize how alone I am in all this because their reactions are so completely different from how I am experiencing it.

    Your post inspires me to press through. That song is like a little note in my pocket that I can pull out and read when I am seriously losing my ability to cope, and remember that I have the courage to make it.

    I’ll just keep singing to myself, “Put your red dress on.”

  303. My boyfriend suffers from anxiety ranging from mild to crushing. He had amazing success with Busiprone (Buspar). I personally think that we as a nation are GROSSLY over medicating, but this has very few side effects (he experienced none) and worked AMAZINGLY for his anxiety. Just FYI.

  304. You came to my city on your tour. I wish I could have had you sign my.. something. I have your ebook, so signing it would be really weird, because it would be my phone screen, and then everything I read would have THE BLOGGESS written across it. Which would actually be kind of awesome, really, but maybe a little awkward at times.

    But I didn’t go because all the people. 🙁

  305. I have suffered with panic attacks off and on for the majority of my life. They have ranged from periods when they were completely debilitating when I was younger to the occasional OMG!!! period I’ve been in for the past few years. I’m so proud of you that you managed to push through your panic and find a way to attend the concert. All forward motion is progress!

  306. Doing everything I know to do to abate my social anxiety…trying to go see Amanda Fucking Palmer so I am trying to channel you, The Bloggess. I am so excited/nervous I am afraid I might poop….

    Goddess, The Bloggess, InterWebs…please give me the strength to see the show and NOT spend the whole time in the bathroom and/or crying in the corner….

    Thank you. Amen.

  307. thank you for posting this it explains what I feel everyday, and have since I was a wee little blonde haired girl, now i am am a wee little blonde haired girl within a woman body trying to break free from the shame i feel that causes my fear. I love you Bloggess and you are my morning laughter.

  308. I keep coming back to listen to this song over and over. Thank you so much for sharing yourself. Well, thank you again, but who’s counting? 🙂

  309. this sent me into a fit of tears. Not because I am a mess of anxiety all of the time, rethinking and overthinking every last thing, whether I am aware of it or not, but because 1: I am not alone 2: someone reached out to you as you do to us 3: I really want a red dress.

    Thank you for sharing, I am still not sure if I would have been as brave as you and crawled into the cage, but I am stronger for knowing you did.

  310. As some one who suffers panic disorder so bad that just going to the park is terrifying without a handful of ativan, I’d like to say thank you for this post, and thank you to the woman who wrote you this song. it literally brought tears to my eyes. And knowing some one as accomplished as you suffers from the same thing that keeps me hiding in my house most days makes me feel better, like..If she can, then so can I, or something.

  311. Not sure why I’m just reading this one…well I do but here is what I wanted to say…

    1st…Amanda Palmer freakin’ rocks (and I’m not even really sure who she is..beyond a wonderful understanding person and obviously, duh, a singer…lame, I know….)
    2nd…Yay for you

  312. What a story, holy cow is Amanda amazing for doing that, as if she weren’t already. Also, that’s a gorgeous song with a powerful sentiment, even for us non dress wearing types. I’d love to help Kim get that produced professionally (my brother is a sound engineer at a major, local studio) and out there for download and appreciation by people like…well…all of us here with whom it hits home.

    In the off chance that stars align and this is read, she’s willing, etc.please get a hold of me and I will make this happen, if by sheer force of will alone.

    Thank you for your ever creative, inspiring, wonderfully batshit crazy like the rest of us and awesome writing.

  313. I go back and forth between thinking that A) you must make this stuff up and B) that you actually live at this existential pitch, like without skin. To be this sensitive and vulnerable and TALKing about it very publicly is just- well unimaginable. Except that you’re doing it.

    In thanks for putting yourself so completely out there, here’s a 5 min. comedy: How To Cope With Your Inner Cat.

  314. Baby steps are all there is. Seriously, what else are you going to do but take one step at a time.

    How cool is it to have someone take care of you like Amanda did, strictly awesome.

  315. I’ve started having panic attacks this year, out of no where, don’t know why and can’t figure out when they will come. And reading your book is how I “met you” (my bookclub read it), and I don’t feel so alone. Thank you.

  316. Sometimes a cage is the safest place. (I’m really echoing this to myself, that self all snugged up in a cave.) And after all, we are the keeper of the keys. Something we all regularly forget.

    Today, dear Bloggess, you are my baby step. And the rattle of keys at my side.


  317. Wow, very nice of Amanda to do that. I suffered from terrible anxiety and panic attacks for almost 2 full years and luckily was able to put the symptoms behind me. I truly hope you were able to break free from your cage and get back to living life on the “outside”.

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