Be Zen

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A weird side affect of blogging about your life is that you accidentally end up appearing happy, shiny, and perfect.  I can only talk about my own experiences with blogging, of course, and it’s not that I don’t want to ‘be real’ on the blog, it’s just that sometimes, it’s really hard to be totally honest in such a public forum.  Friends and family read my blog, so I can’t always lay it out there as I could if I were anonymous.  And, of course, being judged by strangers sucks, too.  My skin is thick, but it’s not impermeable! 


Hence – all of the bad stuff that triggers judgment gets stripped away, and bloggers often only focus on the happy stuff, thus appearing ‘perfect.’  But we’re not perfect.  We’re people.


Hi, my name is Caitlin, and I’m an actual person, not a blog-autobot.


In the spirit of being human, I will tell you this:  I have really been struggling emotionally the last few weeks.  I have a history, personally and in my family, with depression so I’m hyper-aware of emotional shifts.  But I’m not sad – more than anything, I’ve been anxious.  Like, totally-overwhelmed-and-crying-in-the-shower anxious.  I suspect a root of my anxiety is hormonal (damn those birth control pills).  I’m taking steps to get my anxiety under control, but I want to share one little thing that has really helped me lately: DRAWER ORGANIZATION.


Okay, okay.  I know that drawer organization is not the magic cure to psychological issues, but I have to say that it’s really been helping me when I’m in the midst of a mini freak-out.  In the very least, it’s healthier than listlessly watching hours of HGTV because I deal with it.  I swear, cleaning something small helps me process. 


Drawer Organization 101:


  • Acknowledge that you feel anxious (or mad or sad or bored).
  • Open a messy drawer.
  • Remove all the contents.
  • Clean the drawer with a wet cloth.
  • Go through contents.  Identify the junk and toss it out.  Breathe deeply.
  • Place all the remaining contents back in the drawer.
  • Feel very zen as you close newly organized drawer.




In other news… I had a delish wrap for lunch.  Hummus, sprouts, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers.  Loads of goodness.


Now – does anyone have a drawer they’d like me to sort through?



  • Carolyn L. June 7, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Organization in general makes me feel a lot less anxious, too. Whether it be a drawer, a cabinet, a closet, or a room, I just feel a whole lot better about life when things are they way they should be.

    I hope you start to feel a little less anxious. 🙂

  • Laurel June 7, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I am so glad I’m not the only one… sometimes the only way to regain a sense of calm is to refold all my shirts. Weird, but then I feel so much better 🙂 hope the organization works for you!

  • April June 7, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I do this same thing! I feel so great organizing a drawer, closet, whatever. It definitely brings a sense of calm!!

  • Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles June 7, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Please come organize my closets! 🙂
    I hope you start to feel better – sending good vibes your way.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul June 7, 2011, 2:22 pm

    ohh Caitlin!~~thank you so much for opening up! that’s so tough to do~if you don’t mind me saying this (which I will by the time you have read this) I’ll be praying for that and your struggle. You are so loved and precious, and I am deeply blessed to be able to read your blog! Be strong and courageous girl.

    • Caitlin June 7, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Thanks Ellie. Honestly, that makes me feel a LOT better.

  • Kara June 7, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I wish I cleaned when I am anxious. The house would be so much neater and cleaner!

    • Jennifer June 7, 2011, 4:06 pm

      Me too – nd I also would be so much healthier save my emotional eating!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 7, 2011, 2:24 pm

    Cleaning almost always helps me feel better.

    There is a real sense of accomplishment in seeing something that was dirty or unorganized look pristine. I get a lot of satisfaction out of organizing things and it really does make me feel better when I do it.

    …especially when I feel like I’m failing at something. Cleaning/Organizing doesn’t take a long time and there’s a clear visual cue that I have actually done something. It makes me feel good about myself.

  • Janessa June 7, 2011, 2:24 pm

    Ahhh, sorry you’ve been feeling anxious! And know what’s awesome? You have already published 2 books before you’re 30. That’s incredible!! xoxo

  • Evan Thomas June 7, 2011, 2:25 pm

    You can come over to my house and organize as much as you’d like any day.

    • Dori June 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Yeah. If you REALLY want to feel good about yourself, try finding space for my things in my tiny apartment. And I’ll pay you!

      • Dori June 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

        For an added challenge, I have no closets!

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) June 7, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I have an entire closet. Two actually. So come on up the next time you’re feeling extra anxious!

  • Maura June 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Pretty sure this is why people come to HTP – not only because of your positivity and inspirational posts, but because of your ability to acknowledge that you’re just like the rest of us in so many ways. I was reminded of this when you told us how back in the day, you couldn’t even run a mile without huffing and puffing – a lesson in that we all start somewhere, and we’re not born as runners (or anything else) – we work hard to get there.

    Now if you’d like organize my fridge, that would be one hella a task 🙂

    • Hannah June 7, 2011, 4:12 pm

      I agree with Maura!! You don’t sugarcoat things-you are honest, and that is why I love this blog. It’s easy to fall into thinking all bloggers are shiny happy people, but when we see all sides of a person, we can relate to them more! Try meditation-it might help with the anxiety. Good Luck 🙂

  • Megan June 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Thanks for opening up – it’s always good to get reminded that others are not perfect even if they seem that way.
    I hope you start to feel better ASAP.

    And I totally agree on cleaning being therapeutic.

  • Fit Chick Britt June 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

    Being organized in any aspect is definitely a way for me to reduce stress and anxiety. I think we just go through times where we are emotionally unstable more so than other times for whatever reason. I think you do a great job, Caitlin, at being pretty real on your blog. Your inspirational and down to Earth.

    And to answer your questions. Yes, I have tons of drawers you can come organize to help me find my Zen!

  • Laine June 7, 2011, 2:26 pm

    If you don’t have “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety” (and the companion one for Depression), get it. Seriously. It changed (and saved) my life.

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep June 7, 2011, 2:28 pm

    We can all certainly relate!

    I was feeling overwhelmed last week with a lot of ugly cries on the way home from the gym, so I detailed my Jeep inside and out. Now when I’m at work or at the gym and feeling overwhelmed, I think of my perfect Jeep and it makes me happy. It’s weird how such small things like that can turn us around.

  • Sarah for Real June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I do the same thing with dishes and other deep cleaning stuff. If I’m cleaning furiously, just leave me alone, I’m working through something.

    We should make a shirt.

    • Caitlin June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

      YES. “If I’m cleaning furiously, just leave me alone, I’m working through something.”

  • J June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I can totally relate, depression runs in my family too and I am prone to such feelings as well. I remember reading about how small fixes to address everyday problems can really help reduce anxiety, and the drawer organization is a perfect example! For years, I would get annoyed when light would come into my bedroom early in the morning and wake me up, and finally, I bought blackout curtains. It really did make me happy. Hang in there girl, and thanks for being so honest with your readers!

  • Stefanie @TheNewHealthy June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    This is SO true! Organizing always helps me feel better – especially when I’m anxious! 🙂

  • DefineDiana June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I really do love that idea! I have been taking out my anxiety, anger, and nerves on random household items too. They must get cleaned! When I can’t control other things around me that is making me upset, at least I can feel accomplished about something.

  • Julia @ Do more feel Good June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    I understand your struggle. My family also has a history of depression which has resulted in me being extremely aware of my moods. I’ve also been feeling really anxious/having crying bursts lately due to the job search process and just have to remember to breathe, go for a walk, or just lose myself in a bookstore to feel a bit better! Keep your head up…and don’t worry…your blog seems very “real” to me!

  • PhillyGirlRuns June 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

    this is sweet! I haven’t organized drawers but I tend to clean when I start to get anxious. Nothing big, but my kitchen counters become super-spotless. I need to channel my anxiety into larger cleaning jobs, like vaccuuming the stairs (shudder). good vibes for some emotional stability.

  • Freya June 7, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Oh I’m sorry you’re struggling 🙁 it’s tough on whether or not to put it out there on the blog. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in January but kept it off the blog (thankfully doing much better now!). There’s so much we don’t know about bloggers!
    If you’re on an organisation kick, do you fancy doing my whole house!? it needs it :p

  • Mary (A Merry Life) June 7, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I totally understand the anxiety/overwhelmed feelings. I have the same thing and mine is reoccurring thanks to whacked out hormones in my body. It sucks but finding things like drawer organization (or whatever works) helps. I wish my tendency was to organize + clean when those feelings showed up – it would be a lot better!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair June 7, 2011, 2:31 pm

    And THIS is why you’re my favourite blogger. You’re so real and honest. Nobody’s life is perfect but I definitely see how some bloggers lives seem that way. I find that when I am going through hard times personally I really lose my passion for blogging because I don’t want to “appear” happy and in control when I’m not, but I also don’t want to put it ALL out there on the blog for various reasons. I find writing LONG, venting emails to close friends helps a lot since writing really is therapy for me.

    I’m glad that the drawer organizing helps you too. Organizing and cleaning things always, ALWAYS, calms me down 🙂

  • Leslie June 7, 2011, 2:31 pm

    In one of my grad school psych classes last night we talked about this very thing! When you are feeling stressed and anxious, you come home and scrub the kitchen floors (or in your case, organize a drawer). Suddenly your anxiety is projected onto that task. Apparently, this is totally a normal and healthy defense mechanism! I’m going to go home and throw out some old clothes. That helps me!

  • Kelly June 7, 2011, 2:32 pm

    I think a lot of people can relate to this post! It’s not really possible to put the negative things in one’s life on a blog. However, it’s important to be a real person with emotions and feelings.

  • Lauren June 7, 2011, 2:33 pm

    What a great post! I love cleaning when I get anxious or stressed. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • greenbean June 7, 2011, 2:33 pm

    thanks for keeping it real! life isn’t about comparing your life to the lives of others, but sometimes bloggers only present the sunny side. and i appreciate you for always keeping it real. it’s a tough balance of being real and not dragging down your readers with problems, but you do it well.

  • Nikki June 7, 2011, 2:33 pm

    I really appreciate you opening up like this. And I’m so glad you have a drawer or two to organize! I’m going to remember this the next time I’m feeling anxious. It will be much better for me than eating until I can’t move, that’s for sure.

  • colleen June 7, 2011, 2:34 pm

    It must be that time of the year. The weather is gorgeous, but I am stuck inside looking out. If it wasn’t for those pesky bills, I’d pack it in for the summer. Maybe I should tackle our junk drawer at home – I only open it far enough to grab the scissors and shut it quickly. Hang in there Caitlin! What gets me through these unpleasant days is to remember it is only short-term; our long-term plans will be worth it.

  • kate June 7, 2011, 2:34 pm

    yes, i have like 5 drawers you can sort through. when can you be in Kansas City?
    it is good you have found something constructive to throw your anxiety at. i also, as well as all the women in my family, suffer from depression. i never reacted well to medications so now i imagine this gage in my mind that fills up with sadness and unhappiness and when it gets close to filling i know i need to step back take some me time and figure out what happened. it helps me to clean too. sometimes it is just nice to see your living space in order. it is a visual representation of where you would like your mind to be and how easy it was to get there.
    good luck with your anxiety, something tells me it won’t hold you down for long.

  • Lauren @ LaDolcePita June 7, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling 🙁 I’m sure you know this already, but your readers love HTP, warts and all, the good bad & the ugly!
    Cleaning is such good therapy. My fiance knows I’m upset when I break out the bottle of Fantastik and go to town on all household surfaces… and now I want to go home and clean all of my drawers!
    Anyway… FEEL BETTER mmkay? 🙂

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) June 7, 2011, 2:35 pm

    A resource I love: – It’s all about positive energy. I meditate using their ‘white light visualization’ techniques. In with the good, out with the bad. I imagine white light around me, and black air coming out whenever I exhale. Shortly after, I don’t feel as anxious or worried. Maybe it’ll will spare you a few sad showers!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances June 7, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I think you do an amazing job at being “real” — you share your struggles with self-employment, injuries and writer’s block, and I know we all appreciate that. You are definitely a real woman with feelings! That’s one reason we all keep coming back. <3

  • Lizzy @ runbakerace June 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Hormonal issues used to make me have so much anxiety! I hated it and finally went off the pill to help the situation. Your review of the LadyComp actually made me stop the pill and I bought the thermometer and love it!!! Thank you so much 🙂 I always love your blog because you are open, honest and helpful.

  • Ali June 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I was just saying this to a friend of mine about negative comments. People can be so cruel, because they think we are not human. It stinks sometimes. But I have developed a thick skin.

  • Nicole June 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Stay strong Caitlin! I have to admit when I read your blog I do sometimes think, dang this girl has it all together, why can’t I be so on top of things! But obviously you are real and have real problems, and that’s why we all love reading your blog. Thanks for being honest, you will get thru it!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! June 7, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Thank you for being honest about your emotional struggles. ALL OF US have our bad days and good days, and I so appreciate your transparency about your challenges with anxiety and feelings of depression. I’m like you–when I get anxious, I like to organize, make lists, clean, and restructure. In the spirit of “being Zen,” it also helps me to remember that everything–the good, the bad, the awe-inspiring, the horrifying–is impermanent and fleeting. It can hurt to think that way about the awesome things, but it really helps put things in perspective when I am having those horribly emotional days to remember that this too shall pass. Good luck!

  • Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen June 7, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Have you ever thought of an IUD instead of the pill? It’s just as effective, can be removed anytime without screwing with your fertility, and won’t mess with your emotions. It’s seriously changed my life! I know lots of women who have IUD’s who don’t already have children, and they’ve never had any problems.
    I know that birth control is a very personal matter, so you don’t need to feel like you have to respond, but it might be worth looking into if you haven’t already.
    I also feel sooo much better when things are organized 🙂
    Have a great day!

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:29 am

      I don’t think the IUD is a good option for me because I hope to be pregnant in the next year or so. 🙁 I know it works for others, though!

  • Cathy June 7, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Caitlin, I so enjoy your blog! Thank you for taking the time to show the behind the scenes and what life is really like. Cause of course we all face those moments. I appreciate you being willing to share so much of yourself with others and I’m sure that it helps so many people. I know it helps me!

  • Lynne June 7, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling. Thank you for your honesty. Your blog is awesome and you have made a difference to so many people’s lives – mine included.

  • shelly June 7, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Hi caitlin! I actually have a (very well managed) anxiety disorder, so I understand what you may be feeling probably a little too well. The answer for me has been going through a lot of therapy when I was younger (cognitive behavioral therapy is a wonderful thing) and now that I have a stable baseline doing things like eating at regularly scheduled intervals, excercising at least 3 days a week, maintaining a quiet and calm house (too much noise like from loud tv shows or discordant music sets me off for some reason), etc…
    It’s really easy to get stuck in a spiral of anxious thoughts so I think that taking yourself out of that moment by cleaning a drawer is actually a pretty good coping habit. What I’ve found personally is that my mind uses anxiety to distract me from something I don’t want to deal with. So for example my mind might wander onto something that makes me feel uncomfortable, like thinking about an arguement with a friend. Instead of dealing with those feelings (I hate conflict) I’ll become randomly anxious about something completely unrelated (like “is my heart beating too rapidly?”)
    It helps me, and takes me out of the moment, to thing back to what I was thinking just before I became anxious. Then of course, I have to deal with an uncomfortable thought, but ultimately it’s kind of important to do that.
    I’m a lot better now because I’ve addressed a lot of the things I was burying and learned to handle emotions I used to be bad at dealing with like embarrassment, anger, frustration, even extreme happiness.
    So if you don’t get better in a little while I would wholeheartedly recommend trying out therapy. It’s hard work but it made my life worth living! And if you would like to talk further about this sort of thing, feel free to email me!

    • JenATX June 7, 2011, 8:10 pm

      Shelly, that is so interesting. Thank you for sharing! Handling emotions is so hard, especially when we don’t know what feelings we are dealing with.

      Caitlyn, I know you didn’t mean it this way but when I read “In the very least, it’s healthier than emotional eating” it just made me feel really disappointed in myself for emotionally eating. I know this is ME being self conscious about my own issues… did anyone else feel the say way when they read that? Sometimes I just wonder why I can’t deal with my emotions better :-/ I guess we all have a problem with this to a certain extent and I’m probably being way too hard on myself

      • D June 7, 2011, 8:18 pm

        This comment didn’t make me feel disappointed in myself, per se, but I wanted to just say that I understand where you’re coming from. *Hugs*

        I DO emotionally eat when I get anxious, and it’s something I’m really working on and have made good progress with. But you’re right in that we ALL have some less than ideal coping mechanisms. My other mechanism is to just shut people out – if I feel anxious about something, or if I’m upset when a friend, I just totally close everyone out. I turn off my phone, ignore instant messages, etc. So I don’t think that emotionally eating is “worse” than anything else – it’s just one way that our emotions become so intense or frustrating that they interfere in our lives. Sometimes they interfere with our sleeping patterns, or into arguments w/ significant other, and sometimes the bad emotions show through in the food we eat, or don’t eat. Don’t be hard on yourself 🙂

        • JenATX June 7, 2011, 8:21 pm

          thank you D, that really means a lot 🙂

      • CaitlinHTP June 7, 2011, 9:09 pm

        Jen – I think you are totally right. I totally mis-phrased that and I’m glad you pointed it out. I think we’re all feel stuck in one way or another – it’s part of growing up!! it sounds judgey and i definitely don’t mean it like that. i’m sorry, thanks for pointing it out to me!

        • JenATX June 10, 2011, 8:03 pm

          no worries 🙂 i know you weren’t being judge-y & I so do appreciate your reply

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg June 7, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Oh Caitlin I struggle with anxiety big time — and my family also has a history of depression so it is something that I try to watch for as well. Sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed.

    I agree that organizing, cleaning and doing things like folding laundry really helps me to calm down — and it feels good to get things done too!

  • KitKat @ Pursuit of Happiness June 7, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I love the idea of cleaning a drawer! I have a 3 drawer chest that I have been stock piling junk into every time people come over (and I want to hide my junk quickly). It’s completely full now and truthfully I haven’t opened it up to use anything in it in months so it really can’t be that important. I think some drawer cleaning will be on my list tonight!

    Thanks for opening up and being so honest. 🙂

  • S June 7, 2011, 2:43 pm

    As someone who struggles with anxiety & pretty bad bouts of depression (and has turned to BOTH emotional eating and listlessly watching tv, not to mention reliance on substances :-/) I give you props for finding constructive ways of handling your anxiety. I’m also trying to find constructive ways to make myself feel better (that don’t include smoking pot and sitting in bed hating myself) and am finding getting back in the gym is actually making me SMILE for the first time in a while & it’s a true smile, not a forced one. I know I don’t *know* you but I’m still proud that you don’t resort to unhealthy means of handling your emotions- because honestly, it makes things worse! So keep at it and know you’re not alone <3

  • Christina June 7, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Drawer cleaning is a harmless way of getting that anxious feeling worked with so keep on organizing! There’s nothing wrong with that but you’re right. People can be mean when you open yourself up online. Keep your head up and you know us other positive folks are always here to help if you need it 🙂

    I think I might have some organizing to do myself 🙂 I’ll make sure to share the before/after pic if I do

  • Jamie June 7, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I have been feeling the same way lately. I snapped at my boyfriend this morning for no real reason… Sigh, I just don’t want to take anti-depressants because they make me feel nothing.

    Also, it is the lack of anonymity that prevents me from starting my own blog. I would especially hate to be criticized all of the time for my parenting decisions. It seems like people are so judgemental when they don’t know you as a real person.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) June 7, 2011, 2:44 pm

    You’re fine just the way you are. I think reading a blog where you don’t see people’s quirks and flaws is an unhealthy comparison trigger, anyway!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans June 7, 2011, 2:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! And I have a whole desk if you have time and want to visit Toronto!

  • Jess June 7, 2011, 2:50 pm

    As a fellow struggler, I empathize and applaud you putting yourself out there on the web! I’m sure you are aware, as many people have alluded to, anxiety and depression go hand in hand for many of us. Keep cleaning – but don’t rule out CBT or even antidepressants if need be. Hang in there!!

  • Jenn June 7, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Thanks for being real! I am a neat freak and organizing helps me relax, too. I hope you find some peace:)

  • Sarah June 7, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Actually, I have WAY more than a drawer to sort through and organize- I have a whole house! I normally get nest-y, but with a baby coming, I think cleaning and organizing is my means of dealing with changes, and anxiety, too.
    I’m with you, Caitlin!

  • Orla June 7, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Hey, if you’ve got steam to blow off through the medium of organisation, feel free to come move all my stuff into my new condo!

    Joking aside, it’s lovely that you admit these things to your readers. I’ve always wondered why so many bloggers keep it all sunny and perky and perfect, when the reason we’re all really reading isn’t for recipes: it’s because we like the person behind the words, and want to feel like we know them.

    I have a tendency towards depression/ low moods/ anxiety as well, and I just wanted to remind you that it’s totally natural to feel like this during major life events like buying houses, writing books, relocating etc. You’re not just buying a house, you’re closing a door on an entire chapter of your life and starting a new one. If that’s not stressful, I don’t know what is!

    Also, I recommend chocolate during this time 🙂

  • Amber June 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I’m sure I can speak for the rest of your readers when I say thank you for being so honest! It’s the reason so many of us love your blog 🙂

    • Melissa June 7, 2011, 7:12 pm

      I second this exact comment!

  • Brittany (a healthy slice of life) June 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I have a while house that needs organizing if you get really stressed! Hope your anxiety subsides soon, but it’s ok that you’re feeling it- you have a lot on your plate. Good luck!

  • Karen June 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

    It does occasionally feel like everything is honky-dory and awesome in the blogosphere (not just you; many bloggers). But I absolutely understand needing to keep some things private — plus not wanting to be a complainer, bringing everyone down. I think you strike a pretty good balance between staying positive and being a good role model and letting us see what’s really going on in the nitty gritty details. It’s one of many reasons I am a regular reader!!

    Mini-amateur psychology: Of course organizing a drawer takes the edge off. Having things clean and tidy reduces stress (cause you don't have to go searching for things). But also, when you're stressed about things you have no control over, it feels good to bring control, however small it may be, to an area of your life.
    I think that's why the whole "if I'm cleaning, leave me alone, I'm working through something" is so poular with women. I know it works for me!!

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life June 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I organize my closet when I get anxious like that. I hope things get a bit smoother for you in the coming weeks!!!

  • Kelly June 7, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Well, considering you’re one of the few (maybe only?) bloggers I read that really lays it all out there, I think you fucking rock for being real. Seriously. Nobody wants the boring blogger-bots. I don’t read every comment, but the ones I do read always seem so supportive of you (unlike other bloggers’ commenters). Anyway, all of that to say that I think you’re awesome and I hope you get over this little hump in life. Going through something bordering depression myself, so I am well aware of the struggle. It helps knowing others go through the same. Hug!

    • Kelly June 7, 2011, 2:59 pm

      Forgive me for the f-bomb. I feel like an enabler! 🙂

      • Kelly June 7, 2011, 3:00 pm

        I didn’t mean enabler…just a bad influence. Sheesh. I’ll stop now!

        • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:27 am

          I love everything about this comment stream.

  • Sarah June 7, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling recently. That’s really hard. If it’s any consolation I have been an emotional mess for the best part of this year so far! Both I and my family have a history of depression. It sometimes feels like I’m the only one who has so many down days. Things that help me are yoga, journalling and spending time with friends. In fact, I do find the more time I spend alone the worst I feel.

    Sending you love and thoughts across the ocean xxx

  • Karen June 7, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Things do often seem honky-dory and fabulous in the blogosphere (but not just you; many bloggers). I totally understand needing to keep some things private, plus you don’t want to be a complainer, bringing people down! But I do think you strike a good balance between staying positive and being a good role model and letting us in on the nitty gritty details. It’s one of many reasons I became a regular reader! <3

    My mini-amatuer-psychological analysis: Of course organizing a drawer feels good! Keeping things tidy and clean reduces stress. Plus, when you're feeling stressed about things you have no control over, it helps to exert control of some part of your life, no matter how small. I think it's why "if I'm cleaning furiously, leave me alone, I'm working through something" is so often seen in women.
    I know it works for me! haha

  • CH June 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Thanks for being honest! I tend to blog about my feelings a lot, since my blog focuses on mental and physical health. It can be weird knowing that my friends or family know certain really specific things about me (for example, how therapy went), but they also know by this point not to read it if they are going to get weirded out. I think it’s a good resource for other people who might be depressed to be able to read about my struggles. And for people who are struggling and read your blog, it is probably a good thing that they see that you aren’t a blog-autobot! 🙂 I’m all for a hefty dose of reality on blogs!

  • Mary June 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’ve been going through the same exact things for the last few months. I’ve since been to the doctor and gotten myself straightened out (I hope) but I’ve found I’ve given up everything that is important (blogging, running regularly, eating well) to me.

    I hope everything straightens out for you… in the mean time.. I’m moving on friday, maybe you can come to raleigh and help me unpack and organize? 🙂

  • Marlow June 7, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Organizing drawers TOTALLY helps me!! I have found that watching TV really affects my mood, that and booze. Funnily enough, organizing drawers and cabinets also helps me when I’m feeling the need to go shopping!

  • Laura @ MyReasontoRun June 7, 2011, 3:06 pm

    i wrote a post about feeling this way too just last week ( ). ive struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life. ive had it under control with the help of exercise until about 9 months ago. its been a roller coaster all year. im trying to get in to see a therapist soon, i do not want to go the medication route again! hope you can pull yourself out of your funk soon!

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:26 am

      Thanks for linking to that post – I hope we both get through this soon!

  • Mindy June 7, 2011, 3:07 pm

    Ah, I totally understand girl! *HUGS* Thanks for being honest about it!

  • Danielle June 7, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I have lots of drawers, two ears, and a hug. Hope you start feeling better soon 🙂

  • Steph @ A Life Without Ice Cream June 7, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who likes to organize my stuff to feel more zen about my life.

    I was just telling a friend the other day that I think I’m the type of person who NEEDS to make a physical change before I can emotionally or mentally catch up.

    That’s a fine looking drawer by the way 😛

  • Jodi June 7, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Caitlin – thanks for posting this. I get the same exact way and I usually don’t post as often when I’m in a funk. I think it’s completely normal but can be very frustrating at the same time; especially if you’re self aware and extremely conscious of emotional shifts! I will say that it totally helps to get it out sometimes so thank you for being honest. The world just got a little smaller 🙂

  • Amy (Miss Teacher) June 7, 2011, 3:10 pm

    I am EXACTLY like you–when I am stressed out at school (I’m a 5th grade teacher), I ATTACK my messy cabinets, file papers, label binders, sort books, etc. etc. etc. There is just something about an organized space that makes ME feel like I have my act together! Hope you feel better soon!

  • Kelley June 7, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I hope you feel better! But I really appreciate this post. I sometimes feel that way too, and the only thing that makes it feel better is just crying alone into a pillow. And then the world is right again. I love your drawer suggestion. It’s productive and feels good to accomplish something. I never noticed it before, but I also get satisfaction from things like that. 🙂 Hope your day gets better!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 7, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Thank you for the honest post, Caitlin! You are amazing with what you do, how much you share, the frequency in which you one is invincible, perfect, and we all have off days or times. It’s human nature!

    “My skin is thick, but it’s not impermeable!”

    Hugs 🙂

    And glad that you found a (useful and productive!) outlet for your stress..drawer organization!

  • Johanna B June 7, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Caitlin, dear one, the best thing you can do for yourself is continue to take good care of your life. Do things that comfort and soothe. Choose foods that nourish. Get enough exercise to boost your spirits. Keep in touch with those who mean the most to you and always play with your fur babies. You will get through this just as you have other things in your life. I’ll light a candle in your honor tonight.

  • Kris June 7, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Oh please, come to my house, we’ll sit on the floor and organize drawers. I’m so sorry you’re having a tough time. There’s a tendency in my family for depression, and when I’m feeling down I become like a bump on a log and hardly accomplish anything. Right now I’m like a crying amoeba. Before I took my doggie in yesterday, I took threw away/put away her stuff and cleaned up, so I guess that was my attempt to control the chaos of my emotions. Hugs to you, and here’s to organizing and better days.

  • Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews June 7, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I love this post! It helps me to remember that not everyone in the blog world has a perfect life…just like I don’t! Thanks.

  • Erica June 7, 2011, 3:17 pm

    I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with anxiety lately, but I can relate. I have the same anxiety/depression in my family genes and have also been feeling super anxious lately. I almost fainted during a working lunch a couple of weeks ago from a panic attack. The thought of cleaning or facing other life stuff (like paying bills) stresses me out even more when I’m feeling anxiety. I like to do things like paint my nails, do an exfoliating facial, or pluck my eyebrows. Then read a book and maybe take a bubble bath. Or I’ll maybe take a couple of hours to lay by the pool and ignore my phone and computer, even if I don’t think I have time. The next day I’m relaxed and ready to tackle my crazy to do list. Taking time to relax is ultimately worth it and will increase your productivity.

  • Laura June 7, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Oh my goodness… I’ve been struggling lately as well, with stress at work and also training for my first Olympic triathlon (it’s this weekend!) and in the midst of it, I’ve become an organizing FIEND. I’ve become obsessed with organizing every little nook of my apartment. I feel like you just diagnosed my cleaning-frenzy…I didn’t even link the two!

  • Kacy June 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

    I’m glad you addressed this. The image of perfection on blogs is actually something that really bothers me. It’s hard to trust someone who seems happy ALL the time, because that’s just not life.
    I try to be hyper-real on my blog. It’s just my nature, and also not many people from my “real” life read (and those who do are people who I really trust) so I feel able to open up. I have a history of depression too and I actually did a week-long series about it. It was hard to write about, but I know it made an impact on some people and that made it worth it.
    I can completely relate to your anxiety. I’ve been feeling the same way too – mostly in bed at night. It’s so hard to tame. Yoga helps a lot, but doing things to distract yourself can definitely help too.
    Thanks for being honest!

  • Amanda June 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Thank you for talking about this. I have an anxiety disorder and I think I am depressed as well. Hearing you talk about it makes me less embarrassed.

  • Shawna June 7, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Your wrap sounds a whole lot like the sammich I had for lunch today. I got it at the deli by my work: alfalfa sprouts, hummus, tomato, lettuce, avacado, and muenster cheese all on sunflower bread. They call it the Powerhouse. It’s AMAZING.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 7, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I appreciate your honesty with this. A funny side note about “blog autobots” anytime my husband see’s me blogging or reading others he starts talking to me in a robot voice b/c he thinks I’m in auto-bot mode.

  • Errign June 7, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Seriously looooove reading your blog because of how open, real, and honest you are. Everyone goes through shit & I think it’s great you don’t intentionally glossed over things to appear perfect on your blog. Hugs Caitlin – you’re awesome.

    P.S. I have a whole apartment in Asheville you can organize….just moved in! haha

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment June 7, 2011, 3:27 pm

    This kind of post is the reason that I always end up coming back here, Caitlin! Thank you so much for always keeping it real with your readers; I know that I, for one, get really annoyed with the whole “shiny, perfect life” bloggers sometimes, especially when my own life is coming through a tarnished filter. I’ve also had a serious struggle with anxiety (social and environmental), and I’ve never felt the need to sugar-coat it on my blog or in my life. It has really helped to get so many emails and comments from others who say, “Me, too” — I had no idea how many others there are out there who know what I’m going through!

    The suggestions above about cognitive behavioral therapy are what helped me the most, too. Just learning ways to cope (like your drawer-cleaning!) has been invaluable… my methods are to make lists, scrub the dishes, write and just have “me” time, where I’m consciously making sure that I’m NOT focusing on whatever “it” is (and sometimes, I don’t even know!). Mani/Pedis, or at least manis, are great for that!

  • Mandy June 7, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Could “organizing a drawer” be a metaphor for getting rid of anxious and negative thoughts in your head? 🙂 That’s how I read it (though I totally understand the literal meaning, too!). I try to empty my mind, clean it out, and only put back what’s necessary…through meditation or prayer or alone time or running…and I find it has the same effect. I’m new to this blog, but I can already tell you have MANY layers and that you’re not, as you put it so well, a blog-autobot. Blessings to you!

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:25 am

      I think it is definitely a metaphor!

  • Dee June 7, 2011, 3:30 pm

    I love that you have the courage to share this. I’ve definitely been there. Also you have not been running as much due to your injuries, and I think that running is a proven mood-enhancer. So you may always have a certain set of problems or general melancholy, but the running chases them away. With no/little running, I am very happy that you found Drawer Organizing! A decent temporary substitute. I do hope you get some relief soon.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales June 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

    As Sarah For Real stated up above…”If I’m cleaning furiously, just leave me alone, I’m working through something” — I am the saaaame way! 100%. And I’m with you, I suffer from anxiety as well (not diagnosed, though my mom is and my dad suffers from depression) so I definitely understand the feelings of anxiousness when you feel like a situation can be too big to control. Ahem money/job/school balance, for me.

  • Maria June 7, 2011, 3:33 pm

    First of all: Love your blog. Your blog (and some others) inspired me so much that I just signed up for my 1st half marathon. And I am dealing w anxiety and depression too – have you tried this Emotional Freedom Technique? I (German, here since last September) have never heard about it before I started counseling here in the US, and it really helps! And, all kind of mechanical work like drawer organizing is healing! Very! All the best for you!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales June 7, 2011, 3:35 pm

    PS. Your “blog-autobot” term really made me laugh. I’m the same way, but rather than just gliding over things, i just simply don’t blog about it.

  • Natalie June 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Caitlin, I would just like to say that you are perfectly imperfect! :)There is no need to feel anxious when you are living such a beautiful life. SO many days I’m feeling blaaahhhh, come to check out your blog, and feel better instantly because you are one of those people that smiles when they least feel like it because they know that is when one needs it most. You are an inspiring person!

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:25 am

      Thanks Natalie 🙂 this is too kind!

  • June 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s so easy to feel as though other people, whether it be blogs or facebook, appearing to have it “all together” and when life gets tough, feeling it may be easier to be them, than ourselves. I appreciate your openness. You are awesome.
    P.S. Have you thought on what you are anxious about? (besides the desk drawer disorganization)

  • Courtney Leigh June 7, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I’ve been cleaning out closets and drawers and cabinets at the office and despite the fact that several annoying stressful work things have happened I am feeling fabulous. And happy. Yay for cleaning and organization.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) June 7, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so anxious lately. I feel ya on wanting to share more, but not being able to. I have the same feeling right now since my life is taking a HUGE shift. It’s a hard balance because you feel so connected with people through your blog and you want to share, but you have to be so careful. Now I need to go find a drawer that needs organizing. I’m sure the junk drawer would appreciate becoming more zen! Feel better Caitlin.

  • elaine! June 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I so totally identify with you, lol. The last time I was super anxious I spent about an hour reorganizing all the apps on my phone!!!

    It may give others a skewed perception of your life, but I think it’s better to focus on positivity online. If I say something negative (like if I need to bitch to a friend about my horrible day) it only lasts as long as it takes the words to come and go. If I bitch on my blog or Facebook… it’s there forever and indexed by Google. D: And every time I look through the archives, it’s like, “Oh yeah, that was a horrible day.” I’d rather remember something nice than something stressful.

    Anyway, I hope you start to feel better before you run out of messy drawers. 🙂

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

    You can clean out all my drawers. And sort through the pile of mail/paper that has been building on my desk since the Tohoku earthquake on 3/11. Honestly, I would pay your travel up here and pay you on top of that. AND I’ll give you awesome chocolate.

    A thought: it would be really awesome, if you are comfortable with disclosing it, to talk about how you have worked through depression/anxiety (Therapy? Medication? Other?). Hearing about how you, as a highly respected and widely followed healthy living blogger, have navigated this could help a lot of people. People are so hush-hush about mental illness, even though it is widespread and affects so many people. This HAS to change.

    I’d write about my experience on my bog, but it’s too horrific, and totally unrelated to the subject of my blog.

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:24 am

      I might do a follow up post on it, but basically I’m trying Chinese herbs to alleviate anxiety. Oh, and cleaning.

  • Paige June 7, 2011, 3:51 pm

    Yessssss cleaning is the ultimate way for me to get over something. If I am furiously cleaning the kitchen or doing something crazy like wiping down the legs of all of our chairs (it’s happened) my boyfriend knows to step off lol.

  • Christy June 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I love that you addressed this issue. I am always intimidated when reading blogs and it seems like everyone always has it together. Thanks for opening up a little more. 😉
    And I totally get your drawer strategy. I do the same thing and it always makes me feel less anxious and more in control!

  • rachel June 7, 2011, 3:53 pm

    In all honesty, it does sometimes seem like you blogger-types have it all together! I think that tendency to only share the good means blogs become a form of escapism, where the only concerns are meals, exercise, and house-decorating. But I’m really happy you feel comfortable sharing the stress and anxiety that are part of your Real life, reminding us that you don’t blog every single thing and that your life, like ours, is not perfect.

  • Cindy June 7, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I’ve suffered from anxiety and severe panic attacks since I was 11. I didn’t even know what they were up until a few years ago. I always just thought it was my stomach as I always get very queasy and feel sick when I am anxious. Once I figured out what it was I was put on anti-anxiety meds for several years, while normally the one I was put on is meant for short term use (according to doctors here in the UK; no one said that in the US). I have a backup med, but not a daily med, and some days are really harder than others. (Especially when I was dealing with my mom being ill and then passing away a few months ago….I was anxiety city!)

    I thank you for talking about this b/c it makes me feel less alone in my struggles.

  • gabriella @ embracement June 7, 2011, 3:54 pm

    I’ve been struggling a TON with anxiety recently. I think I actually had my first ever panic attack the other day, or at least the symptoms of one, and it totally freaked me out even more. I really appreciate when bloggers admit their struggles because I know there is someone out there who can relate to me when my real life friends/family might have no idea what I’m feeling. I’m an organizational freak, so maybe taking it out on the desk and bedroom might be helpful!

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing June 7, 2011, 3:58 pm

    organizing is something that seems to often help me too. cleaning out a drawer, making a list, etc. i think when emotions feel out of control, organizing can make you feel in control of something – and something that’s pretty neutral. i hope you feel better soon caitlin!

  • JenRD June 7, 2011, 3:59 pm

    Awww, sorry you are feeling so anxious. Cleaning/organizing definitely helps me feel better! As does keeping a journal or grateful log daily. Keeps thins in perspective to write down the little things you are happy for each day, like your dogs or the sunset.
    A REALLY good book which I reccomend is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”
    Another good book is “Be Happy wihtout Being Perfect,” by Alice Domar. Both books got me through some very rough/stressful times.


    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:24 am

      Thanks for these book recommendations!

  • Sara June 7, 2011, 4:02 pm

    I definitely feel good after blasting dance music and scrubbing the heck out of my bathtub! It’s not a chore I enjoy, but I feel so good when I’ve accomplished it that I forget whatever I might have been anxious about. What also helps me is journaling. I’m bad about keeping up with a journal regularly, but I have one that I write in when I’m in the depths of a self-pity party. It helps me articulate what I’m upset about, and if I need to set some goals to resolve the issue. In 40 years or so, my future kids will find a notebook filled with tales of woe from my dating life! What a fun read that’ll be…

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I have anxiety too, but when it gets really bad I’m not productive at all. I just stress out even more about what needs to be done! Maybe I’ll try this trick 🙂

  • Katerina June 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Hey Caitlin

    Regular reader, infrequent commenter here. I must say I do this too sort of. If I am feeling stressed+depressed which usually ends up being anxiety I make a list and accomplish, there is nothing like accomplishing something for feeling in control. Sometimes a really good workout or a beautiful dinner helps too.

    Good luck!

  • Mona June 7, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I use organization and cleaning as help too…today I went through two drawers and my freezer and threw out junk – so liberating!
    The first part point that you made stuck with me, because despite the fact that I just blog for fun and I am still at the beginning with it, I don’t know how far to go about my personal life. I do get a sense a lot of the times when I read the blogs I follow that people’s life are perfect, so thank you for being so honest and opening up about your struggles.

  • Meg June 7, 2011, 4:09 pm

    I have a public blog where I get a little “shiny, happy people” on myself and a personal one where I write whatever I want, warts and all.

    I went to a yoga class last night and the instructor passed along something she had read about how thinking positive to stay positive actually has a neurological basis to it, meaning if you recall a negative experience your body and mind experience it the same as if you were actually going through it and if you think about a positive experience, your body and mind have the same responses they would if you were actually experiencing it as well.

    What I took from that is that while sometimes my public blog feels a little forced with happiness, it’s probably a better experience for me and helps with my mental health!

    Now I just need to find experiences to recount when I’m feeling stressed…my own “drawer organizing” experience if you will!

  • ally June 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I was never clinically diagnosed but I have suffered from anxiety disorder and depression before. As lame as it may seem to an outside, exercise/cleaning/writing are SERIOUSLY the things that snap me out of a funk. I can tell when I’m stressed or panicky when I feel the urge to binge like I used to OR restrict my calories. It sucks, but eventually the sun comes back out, I swear!

  • Lisa June 7, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Organizing is how I deal with anxiety as well! I don’t limit myself to drawers, though. Closets, files, it’s all game–and so soothing. Great post.

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) June 7, 2011, 4:29 pm

    I do the same thing too Caitlin (you’re not alone 🙂 ). When my life feels overwhelming, I clean my house and as I clean, I notice that I feel better. Maybe its a control thing? When I have cleaned my house/room/drawer I feel like I’ve changed one circumstance, and it gives me the perspective of “if I can make my house go from a mess to gorgeous, I can change my mood too”… 😀

    You are not viewed as weak for talking about these kind of things. I actually see it as a strength!

  • tina June 7, 2011, 4:30 pm

    My fiance knows that if I’m superfocused on an organizational project, I’m anxious. It may not solve whatever the issue is, but it sure does help me feel productive and get rid of pent up energy!

    Great coping skill! Hope whatever is bothering you gets resolved soon. I’m sure balancing house hunting and book writing and everything else you have going on is NOT easy!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me June 7, 2011, 4:31 pm

    I seem to war with the same thing. Sometimes I want to just complain about something but I don’t want to come across as a complainer or whiner…but I also don’t want to come off as “fake” because I’m being overly bubbly.

    I love to clean when I’m upset. I always feel amazing after it’s all done. It’s either that or crawl into a ball on the couch. Not as productive 😉

  • Kelly @foodiefresh June 7, 2011, 4:32 pm

    I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling like yourself. I am anxious by nature so I can totally relate. I have an entire condo full of drawers that things have been haphazardly stuffed into so please come over anytime and help clean my drawers. I feel more zen playing with Rascal so bring Maggie and James too. 🙂

  • Floey June 7, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Girl, I’ve also been an emotional wreck lately. My grandmother suffered from pretty bad depression– I’m not sure if that’s what the root of the matter is though. I was on anti-depressants for 5yrs and I went off them about 6months ago. I’m pretty nervous, anxious, and stressed all the time these days. I don’t know if it’s because I’m graduating this june (nxt week) and moving back home, or what. Or a pre quarter life crisis? haha

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:23 am

      Ow, I think quarter life crisis are common around graduation, Hang in there!

  • Cindy Robinson June 7, 2011, 4:37 pm

    I love how you keep it real. I bet it is hard to not open up entirely, but I think you do a great job. You’re one of the reasons I started running (and thinking about doing a triathalon). I have learned alot about all kinds of vegetarian meals/grains/yogurts than I ever thought. Rapid heart beats and fear of failure, and losing loved ones top my list on how aniexty affects me. And then I get even more scared and then sad. Thanks for sharing your idea of drawer organization, I love this idea. I will definitely try this the next time I’m feeling overwhelmed. I also like to light a candle I love, scents really affect my mood.

  • Angie June 7, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I appreciate your honesty. A week or so ago I emailed you to say thanks for being so open and I mean it no matter what you express. I struggle with depression too. Among recovering from eating disorders, depression, and just being female, it’s hard not to have downs on a regular basis. After a year or so of reading healthy living blogs, I realize that I expect myself to be perfect almost all of the time. While I might have days that seem close-to-perfect, most days are not close-to-perfect and I need to deal with these moments in a healthy way. Being honest, like you are with this post, is always refreshing and starts me on a path to feeling better. THANK YOU for your blog and Operation Beautiful. You have had such a positive impact on me 🙂

  • Rachel Starr June 7, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I prefer .25mg of Xanax when I’m feeling anxious, but that’s just me 😉 For real, though, please be mindful if your anxiety/depression progresses. There is nothing wrong w/ seeking out help for these very real issues. Sometimes just having a non biased person to talk to about what’s going on in your life, can be a tremendous help.

    Chin up, Caitlin! I think you’re awesome 🙂

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:22 am

      Hahah Xanax helps too.

  • Lauren June 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Hey Caitlin. I can totally relate. You should ask the Husband about (and obviously look into yourself) L-theanine. It’s a non-protein amino acid derived from green tea, and it does WONDERS. Decreases anxiety, increases focus. The MD who recommended it to me is also a pilot and takes it when he needs to stay calm, yet focused while flying in bad weather. Seriously, please look into it! 🙂

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:21 am

      Awesome! I will ask about this!!! Thanks.

  • Lauren June 7, 2011, 5:15 pm

    And to be honest, I feel like many bloggers put way too much additional pressure on themselves trying to always set goals. I say (heh heh), right now, just focus on triathlon + book + house and take it one day at a day. There is no point getting anxious over things we CANNOT control. I think your tv watching goal and your other smaller goals just put additional, unnecessary stress on you. Maybe for now, don’t set any smaller goals, as you don’t need the added pressure or guilt. 🙂

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:21 am

      hahah I see how this is true for some people, but I feel so much better about life when I’m setting and achieving goals, even small stupid ones like not cursing :0

  • Hillary June 7, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Caitlin. I, too, have a deep family history of depression and anxiety, and I am hyper aware of shifts in my mood.

    Lately, I’ve been feeling anxious to the point of sleeplessness (VERY unlike me), and I cannot explain the root of it to anyone. My boyfriend will try to get me talking to figure out what’s up, and there’s nothing to say! It’s just a feeling I have that I sometimes can’t shake.

    Also like you, I often find myself cleaning/organizing when I feel like this, in order to gain some control over SOMETHING in my life. Thanks again for putting this out there; it sometimes helps to know I’m not the only one!

  • Katie @ peacebeme June 7, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I think there is a lot of validity in focusing on a task to bring the level/intensity of your emotion down so that you can process it without coping negatively. Thanks for sharing Caitlin and I hope your anxiety is relieved soon.

  • S June 7, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Hang in there!! dunno abt organization but after a good kickboxing class i feel refreshed n have this sense that i can overcome difficulties n it deffo dispels those negative emotions!!

  • Molly @ RDexposed June 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

    I have unpacked boxes from 7 months ago. Would that work?

  • kristen June 7, 2011, 5:56 pm

    sorry you have been feeling anxious lately! I know the feeling, but I also know how (ridiculously) awesome I feel after getting things organized!

  • Amber Faye @ One "Faye" At A Time June 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

    My house would be a lot cleaner if I organized when I was depressed or anxious. Instead I totally shut down and want to do nothing but lay in a dark room by myself! On a serious note though, thanks for opening up, I know that no one would read a blog if the author is griping and bitching the whole time, but no one is perfect or happy 100% of the time so it’s nice to see that you can admit it. 🙂

  • cathy June 7, 2011, 6:11 pm

    caitlin, thank you for your honesty. it is so true that we can paint any picture we wish on our blogs – and it’s easier to just do the happy dance one. i, too, get anxious really easily, have since childhood – crying and cleaning both help oodles. your drawer looks great! i can totally see where your anxiety is coming from, with your travel schedule, book deadlines, house hunting…and anything else! hang in there and please know that reading this post was really helpful.

  • K June 7, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Caitlin, I can also relate to this! I suffered from crippling anxiety for a long time. I had to withdraw from school and immerse myself in therapy and healing for some time. I would say I’ve been successful NOT because I’ve eliminated my anxiety, but because I accept and it and move through it. As much as I believe in the power of positive thinking, I also believe that sometimes all of the self-help/positivity stuff forces us around things instead of through them. Spending a little time with your dark side is perfectly alright! Of course, when it gets debilitating, that’s another story. But I always find that giving it a voice is half the remedy. Thank you for your honesty and my only suggestion is, as best you can, practice self-compassion. I think that at the core of the “Be Zen” philosophy, we aren’t trying to abolish what feels yucky, but trying to move through it with a genuine sense of self-care. In your own time/way, you’ll know what makes you feel right. But hey, nothing wrong if your house gets liquidated/organized on the way!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 7, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I really admire your honesty Caitlin! I struggled with depression in the past, but it’s not something I discuss on the blog. It’s hard to know what to disclose and what to keep private!

  • Heidi June 7, 2011, 6:28 pm

    truth about the blog autobot. sorry to hear about your anxiety 🙁

    and re: anxiety? Whenever I’m stressed/anxious/depressed – i totally go into super cleaning mode. Hubs can always tell when I’m having a day because our house is pretty spotless.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 7, 2011, 6:31 pm

    What a thought provoking post! 🙂 Thankyou so much for sharing – and I hope things brighten up / ease up for you soon xxx

  • amanda June 7, 2011, 6:35 pm

    caitlin, thanks for this post! you should know that your readers follow your blog to follow YOU, not a perfect-ized version of you. i hope you feel a sense of calm soon.

    you are beautiful!

  • Kim Merselis June 7, 2011, 6:58 pm

    First, your lunch looks delicious!!

    Second, my husband always knows that I’ve had a long/hard day when I come home and start scrubbing! Cleaning keeps me focused on something that isn’t being overwhelmed/angry.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Erin @ Small things June 7, 2011, 7:14 pm

    I think there mus be something in the atmosphere these last few weeks b/c I’ve also been STRUGGLING with anxiety. No real clear cause, but it’s definitely there. Have you ever read Louise Hay’s “Heal your Life”? She has some great affirmations in there – I’ve been using this one: “All is well in my world. I am safe.”
    Seems to help. So do the deep breaths. and drawer organization!

  • The Healthy Engineer June 7, 2011, 7:27 pm

    One thing that should hopefully make your anxiety lessen a little bit is that it’s summer and it’s beautiful out! Take things a little slowly and surely things will turn around.

  • Alaina June 7, 2011, 7:35 pm

    Cleaning for me can be so therapeutic! I clean out my closets every few months and always feel light and refreshed when I do. 🙂

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope June 7, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I think it has to do with just feeling like you’re in control. I do the same thing whenever i am in a foul/anxious/depressed mood, i go through a cleaning spree. Unfortunately, sometimes it also involves me freaking out, “THE HOUSE IS SUCH A MESS AAAAH,” as i throw stuff around and yell at my unsuspecting boyfriend.

  • Lauren June 7, 2011, 7:52 pm

    Oh Caitlin, I just posted something so similar to this. I have been particularly attacked lately on my blog and I just got to the point where I had enough. I am human and I always try to express that on my blog but I think sometimes others forget that we mess up, me make mistakes, and we actually cry, bleed and feel like a human being. Thanks for sharing this tonight. It really helped me. 🙂

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:20 am

      Haters gonna hate! 🙂 Players gonna play.

  • Parita June 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Caitlin. I too tend to feel anxious sometimes but don’t express that side of my life on my blog because of my audience. One of the reasons I keep coming back to your blog is because you keep it real – more so than any other blogger I follow…thanks for that. It means more than you will ever know!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now June 7, 2011, 8:06 pm

    I love your solution. 🙂

    I struggle with depression myself (I’m medicated for it) so I feel your pain. Hang in there.

  • Erin Hack June 7, 2011, 8:09 pm

    Caitlin I’m sorry that you are going through this difficult time, but I’m so glad you have “the hus” and your family to help you through it. Please know what an amazing person you are and how you bring light to many peoples lives. When I’m feeling down I read your blog and it always makes me feel better. 🙂 Hang in there!

  • Allie June 7, 2011, 8:32 pm

    Caitlin, thank you so much for sharing this. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for the past 6 months or so, and have felt so very alone and afraid to talk about it. Thank you for baring your heart on here – it means so much to know that there are others out there who feel the same way.

  • Kris June 7, 2011, 8:35 pm

    Thank you for your honesty – depression and anxiety is something too many people battle in silence. I used to deal with it by eating… which got me to 244 pounds. Now, I run, or walk, or swim, or… but I find some way to generate exercise endorphins to help lift my mood.

    I should try the organizing thing – I hate disorganization, I bet drawers and pantry shelves that are clean would help too!

  • Baking 'n' Books June 7, 2011, 8:35 pm

    I’m not sure why bloggers feel the need to “cover up” or be all cheerful/perfect – that’s not real or the norm in anyone’s life. Everyone experiences stress. And anxiety, depression etc. are all serious stuff that a lot of people – including your readers – deal with on a daily basis. I would think it would be nice to know that others experience and go through the same thing. I actually feel worse when I read blogs that are all rosies and ponies. I think given your books with focusing on the good – but the awareness of the issues women/teens go through – that being more well rounded and not afraid to hide what your feeling is better.

    But yeah I get what your saying.

    And those bathroom moments? I get those at work everyday. Just try to breath, suck it up and move on right?…or wrong?

    Who knows anymore 🙁

    Hope the rest of your day went better Caitlin. You have a lot of love around you. Look at James 😉

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:14 am

      I don’t think it’s that we feel a need to cover it up (well, I don’t), it’s just that you don’t necessary want the whole world to know everything or you CAN’T tell people some stuff. Like, I cannot about one of the major sources of my anxiety because its just not my business to tell, You know?

      <3 thanks for the support though, it means a lot. i hope we both get over this ASAP

  • Zo June 7, 2011, 8:41 pm

    Anxiety sucks. I’m glad you have a good coping mechanism.
    I guess it’s just easy to mistake what you see on a blog for the totality of a person’s experience. It’s a good thing to remember that everyone has things going on that we don’t see.

  • Danielle June 7, 2011, 9:37 pm


    It’s timely that you wrote this, as I’ve had a flare-up of anxiety the past week or so. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and it’s my favorite out of those I read because you keep it real with posts like this.

    It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset of thinking how everyone else’s lives seem so perfect and why are you the only one with issues. So it’s nice to see you recognize that you struggle with anxiety and that no one is perfect.

    I actually even thought that this past week reading my usual blogs, how I wish my life was as great as theirs. Of course you aren’t posting about the bad stuff, who would want to read that? I’m very thankful you let you readers know a little bit of the flip side too.

    I hope you, I and anyone else who posted are feeling less anxious soon and can enjoy life and it’s happiness.


  • CheezyK June 7, 2011, 9:43 pm

    Wow, I wish I wasn’t at work and had the time to read through all of those responses. Thank you for being so honest, I find it very rare that people will talk about hormonal based anxiety or depression. Too many women just accept it as a part of who they are and what they have to go through (as did I through my teenage years). These days (after two years of hell on the pill, five years of recovery and five years of slowly becoming myself again – very long story, may tell it one day) I can now see and accept the ‘cycle’ that my mental health goes through. The bad days are much easier to get through now that I have a hold on the part of me that can remind me that it will pass and things won’t seem so bad in a day or two.

    So, keep on organising, get some sunshine, breath deep and know that it will pass.

    And … after spending 5 minutes reading and re-reading the above, unable to decide whether to hit ‘submit’ or not I will. I can hardly thank you for opening up and then not myself, can I? Breathing deeply myself now – haven’t been this honest about my situation with anyone before, let alone complete strangers.

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:03 am


  • Emily June 7, 2011, 9:48 pm

    I deal with anxiety, too, and after a 4 month (or more) stretch where it was non-stop I definitely know how you feel. I like to make soups when I am anxious…all the cutting a chopping really gets me out of my head and into a mindful activity. Organization and OCD type behaviors help me, too!! My closet is organized by color 🙂

  • Jennifer June 7, 2011, 10:07 pm

    My family and I have been going thru a very difficult time, and add on to that extra work responsibilities, I’ve felt like I was drowning. The other day at work, when I didn’t even know where to start, I just started to organize my inbox on the computer. It probably wasn’t the most important thing to do ( I know it wasn’t!), but when I finished I felt more in control and able to cope with the rest of the day. Sometimes it is the little things that help!

  • ashley@cookingforjohn June 7, 2011, 10:43 pm

    hey girl,

    i’m sorry you’ve been feeling so anxious lately! cleaning really helps me when i’m feeling overwhelmed, organization included!

    i just started my own blog, and wanted to thank you for inspiring me! i commented a month ago and told you how i ran my first 1/2 marathon, you had in a hand in that as well!
    your blog is incredible and i hope to gain even a quarter of the readers you have one day!

    have a great wednesday!! 🙂


    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:03 am

      Thanks Ashley! So glad you started a blog.

  • Luv What You Do June 7, 2011, 10:51 pm

    So funny! I was just working on my post about my love/hate relationship with strength training. I just tried this workout from SHAPE magazine. It is super quick and a great hip strengthener (which us runner are usually lacking)! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how sore I was the next day.
    If you don’t get the link, it is Jillian Michael’s routine in last month’s SHAPE.

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:02 am

      Thanks for passing this along!

      • Luv What You Do June 8, 2011, 10:00 pm

        You are welcome! Hope you enjoy it!

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 7, 2011, 10:53 pm

    You’re totally right. The stuff I talk about on my blog is definitely only part of the true picture.

    Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, it really helps to actually say it out loud on the blog, kind of like venting.

    I’m sure that if you ever need words of encouragement, the entire blog community will have your back with support and advice 🙂 I know I will!

    Keep on cleaning those drawers, until you don’t need to anymore!

  • sarah June 7, 2011, 11:14 pm

    Hi caitlin, I have had a history with depression and anxiety as well. I was just thinking today about how different my life is since I came out of my last depression. Anyway, I wanted to share something that helped me from my rock-bottom anxiety: follow your anxious thoughts all the way to theirnegative conclusion & consider whether you could deal. For instance, that free-floating dread that may start as “I am so bad at my job. I’m going to be fired.” Ok, so, assuming the worst, that I will be fired, can I deal with that? Yes. I will move into my family’s vacation home, apply for retail/waitressing jobs until I find something in my field, and borrow money from my brother, who has enough, if necessary. Of course, I don’t want to do those things, but I’ll ultimately be fine even if my worst fear is realized. I know it sounds simple, but vague uneasiness is generally worse than the major stuff.

    Thanks for everything you do. Your readers appreciate you very much.

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 10:02 am

      Yes, I think you’re right – actually thinking THROUGH your fears or stressors really helps put them in perspective.

  • E June 8, 2011, 12:14 am

    Thanks for being honest with us Caitlin! It’s so nice to read a few things like this on blogs – makes the rest of us feel human 😉 I hope that by sharing with all of us, it will help your anxiety levels!

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska June 8, 2011, 12:33 am

    I think you’re always very real, and I love that about you! When I get anxious and emotional I too clean, but more often clean my car or bathroom than drawers. I guess I need to switch it up soon! 🙂

  • Khushboo June 8, 2011, 12:38 am

    Wow I’m glad you addressed this! People often take those with a positive spirit for granted! Just because they are able to put on a public display of happiness doesn’t mean they are ‘impermeable’. It’s great that you have found an outlet to release those emotions. Yeah it might not be a solution but at least it’s more productive than complaining how much life ‘sucks’!

  • Clare June 8, 2011, 12:45 am

    Thank you for being so honest Caitlyn! It is refreshing! I have dealt with anxiety myself, and the sister of anxiety is depression, as you feel so overwhelemed you just can’t deal. I like you constructive way of dealing with it! I’d also love to have you in some of my yoga classes, maybe you could find some lovely, easy flow yoga where you live. Blessings to you, and know that you are an inspiration, just how you are, to many.

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life June 8, 2011, 2:05 am

    I freaking love drawer organization. I thought I was the only one. I bought some of those fabric cubes a while back and I thought they would work as drawers – no. They’re just a mess. And totally un-zenlike.

    I hope you get to feeling more level soon. I understand how you feel sometimes – I work in a super stressful, high anxiety makes-me-want-to-scream-and-cry-in-the-shower type job. Thank you for being honest. I know your honesty is one of the many, many reasons I stop by every day!

  • Hanna June 8, 2011, 2:41 am

    I totally agree! Whenever I am angry or upset, I like to do productive things like vacuum the crap out of my house! Hope you feel better. Your blog is quite inspirational and I love reading it.

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 9:56 am

      Thanks Hanna <3

  • Sarah June 8, 2011, 6:04 am

    I have organisers just like that in my makeup draw and when i’m trying to avoid doing something (like exam revision….washing the dishes….) or panicking/worried, i tidy it and put everything into different sections haha. It’s a good strategy because it calms me down and helps me have control over something 🙂

    It’s certainly a lot healthier than some things you could do if you were feeling a bit rubbish!

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots June 8, 2011, 6:32 am

    Blogging is so strange because all the time I’ll get comments that say how positive my attitude is and how nothing gets me down! Really? I don’t mean to strip away all the negativity, but I guess it just naturally happens.

    And organizing draws is a genius way to deal with stress! Control what you can control.

  • Erin @ Big Girl Feats June 8, 2011, 8:06 am

    I hear you, girl! I’ve been struggling with anxiety lately too and I know much of it is hormonal – but it still sucks when you’re going through it! I HEART organizing and cleaning when I’m stressed. It makes me feel so much better and in “control.”

    I’ve been trying to get up early in the morning to exercise or walk outside. It’s really helping my mood and my ability to feel confident about tackling the day. And it helps that I also have an amazing boyfriend who is doing things like washing the dishes and doing my laundry because I have 1400 things going on. Help = anxiety goes way down! Thinking of you!

  • Michelle@Crazy*Running*Legs June 8, 2011, 9:00 am

    There must be something in the air because I just did a post on feeling super emotional lately. I also suspect mine is hormonal (I just stopped nursing my daughter – I totally forgot that can make you a little wonky!). Thank goodness for all of the stable things going on in my life (and my kids and running!) because otherwise I’d probably fall apart. Sometimes it’s OK to have a mini pity party for yourself, but it’s also good to kick yourself a swift kick in the ass and say “move on!” Hopefully you get out of your funky place soon!

  • Maria June 8, 2011, 10:28 am

    I am loving your honesty Caitlin! We all have moments like these and instead of completely breaking down, you have to find something that makes you feel better in that moment. Organizing is GREAT. I find myself doing it a lot especially when I’m anxious, and I will say I have organized many drawers to distract away from my anxiety. It really works! Deep breathing is awesome also. SQUARE BREATHING especially! You got it down girl. Hope your anxiety decreases. Keep it up 🙂

  • Kristen June 8, 2011, 10:39 am

    Hi Caitlin, I have been enjoying your blog for the past few months but have never commented. However, I am inspired to post a message today because I too have struggled with anxiety. For a long time I attempted to relieve my anxiety and subsequent feelings of “out-of-controlness” by doing something that made me feel more in control (for me, this was reorganizing/redecorating rooms in my house instead of drawers). This did provide some relief but I found that it was only a temporary fix. When I was finally able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I realized it was my constant need to feel in control that was actually causing most of the anxiety and therefore my reorganization exercise was only enabling my struggles to continue. I now focus on letting go and reminding myself that I don’t have control over most things anyway despite my very best efforts (I won’t lie, this is difficult to do!). As a result I have found a more lasting sense of inner peace. And when the anxiety creeps up I am better able to manage it by focusing even harder on letting go. So, I know people are different and everyone has to find their own path to peace but I wanted to share my perspective in case it is helpful at all. Take care!

  • Stephanie June 8, 2011, 11:39 am

    “Like, totally-overwhelmed-and-crying-in-the-shower anxious.”

    I get that way about once every few months, and it typically means I’ve been running myself ragged and not paying attention to what I need (even if it is a Gossip Girl marathon in my pjs). I do a lot of “ignoring the problem” and “filling the time to avoid thinking” sometimes. I find that as long as I check in with myself on the regular, though, I’ve been avoiding the super-peaks of anxiety…though my levels are still pretty high right now. =/

  • Amber K June 8, 2011, 12:23 pm

    I think that’s very true that bloggers can come off as “perfect” sometimes, but I think you have always done a great job of showing that you are REAL. 🙂

    Organizing something totally helps sometimes when I’m feeling super anxious. I get a grat feeling knowing that something is clean, but it’s also the process. It feels like I’m getting rid of the junk not just physically, but in my mind. It helps me to let things go. Hmm…I should go clean something right now!

  • Morgan June 8, 2011, 1:36 pm

    Thankyou so much for this post and your authencity! I have been struggling with a lot of anxiety and sadness on and off for the last few years, along with a frustrating eating disorder. I have fallen in love with your blog over the last few months, Thankyou!!! I also directed my therapist and therapy group to you Operation Beautiful blog and book and they love it! Drawer-organizing is a totally legit and useful way to deal with anxiety, good job 🙂

  • Kelsey June 8, 2011, 1:46 pm

    This is quite simply why you are my favorite blogger. Thank you for being honest and open. You are an inspiration to so many of us. I know exactly how you feel. I think the twenties can be pretty turbulent for a lot of people yet is glamorized as the best time of your life. About a year ago, I went through a bunch of changes – graduated college, moved back home, boyfriend became a police officer, and oh yeah, why hasn’t he put a ring on it yet?!?! My favorite coping mechanism is taking a drive out into the country and taking pictures. That’s what I love about photography – it makes you notice the beauty all around you. Cheesy, yes, but it’s helped me. Anyways, thanks for being you Caitlin 🙂

    • Caitlin June 8, 2011, 1:53 pm

      Thanks for being you, Kelsey 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life June 8, 2011, 7:01 pm

    I completely understand anxiety and organizing being helpful to ease that anxiety. When stressed I have a glass of wine and work on an organizing project. This has resulted in a lot of $ spent on wine, but my home, car and work space are now 100% organized. My friends call it OCD, but I call it therapy.

  • Emily June 8, 2011, 8:06 pm

    I’ve had a lot of anxiety lately too!!! I was really upset the other day and my mom asked me if I thought I should talk to someone (i.e. are you depressed) and I thought about it and said, nooo I don’t think I’m really sad just really anxious. It’s comforting to know someone else had a similar thought

  • Jenifer June 10, 2011, 10:51 am

    Hello my name is Jenifer, and I am a closet (sighhhh) bleach addict when my nerves are out of whack. You are human and there are certainly worse things that you could be doing other than trying to put a little control in with the emotions. : ) Roll with it girl.

  • Joy June 10, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Ummm Caitlin,
    I have an entire house full of drawers that would love your zen!

  • Cati @ crave and create June 10, 2011, 4:40 pm

    Heh. I’m just catching up on posts and I LOVE this one. I clean when I’m upset, too. There are worse habits, right? 😉

  • Jolene ( June 11, 2011, 12:38 pm

    I totally need drawer organizers!!!

  • Rose July 29, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Organizing or ‘puttering’ as I like to call it, can absolutely have a mind numbing effect. It can be very calming and if you’re feeling anxious, knowing that there is organization in other parts of your life (even if it is only your desk drawer) can be comforting. I just wanted to mention that there are lots of ways for you to keep your home organized without spending a ton money. Chances are you already have the things you need hanging around your house. Repurposed items are great for organizing … I use shoe boxes, coffee tins, egg cartons and more to store almost everything.

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