I had been scrolling through Pinterest one day and came across a pin of someone’s tutorial on how to get published on Huffington Post. I read it and was surprised at how a simple email had opened the door for this blogger and within days she was published on Huffington Post. It was an interesting read and I didn’t really think much of it. I believe I pinned it and that was the end of it. So I thought.
If you have been reading my blog for a period of time, you may remember that my middle daughter was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder. Like anyone, she has good days and bad days. She had just gotten her first job and went to work and had a panic attack. When I picked her up she swore she was never going back; that it was just too much and she couldn’t handle it. My husband and I let her calm down and then talked things over with her. Despite the high levels of anxiety she promised to give it another try. The following day I was thinking about the struggles that life changes threw her way and how they induced anxiety. I wanted to show her that she was not alone and this disorder wouldn’t get the best of her. I wanted to empower her. I wanted her to see that others could relate and that she could inspire others.
And if I am being honest, I sent the letter out of anger. Panic attacks, sadly, aren’t anything new in our family. We had seen them and dealt with them before but that day? I was angry. Angry at anxiety. Mad. Furious. Bitter. Frustrated. All of those emotions were aimed at the anxiety; not my daughter. I was 100% over this anxiety making my daughter question her ability to do things that others can do effortlessly. I was over her saying “I can’t” when I knew 100% that she could.
So I sat down to my computer and sent this email to Huffington Post.
Sadly it seems that everywhere we look mental health issues are popping up. I recently shared my experience with anxiety on my blog. Where this post is unique is the fact that I shared it in 2 perspectives. Mine, as the parent of a teenage daughter suffering form anxiety, and my teenage daughter shared her experience of living with anxiety.
What my daughter shared took courage and bravery and she gave a voice to other teens that are living with this same disorder but perhaps hiding behind smiles and fear.
I have included a link to the blog post as well as the post itself below. Thanks so much for your consideration.
My daughter had no idea I was doing this and I wanted it that way in case my email was rejected.
Within 2 hours I had a reply. They wanted this post that my daughter and I had co-written. I called my daughter and told her the news and she was shocked and elated. Within a few weeks, we were officially published on Huffington Post.
As with any experience you learn something. Nothing could have prepared me for the feedback that we received, from the heartfelt messages and the show of support for family, friends, and strangers.
Lessons Learned from Being Published on Huffington Post
1. You Never Know Unless You Try
Who knew that an email that took 2 minutes to write could have such a positive effect? What was the worst thing that could have happened? No reply or a rejection. As my daughter had no idea it was being sent I didn’t risk getting her hopes up over nothing. Just taking the leap and trying can bring you such great results.
2. Other Will Relate
I was floored by the number of emails, texts, messages, and letters we received. Part of me was thrilled but at the same time so saddened that so many people could relate. From people my age, to teens, to 5 year olds…this disorder doesn’t discriminate.
3. You Have a Voice
Our blogs are our own personal platforms to tell our stories, to share our experiences, and to be as transparent as we want. Once you get to Huffington Post though, your platform expands tremendously. Your voice is being heard by countless others. We have given anxiety a face. It has been over a week and I still have people pulling me aside and telling me that they can relate. Many wish that teachers and professionals could read this article to see that anxiety is real. A school professional told me that some teachers feel that students are using this as a means to fake their way out of class or an assignment. Adults have told me that they wished more people had been as open and honest and supportive when they were growing up instead of being told to lighten up or just stop it. A parent has reached out to me after reading Alyssa’s story and said that they recognize their child in this and hadn’t known what the issue was. They now have a lead to follow and hopefully get their child the help s/he needs.
4. You Make Connections
The world seems like such a huge place, and it is, yet once you find something that unites you and brings you together, it doesn’t seem so large after all. Complete strangers have asked if we could talk to bounce ideas off of each other and to share experiences. Parents need support and help as we often don’t know how to handle this disorder and how far to push our children. Just knowing you aren’t alone and that someone understands your daily struggle scan make a huge difference. Another common statement that parents of children with anxiety hear is that we are coddling and babying our children. We need to be firm and stern. In some cases, I do agree with the need to stand your ground and push them past their comfort zones. But there are times when this is not doable. Just knowing that there are people that literally can and do walk in your shoes makes a huge difference.
5. It’s Not Always About You
For years I have kept my blog under wraps. Not out of shame but mainly because I wanted a space where I felt that I could show up and not be judged. I didn’t want to worry about what this person or that person was thinking. Writing a post for strangers is 100 times easier than writing a post for someone I know or a friend. Once we were published my daughter wanted to share it with everyone. She wanted it on her Twitter account, her Instagram account, and her Facebook account. She wanted her story to be heard and she was proud of being published on Huffington Post, as she should be. I could have asked her to let us keep it under wraps and share it with a select few but who am I to let my fears of being judged hold back her accomplishment? If she can face anxiety and panic attacks and be brave and courageous each and every day then I should be able to as well.
So the cat’s out of the bag. And you know what? It’s no big deal. In fact, it’s liberating. I don’t need to worry about the “what if?”. I just needed to borrow a bit of the courage that my daughter has. Funny…as parents we think we have so much to teach our children when in reality they can teach us just as much.