Hi, my name is anonymous and I am a closet anxiety-prone mom of two.

When I approached the editors of Auburn Lane, I asked to do it without revealing who I am. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want some of my family or friends to know. I don’t want my kids to troll the internet and find this before I have the chance to talk to them.

I have also chosen to stay anonymous because I am ashamed and embarrassed that I cannot control my emotions and have no idea why this is happening. And btw, I am not famous or a celebrity, I am just an average woman who wanted a place to tell my story.

Lastly, I do not want this to define me or how people see me. Because on some level, I am sure we all do it. Consious or not.

Let’s face it, while we all post messages about “Let’s Talk” or “Check in on your strong friend”, how many of us really know what to do when that friend turns to you for help. Words like, “I understand,” or “this is perfectly normal,” do little to squash the inner turmoil.

I like to think I know what to do but the truth is, my first instinct is to run for the hills when a friend calls me crying. I have never abandoned a friend or not helped when asked, but it scares me when I am needed. I am the rock for many of my friends and have read countless articles on how to help, but I always wonder if I have done or said the right thing.

I remember my first panic attack. I was in my 20’s and everyone around me was getting married or hooking up and I was single, single, single. I was crippled by this feeling, like I had adrenaline racing through me but it was bad adrenaline and it made me think crazy thoughts. I had no idea what it was. All I knew it that my brain would not shut off. After a few days it subsided. A few months later I met my now-husband and I didn’t experience another one for years. I foolishly thought it was a situational thing.

They came back after having my first child, and I chalked it up to post-partum hormones. Then to sleep deprivation. The excuses kept coming until I was brave enough to talk to my husband, a few close friends and then my doctor. Last week. Twenty some years after that first episode.

This winter was a rough one for me. I slept more than I should have. Ate way too much. Stopped exercising. Barely went out and had no energy to do anything extra in life. And while I love every one of my friends, no one noticed a thing. It took me sobbing for Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to realize I had a problem.

We are all so caught up in our own day to day lives that when a friend goes underground, we miss them, but figure they too are busy. Or they need a break from hanging out. Or work is piling up. And if I am honest, I know it is because I wear many masks and didn’t let anyone see I was hurting. It would take a keen eye to see a problem.

It bothers me to my core that I have a hard time talking about this. That I feel a stigma and worse place one on myself. I know I have a ways to go with this, but I think we all do. For me, there are no signs to look for. I can hide my weight gain, lie about working out and use text messaging to stay in touch. Facebook and Instagram are great at showing how great my life is.

And while it is nice to read all the posts that tell people like me to reach out and let my friends know I am hurting, the honest truth is, it is not that easy. If it were, I would have done it years ago. Opening up about your emotions is not as simple as it sounds. Telling someone, I hurt and I have no clue why, sounds easy but in practice is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. If you have been there, you know what I am talking about.

I need to trust my family and friends that they are there for me. Trust it will not affect how people think of me or simply not care if it does. I know I am loved. I just need to remember to love myself and keep getting help. Which by the way, I now am.

Kate and Anthony’s deaths were not in vain. They woke me up.