Darkest Days Brought Me to My Brightest Moments

The Story of How She Became Ell 

Why I started my blog, my struggle with depression

Today I am being vulnerable with you, putting it all out there and not holding back. I am not someone who is usually vulnerable but I trust and love my audience so much that I feel like I can speak my mind without judgement. I won’t lie, this is hard for me to write because it is bringing me back to some of my weakest moments, BUT these moments make me the person I am today, stronger. 

If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy posts like this, then I will warn you now, this won’t be your cup of tea. I do get emotional...

As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and depression there is one story I want to share that has been weighing heavy on my heart. I am hoping that through sharing my story I can help someone else find their strength and courage to fight back.

As you know, writing has always been my safe haven. I am a very expressive person, especially when it comes to writing. What I learned this year is that I am a lot stronger and braver than I thought I was. Today I am sharing the FULL story of why I started my blog and how I ended up here. 

Why I created my blog and my struggle with depression

January 2017

Let’s flash back to January 2017 (almost 2 years ago). If you have read my 6 months to full time blogging story, then you know that I am in fact a college drop out who used to waitress full time. If you are a waitress too, then you know how exhausting that job can be. It doesn’t only physically drain you (because yes it is physically draining – you run around for 12 hours on your feet with no breaks, at least that’s how it was for me.) BUT, it also takes a toll on you mentally. Hungry customers aren’t always the kindest… and here in MA the wage for servers is about $3.50 – $4 an hour which we don’t usually see a paycheck for so we live off of our tips. Where I work, there would be a fair share of people who wouldn’t tip generously or even at all. It became very defeating at times. Thoughts of, am I going to make rent this month? or Will I need to eat a Mcdonalds cheeseburger again (please no)? 

My life consisted of waking up, going to work for 12 hours, coming home feeling drained, falling asleep and repeating the next day. It was a constant state of what the hell am I doing? I was so sick of this lifestyle. My job took every ounce of my happiness. My friends and family even noticed. I remember calling my mom after most shifts crying to her about how unhappy I was. 

Many would say get a new job, but it wasn’t that easy… Jobs are in high demand and the truth is, I didn’t have enough experience for any reasonable paying job (according to them). Sure I could get hired for a $10 an hour job BUT I had bills to pay, $450 for rent, $200 for my car, $145 for car insurance, Debt that needed to be paid off, electric, oil, internet, food and the list goes on! $10 an hour wouldn’t work for me. I felt stuck in a reality that was sucking the life out of me. Most days i’d wake up and refuse to move from my bed at all. I felt like my bed was sucking me in. I physically could not move because I was that depressed. I would hold all of this in because I am the type of person that wants to look strong on the outside. I’d say “I’m okay” when in reality I was dying on the inside. Many believed I was happy. No one thought I was depressed. But I knew I was… 

If you have anxiety then you might be able to relate to the feeling of not wanting to burden anyone else with your pain. They would all think I am crazy anyway, right? The shortness of breath, watching as the walls caved in, your hands going numb as you sit there wanting all of it to stop…anxiety at it’s finest.

“Don’t worry, you’re okay, just breathe, …it’s all in your head” That’s what they’d tell me. But was it? Was it all in my head? Am I really okay?

During this time of my life I felt as if I had no purpose…I woke up everyday to sell burgers to customers who most of the time just wanted their food and could care less about anything else. (I get it, I am a waitress and that’s what I am here for…) But that’s the thing… that’s not me. I am a compassionate person, I am friendly and I enjoy conversation. I don’t like being taken advantage of, and I don’t like being called names because a burger wasn’t cooked properly.

Now here is where my story gets even more interesting, a side that you haven’t heard yet….

My struggle with anxiety and depression, why I created my blog

My Crave for a Purpose Got the Best of me

Ever since I was a little girl I had this dream of getting married, having a beautiful home and being a mother. A typical dream most girls have. I always wanted to be a mom, I knew that since the beginning. I haven’t wanted to be anything more than I have wanted to be a mom.

I always looked up to my mom growing up. Since I was 11 years old she raised me on her own and she taught me how to be strong and independent. She loved me unconditionally and always put a roof over my head with food on the table. (even if that meant working 3 jobs) Maybe it’s because of her that I want to be a mother so badly. 

One day something inside me snapped. I became so miserably depressed. The only thing I wanted was a baby of my own. I was not okay. My mental health was not okay.

My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 1/2 years and at this point, we are not married but we knew we wanted to be one day. Although I wanted a baby so badly, it wasn’t the right time. He’s the wise one in this situation. He knew that we still needed to work on our finances. However, that didn’t stop me from feeling the way I did.

For many months I would convince myself that I was pregnant. I still remember clear as day crying that I was having side pains. That’s when I convinced my boyfriend to bring me to Urgent Care to get it checked out. The doctor told me that I needed to get a cat scan or MRI (I can’t remember exactly which one) just to make sure nothing serious was wrong with my appendix.

I remember lying there terrified for my life because I thought I was pregnant and I didn’t want anything to happen to my baby from the scan. I knew that a scan wasn’t good for expecting mothers. I sat there and cried and told the doctor “No, I can’t do this, I am pregnant and I don’t want anything to happen to my baby.”

The look of worry and confusion appeared across her face as she tried to ease my nerves. I went into complete panic and that panic attack took over my body. She assured me that I was not pregnant and that this scan needed to be done. I went through with it crying and couldn’t believe the words she was telling me. I swore I was pregnant. I had this intense feeling inside of me, telling me, YOU ARE PREGNANT. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. This wasn’t the first time either…

There was another time before this where I had a gut feeling that I was pregnant. I remember going to my doctors office extremely excited to hear the good news. I sat there in her office with a smile on my face as she proceeded to ask me “So, what brings you here today?”

Well that’s a silly question I thought to myself, as she knows I am here to get my pregnancy test results.

“I think I am pregnant.” I told her with a smile and before I could say anything back she immediately responds with,

“Well you’re not.” and I could feel my heart sink as I held back the tears. I couldn’t believe how abrupt and rude she was with her response. Although now I understand… there aren’t many 23 year olds who are WANTING to be pregnant. Usually at that age you aren’t rushing for kids. I could tell she was confused by my look of disappointment. She probably thought I wanted to hear that I wasn’t pregnant. But why am I not ecstatic by her words? Shouldn’t I be so happy that I’m not pregnant? I’m only 23, it’s not the end of the world.

My heart was breaking. Each month past by and I convinced myself I was pregnant, I spent all of my spare change on pregnancy tests hoping that one would read positive…but it never did. The sad part is that deep down I knew that I wouldn’t get a positive pregnancy test because my boyfriend and I weren’t actually trying, but I still always had this bit of hope. 

It was after my trip to Urgent Care that I knew I was mentally unstable. The fact that me not being pregnant upset me so much to the point of anxiety attacks, depression, and false pregnancies were the first signs.

It’s so hard to want something so badly when you know deep down it’s out of your control. Knowing the timing isn’t right hurts even more…

April 2017

Fast forward to April 2017. This was a turning point for me. I was a full time waitress, a college drop out, anxious and depressed because life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to at all. I felt as if I had no purpose. I wanted MORE. I wanted someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. I was sick of the late night tears that wouldn’t let me sleep, the mentally unstable thoughts of wanting to quit life. I felt hopeless and stuck in a rut that I couldn’t escape. There was nothing I wanted more than to escape my reality… so I finally did.

Why I created my blog and my struggle with anxiety and depression

I created my blog in April 2017 as a way to escape from my reality. I called it EllDuclos. I wanted to escape my reality so badly that I even called myself Ell instead of Lauren. I hated my life. The only good part was my boyfriend and supportive friends and family. I knew that if I didn’t focus on something else I would be stuck in this constant state of depression. I was done convincing myself that I was pregnant, I was done trying to please all my angry customers, and I was done living life negatively. If I didn’t change my situation, I probably wouldn’t be here today telling my story.

I was at my absolute rock bottom breaking point. Change was all I needed but I knew it wouldn’t come on it’s own. I dreamed of being a writer and always wanted to share my stories to inspire… I never imagined that one day it would become my new reality, a reality that I actually look forward to everyday. I never thought that day would come. I hated the thought of waking up to a new day, and now I crave it. My blog gave me a new outlook on life, on myself, and I found my purpose. 

Do you want to know what’s crazy about this whole thing? I would have NEVER started my blog if it wasn’t for reaching my rock bottom.

Here’s what I learned.

Trust the timing of your life…

If you have reached your breaking point, you can only rise up. You have to trust the timing of your life. When I told people I wanted to be a mom and that I was ready, they would tell me I am crazy. They always told me that I am young and I should enjoy my life while I can. 

But they aren’t me, they don’t know how badly I want this, they don’t know how badly it hurts.  Do I sound crazy? Perhaps. But it’s how I felt and it’s what I really wanted at the time.

Looking back at it, maybe it wasn’t the baby I wanted at that moment, maybe it was purpose that I wanted. I felt as if I had no purpose in life. I felt that no one cared or truly needed me here. But my child would need me, my child would want me here. I needed to fill that void that was in my heart.

It might not make sense, but it made sense to me. I know now that a baby wasn’t what I needed at that moment. I know now that the timing wasn’t right. When the timing is right it will happen. 

My blog helped me realize that I do have a purpose and that purpose is to help others find happiness in the life they live. We all have a purpose and sometimes it just takes a bit of time and healing to truly figure out what that purpose is. You may not know it now, but one day it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks. When that moment comes you will feel better than you have ever felt before. Trust me when I say that you have a purpose in life. You are put on this earth for a reason. Even if in this moment it doesn’t feel that way.

I’ve been there and I know that feeling. It’s dark, lonely, and suffocating but there is a light.

Put your energy into what you can control…

The thing about life is that there is a lot of things that we sadly don’t have much control over. Often times we focus hard on the things that we can’t control. This is where depression comes in and takes away our happiness. We become frustrated because we want a situation to change so badly but no matter how hard we try, we can’t do anything about it.

For example, death. Recently in May 2018 I lost my grandpa. He was my other half. Growing up he was always there for me, I remember going to his house everyday after school just to vent to him about all of my problems. He would listen so well and he’d always tell me that I was his favorite granddaughter. That I was beautiful and smart. He knew how to bring me out of my darkest days and he is a huge reason as to why I am still here today.

When my parents got divorced my grandpa helped me through it. I love him so much and the day I lost him, my heart broke. I knew that day would come but, no matter how much notice you get, it NEVER makes it any easier. This is a situation that I had no control over. I couldn’t bring him back. I could try as hard as I wanted, but it wasn’t going to change anything. Focusing all of my energy on trying to bring him back would do more harm than good. Instead of trying to bring him back, I decided to celebrate his life by living more.

Life is too short to spend it trying to control things that you can’t. So instead of focusing on what I couldn’t control, I started focus on what I could control. I started to live more and I made my happiness a priority.

My grandpa taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to keep my heart and soul young always. 

& Don’t be afraid to be your biggest cheerleader…

Whenever you pursue something in life make sure to cheer yourself on! I believe in the power of mindset. You are what you think you are. Once you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything.

They say you can achieve anything you put your mind to. If you want to be your own boss, HELL YES! YOU CAN. Tell yourself you can and you will make it happen. Create your own hype, cheer for yourself, celebrate all accomplishments big and small, and don’t be afraid to be proud. You deserve to be.

Where I am now

It’s been almost 2 years since my darkest day. I am sitting here, healed and writing my story. The story of how my darkest days lead me to my brightest moments. I stopped focusing on everything that was going wrong in my life and I created a new mindset and outlook on life. 

My days were spent working 12 hour shifts and coming home instantly opening up my laptop and creating. I would create for hours. I started a community called Boss Girl Bloggers and I made connections with other women who were trying to do the same exact thing as me…we all just wanted purpose.

6 months after creating my blog it grew, I was getting readers who actually CARED about me, who wanted to read my newest blog post. They sent me kind messages letting me know that I have inspired them to start their own blog and go after their purpose! My community grew to over 30,000 women who all have the same exact dream as me. I didn’t feel alone. I felt a sense of purpose and I had hope. I love who I am when I am writing, and I love who I am when I am inspiring others.

Why I created my blog and my struggle with anxiety and depressionAbout 6 months into my blogging journey I was able to cut back my waitressing shifts to only 1-2 times a week. I was making enough income to pay all of my big bills. I felt a sense of financial security for the first time in my life. I was living on my own since I was 18 and this was the first time I felt alive. I actually get excited for every new day and I look forward to all the possibilities. I love to create, and I love to help others.

Right now, my darkest days are in the past because I chose to leave them there. The only way I could have found my way out was through change. Not just in my mindset but in my actions too. Choose happiness. 

We are all stronger than we think…If I can rise up, so can you.


It may feel like the end but it’s really just the beginning….



Author: ellduclos

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  • Such a courageous post and from the heart. I, myself, suffered from depression when I was in my late 20’s on the death of my Dad. Later on, I had troubles conceiving which brought back a lot of anxiety and depression. So I kind of know how you were feeling.
    Now we have twin girls who are the light of our lives and we couldn’t be happier.

    • Thank you so much! Your support means so much to me and it’s so reassuring to know I’m not alone in these feelings. I used to be so embarrassed and ashamed of wanting to be pregnant so badly at a younger age. Congratulations on your twins! I love hearing positives from negative times! Gives me the courage to continue to move forward knowing that one day I will hopefully be a momma. 💕

  • This touched my heart in so many ways! I wanted to be a mom so bad when I was younger too and I tried everything possible, then I gave up and now that I’m with my s/o we’ve been trying again only to find out it’ll be almost impossible to get pregnant. Luckily he already had 2 girls who I fell in love with and it makes me think about not being able to have my own baby less. I feel the pain of the depression and anxiety more then I’d like to admit but blogging has helped so much and reading your blog is just the best! Keep inspiring and helping others because you are amazing!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words! It means the world to me and it helps so much to know I’m not alone. Anxiety and depression is so tough but I have been practicing positivity and changing my mindset it’s helped so much! Especially blogging! So great to know that blogging has helped you too! Sending love 💕

  • Yes to this post A HUGE YES!!! The reason why I have started my own blog is a VERY similar reason to why you started yours. Honestly, having purpose is so important & I feel like I have that with my blog. The biggest thing is to never give up. I’m going to keep on going that’s for sure! Such an inspiring post:)

    • Ahhh thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words! I am so glad you can relate. It’s so nice to know that we are not alone in the way we feel! Here’s to purpose and finding happiness together! Keep going, don’t ever give up!

  • This a really emotional post and I’m glad I came across it. I’m sorry you got to go through all of this but I’m glad you feel better and find your purpose. You can be so proud of yourself for being where you are now! Hard work always pays!
    I’m also glad I read this as I needed to hear it again : Trust the timing… I generally do but lately I feel like I need this timing to come and it’s not… let’s keep hope!

    • Thank you so much! It really is all about the timing of your life and choosing to LIVE & find happiness through doing what you love! And knowing you aren’t alone of course 💗 thank you for your sweet words as always!

  • Wow! It’s so beautiful to see you be so transparent in this post. Your story is so inspiring and I’m glad you had the strength to tell it. Thank you for opening up and trusting us as your audience. I can relate to this post so much. Glad to know you’re not alone even when you feel as if you are.

  • You have been one of my biggest blogging inspirations since I started, and I wouldn’t be anywhere near the level I am now without your guidance. I’m so proud of you for writing this, because I know how hard it can be to delve into these subjects and explore them. But, I want you to know, you truly are incredible. You were, even before I read this, but now it’s magnified, and I hope others can appreciate what an asset to the blogging world you are.

    • RUTH!! 💗 thank you so so much. You are a huge inspiration of mine as well especially when it comes to mental health. You are an angel! Thank you for being such a strong support system for us all and reminding us we are never alone! Love you so much!!!

  • I am so happy and thankful that you’re feeling better. You’ve created such a great blog and such a great community that I am thankful to be a part of. Stay happy, my friend. I am praying for you.

  • great post- this is so inspiring and i’m so proud of you for being vulnerable with your audience.
    this touched me, and i’m sure it will tough many others as well.
    good for you
    you’ve come a long way

  • Ell, this is beautifully written. Thank you for being so vulnerable and generous with us. I felt everything I read so deeply; I’ve been in very similar places!
    My blog was also born out of crushing anxiety and subsequent depression, and a deep need to have SOME level of control; to create, and share, and help others. Thank you for this inspiring post.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words!!! I swear my blog saved me. It’s so good to know we aren’t alone in these feelings. Sending you so much love! 💗

  • Such a brave post, seriously I was so moved by this I almost started crying! I understand what it’s like to hit rock bottom, and I’m not quite where you are yet, but this gives me hope.

  • this is so deep. I feel exactly where you are coming from. I been in my darkest place and sometimes I feel like i’m still in my darkest place. but your words are so

    • Thank you so much! It’s always good to know we aren’t alone and that anything is possible when you fight back 💓

  • Ell,
    Your post was really deep and touching. I really appreciate you revealing your story even though it can be painful to recall. I think that’s what makes it so real and relatable and motivational, because it shows all successful people had to start somewhere, and some unfortunately had to start much lower than others. I read your other post where you explained that you waitressed and was a college drop out, and this helped tie your back story together! I am happy you are here with us and have found the silver lining. I think it’s amazing you bounced back from that and less than 2 years later you have grown to be such an awesome, influential, and motivational leader in the blogging community. I actually feel the opposite about a baby (I can’t even take care of myself so I can’t imagine throwing a baby in the mix 🙈) but I’m just confused about my current situation! I thought my current career path would be the “be all, end all” gig but a few months out of college showed me that won’t be the case. I’m so happy to be reading your content and aspire to grow like you. Thank you again for sharing and sorry for the long post (: xx

    – Geraldine

    • Aww this made my night to read! Thank you so much for your support and sweet words. I appreciate you so much and have so much love for you!!! It’s so tough sometimes dealing with anxiety and depression but when you choose happiness it gets a little bit easier! I try the best I can do just stay positive and continue fighting back each day! Sending you love!!!<3

  • You are INCREDIBLE. Your story is a perfect example of how perseverance, courage and strength gets you through anything. I’m so SO glad you’ve found your way up from there and that you are happy where you are today 🧡

  • Lauren, this story is so honest, real and raw. I suffer from depression as well, and I also am using blogging as therapy. I love to write and create, it’s my platform and I feel I have a voice, I only hope that I can achieve half the success you have achieved. Even if I don’t I know I will continue to blog because I love it! Continued success to you, and thankyou for sharing!

    • Thank you so much Lori, that means a lot to me. It took a lot for me to open up and share this side of me but I felt I needed to let it out. Thank you for your support and it’s so good to know we aren’t alone in our feelings! Always here if you need to chat!! Sending love!

  • Lauren, this post is so brave. Thank you for sharing, I’m so pleased that you turned your focus and created something so amazing that helps other people.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again you will make the most beautiful babies, and be an amazing mom when the time is right. Trust life’s plan (I know you do anyway) I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.

    Lots of love sweetheart

    Keeley – http://www.vibeslifeus.com

    • Thank you so much Keeley! I really appreciate you and your sweet words of support always! You are right! I am trusting life’s timing now 💓

  • Such honesty and bravery. So happy to know you’re doing better. Praying for you’re continued growth. I’ve been stuck in a financial rut I can’t seem to get out of. Everybody says “you’ll make it.” Um, no we’re not. No heat in this cold nor food in the fridge. Anxiety and depression are winning this battle right now. I hate feeling this way.

    • Thank you so much, I know some days are hard but I promise better days are ahead. Always here to talk if you need me! 💗 sending love

  • Thank you for sharing this! I follow “LoveLostWords” on IG, and she (I think, she?) recently posted the word “Novaturient — One who is novaturient is someone who is desiring or seeking a powerful change in their life, behaviour or a certain situation. It often occurs during periods of soul searching, where we feel trapped within the familiar confines of our daily lives and routines; craving new challenges or adventures.”

    This word and its definition spoke to me — right now, I am a novaturient. Seems a lot of us who start blogging are, and it’s so great that we’ve found a creative outlet that not only injects meaning back into our lives, but allows us to connect with and give back to others who are in the same head space. Blogging has also re-set my life and given me renewed purpose after feeling dejected about my current job. I love the BossGirlBloggers network; everyone is so kind and helpful! I’m glad you’ve found a way to be happier, and I thank you for creating it. Most importantly, I think you for bravely sharing your story. It’s not easy.

  • God Bless and so happy for you! You always post very inspirational messages during the day that hit home, so you definitely have turned your darkest moments into doing a lot of good out there in cyber world! Thank you for sharing!

  • You’re so brave and courageous. I also went through a rough patch but i’m so glad it’s all in the past. God’s got us. Sending you hugs and light.

  • There’s so much that I want to say. You’re so courageous and incredibly inspiring. Please don’t ever forget how amazing you are. This post was so touching. More than you’ll ever know. I feel like I’m at my bottom now but through this post you encourage me to keep going. I can relate, I suffer from anxiety and depression and around your age I desperately yearned to be a mom so bad. I’m so happy the darkness is a thing of your past. What a beautiful testimony. I wish you continued growth. I will continue watching and supporting you anyway I can.

    • Aw thank you so much Yondel! This means the world to me. Some days are hard but knowing I am not alone makes it easier. Thank you for your continued support, means more to me than you know! <3

  • I’m glad I finally got to read this after talking on Twitter. So many times while reading I said “wow this sounds like me” Thank you so much for being brave enough to share this with us. It makes me not so scared to share mine. You are awesome!! 💕

    • Thank you so much Jennifer! Means the world to me! It can feel so lonely, but this just reminds us we aren’t alone! <3

  • How brave you are to share this post. However, it’s important for others to read about so they too can find ways to seek out the help or support that they need. I started my blog as a way to fixate on something else instead of all the racing thoughts that were from postpartum anxiety. Thank you for being so vulnerable!

    • Aw thank you so much, that means the world to me! It’s always refreshing to know I am not alone in my feelings! <3 Sending love!

  • This is such a heart-touching post. So brave of you to post this. I can only imagine how you felt all through this. But I’m glad this blog came out of that whole situation. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help inspire many people.

  • Seems like you and I were having a breakdown at the same time. I can relate to this so much. I also started my blog when I hit rock bottom. It definitely gave me a sense of purpose for about a year. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to stay consistent and reach my full potential due to some health issues. I feel very demotivated these days but your post reminded me how far I’ve come. Thank you!

  • I’ve been in and out of depression. And have severe daily anxiety caused by PTSD. I have chronic pain and cannot work. I’m not a great writer like all of you. I get disability but it’s not a lot so money is tight. How glad I was to find a site about making crafts with items from the dollar store and things bought on clearance at craft shops. I’m very careful and stick to clearance slots and the dollar store. I’m actually. Building a small “ extras “ pile that comes in great. I use them to decorate our home. I get many compliments. I still have bad days but I’m having more and more good ones! Doing crafts keeps my mind busy. Thank you for your blog. Its inspiring and makes me want to craft away. And as for having children/grandchildren. I can’t have children anymore any the two children I connect with are not ready for children making and sharing crafts helps. And when I am dying for grandchildren my daughter bought me a kitten. She really knows her mom. This kitten loves me and follows me around. Between crafting, seeing my best friends for coffee and staying in touch on line I don’t feel so lonely. I’d like to follow you and read your uplifting stories.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s so important to know we aren’t alone in feeling the way we feel. Just know you are never alone!

  • I am already going through depression and anxiety ,I feel so low that I couldn t start my job on purpose,was totally stuck..But your words motivating me..My thing is little different,I want to quit my present sucking job to be with my 3year old son and Hubby .Thank you so much 🙂

  • This was such a timely post for me to read. I’m so grateful that you shared your story ❤️