Last year was a momentous time for Sarah Wilson. She has a following of almost one million on her I Quit Sugar blog – but until now has never spoken out about a life-changing series of events from 2016.
After being single for many years – which she celebrates on her blog – Sarah met a man and they'd been seeing each other for eight months. She was in love, and then she became pregnant.
"I'd spent decades building my life around the idea that I'd be childless," Sarah tells The Australian Women's Weekly.
"Then, suddenly, I was pregnant – at 42. It was traumatic, just coming to terms with that prospect, just getting my head around it."
Her anxiety, which she so often blogged about, began to dissipate. She found her feelings smoothing out. The constant fear evaporated and dissonant background noise she'd known all her life quietened to a whisper.
Then it all came crashing down. At 10 weeks, Sarah miscarried. "It was traumatic," she says. "As much for my partner as it was for me, perhaps even more so. The lovely centred fullness had gone one morning and the brittle, noisy hollowness returned."
The relationship didn't survive either. The loss tore them apart. It was devastating, gut-wrenching and sad. Yet Sarah didn't shy away from that. Instead of looking out, she looked in to examine herself. "I was writing the book (First, We Make the Beast Beautiful)," she explains.
"And it helped keep me on track. Looking in helped me far more than all the outward reaching I'd done in the past. And that's what the book is about – the answer to living with anxiety is not external but within, that you can use it to propel you to other things."
Since Sarah shared her story of battling – and beating – anxiety in the pages of The Australian Women's Weekly, readers have rushed to Sarah Wilson's social media pages to thank her for being so open about her battle with anxiety.
In a long series of posts, they have prasied her honesty and bravery, and thanked her for opening up about suffering from anxiety so profound she wanted to die.
"What an honest and beautiful read. I was brave of you to share your journey with us. Thanks for being a genuine and inspiring public figure," Rebecca Christianson wrote on Sarah's Facebook page.
"Very raw, revealing and impressive article," Sarahtl9 wrote on Sarah Wilson's Instagram page.
"Thank you for sharing your story and not giving up," Janelle Harvz said.
Sarah told The Weekly she knew she had to speak out because anxiety is an affliction that distresses so many Australians.
"Millions of people out there are just like me," Sarah told The Weekly. "They live with this every day and know what it is to struggle every day."
Sarah's decision to talk publicly about her heartache had the effect she hoped it would – with more than 2000 readers reaching out to let her know she inspires them.
"What a powerful and insightful article. Thank you, you are amazing for sharing. Much respect," one Instagram fan wrote.
Sarah's full story is in the current issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, on sale now.