Overcoming a Constant Sense of Dread with Mental Health Advocate Brittney Moses

Auntie Anne Beiler
January 04, 2022

Auntie Anne Beiler

Founder of Auntie Anne's Pretzels


Brittney Moses grew up in a home with loving parents. But their divorce in her pre-teen years upended the life she knew, and she fought to get by. As one struggle after another continued to pile on, her life became about simply surviving. This week on Overcome With Auntie Anne, I'm talking with Brittney about how she went from surviving to starting over, rebuilding, and beginning again.

Often with a New Year comes new beginnings. It's a great time to think about where and how we want to start over. And I believe Brittney's story will encourage you as you start this New Year and think about where you might want to begin again.

Listen to the podcast to hear my entire conversation with Brittney or keep reading below to catch the highlights.

Growing up in LA

Brittney was born and raised in inner-city LA. Her parents were Christians who were in love with one another and involved in the church as youth and young adult pastors. Brittney says she has fond memories of her childhood. But in her pre-teen years, her parents went through a divorce and things got difficult.

In the aftermath of the divorce, her parents, both broken and vulnerable, met other people who took interest in them. But these new people also turned out to be mentally, verbally, and emotionally abusive. And they became a part of Brittney's life too.

Because of this, Brittney's teenage years were difficult. "I was experiencing a lot of emotional and verbal abuse at my mom's house [and] psychological manipulation abuse at my dad's house with his wife It was every day, and I was walking on eggshells. I was living in constant anxiety and survival mode."

Brittney says that her stepdad most likely had mental health issues that went unaddressed, but it left him with an explosive personality that manifested itself everyday. And her stepmom was intent on severing the relationship Brittney had with her dad out of jealousy. Brittney basically spent her days just trying to get by and survive.

Trying to survive

The fallout of just trying to survive was great for Brittney. School became a way for her to escape the tenuous home life she was experiencing. But she wasn't mentally engaged with her work and didn't do well. Thankfully, she had a great group of friends and was involved at school in other ways.

But she struggled. "I struggled with self-harm for a time because I think I was starting to numb out of my situation, and I maybe physically wanted to feel something, or I don't know, was trying to express myself. Or maybe the pain was so built up and I didn't have the language or the space to really express it." She also struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts even though she feels she never really wanted to take her life. She was just very unhappy and miserable.

Over time she learned to suppress all she was thinking and feeling. She knew she couldn't change her situation, so she worked to survive.

Not surprisingly, Brittney left home when she was 16 and went to live with her grandparents.
She says being with them was wonderful, but their age kept them from being more hands-on than they probably should have been with a teenager navigating teenage life "and all the shenanigans that that involves."

Brittney says this put her in the perfect position to meet her son's father. "I was lost and broken and confused and adrift about my life at the time. I also didn't really have a foundation of faith." Her belief in God at the time was that of a "cosmic dictator," and so she kept her distance from the faith she had grown up with.

But she did spend a lot of time with her boyfriend and his family, and eventually, at 18 years old, got pregnant with her son.

Becoming a mother

Brittney was freaking out when she found out she was pregnant. She had no idea how she would raise a child, and she just wanted to be rid of the situation, so she went to Planned Parenthood to find out her options.

But when her son's father found out that she was pregnant, he embraced it and said they should definitely keep the baby. That assurance, coupled with a friend of hers who said, "I think you know what you need to do," gave Brittney the confidence that she needed to keep the baby. So she did. And it's the best thing that's ever happened to her.

In fact, having her son took her back to church. At first, it was just for him because she thought she was "too far gone for Jesus to save." But she wanted her son to know some sort of morality, and the church seemed the best option to provide that.

While there, though, she heard a message about God's arms always being open regardless of where you've been or what you've done, and if you let him love you, he'll work to change you. This re-opened the door of faith in Brittney's life, and she kept going.

But she was also living with her son's father at the time, and, wanting everything to be above board so she didn't feel like they were living in sin, felt they needed to get married. So they did--no formal wedding, no rings, just in a courthouse in Los Angeles. Looking back today, though, Brittney doesn't endorse that decision and doesn't believe her reasoning was one for getting married. But they tried to make it work.

Going through a divorce

For a while, they were a family and even moved to Texas to be on their own. Brittney vowed internally not to get divorced because of the situation she came out of with her parent's divorce. But even though her husband was a kind, loving, and respectful individual, he had an addiction problem, and it was affecting their life.

While in Texas, Brittney's husband lost his job, there was no money coming in, and Brittney was once again living with anxiety everyday wondering how it would all work out. Her husband did go to rehab, but over time decided "to go in a different direction with his life" and moved back to California, while Brittney and the baby stayed in Texas.

Brittney grieved the loss of her marriage but admits she didn't really process what happened. "I crashed because I wasn't facing my emotions. I wasn't dealing with it." She eventually fell into another bout of depression.

"I felt stuck. I couldn't see my future. I felt aimless. I felt like a failure I felt like I was constantly waiting for the sky to fall. Just this sense of dread, like all the time, because so many things had gone wrong in my life that I just felt like things were just going to continue to go wrong."

After some time, she decided to move back to California, back into her mom's house.

The slingshot effect

Moving back in with her mom felt like a step backward. "But," she says, "it really was like a slingshot those slingshot moments where it’s like, you’re being pulled back, you’re being stretched back. It feels like a step back, but it's really to launch you further. And that's what that was. It was taking a step back to get my foundation to rebuild, to get situated for the plans that God had ahead of me."

The first thing that happened was she secured a job doing content creation. It allowed her to work from home with her son while she was in the process of rebuilding. During this time, she also started to develop an interest in mental health. She got interested in psychology and was doing research on her own, so she decided to go back to school. She became learning-oriented, was learning more about mental health, and excelled.

And she started going to therapy to help deal with the anxiety she was still experiencing. It gave her an outlet to talk about all she had gone through with her marriage. She was also paired with a mentor, an older woman who gave her the encouragement she needed to keep moving forward.

Eventually, she met a new man named Jason, started dating him, and in April of 2021, they got engaged. And as far as her son is concerned, she says, he and Jason are great together. "I feel like I just get a complete second chance at life, and it's very redeeming."

New beginnings

Today Brittney is a mental health advocate. She's been an NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) certified support group facilitator and a text-line counselor. She aspires to encourage those who are quietly wrestling in the shadows by bringing mental health issues into the light and making them accessible and relatable. She also does "a lot of work at the intersection of faith and mental health, creating conversations mainly in the church, but also in the world and the community."

Brittney, you are so positive and full of life, a tremendous inspiration, and you have a lot to offer all of us. What an honor, joy, and privilege it's been to connect with you, to hear your story, and to know that you're going to keep moving forward and helping so many people. Wherever you go, you will be an encouragement.

If you'd like to learn more about Brittney, check out her website. There you can find all of her articles and updates, as well as links to her social media accounts and her Faith and Mental Wellness Podcast (which I’m a guest on!).

The post Overcoming a Constant Sense of Dread with Mental Health Advocate Brittney Moses appeared first on Auntie Anne Beiler.

Auntie Anne Beiler

Want Auntie Anne Beiler for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
Overcoming the Loss of a Newborn with Nicole Hostetter
Auntie Anne Beiler
Auntie Anne Beiler
February 15, 2022
In her high school yearbook, Nicole Hostetter said her goal was to be a mom. It was ...
Surprise! We're Making A Movie!
Auntie Anne Beiler
Auntie Anne Beiler
February 11, 2022
The first weekend we opened our market stand in a sleepy farmers market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, I was a ...
A Conversation about Abandonment with LaWonna Goedhart
Auntie Anne Beiler
Auntie Anne Beiler
February 07, 2022
When Lawonna Goedhart’s little sister was killed unexpectedly, she watched her ...
Overcoming the Loss of a Newborn with Nicole Hostetter
In her high school yearbook, Nicole Hostetter said her goal was to be a mom. It was the one thing she always wanted, and the one thing she felt was her purpose in life. And after getting pregnant with her first child, it seemed as if her goal was being realized. But then she found out her son’s chance of survival outside the womb was zero perc...
Read More
Surprise! We're Making A Movie!
The first weekend we opened our market stand in a sleepy farmers market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, I was a ball of nerves. But, of course, it wasn’t just pretzels that we sold in the very early days. In fact, the pretzels were terrible until we tweaked the recipe and discovered what is now an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. That was 33 years ago, as...
Read More
A Conversation about Abandonment with LaWonna Goedhart
When Lawonna Goedhart’s little sister was killed unexpectedly, she watched her parents and extended family go through the emotional trauma of losing a child. But in the midst of all that trauma and sadness, four-year-old Lawonna felt ignored, abandoned, and forgotten. And I, as her mother, still feel the hurt and the pain of what she went thro...
Read More
Bouncing Back After A Devastating Business Loss with Michelle Schaffer
Today’s episode is brought to you by Girl Power Alliance, a faith-based learning community with the highest quality education through mini-courses, live training, and highly qualified coaches. Through their monthly membership, you will have instant access to highly sought-after leaders in a variety of fields and professions sharing strategies an...
Read More
A Letter To My Sweet Angie on her 48th Birthday
To my dear Angie, My blue-eyed, blond-haired sweet baby girl. I miss you so much! You may be surprised to be receiving a letter from me after all this time has passed. I’ve talked about you and written about your life and how it has impacted Dad and me, but I’ve never written to you. So I guess an apology would be in order. You weren’t with us v...
Read More
From Victim to Surviving to Thriving with Catherine Schiffer
In her formative years, Catherine Schiffer fell victim to daily sexual, verbal, and physical abuse. Through her teens and into her thirties, she fought to survive, battling drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and two failed marriages with many dysfunctional relationships in between. In her forties, she knew it was time to change or die, and that’s when...
Read More
Finding God Again After Tragedy with Lori Champion
When Lori Champion's dad died, she went numb and could no longer feel the God she'd always known and loved. And then after getting cancer, while pregnant with her first child, she doubted whether she'd actually live and feared the cancer might take her. This week on Overcome With Auntie Anne, I'm chatting with Lori Champion about how she found...
Read More
Overcoming a Constant Sense of Dread with Mental Health Advocate Brittney Moses
Brittney Moses grew up in a home with loving parents. But their divorce in her pre-teen years upended the life she knew, and she fought to get by. As one struggle after another continued to pile on, her life became about simply surviving. This week on Overcome With Auntie Anne, I'm talking with Brittney about how she went from surviving to sta...
Read More
Getting Vulnerable About Alcoholism with Mindy and Ben Isaacs
When Ben Isaacs met his future wife, Mindy, he had no idea the extent of her drinking problem. What appeared to be a drink here or there was actually full-blown alcoholism that went unnoticed at first. Mindy says, "I couldn't imagine my life with alcohol. I couldn't imagine my life without it. Awful, awful stuff." This week on Overcome With Au...
Read More
Living with Crohn's Disease and Overcoming Panic Attacks with Becky Isaacs Bowman
Although she's an accomplished musician, singer, and songwriter who's performed in front of people since she's been a young girl, Becky Isaacs Bowman suffers from panic attacks while on stage. Add to that a terminal illness making the anxiety worse, and it's easy to see why Becky has spent a good portion of her life overcoming. Today on Overco...
Read More