"When I first started struggling with it, there wasn t a lot of information out there," the online personality tells PEOPLE of her panic attacks

By Patrick Gomez
Updated August 29, 2015 11:40 AM
Credit: National Magazine Company

Zoe Sugg was just 14 years old when she felt the room closing in around her.

Her heart began racing and and her breathing became short and quick – she was experiencing her first anxiety attack.

“I didn’t understand what was going on,” Sugg – a beauty and fashion blogger known to her millions of fans as Zoella – says in the latest issue of PEOPLE.

Sugg spent years silently struggling with her anxiety and panic attacks. Even once she found the words to describe what was happening to her, it took a while to find the right doctor to help her.

“When I first started struggling with it, there wasn t a lot of information out there,” she says. “Which was scary and stressful in itself.”

She still spends days debilitated by her anxiety (as she documented in a viral video posted on YouTube last June), but Sugg is now embracing the power of saying “yes.”

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In 2009, she started a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, which led to a YouTube channel with almost 9 million subscribers, which led to a best-selling book and an upcoming sequel.

“I’ve had so many incredible opportunities and experiences by saying yes, even when I’ve been nervous about something,” says Sugg, who also has a line of beauty products. “And in doing them, [I] have learned that I might be a bit braver than I thought.”

For more from Sugg, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now