Generalized Anxiety Disorder…I am sure many of you have heard of it. It seems that everyone has it nowadays, and according to Wikipedia, more than three million people a year are diagnosed with it in the U.S. And yet having GAD feels as if you are the only one who struggles with it. Even though there are over three million cases a year, I feel as if I’m only surrounded by those who don’t even know what it means.
When I talk about having anxiety, I am not referring to the “OMG I have so much anxiety about this date tonight” anxiety. When I talk about having anxiety, I am talking about the a**hole in my brain who controls every part of me, the alternate personality that convinces me the worst things in the world are going to happen to me everyday, that people don’t like me, that I look ridiculous getting up from my seat in the classroom to get a drink of water so I should just stay sitting down. IT’S NOT CUTE, and this is why I roll my eyes into the back of my head when people say they are “having anxiety”. To hear someone instead say “I am feeling anxious” or “I am feeling nervous” would be so refreshing. Anxiety isn’t something that only comes up for an hour or two, it’s something I live with.
If I could write a letter to my anxiety, I would tell it that it’s cancelled and that it can get the hell out, but such things do not exist, sadly. So, it leaves me here wracking my brain all day wondering if the reason my hair is thinning so badly is because I have a hidden tumour somewhere (in reality, it’s just the stress). But those thoughts are exactly what I am talking about, thinking and resulting to the most extreme and worst outcome all the time, sometimes I worry so much about the most outrageous things that I don’t even want to say it out loud to my therapist or off to the mental institution I go.
Living with GAD is like being in two different places at the same time. My mind is always thinking of the past, wondering what I could have done different or the things I wish didn’t happen, while at the same time always worrying and thinking about my future, making up scenarios in my head that haven’t happened yet, or consistently planning and panning out everything in my life. It’s hard to just “go with the flow” like people say. When you have anxiety, you feel as if you don’t have much control, so in response you try to control everything and plan excessively so there isn’t much stress or doubts. I am exhausted, yet restless. Some days, I have that nervous feeling like when you are about to get on a roller coaster and your hands are sweaty, except there isn’t any rollercoaster at the end for me, I am just nervous for no specific reason at all, all damn day.
Caffeine has become my sworn enemy, which breaks my heart because coffee was my best friend. Yoga and bubble baths have become something I can’t live without, and living with GAD is something I’m just used to. As much as it feels like it at times, I know it’s not the end of the world. My life is just beginning.