Some of you may have seen me mention that I suffer from very bad anxiety. The anxiety I suffer with is about everything in general. Even the silliest of things become a nightmare for my anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
The correct term for this is Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD for short.
A definition of GAD found on the internet describes it as an ‘Anxiety Disorder that is characterised by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry’
Worrying can actually be quite a healthy process, however excessive and uncontrollable worrying can have a real detrimental effect on someone’s life. It can make you feel very out of control of everything and can lead down a very bad path such as depressing and self harming.
According to this website. GAD can be caused by
- A major even that causes a lot of stress and trauma.
- Genetic Make up
I have always suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder for as long as I can remember. When I turned 21, I finally learned the coping mechanisms to limit the effect it has on my life. This was after attending Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
When It All Started
The earliest memory I have of my out of control worrying was when I was nine years old. I had a virus over Christmas. A week later I was better. However a week after that I had the virus again. Little did I know at the time that this pattern would continue for about a year. One week I was sick, the next fine and the next sick again. I literally missed the whole of year 4 at school. I lost so much weight, I couldn’t sit down in the bath because of my bones sticking out so much. This blew my Generalised Anxiety Disorder out of control. I was worrying constantly about when I was next going to be sick. Asking my Mum literally after every mouthful of whatever food I could manage to eat, whether I was going to be sick.
The Awful Effect
In the end the Generalised Anxiety Disorder took too much control and I refused to eat. I figured that if I had no food in me, then I couldn’t possible be sick. Obviously to a nine year old that made perfect sense. What I didn’t realise was that I still had a stomach lining. And up that came. So in the end I ended up with no stomach lining at all and had to be on nasty tasting medicine to help rebuild it.
So after much persuading from my Mum and threats that I would be admitted to hospital, I started to eat. It was only little amounts, like a cube of cheese. Once again the GAD took hold again and I was asking my Mum if I was going to be sick. I went for scans on my stomach and lots of blood tests (That’s where my fear of needles came from) but they just couldn’t find anything wrong with me.
After my virus had gone. We were referred to Family Therapy Sessions which would help me get over my fear of food and help my Mum cope with me.
I can only remember small things about Family Therapy. It only lasted a few months and I can’t remember it really helping. My Mum (as always) was my rock in this. Still to this day, we do not know what caused the virus.
Growing Up & A Toxic Relationship
Since that event, my worrying got more and more out of control due to various reasons including bullying which ended up making me depressed and landing myself in Therapy twice whilst I was at school. Neither helped me enough to control the General Anxiety Disorder.
It was only when I was in a previous relationship with someone who became addicted to cannabis did my GAD become out of control and did lead to self harming. Self harming gave me back that control of my life that I desperately needed. I knew it was only a short term fix but it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was only when I got in trouble at work for my performance due to my mental health, I decided enough was enough. I ended the relationship. After I removed him out of my flat, I got an appointment with the Dr and started on anti-depressants. I also began CBT. The CBT helped me to change my thought process. It was a very strange experience trying to change the way you think after 21 years of thinking like that. I am not going to lie, it was not 100% successful but it did help alot.
Rebuilding My Life
I began rebuilding my life as a single person. It was hard, I felt lost and alone and honestly didn’t think I would be able to do it. A month later Matt came back into my life (we were childhood friends) and he also helped me to rebuild my life. I will always be grateful to him for that. As far as I am concerned he saved me. 8 weeks into our relationship and I fell pregnant. I swore from that day, I would never self harm again, I didn’t want my child to ask my why I had scars all over my legs and arms. I needed to be a responsible parent. Being a parent, I had to be there for my child. I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t even look after myself.
The self harming stopped but the GAD continued. It didn’t help that I was made redundant as soon as I told my work I was pregnant. It also didn’t help that I went into premature labour at 30 weeks, nor the fact that I was made homeless a few weeks after. I tried to control the GAD during my pregnancy so I didn’t stress myself of Cameron too much. But I knew my limit, and once again I ended up in CBT. I didn’t attend many sessions because by the time I started, I was heavily pregnant, in the middle of moving into our new home and very tired. I didn’t go back after Cameron was born.
Living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Today, my Generalised Anxiety Disorder is mainly under control or it maybe the fact that I don’t have a lot of stress in my life any more.
However I do get those times when it hits me, especially if I have a lot of things that are worrying me. I can only control it to a certain extent. It is like a dark cloud following me around and I feel powerless to make it go away.
The main way I minimise the effect it has on me is to talk about what is worrying me. And when I say talk, it will be the main subject of my conversations for days Actually possibly longer until I either sort it or the worry just goes away. The other way I will deal with it, is to just leave it be. I try to carry on as normal, keep myself super busy until it goes away. Distracting yourself, I have found is a good way to shut off the worries.
I will never be free from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, it is a part of me. It’s a chemical imbalance in my brain that I need medication for. But I will be damn sure to not let it rule or ruin my life.
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