What is the question that I always hear from family and friends about Anxiety?
What are you so anxious about anyway?
I know this seems like an innocent question, but is it really? No! (At least not for me) I'm not sure about you, but this is not a question I can really answer easily and it drives me NUTS! I know that some people dealing with anxiety can answer this question, but when you are dealing with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), this question is not always so easy to answer.
My anxiety can hit at any moment, during any activity. I do not know what causes which is why it is classified as generalized anxiety disorder. There is no ONE thing that brings on my anxiety, it could be anything that spikes it. Medication helps, but not all the time. Sometimes it just gets so bad that I have to stop what I am doing and try to just deal.
Did you know that according to the National Institute for Mental Health
- GAD affects approximately 3.1% of adults 18 and over?
- The average age of onset is 31 and it affect about twice as many women as it does men.
- This means that approximately 6.8 million people are affected by this disorder.
Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Can't get rid of concerns
- anxiety is generally worse than the situation calls for
- Can't relax
- Startle easy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep
- Muscle aches
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty swallowing
- Having to go to the bathroom frequently
- Feeling out of breath
- And hot flashes.
Is that crazy or what?
It's no wonder that some dealing with GAD can feel like he or she is going crazy. Thankfully I don't suffer from all of this, but I do deal with a lot of it. I think the worst of it is the trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. To help in this area I usually read.
The usual treatments for GAD are psychotherapy and possibly medication. I have used both although now I am just on medication to help deal with the symptoms. However, what works for me may not work for you.
Living with GAD is not always easy. I had to learn ways to try to relax such as Mindfulness Meditation. Here is an example of what I am talking about. The link will take you to a YouTube video that will walk you through Mindfulness Meditation. This is one thing that has helped me quite a bit.
The National Institute for Mental Health also recommends self-help or support groups to deal with GAD. I also did the support group and I think that knowing others deal with this disorder too is a good support to have. This is especially true if you don't have a strong support group at home. Thankfully my husband is very supportive of me at home which has helped tremendously as well. Just knowing that someone understands helps to relax me. I don't feel so alone.
In conclusion, living with GAD is not always easy and always explainable. Have I answered the question posed at the beginning? Not really, but it is the best answer I can give (which in itself is very frustrating sometimes). I think the best help for this disorder is to have a strong support group, one that is at home or from a support or self-help group. Just so long as there is someone to talk to when that is needed.
Have a great day!