Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Sometimes, when I tell people that I have an anxiety disorder, they respond to me with "Oh, I think I might have that" or "I get really anxious anytime I have to speak in public" and it makes me shake my head. It's true that sometimes in our everyday lives we feel anxiety, but until you have lived with an anxiety disorder you have no idea. I don't get mad with these people, I don't even explain the difference between what they are experiencing and what I live with. I just silently wish that they never find out first hand what I live with on a daily basis. What I have is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder and it is a mental health condition in which a person is often worried and unable to control their anxiety. That is a very clinical look at it. In reality, GAD can best be described as living in a world that alternates between brief periods of calm and long periods of terror. What does that mean? Here is an example: Today I came home from work and checked the mail on the way up to my apartment like I always do. When I got upstairs and opened the first piece of mail addressed to me, I saw that I'd gotten a check from a class-action lawsuit that I've been waiting on for the better part of 5 years. Let's back track... Today was a good day. I was in a good mood today (if you know me, you know that this NEVER happens). I felt no worries all day, I felt "normal" for 90% of my waking hours. The moment I opened that check was the moment all of that went away. There was a brief second of joy which was followed by about 4 hours of agony. I couldn't shake the feeling that something horrible was going to happen. I'm having a heart attack. I'm having a stroke. Did I get stung by a bee? I think I'm having an allergic reaction. I'm dizzy. I can't focus. Hi, baby girl...daddy is happy to see you. Why is she looking at me like that? Does she know that daddy is about to die? I think she can tell. What was that? My ears are ringing....I can't breathe....CALM Repeat Calm Repeat Repeat Repeat Repeat Calm Repeat. THAT is what an anxiety disorder is. The inability to shake off what "normal" people wouldn't give the time of day. Everyday is I against I. It's trying 50 different calming techniques and coping mechanisms to end up at the same horror. It's feeling like your life is being controlled by some evil force. It's fighting to leave the house on a daily basis without having a complete meltdown. Now, I don't say this to make light of everyday anxiety, because that ain't no picnic either. I say it just so people realize that "there's levels to this shit". I'm fighting the same battle as the guy or girl who has a crippling fear of public speaking with the only difference being that I might not even be in the presence of something I fear to be crippled by anxiety. I haven't posted anything in a while and I know that this is kind of bleak, but this is what is going on in my world and that is the type of shit I post about. I kinda just worked up the balls to put this out there and I'm too dumb to not stop myself from doing it. At the same time, I need release and this is all I got.