There are several things you learn about yourself as you get older. For example, you learn how much alcohol you can drink and still remember the night come the next morning. You learn which friends really belong in your life and which ones just hang around to feel like they belong somewhere. You learn what foods you really just don't like and how cranky you start to get when you are tired.

With the aging process comes some eye-openers we always knew, but never wanted to admit. My eye-opener would be, I have an anxiety disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder to be specific, or GAD for short. It was something I had known my whole life but finally beginning diagnosed was a big eye-opener. GAD controls my life, despite how much I don't want it too, and there is nothing I can do about it.

1. Agitation


If the dictionary would have asked me to write the definition of "agitation," I would have submitted a picture of myself. Every little things irks me, it gets under my skin and picks and picks until there is nothing left but my exposed flesh and my tears.

Okay, this is a bit dramatic, but I had to be for you to understand! I am ALWAYS AGITATED! It isn't my fault either. The way my brain works says what others are doing is wrong, and that constant need to fix it and make it soothing to myself lights me up inside. If I could tell my brain to stop I would trust me, but unfortunately, we didn't get to pick the way we are wired up top.

2. Worry wart


I worry a lot. When I say worry I mean overall worry, to the point that I am wringing my hands and fingers together. I second guess myself, I question every little thing I do, or someone says to me. If I say something and people start laughing I become nervous. Are they laughing because I was funny, or are they laughing because they are making fun of me?

When I call my mom at work and she answers the phone with a sigh I get very upset at myself. Did I make her mad, did I interrupt what she was doing, should I hang up and call her later?

After my dad died I started worrying a lot more. Instead of it being things like "did I make so and so mad" it became, where are they, who are they with, when will they be home. I started calling my mom at work five times a day just so I could hear her voice. Now, grief experts will say that is normal after a loss, and I am not saying it isn't. However, my doctor and mom both agree that there comes a time when you just need to breath.

3. Organization...sort of


I'm highly organized, in every place except my bedroom. If you were to look at my school supplies or my girl scout supplies, and then take a peek into my bedroom you would hit the floor. My room is a mess. Well, that's a bit of a lie. My bookshelf is a disaster, my clothes are organized and folded a certain way. My desk is organized a certain way along with my shelves that hold my school things. But everything else is kind of there. But I know where it is! I have to use my planner though, and my planner is used a certain way and so is my laptop.

It's little knit-picky things that I do that drive others insane. But my sister started school this year and her planner is a mess, her textbooks are on the floor of her room and she waits until the last minute to do things, and I begin to panic. My mom always goes, "leave her alone, it's her mess not yours" but I will think about it all day long, and ask questions about it and try to get her to fix it, because to me IT IS WRONG!

4. Standards


I take on to much so I can stay busy, because of this I set standards I can't reach. When I am unable to reach these standards I stress and worry and panic. I grew up being told, "you can do better" or "this is good, but now try this." I was the oldest, the one expected to set the example. I was always busy, always had a schedule for my events and I have reflected all these things into my life now that I am older. I have a set time for my classes, time for scouts, time I do homework, time I go to my room. Everything has to be a certain way or it is wrong. I still take on a lot, although now I try not to do as much and I try to breath a bit more, that doesn't mean it always works, but I try.

5. I like people...most of the time


I don't normally have social anxiety, I love people, but I don't like to walk up first somewhere if I have never been there before. If it's a restaurant I have never eaten at before I don't like to call the server over, I try to stay to myself. I don't go to parties because I always feel out of place, I feel more comfortable with people who understand what I feel. And most of the time people don't understand completely what you feel, they can just relate, everyone's anxiety manifests differently.

6. So many tears


If I have had a really, rough day or week there is a 100% chance I will start crying randomly. every day can happen in the form of actually just breaking down sobbing and not knowing why, or it comes in the form of laughing and then I just start crying. I don't mean those "oh it was so funny I cried tears" there are hysterical, "I don't know what I'm doing tears." They happen randomly and quit often, and I feel so much better afterward. I cry a lot actually and I feel so much at once and I never know how to process everything. It is the hardest part. Never knowing what to feel.

7. Fidget me this


I have been a fidgeter my whole life. I bounce my legs up and down, I rock back and forth in my seat, I pull at my fingers, or twiddle my fingers together. I am even a huge nail biter, no matter what I do to try and stop. I find myself doing this in times of stress, discomfort, agitation, anger, or even when I am intensely focused on something. It drives people insane, especially my mom, I don't know how many times she has told me to quit bouncing my legs up and down

These are things I have done my whole life, and there is so much more to it.

There is NO WAY to put into words exactly how my anxiety controls my life, but one thing is for sure, it takes up a lot of my time. I struggle every day to stay calm and think rationally.

Because, here is the thing, I know my habits are not rational, I know I sound crazy and I act crazy, but I am not. That is the way I think and feel. And if I could make myself stop feeling this way, if I could stop the urges, and the complexes I would, but I can't. So the next time you see me, or someone else biting their nails maybe offer them a smile instead of a judgemental sneer.