The dark clouds cover the sky. The wind picks up to remind you how cold can sting. The rain falls from the heavens, leaving you shivering in your pajamas. It's a dark, cold, wet and dreary day. Thoughts run through your head. “How will I pay this month’s rent?” “Why can’t I find a job?” “How am I going to afford to pay the bills and still have food on the table?” “How am I going to afford a vehicle and insurance?” You're not alone in these thoughts. We live in a world where everyone is worrying over something. Per Psychological Health Care, we all share the same worries:
- Our future
- Job security
Per Anxiety and Depression Association of America, GAD affects 6.8 million adults, which is 3.1 percent of the United States of America’s population, and 32.3 percent are severe cases. The average age of people who have this anxiety disorder (yes, it's an anxiety disorder) is 30, but it can happen at any age. Women are twice as likely to be affected by this disorder than men. What GAD means is that I worry excessively. I expect disasters in all aspects of my life.
Per National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of GAD are:
- Feeling on edge
- Hard to concentrate
- Mind goes blank
- Muscle tension
- Unable to control the worry
- Sleep problems
- Chronic worries
- Uncontrollable anxiety
- Intrusive thoughts
- Hating uncertainty
Anything can trigger the GAD:
- Seeing an image on a Facebook page or Twitter.
- Hearing information from the radio.
- Conversation at the water cooler.
- News or a show on television.
- Even being in certain situations such as deciding on something or leading others.
These triggers can be obvious or not so obvious such has internal “What if…” questions like:
- “What if I left the stove on?”
- “What if I forgot to feed the cats before I left for work?”
- "What if the cats do not have enough water until I get home?”
How do I handle my GAD? I have a counselor and a case manager. They both see me on Fridays. They both listen to me talk. We discuss what went on with my week, the good and the bad. We discuss money, my husband’s job, my schooling, my writing, and bills. They ask me how I deal with things, which is going off into daydream land for most of the day. Plus, I have my three companion cats and my schooling that help keep me focused. The counselor tries to teach me coping skills such as meditation and deep breathing exercises. The case manager helps me get out of the apartment and helps me to try and get over my social anxiety. If my husband and I have any money, we'll walk up the street to a small restaurant for lunch and talk. Doing so helps us connect, otherwise, we speak little to each other. He does his thing, and I do my thing. One other thing I do that helps is to watch something funny before bed. Nothing that's raunchy funny. Something that's clean, like the Bob Newhart Show, or just watching baby Groot dance.
How can you handle your GAD? First off, you need to seek out counseling, nothing wrong with doing so. Counselors can help you talk things out, and they can teach you coping skills. If you have a significant other, disconnect from the world and talk to each other, even if it's once a week—it's a start. Per Centre for Clinical Interventions, people with GAD need to:
- Challenge their belief on the controllability and the dangers of their worry.
- Refocus their attention on the here and now and not the future.
- Keep their minds on the solvable problems and not on the unsolvable problems.
My counselor handed me a handout called “Postpone Your Worry.” What you do is:
- Create a worry period
- Postpone your worries
- Come back to your worries at the designated worry period time.
It takes much time to get your worries under control. I'm just starting to learn how to manage mine. When I think I have it under control, something bad happens. I curl up and cry, I let it all out. I clear my mind and talk to my counselors and my husband. Someway, it works itself out. It may not be what I want at the time, but it's better than nothing.