Anxiety Disorders Aren't Just About Being Anxious

Anxiety Disorders Aren't Just About Being Anxious

Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be completely frustrating and misunderstood

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I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it's incredibly misunderstood. Psychology Today states that 6.8 million American adults have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and that it is much more than the "normal anxiety" people experience. It often comes on with no real rhyme or reason, and can be completely debilitating sometimes. Physical symptoms can occur such as trembling, headaches, irritability, hot flashes, lightheaded, and trouble sleeping. Personally, I was glad to have this diagnosis, because it finally gave me a name for what I was going through and reassured me it wasn't just me creating more problems for myself.

So many people experience day to day anxiety and the word anxiety is thrown around more often. Everyone is anxious over some things, that's normal. Big tests, first date nerves, bills, pressure to meet a job deadline…anxiety happens. My anxiety takes a nastier approach, though. I'll give you one example of a thought process that has happened before. I could be having a great day but then start feeling hungry and go to my kitchen to look for something to eat and remember I'll need to grocery shop soon, and then it starts to spiral for no reason. Ugh I have so many bills I hate spending money on groceries. Should I pick up overtime at work this month to make more money so I stop worrying? Should I get a second job? No that's silly my job pays my bills, I love my job, why overwork myself? I really work too hard. Why am I so stressed out all the time? Compared to other people I'm in a great place. But it's not about comparison its where I feel like I should be. And I'm not there yet. Why am I still not there yet? I wonder if my friends think less of me because I'm older than them and they are graduating and I still haven't? Should I go back to school? No, you have a great job and you know school isn't for you. It's just more stress. Maybe you should take a hot bath and light a candle and do a face mask? Self-care would help right now. Wow I have a migraine again. I wish people understood when I say migraine it's not just a headache like I feel this down my neck. I need to drink more water. My skin would clear up if I drink more water. God my skin is usually clear I hate getting anxious and having it pop out on my face. And if I drank more water maybe I'd feel healthier. Do people think it's pathetic that I still haven't lost the weight I want to? If I was skinnier I'd probably be less stressed. All of this from me feeling hungry and needing to make dinner. WHY!? Because generalized anxiety disorder doesn't make sense, so taking one thing and spiraling out of control happens a lot. I could be having a great day, nothing would be wrong, and suddenly I'd start thinking of why are things so good and what could go wrong? It's terrible.

Please never mistake my generalized anxiety disorder for "normal anxiety". Please never mistake it for insecurity. People will often times tell me to be more confident and trust in things, but it's not at all that I don't. I have to say that my confidence in myself has never been higher. I trust in the process of life and that things happen exactly when they're supposed to. My anxiety disorder apparently makes it appear otherwise though, so for that I'm sorry. I feel the need to apologize for people not understanding, which shouldn't have to be the case. I'm beyond grateful for people in my life who continuously love me and try to understand what it must be like for me.

Anxiety disorders are controlled by your brain, but they don't have to control your life. I have to actively work on it every day. While most times I don't know what triggers it, I learn how to recognize the signs of it starting to happen, and how to deescalate it. I don't fully understand my generalized anxiety disorder, so it's hard for me to ever expect someone else to. But all I can ask is those around me be aware and sometimes it's honestly the littlest things that can calm me down. Say "I'm here.", "I'm listening" , hug me and hold me for a minute before letting go. Everyone who lives with an anxiety disorder is affected in different ways. If you don't know what to say or how to help, ask them what they need.

There are plenty of medications out there for people living with anxiety disorders, and everyone is different in their approach to helping ease the pain of anxiety. I, personally, have tried medications but currently work on controlling it myself. I feel strong, empowered, and capable of taking it on without medication. Everyone is different. Just because I choose to not use medication, doesn't mean that doctors don't suggest it for me. Anxiety disorders are often times due to wiring in the brain. Medication can help reprogram that. I am a strong advocate for people who choose to take medication for their anxiety. It is a medical condition: if you are sick, you take medicine. It's nothing to stigmatize and shame people for.

I'm not asking anyone to understand what I go through, because it isn't always the same picture I painted today. I'm just trying to bring about awareness. Anxiety is a word commonly used, but anxiety disorders are rarely talked about. Awareness is the first step to healing. For anyone living with anxiety, and for anyone close to someone with anxiety.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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