Having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can be really difficult. It makes living out my daily life a struggle. Even if I'm having a "good day" on the outside, I could be imploding. I bet if you asked most people who know me, a good majority of them would have no idea that I struggle with mental health issues. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. It definitely means I'm good at hiding and covering up my true reactions and feelings.
I do the best I can to conceal my feelings because I hate burdening other people with my unnecessary worries. Inside, I let my worries spiral and spiral into what I call the "spin cycle." This happens when I have one troublesome thought that leads to another one and another one until the situation I've come up with is so unrealistic it seems like I'm having a really strange dream.
Most days, I'm not sure how to escape the spin cycle. But that's when I remember all the good I have going for me. I have family and friends who love me. I have a soon-to-be husband who adores me and would do anything for me. Most importantly, I have my heavenly father who will always take care of me. Who could ask for a better support system?
How can I be so worried when I have so much to be grateful for?
Ask my genes, DNA, and brain for the answer because I have no idea. As much as I want to say that every time I pray for lessened anxiety it goes away, that's just not how it works. God isn't a genie. We all have our personal struggles, and this is mine. It's not going away no matter what I do. Yes, there are things I can do to make it more bearable or to soften the crippling effects it has on my mind, body, and soul, but is there a perfect solution to make it go away? Absolutely not. I wish.
No matter what my external circumstances, my anxiety always has, does, and will run high. Sure, I have coping mechanisms and people who can help calm me down — everyone needs that kind of support system. However, I will never escape a mental illness unless there's a sudden miracle from God (which I will never exclude).
The weird thing about having a mental illness is that you can pass by as "normal" to most people most of the time. It's so strange that with most other illnesses you can see the physical difference, but with mental illnesses, people could know you for years but are in the dark about your generalized anxiety disorder. I'm around such supportive people that sometimes I wonder why I don't tell more people more often.
I'm afraid of being seen differently or stigmatized.
Bottom line is: I hate standing out. This introvert hates being the center of attention. Even more so, I don't want to make other people worry about me. I also don't want to be different from anyone else. It's so easy for people to tell people to just "not worry" or "chin up" when they don't understand how debilitating mental illnesses truly are.
I don't want to be told that my feelings are invalid or can be fixed in the blink of an eye. I've lived with GAD my whole life. Trust me: if there was an easy fix, I would've done it by now.
I'm not sure if I'm just ranting or becoming a part of the change for good...but I'd like to think I'm the latter. The more people who know about generalized anxiety disorder and mental illnesses, the better. I think those of us who struggle sometimes don't have the words to share exactly how we're feeling, and I'm not sure I've done a good job of sharing my own feelings through this article. You, dear reader, are the judge of that.