Wednesday, September 12, 2012

General Anxiety Disorder

Hey guys!
I know the topic of my blog is a little weird, huh? Well, not for me recently. I was diagnosed a few weeks ago with General Anxiety Disorder (yeah, it means exactly what you think, I am GENERALLY anxious). I guess you get diagnosed when your anxiety is affecting your daily life.

So, initially I thought I was stupid. I felt like, "Man, Ashley, this is something YOU can control. You are making yourself this anxious. Stop!"

Well, the problem is, I don't know HOW to stop myself. I have no coping mechanism for when I get really stressed out.

I take that back--my only coping mechanism is writing, but when I get so busy with school, work, and whatever else is happening in my life, I cannot always write. So, when that is taken away from me, I am left with a struggle between my thoughts and my body. My stress weighs so heavily upon my chest, I can FEEL the pressure. All I do is suffer through it.

An example is that I put so much pressure on myself to be absolutely great at everything. Everything I do has no other option other than you either do this or you fail (this is like when you are in the driver's seat, and you only look straight ahead, but as a passenger, you can see everything on either side of you)...I can't ever BE the passenger. I know exactly where I got this mentality, too--from my childhood. I had this whole, "Well, if you don't get a job, you can have what you need or want" so you better get a job. Then it was "Well, you need a car or you can't get to work, so you have to save for a car, and you have to work 30 hours a week" then it was "Now you have to pay for that car, so work more, more, more" Then it was "You need to work REALLY hard for this scholarship or you can't go to OU."

See my options? I gave myself NO leeway even if there was room. This has carried over into my adult life, and frankly I am tired of it. I want to cope with this anxiety and SEE the other options out there. I don't want to feel overwhelmed anymore by my own doing. Why am I telling you this?

Well, I think it's very important to realize when you have a problem. Me--well, my professor told me as a freshman I probably needed therapy because I stressed out SO much and it took me four years to listen. So, here I am--my first counseling appointment down and I am hopeful that I will be mentally healthy soon.

This step is all a part of an overall goal I set for myself in May: I wanted to be healthy in body and in my mind. So, I began working out (more on a routine this time), and I started eating healthy (completely, cutting out soda and coffee), and now I am getting help with my anxiety.

21 comments:

  1. First of all, let me applaud your honesty. I was diagnosed 3 years ago at age 40. I wished I had tackled it sooner like you. Everything you described, I did as well. And it only gets worse as you get older. So kudos for taking care of it now. Mine got so bad, it was like being at the peak of a panic attack for hours, even days, on end. And I didn't want to go on daily meds for it, since it only happened a few days at a time. The therapy helped immensely and I'll always be grateful for my dr. Now I only see him once every 6 months. Hang in there - you'll get better. Hugs!!

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    1. Thanks, Shiela! I am definitely ready to not feel so much anxiety. With Graduate School and my full time job, I know I will start feeling more and more overwhelmed. I am very happy to hear your anxiety got better! That was the most reassuring thing when I begun--was that I wouldn't live with this.

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  2. Ashley, I used to be that way when I was younger, especially during, and right, after college. For me, it was always that striving for perfection. I learned to accept things for what they are through much prayer and scripture meditation. I know all will work out for you in time. Hang in there, and stop and smell the roses sometimes. :)

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I have to learn to take deep breaths and know I can't be great at everything. I just set myself up for failure.

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  3. I used to push myself trying to be perfect...I ended up with chest pains and stomach problems galore. Then I turned 30 and I decided perfection is a mirage...then I reminded myself that somewhere on this planet while I worried about whether or not I met every little goal I set for myself, there was a mom worrying about whether or not her child would survive cancer. I remind myself of that when my type A beast rears her ugly head. It may not work for everyone, but it helps me put things in perspective.
    And on the plus side? I save money on Tums! And I've found in some respects, people like me better...I'm not such a cranky um...witch.

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    1. Lol! My mom has this type of anxiety, and she takes medication (that is what I didn't want). I have started to point things out to myself like that as well--I think of everything positive in my life, and ask myself why I am this way. It really does help.

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  4. Welcome to over-achievers anonymous. We have t-shirts. ;)

    It's great that you took these steps, and I know what you mean about writing as an escape. Hope you get some clarity and breathing room.

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    1. Yay t-shirts!! I will soon, I hope! I have to learn to breath.

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  5. Welcome to the getting-mind-healthy party/group/or whatever. ;) A good therapist can be a life changer!

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    1. Agreed! Lol. Yay healthy mind party! hahaha.

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  6. Ashley, it sounds like you're on the right track. I hope you'll feel better soon.

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  7. I think my 8 year old daughter has general anxiety disorder - at least a strong propensity for it. Any ideas what I can do to help her at a young age?

    I'm constantly telling her that things don't have to be perfect, and to not worry. I know, telling a female "not to worry" probably has the opposite effect.

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    1. hahaha! My daddy tells me the same thing, Jay, and I just can't seem to listen. I mean, I have been shown SEVERAL times that things will be okay, and to get me to believe that when I feel the worst is coming or rather, the unknown, is impossible! I think it's important to focus on the POSITIVE things in life. My therapist says don't let anything negative come out of your mouth. Everything you tell yourself needs to be positive. Hope that helps!

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  8. You mean to tell me you got anxious about being told you had an anxiety disorder? ;) By best friend had a similar diagnosis last year. She went to therapy and they taught her some very helpful coping mechanisms. I'm sure you will find it helpful as well! Good luck and take care. :)

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    1. YES! Haha.
      Mostly because I was afraid I would have to live with it--like it was something that wouldn't go away...but it does, thankfully! Thanks, Rachel!

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  9. When I was in college I talked to a counselor for a few sessions. I had your same mentality. I wanted my grades to reflect how much effort I was putting in and I stressed over the fact that it wasn't. Changed my mentality and now I'm probably a little too laid back. But it works for me :) Good luck girl!

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  10. That must be a tough thing to deal with! Does chocolate help?

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  11. Medicatios such a Valium, Zanax, Ativan or Librium work well for anxiety disorders. These help you get control of your thoughts and slow things down until such time as you learn to control yourself. Keep positive, I have a friend who worked her way through the same thing. She used to be a perfectionist.

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  12. I can sympathise with this - I've suffered from Anxiety/Depression since I was in my teens. I was a total perfectionist and saw anything less than perfect as failure. Thankfully, going to university and meeting other writers, and concentrating on doing what I love, have helped me a lot! I still get stressed out around exam/ deadline times, though, and I think that therapy or just talking to someone about it is definitely a good idea. Best of luck :)

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  13. When I was about your age, I'd get stressed out worrying if a fly would land in my soup. Anyway, a course lecture at LSU hit just right one day -- there's no definition of the unknown...by defining the unknown, you're using what you know to define it. For some reason, that made sense and off I went. You'll sort this out Ashley. Have faith in yourself!

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