The last few weeks I’ve been restless and unsettled.
On the whole, things are looking good. I’m doing well in my final semester of school. I’ve started dating with some regularity, and I’ve even started a new job that pays much better than my last one. Despite all of that, or maybe because of it, I’ve been riddled with anxiety and an overall feeling of restless irritability. Many people who don’t have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, also known as GAD, assume that anxiety means “worried”. Unfortunately, those of us with anxiety know that it is so much more than being unnecessarily concerned. Here are just some of my symptoms.
- I can’t focus on anything: I can’t read assigned articles for class, or write responses, or plan essays. Every attempt to focus has backfired spectacularly. Instead of making progress I’ve only produced frustration. I’m falling behind in my studies, which only serves to increase stress levels in a vicious feedback loop.
- I am irrationally irritable: The smallest thing puts me into a bad mood I can’t shake for hours. I spilled a few drops of coffee on my favorite pair of jeans? The day is ruined. Someone cut me off in traffic on the way to work? Every person on Earth is terrible. The worst part about anxiety-induced irritability is that I know I’m over-reacting and being dramatic. I know I’m unpleasant to be around when these moods strike and I know it’s unhealthy to fall into these patterns. I recognize the behavior and work very hard to break the cycle, or at the very least, I try not to take it out on other people.
- I’m restless and discontented: Earlier I mentioned that my life is on an upswing. I’m graduating from UVU in spring. I’m starting a new job, and possibly beginning a new career soon. My finances are starting to balance out, and I’m dating again. All of these wonderful things I’ve worked hard for are going so well, yet, I want more. Things aren’t happening fast enough. I’m not going far enough. I am not getting enough. It’s not that I don’t want to work anymore, I just want to work better, faster, and harder. I want to run and jump and soar. I don’t want to be still. I don’t want to wait. I want to go onto the next “thing”, even if I’m not sure what that “thing” is. The issue is, because I don’t know what I want, I’ll never be content to get it. I can’t convince my overactive mind to slow down and appreciate where I’m at right now.
- I’m Nervous for no reason: The classic symptom of anxiety is obsessive worries and concerns. It’s a classic for a reason- the obsession with “what-ifs” is real. The most far-fetched, bizarre, unlikely, worst-case scenarios will pop into my head, and I can’t shake it. Rationally, I understand that these things will never happen, but I can’t thinking that they might. I have to have a plan, then a back-up plan, then another fall-back just in-case these ridiculous fantasies of my unsettled mind can fake some peace.
- It makes me depressed: Anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand. They feed off one another in a sick, unending mental-health nightmare. The more anxious I am, the more depressed I get. Then, the depression makes me anxious because I’m worried I won’t be able to be happy, then the increased anxiety makes me more depressed because I know my fears are irrational… and on and on until I snap and have a full-scale meltdown I need to be pulled out of by a member of my A-team.
Anxiety doesn’t look the same for any two people. We all deal with our emotions differently, and the same goes for mental illness. One way I deal with mine is by writing about it, and trying to go about my life as normally as possible until the spell passes. It could take me days, weeks, or even months. Other people may shut themselves away or try to actively counter-act it by addressing it head-on. There is no “right way” to cope with G.A.D. but I find that knowing I’m not alone helps me handle the often overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety. I hope sharing some of my symptoms and personal struggles with my anxiety disorder is helpful to someone else.
If anyone wants to talk or ask me any questions about my G.A.D. feel free to message me or comment on my post. Thanks for listening, and I’mm talk to you all again soon.