I have GAD, which stands for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Honestly, I do not know when or how my anxiety started, I try not to think much of it, sometimes it is inevitable. Just thinking about it makes it appear, it is like it is another version of me, a much darker one, that controls and takes over me at some of the most unexpected or expected times. It is feeling worthless even in the happiest times, even when you know that you are loved and cared for. It is like hiding World War III inside yourself, having two sides of yourself fight for who is going to dominate you today.
People tell me I am very exaggerated, I know I am, the tiniest most insignificant situation that comes in my way bothers me to an extent where I do not want to live with myself. Sometimes I feel separated from myself, as if I am watching myself sitting in class from a third person point of view. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in water, and every time I try to go out to the surface there is a waterfall that does not let me breathe. Sometimes I feel like I am going faster or slower than time, like I am running against it and I hear the ticking sound in my mind. Sometimes my body does not generate heat, in fact, it can be the hottest day of summer, but if my anxiety takes over me, I may feel like it is the coldest day of winter: my feet get cold, my arms and legs feel like ice and I can’t help but let my lips tremble uncontrollably no matter how many layers of clothes I put on.
The worst part is that I have weird and hard to explain visuals wich drift me away to my own imagination from the place I am in reality. For example, I may be with some friends and suddenly I see a bus racing towards me ready to strike, I try to run away from it as fast as I can, but my feet are either glued to the ground or run at a much slower pace than I would like them to. I close my eyes as hard as I can, ready for impact, but the bus never strikes and it never stops chasing me. I feel trapped in a repetitive loop, in a never-ending chase and the bus coming my way, never hitting me. I feel like I never stop running away from it. My head starts to spin with questions and worry, my hands feel sweaty, there is an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is awful. At times like these, when I am vulnerable, I feel another part of me take over me and start thinking negatively, as if a filter was placed in front of me and I cannot help but see the worst things out of everything.
The worst part about my anxiety is that it makes me a liar. It makes me say that I am fine when I am not; it makes me tell my mother an excuse not to get out of bed, not to go to school or eat. My anxiety lied to me, made me search every single symptom that I could possibly have and think the worst. It made me self-diagnose and believe I had those symptoms, that I could not and would not feel better. It made me think that I was the unluckiest girl in the world, that I had the worst luck of all when it was not true, even when deep down I knew I should be grateful for having two parents, a roof over my head, food on the table every day and an education that not many can get.
I thought that I was in a race against time: Why am I in school right now? Is it really going to help me in the future? Do my parents want an unhappy life for me? I could be doing so much more right now than just the same old boring routine of getting up, going to school, getting home, sleep.
I thought that if the teacher did not pick me when I raised my hand, that I had done something wrong and she or he hated me; and when that happened, instead of getting through it and telling myself it was just “a trick of the light”, I stopped participating in class because I now held a grudge against that teacher or that person. If someone ignored me, I thought the worst of myself; like hearing a silent voice in my ear spitting that I look ugly today and that they noticed, or that they are looking at my acne or judging me because I am just … me.
I was not happy. I remember last year, that as soon as I used felt like my throat was closing up and my heart rate was increasing, I became so scared that I went straight to the school’s infirmary sobbing to call my mom to come to pick me up. Sometimes, I even hid in the bathroom and called my mom from there, breaking the school’s policy knowing that it was very wrong.
One day I clearly remember having a panic attack, something triggered me and as soon as I got home I could not stop crying, it was so bad that there was a point in which I started screaming in my room, feeling as if a demon had taken over me, bad memories flooding and clouding my brain making it seem as if I was reliving them. That night I could not sleep. It went on for a week, but it actually took one month to get rid of the awful feeling. I was absent from school for that month, I tried going, but ended up home.
My mom finally decided to take me to a psychologist. I went for a month, but every time I felt worse. She then decided to take me to a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist gave me pills and they did help, for the most part, to calm me down. However, I was still pretty unhappy, managing to convince myself that I was never going to get better.
Weeks later I realized why I was still feeling helpless. I did not believe in myself, I seemed to not want to get better. I looked around me, and almost everyone around me was happy enjoying and living life, barely a care in the world, while I was not. I was sick and tired of having a negative mindset. I decided to tell my mom I did not want to go to the psychologist anymore, that she did not help me, and neither did the psychiatrist. The only way I could get better was by starting to do things for myself, and realizing not everybody or everything is going to simply come to me, that I cannot expect someone to talk to me. I finally saw that I never had whatever self-diagnosis I thought I had, that it was all in my head, and lastly, that I most certainly had time to do things, that everything will come at its time but I do have to work hard in every single aspect and not stress about silly little things, that I should not care that I got a 16 and not a 20, that I should not care what other people think of me, that I should not care about the way I look because if I did not accept myself, nobody would, I cannot change my body or face structure.
Don’t get me wrong, everything right now is not all rainbows and sunshine, my anxiety still comes around, at least I know that I will be okay and that I cannot be controlled by it. At least I know that I want to be happy.
This is my experience with GAD, not everybody will have the same one, just know that as many times as it has been repeated in movies and books, and as cheesy as it sounds: “there is time to do everything, you can get through this.” 🙂
Featured Image: Manjitt Thapp, http://cozycaravan.com/cozy-caravan/2017/9/10/day-12-writing-with-anxiety