I know it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, my bad. I’ve been busy with things over Christmas Break, as well as…other things. But with this blog, I’m going to write about something I normally wouldn’t write about because this subject is considered “Taboo” in society’s eyes. It’s time for me to share my story and experience with it.
So, it all started in 2011. My freshman year of college, I just started having these stress overloads. Now, stress is normal for for most people; it subsides after a few days. Mine, however would last a few weeks at a time. I didn’t know why at first, and I just ignored it for the first semester. Then came second semester. That’s when I realized ignoring it wasn’t helping, in fact, it was actually making it worse. I didn’t know what else to do; I tried everything to get rid of the stress but it wasn’t helping. Then, thankfully for my mom, she suggested that I go see the on-campus counselor/therapist.
Once second semester of my Freshman year got on its way, I started going to the counselor almost every Tuesday. Since then, I’ve gone to the counselor all four years at school. It wasn’t until last year, that I found out that my stress…was something more. Last year, I was in a “therapy” session (if you want to call it that) talking about the normal stuff: how my day was going, how school was going, etc. But then my counselor asks me how my stress was, and that’s when I started to tense up, and clench my fists. I told her what was going on: how I couldn’t concentrate at all during the day, how my muscles ached at night, just as much as they did in the morning, how I couldn’t fall asleep or stay asleep. The list went on an on.
My counselor started to get worried. She pulled out a book that Psychologists use to help diagnose disorders in their patients. She was asking me a series of questions, and told me that if I answered “Yes” to more six or more, I think, then she would be able to help me figure out what was wrong with me. When we finished, she put the book down and told me what I had. In the end she diagnosed me with GAD, otherwise known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. That day, I felt like a circus freak. I mean I knew I had a severe stress problem, I just didn’t think that it was Anxiety. But, on some deep level, I also knew that it was some kind of mental health problem. I never thought I would actually be diagnosed with it.
Flash forward a year. I’m about to complete my last year of college, and living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I can honestly say that going from day to day with a mental health problem is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. There are even some days where I want to throw in the towel and just quit. Other days, it’s so bad when I wake up, I don’t even want to go to class. I can’t even talk to my friends about it half of the time because they don’t understand what it’s like. Since finding out I had GAD, I’ve never felt more alone.
However, there are moments in my life that I realize, “Hey, I could actually help someone who suffers from the same thing as I do, and make a difference in someone’s life.” They are rare, one in a million opportunities, but words can not describe how rewarding those experiences are. When I’ve even helped my best friend through some of the things I’ve faced, I got a bit emotional because I felt exactly how she was at one point. Now, if I can steal lyrics from Into The Woods, I helped her as well as myself realize that…No one is alone. There is always going to be someone on your side, willing to help you out.
That’s why I decided to write this blog. To tell others that are suffering with GAD that you are NOT alone. There is someone in your life who is always going to be there to help you out. And, as much as you don’t want them to help…let them. You’d be surprise at how much someone without GAD, can REALLY help someone with GAD.
I know I still have those moments where I just want to give up on my hope, faith, dreams, God…everything. But, if I gave up on those things that means I also gave up on the people in my life. I don’t want to do that. I have so many people in my life that want me to get better, and want me to be happy. Just thinking about all of these people makes me a little teary-eyed, because they have given me a safe haven. I don’t what I would do without them in my life. If it weren’t for these people…I may not be where I am today. Some of my friends have even saved my life in more ways than one; they are like my Guardian Angels. And I love them all like my family. I owe them not only my thanks and respect, but also my gratitude.
To anyone who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Things will come out right now. We can make it so. Someone is on your side, no one is alone. There are loads of people that love you. There are loads of people that want to see get better, and there are LOADS of people that want to see you happy. Find the things in your life that help reduce your anxiety; the little things that make you happy. Trust me when I say it, those things will help. Also, listen to ANY and ALL advice your friends tell you. You will be stubborn at first (I know I was), but I now realize that my best friend only wants me to be confident and love myself, and well as be happy. Kick that darkness in the ass! Stand straight and be confident. Have some “me time” and love yourself. Surround yourself with warmth…and be happy.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder does not define you. In fact, it makes you stronger, unique, and a much more beautiful person. GAD is the stepping stone of all stepping stones. It’s only up from here on out.