Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Do Sadness

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My entire life, I'd always felt this strange, unplaceable restlessness. I remember being about seven or eight and telling my mother "I feel like I'm waiting for something, but I don't know what it is. Sometimes life's just...too much." She nodded and went about her business, so I assumed that EVERYONE must feel this way all the time. It wasn't until mid-high school when I found out that wasn't the case.

Generally, I'm able to manage it and suffer through things that cause me anxiety. Recently, though, it's gotten to be too much and it's unfortunate that people are unable to really understand when I try to explain exactly what's going on. My hands get clammy, my face gets hot and I have insane nausea; my chest tightens and breathing becomes a struggle and in the midst of a panic attack, I honestly feel like I might die if I don't escape. For me, it's a feeling rooted in the unfamiliar. If I don't know exactly what's going to happen or if I feel trapped, an attack is much more likely. Sometimes, though, even comfortable and mundane situations are panic-inducing. The problem with anxiety is that there is no finite trigger. It's simply a matter of "is the stress of living going to get to me today?"

Imagine you have to carry a ten pound weight, only you can only use your shoulders. Easy enough, right? That ten pound weight is your job, let's say. Okay, now add another for every person in your family. And another for each one of your goals, and another for every regret. Getting heavy yet? Okay, add one for every bill you have and every social engagement you have for the next three months. And three more, just for the sake of it. Wait, I forgot something. Every time you try to take off a weight, some asshole's going to come by and add two more. Just because he's a dick.

At some point, you're going to be so heavy that you have to do something, anything to get out. Cue panic attack.

Being an outgoing person with agoraphobia is strange. My extroversion comes from an overwhelming desire to compensate for the fact that I'm so anxious all the time. Some days, weeks, even months are fine, but when I'm going through a bout of anxiety, it's crippling and I literally have to mentally prepare myself for hours just to leave the house. It's having negative emotional, mental, and physical effects on me, to the point where I miss important events in my loved ones (and my own) lives, I always have this uneasiness and nausea in the back of my throat, I make myself physically ill at least twice a month (as I am right now), and my shoulders and back are in a constant ache from carrying this invisible weight on my shoulders all day.

Friday, I finally bought health insurance after six years of being uninsured. As an adult, I've recused any adolescent notions I had about medication as a means of escape. I just want to be able to do the things that are important to me. I don't want to continue missing out on opportunities.

1 comment:

  1. I feel you, I really do. I have anxiety too and it often swallows me alive (or, at least, it feels that way).