The "What If" Blues...
Ok..so..I've let the cat out of the bag - I have an anxiety disorder. Big Whoop!
Living with a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder isn't the hard part. It's the side effects of the irrational thinking and physical consequences of having this terrible disorder. With GAD and most anxiety disorders, there a few issues that arise such as
- Intrusive Thoughts
- Body Aches
- Atypical Chest Pain
- The "What If" Blues
Intrusive thoughts are unrealistic, negative and upsetting thoughts that just seem to let themselves into your brain. It takes you for a CRAZY ride and tries to convince you that you are, in fact, crazy and delusional. For example, a thought of me killing myself, hurting someone else, driving off a bridge or even slapping someone who stares at me too long will "pop" into my mind eventhough I have no emotional/physical feeling attachment to that thought. I could be on the train headed home from school and I'd worry that someone may jump on the track and commit suicide while I'm standing on the platform (this happened recently in New York but not in front of me). The thoughts are totally the opposite of how I feel but the thought alone will convince you that you're going crazy. I've emailed and visited my therapist so much for reassurance...it's not even funny.
I've learned that the thoughts you have are just that - thoughts. It doesn't define who you are or what you'll do. My thoughts doesn't control me. I know the difference between right, wrong, reality, fiction, a voice, consciousness in comparison to thoughts and desire. As of now, I'm totally aware of what I have, who I am and what I'm capable of - and I'm totally okay with that. Life has taken me for a wild ride and I'm still learning who I am.
The nightmares are a bit trying but it doesn't occur often. The dreams are funny actually. Luckily, I don't need sleep aides but I do awake in the middle of the night, but not often...maybe once a week.
The body aches have subsided but they still exist depending on what type of day I've had.
The chest pain. *sighs heavily* This has taken me on an emotional tour. I just knew I was going to have a heart attack. The pain is so intense and usually occurs on the right side of the chest. It has taken me on a trip to City MD, a quick stop-clinic that accepts your PCP co-pay - an alternative to the Emergency Room. I've been diagnosed with Costochondritis, inflammation of the sternum. The sternum connects your rib cage. The rib cage protects your organs in the torso area. Luckily Advil eases the pain right up! THANK GOD!! When my anxiety reaches a certain peak, the pain starts.
No anxiety = no chest pain. I got it. If I can keep that under wraps, I'd have no problems in that area.
Now for the "What If" blues...
Ugh. On some days, this is what goes through my head...
"What if I develop a psychotic illness because of my anxiety?"
"What if I develop Schizophrenia because my mother has it?"
"What if I go crazy in the street and someone takes advantage of me?"
"What if I lose my mind and lose everything I've worked so hard for?"
"Why is this happening to me now?"
"What if I lose my mind and hurt myself one day?"
I know!! Most of this is unrealistic but has a little bit of resonance to it. My mother is mentally ill however, in my studies, I've learned that I have a 13% chance of developing the same illness she has; i don't hear voices and I'm not delusional nor am I hallucinating. Great. However, parents with a mental illness of any kind often have children who suffer from mental illnesses as well. While it may not be the same type, it is definitely possible to develop an illness from the Axis I or Axis II section of the DSM-IV.
(for anyone reading, please look this information up on google. It's entirely too much to cover)
That's it for my worry woes...for now. Stay tuned for my next post on something interesting.