Today my faithful, I shall be discussing something close to my heart. Or should I say mind? Yes, I'm going to discuss my mental problems, namely my Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I was diagnosed with this, and several other related disorders about half-way through last year, though I had suffered for longer then that. And, despite the growing knowledge of anxiety, and panic disorders, few people understand what it is like to live a life suffering from them.
I suppose I should give a brief explaination of what GAD is. GAD is a mental disorder which causes high amounts of stress in otherwise normal situations. This means along the lines of feeling like you're going to die before a public speech, or the sensation that something bad is going to happen when you go to do the shopping.
This is a vague description, and doesn't at all describe the true extent of the problem. GAD is often acccompanied by Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Panic disorder (PD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Depression. There are others mental health issues related, such as schizophrenia, but these are less common. I personally suffer from GAD, SAD, PD and depression, with symptoms of Asperger (Though I haven't been tested). (Quick note, I'm in a Deep Blue Depressed mood, so this article may seem less then happy). A life with these problems is horrible. Firstly, GAD and SAD can easily be misnterpretted and shyness, just little extreme. I was a shy kid, so I made few friends. The friends I did make I trust with my life. When my Panic Disorder started to show up (around grade 9), people just assumed I was being a little more dramatic in my fears. It wasn't until a few years into uni that people realised It was more then that.
Everyday, I live with a feeling of dread. Imagine you're walking to your car, and standing around it is a group of obvious Gangtas. That feeling that you're about to enter a horrible situation is what I feel always. Even at home, reading a book in bed. This has caused me to basically stop going out, except to places I consider safe, like a freinds house, or university. I avoid things that may lead to bad situations, like drinking. When forced to I'll go to social places, like a mall. When I do, I'm constantly on alert, watching everyone and everything, checking for signs of aggression, while trying to blend in with the background. I get in and out as fast as I can. This has caused me to lose contact with several friends.
Then come the ppanic attacks. Most people would have had one at some stage. Your heart pounds, your mind races. All you can think of is your imminent demise, whether it be via a heart attack, or by some third party or force. You realise you can't fight, and can only flee, but there's no escape. For most people, it happens rarely, usally in ultra-high stress situations, like before major surgery. For PD sufferers, they can occur when you inhale too sharply. It's caused by a chemical imbalance in a certain part of the brain (I forget where), in which nearly everything can be seen as a life or death situation. There are symptoms, such as constant quick brething. A normal person takes 10 breaths per minute, whereas a PD sufferer could take 20-30. This is usually the first thing countered by psychologists. I personally have slowed my breathing to be about 15 breaths a min. This wasn't easy, I had to count my breathing for weeks.
Depression. I've heard that many people don't consider this a disorder, or disease, or whatever, because one of its symptoms is depression. This is bullcrap. Everyone feels sad. People have ups and downs. People with depression have worse, and more frequent downs. In me, they are so bad I can't remember being happy. It can express itself in many different ways, and be brought on by many more. It could be you feel like killing people because the girl you like ignored you, or you feel like dying because you misspelled a word on a blog. It's completely irrational, but can't simply be stopped by realising it's irrationality. I know that people find it hard to think about suicide most of the time. A depressed person finds it hard to think of anything else. I have a feeling that the emo clique started as a group of kids who suffered from depression, and found a way to identify with others of thier 'kind'. Then of course, kids came into it who weren't depressed, but acted that way to fit in. Of topic... sorry.
SAD is basically the same as GAD, except that GAD applies to events and actions, and SAD applies to social situations. SAD sufferers feel that every little thing they do wrong is judged harshly, usually causing them to do more things wrong. Such as, during a presentation they stutter once. Thier mind will obsess over that stutter, making tthem stutter more, causing them to obsess more. With me it's diffferent, I don't have problems in social situations such as presentations. I have problems with going to social places, with large groups of people. I also worry about times when there is no-one around. I think this is more of an opposite to SAD, but because of its social nature, its still called SAD. (It's funny how SAD and depression are usually experienced together).
The most important thing about this post is that I'm trying to educate normal people to the plight of GAD, SAD, PD, and depression. The term "just get over it" has on more then one occation made me feel like slashing my wrists. Then that feeling made me feel like a jerk, because why should I cause so much pain to the people I know, and also, my life is good, what right do I have to feel like this. I'm looking into therapy to help me, cause I know that when I'm depressed I'm a suicide risk. Please, before you open your mouth to a person with GAD and Depression, put yourself in there shoes (I hopefully have given at least a shallow idea of those shoes), and think about what you're about to say. Too many people have died because of a lack of understanding, not just in this area. Don't make this any worse then it already is.
Though it doesn't fit, it's my phrase: Fui fides tantum in testimonium.