My mind doesn’t deal well with quiet time. What should be peaceful, turns into its own plague. The worrying begins. My heart starts to race. Before I even finish my tea, I have already created several horrific situations that could arise in my life. My breathing quickens. Mostly, I worry about my children. I worry about what they’re doing. I worry about what they might do. And I worry about every little thing that could go wrong in between. If they are in a vehicle, I stress over will they be in an accident.
I brood about future events—things that may not happen for years. My son wants to be a police officer. That gives me pride, yet great anxiety. And my daughter—well, she’s only 15—15 going on 21 and every little thing that goes on there. She has an allergy to nuts, so that is a constant presence. Their lives unfold in my brain and the anxiety continues to rise. My neck tenses. Sometimes it gets so bad I can feel the pressure behind my eyes—the pressure of my tears trying to escape.
The apprehension doesn’t stop at the kitchen table. Being in a vehicle can be unbearable. It’s not a matter of whether or not I trust the driver. It’s more just a matter of the potential for what could happen. For years I was at the mercy of others to drive me places because being the driver was even more than I could stand. The level of my anxiety left me unsafe to drive.
I seem to worry about every little thing. My family jokes about it, but really it’s quite distressful. For example, I stress out over technology. If I’m doing something out of the ordinary on my computer or phone, my blood pressure seems to rise. A panic feeling sweeps over me. I just imagine losing everything on my computer or my phone becoming inoperable. I know it seems funny to others, but really it’s not.
The nights are just as bad as the mornings. I lay awake at night with my busy brain. My thoughts running wild, again with the worries of the day and the paranoia for tomorrow. If my children are out late, I can’t sleep until they’re safely home. If they’re sleeping elsewhere, I worry about what they’re doing and are they safe. I worry about the last to come home—will they put the house alarm on properly? Of course they will. They always do. Yet I fret.
This is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no blood test for an anxiety disorder. And an anxiety disorder cannot be cured. Rather it can only be managed. Predominantly, anxiety is managed by medication. It can also be aided through psychotherapy and relaxation.
I have now begun a high-dose regime of anti-anxiety medication. This, along with my on-going psychotherapy and relaxation techniques, has made a huge improvement. My life has changed because of it. My mornings are more relaxing and I fall asleep with greater ease. I even drive about town on my own. Anxiety is not something to be taken lightly. It can be debilitating—stealing from you the right to a peaceful and relaxing existence. Breathe.
Symptoms of Anxiety (provided by WebMD)
Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
Shortness of breath
An inability to be still and calm
Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet