I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life. Certainly for as far back as I can remember. However, it wasn't until I was 40 years old that I realized that what I had was not a defective personality, a ridiculously strong will, or a flair for the dramatic just for the heck of it, but an honest to goodness medical disorder that was treatable.
While receiving this "generalized anxiety disorder" diagnosis was, of course, a relief to me, it also made me sad and frustrated to realized how many years I had wasted suffering myself and torturing others around me with my anxiety. I was pleased that now my issues had a name, help more specific than "just stop worrying already" would be available. But I couldn't help but wonder how different my life would have been had I been able to get my anxiety under control in my twenties, or even in my teens, as opposed to in my forties.
One of the greatest stumbling blocks to me getting the help I needed was a lack of education on the subject of anxiety. Generalized anxiety, anxiety and panic attacks are topics that are much more understood and discussed today than they were twenty years ago. Certainly there are better drugs (and other options) available to treat these disorders today. And in general, there is a greatly diminished level of stigma surrounding anxiety and other mental health issues. In general, it was the understanding that it was my brain chemistry and not my personality that needed some help that came as a relief to me.
So are you constantly accused of being "high strung"? Do you often have a general sense of foreboding and anxiety without any real cause that you can articulate? Do you find yourself overly stressed when plans and routines get changed beyond your control? Do your friends accuse you of being inflexible, controlling and too nervous to have fun? Do you suffer from digestive issues and sleep disturbance that has no real cause? Do you wonder why other people manage just to relax and have fun while you have to give yourself a major pep talk to sometimes even leave the house, let alone try something new? And finally, do you want to just cream at all those people who tell you to "just relax"?
If you find yourself answering "yes" to any of these questions, please become educated on the symptoms of anxiety. Generalized anxiety is a very real, very treatable disorder and it is pointless to suffer unnecessarily. Many resources, advice and education is available o the subject of anxiety symptoms, including many natural cures for anxiety, for those people who are reluctant or wary about taking medications.
And please consider that your personality may be perfect just the way it is.
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