It isn’t always easy to live with. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Just over a year ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety and dysthymia (mild, chronic depression).
Growing up, I always knew that there was something wrong. But I chalked it up to being a shy introvert. I hated meeting new people and hated going to new places. But what I really hated was that I was TOO AFRAID to meet new people and try new things. I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t. My mom, my dad, and my sister, they are all crazy outgoing people. And it’s not like I didn’t try. I just unfortunately never really got past the “Hi, how are you?” part. From the moment I made the decision to try and talk to someone one, about 50 different scenarios would play in my mind. And the worst part about it was that the scenarios were ALWAYS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. Social Anxiety is something that I’ve lived with for most of my life but until recently I never even knew that it was a thing. It’s something that was never talked about. We have a tendency to brush mental illnesses under the rug. Which is still so crazy to me because so many people suffer from it.
Unlike my social anxiety, my generalized anxiety developed in my early 20’s. I used to think that I was just a typical young adult worrying about typical adult stuff such as bills and work. But then I noticed that I would worry about some of the silliest things. For example, recently I was in the process of cleaning out my room since I was moving out of my friend’s house and in with my boyfriend. I ended up have a few boxes of stuff that I wanted to donate. It took me WEEKS to actually muster up the courage to pack it into my car and make the 5-minute drive to drop it off. I was freaked out. It was a place I had never been to. I was AFRAID that I would get lost and people would see me driving around in a circle. A big portion of my anxiety comes from my fear of being a failure. I have a tendency to put too much pressure on myself. In my mind, I need to be the best that I can possibly be.
Because of therapy, I learned that I had Dysthymia. Sure I had some of the symptoms; lost interest in normal activities, hopelessness, low self-esteem, low appetite, and sleep changes. But again, I chalked it up to typical adult stress and worrying. A lot of dysthymia is due to my anxiety problems, the symptoms only really show up when my anxiety kicks in.
Getting myself into therapy was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and I will forever be grateful for my boyfriend giving me the push I needed. It has changed my life for the better. I learned so much. I am able to stop myself from playing all these scenarios in my head and now able to live more in the moment. I don’t freak out and postpone things that need to be done.
Even though I have stopped my sessions I know that I will never be 100% cured. And I am ok with that. Its a battle that I will constantly fight but at least now I have the tools to help me and people who care about me. Therapy doesn’t make you weak, in fact, it does the opposite, it makes you stronger.