Is the constant stress you are feeling generalized anxiety?Tweet
Mental illness: sometimes it plays by its own rules, making you feel dreadful in a moment and inexplicably sad in the next. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s fair to call it mother nature’s roller-coaster. While it can feel this way at times, there are ways to combat its impact. Exercise is one of the best ones.
Anyone with a mental health condition can tell you all about certain emotional experiences, such as dread or fear – but what about the impact mental illness has on us that we may be less aware of? Or even worse, no awareness whatsoever?
So, what do I mean when I say less aware? Well, let’s use my own life’s experience as an example. Rather disappointingly, I find myself almost chronically worried that I have done something to make people upset with me. This sad way to live isn’t new to me. However, relating it to mental illness is.
Like what you are reading? Try, Anxiety in the New Age
Generalized anxiety disorder, a mental illness that makes one ruminate and worry over anything and everything is the likely culprit. Whist I have always known that GAD made me a worst-case scenario thinker, I never thought that it would make me obsess over making everyone around me upset. But honestly, when I think about it, it makes sense. It is, after all, a form of obsessive worry – which can be driven by an anxiety disorder.
Why DO I suspect that it is part of my anxiety disorder?
To start with, it was the frequency with which I was feeling worried. Sadly, I was worried over each and every interaction. No matter who it was or in what way we were interacting. From social media to meeting in person, the chronic feeling that somehow, I was making someone upset with me was and still is overwhelming.
As if that weren’t enough, I would and still do build an entire mythical future in my head as to why I “thought” my friends and family were mad at me, and me adding layers: “Maybe I message them too often. Do I not talk to them enough?” My biggest fear? Well, that the person I’m communicating with doesn’t really like me and thus I am seen as a bother.
As time went on, I began to notice that I became anxious interacting with, not one person, but everyone. The “everyone” part is key here because:
- It was everyone. Best friends, family, co-workers, firefighter colleagues etc.
- And it was constant. In fact, it was so prevalent that It began to scream at me like a giant electronic billboard. “NO ONE LIKES YOU, YOU’RE BOTHERING EVERYONE!”
Generalized anxiety was the culprit?
To reach an ultimate conclusion on the cause, I had to use mindfulness to bring myself into the here and now. By doing this, I was able to let the logic centres of my brain ask the right questions:
- Is it really possible that everyone you interact with dislikes you? Similarly, can everyone you know view you as an inconvenience? Of course not.
- So, since it’s not very likely that no one wants to interact with you, what’s really going on? Does it this feeling lie within you?
- If, so, what’s going on?
Want to hear people tell their stories? Go to The Depression Files Podcast.
Since I had been diagnosed with GAD years ago, I rightfully concluded that generalized anxiety was the culprit. With that said, having a diagnosis made it easier for me to conclude but you don’t have to be the same.
So, if you recognize similarities, perhaps what I have laid out here can help you uncover some underlying mental-health condition you did know you had. Through the process of mindfulness, you can quell the emotions and negative self-talk and clear your mind so you can discern what’s really going on and move towards healing.
Note: If you think you may have a mental-health disorder, contact your doctor, psychiatrist, or a psychologist; they are all able to diagnose you and thereby help move you forward.
If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada