It was not until recent where I learned what type of anxiety I had. Quiet honestly, it was only a year ago when I found out what generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) meant. I knew something was “wrong” with me, but I believed that I was at the beginning stages of a very horrible, rare, tales-of-the-crypt type disease.
I have always been afraid to go to the doctor. I would always be afraid that they were going to tell me something catastrophic when I would go in for a pap smear. Like, I was going to walk out of the doctors office and my entire world would come crumpling down. When I had my first panic attack, I was scared shit-less, I thought I was having a heart attack (I had no idea what the symptoms of a heart attack was, but this was it!) and I was convinced. Days later, and after I found out that I was not dying, I did not have a heart attack, and I was in fact healthy- I did not believe these alien people we called doctors knew what they were doing.
I began to have crazy symptoms, I mean, symptoms that I knew could not be that of a fucking healthy person. There is just NO way. Healthy people do not have dying people symptoms, and I did not care how long these alien people went to medical school, how many degrees they had, or where they “studied” medicine, they have misdiagnosed me.
“A hypochondriac is a person who is abnormally anxious about their health.” -Google
My symptoms included headaches, nausea, dizziness, I did not breath for like 5-months; numbness in my legs, muscle tension, backaches, insane thoughts, adrenaline rushes at home-depot, tingling feelings in my feet, and an intense amount of fear. So, you, alien doctor who is obviously not from this planet, is going to tell me that ALL THE SHIT MENTIONED ABOVE IS ANXIETY? I am what you call, a hypochondriac.
Let me tell you the first rule of what NOT to do when you are a hypochondriac, GOOGLE. NEVER GOOGLE! I googled my symptoms so much, that I should be a paid-googler. If I felt so much of a tingling in my left baby toe, I googled every disease that made it possible for my baby toe to fall off. I called my doctor so much that she would just stare at me when I came in for visits because my every question would be so outrageous, that even she could not handle it.
The Good Side of Anxiety
So, in my efforts to “do something about it,” I began to go to anxiety groups. I began learning that I was not alone and many people experience my same symptoms and thought pattern. I was learning the way my body worked, I was becoming very in tuned with myself. I was more alive than I had ever been because I was acknowledging the way my body was changing on a daily basis. I stopped listening to my body the wrong way, and began listening the right way.
I would let me symptoms come and go, and they always went away. This was beginning to be a pattern. I was no longer afraid of my anxiety symptoms. I breathed through them. I distressed through them. I relaxed through them. Eventually, I forgot that they were present.
I still struggle with anxiety, and I have days where it can get the best of me and when my symptoms re-appear, I ignore them. I stopped showing up at the doctors office twice a week, and only go when I have routine check-ups or something abnormal is happening. I allow my body to “work itself” out. The instructor told us that although anxiety is a barrier on our lives, parts of anxiety can be a good thing (I rolled my eyes when she said that shit too), but I get it now. Anxiety made me more conscience of other peoples feelings, anxiety allowed me to tap into my inner self; it has allowed me to be mentally alert, and it has allowed me to see other peoples challenges from a different perspective.
I am grateful for the lifestyle changes-mentally, physically, and emotionally that anxiety has afforded me. What I know is this: anxiety sucks ass, but it will only get you as much as you allow it too. Change the way anxiety gets you, and “get” anxiety. It gets easier.