Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
By: Sophie Leonetti
Generalized anxiety is scientifically defined as severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities. For me, it feels as though a big black dog is following you around all day begging for food even though you just fed it.
Anxiety comes in various forms, such as panic disorder, OCD, and social anxiety. Generalized anxiety in most cases is expressed by having a baseline level of constant panic occurring, no matter how irrational your thoughts are that make you nervous.
Symptoms include: irrational thoughts, sweating, insomnia, lightheadedness, restlessness, continuously overthinking things, pain in the back, fatigue, headache, nausea, sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, and trembling. Symptoms vary between each individual, and usually include panic attacks.
Usually, someone with generalized anxiety mimic the kids in class that constantly shake their feet underneath the desks. Some people experience “ticks” or nervous habits that they might do during the beginning of an anxiety attack, the calm before the storm if you will, such as rubbing their hands together, nervously humming, or making strange sounds.
Most common age group for generalized anxiety to occur is late teens to mid-fifties, and even with that big of range it can start from as little as six up to 60+, so if you or someone you know is in a never ending state of paranoia, contact a local psychiatrist or pediatrician.
Treatments for generalized anxiety include medications, exercise, meditation, or therapy. It has more than three million reported cases in the Unites States per year, and is nothing to be ashamed about.
The scariest thing about this disorder is that you constantly second guess yourself and never feel what you’re contributing is good enough, which might cause someone to freak out. Whenever you start to feel an overabundance of nerves, try to do a mental check of your body. Feel yourself in the chair, your feet resting on the floor, your hands on your computer and realize you have nothing to be anxious about in this moment (my personal favorite coping skill).