Re: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Alcohol was indeed the first treatment popularly approved for GAD; historically 4 out of 5 anxiety sufferers preferred alcohol over how they felt normally. Until laudanum became available.
Anyway, I want to talk about GAD really bad. That's why I'm here. I think the GAD I feel goes along with perfectionism too, but some half formed variety that mostly rears its head in private, like how I grind my teeth and wake up in the night feeling deeply ashamed. And otherwise, how I can't remember basic facts in a group setting, especially when asked to "tell us a little about yourself" or talk about what I've learned. I'm rambling and I lose people, and I say incredibly terrible things. Then I dissociate and I want to eat tons and become obsessed with how stupid I sound. Then just at home, I contemplate all things that could possibly go wrong. If I'm inside long enough, I become paranoid that I will be attacked. All the while, my nervous system is set to "hi" (sweating, jumpiness, queasy, pit in stomach, headaches).
In terms of my GAD, which manifests primarily as a type of Social Anxiety that occurs whether or not I'm with people... I found the "Laughing at my foibles" thread very relevant, especially as it concerns perfectionism and doing new things, and job interviews.
I'm just now learning to laugh at my foibles too. The more I am able to do that, the better other strategies work for GAD, such as deep breathing, meditation and klonopin. (Paxil made me very nervous and terrified of everyone while I was taking it. I'm sure that was a paradoxical reaction.)
I don't know if anyone can relate to what I'm about to say... but, I found that my self concept really has contributed to GAD and Social Anxiety. It wasn't one that I constructed, it was one that was chosen for me. It had to do with a dissonance between the abilities ascribed me and what I was actually able to do. More specifically, my family expected me to be especially academic, to be intelligent and contribute something important. I certainly am not this person, and in fact have difficulty understanding most things-- especially social rules and what others are saying. But, I didn't want to disappoint anyone out of a basic fear of being abandoned.
This already feels like too much self-disclosure, but I wanted to write it because I think it's one half of the basis of my GAD and SA. I think that the other half is some endocrinological (sp) habit. Who knows where it came from; it just must be stopped.
Anyway, something that happened yesterday that made me feel like I was closer to some kind of recovery, if partial. In short, I admitted to my entire class that I had no idea what some of the political terms used in our readings meant (before), that I had no idea what I was talking about, and what I'd presented last week didn't make the least bit of sense. I felt really very happy about not having to be right, or good and especially not anyone's "brightest student". If they weren't so embarrassing I'd wear one of those t-shirts that says "I'm not your role model". If there's one thing that breaks my heart it's when someone says "I expect more of you than other people" I just want to be wrong. I don't want to be right or good or set examples. I want to be able to say "I don't know this..." or "I don't know wtf is going on" and have other people explain things to me and still be valuable.
I have no doubt that even this post will be amplifying my GAD today.