This is something I have been wanting to post about for awhile,
but wasn't exactly sure how to present it.
I want to talk about it for two reasons:
1. It makes me feel better to get it out there.
2. Maybe it could help other people.
A little anxiety in life is normal. Healthy, even. It keeps us on top of our game in stressful situations and can even kick in as a survival instinct.
However, for some of us, that instinct is a little out of whack.
I had atrocious anxiety as a child. It went away during high school, but at this point in my life, it came back with a vengeance.
I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is where you feel anxious and nervous about anything and everything, all the time.
You know how you feel when you think you forgot to do something important that you can't quite remember, and it nags at you?
That's how I feel all the time.
It's pretty common, but it's also terribly distracting.
On top of that, I am a MAJOR hypochondriac. Google is my greatest frenemy.
Pretty much every day I believe that I have some kind of terminal disease even when it has been proven to me that I DO NOT have it. So I look up other things I could have.
It's a vicious cycle, and it's a major time suck.
I spend SO much time, sometimes up to an hour or two, looking up things
that could be wrong with me. Almost every day.
Do you know what I could be doing with that time?
LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE.
To be honest with you, it's a bit debilitating.
I do see a counselor for this, but it's very difficult for me to convey (for some reason) what I'm actually going through.
And I'm trying to handle it all very organically, because while medicine can be helpful,
it's just a Band-Aid for the real underlying issues.
So it's a bit of a journey for me right now. I am trying to be very honest with myself and accept that it IS possible to change these ways of thinking, but it takes time.
Plenty of people have overcome anxiety and hypochondria, but it's not a quick fix by any means.
This winter I was diagnosed with something called Chiari Malformation, Type I.
It is not life-threatening, just annoying, and there are many varying degrees of it.
I have the mildest version of it, but it comes with symptoms like random numbness, awful headaches, dizziness, arm pain, blurry vision, muscle weakness...the list goes on and on.
After I had that diagnosis, my hypochondria kicked into overdrive. I wondered what else could be wrong.
I think the worst part for me is that some people treat it like a joke.
When you say you have hypochondria, are anxious about something ridiculous or have convinced yourself you have some kind of disease, people laugh about it.
I know, because they do it to me.
It's easy to try to joke about it or laugh it off, but when it comes right down to it,
it's very scary to try to deal with. It's extremely challenging to work through. And it is something that absolutely requires the support of family and friends.
I have been lucky enough to have people close to me who do take it seriously and try to support me even when I'm acting crazy.
I think the important thing, first of all, is awareness. I felt better when I found out I had an anxiety disorder because it proved the world wasn't as awful as I thought; my brain was just processing it that way.
But now I have to begin trying to get better, and it really is a challenge. But I'm working on it. Exercise, a balanced diet and creative outlets help tremendously. Being alone and drinking caffeine does not. I'm just in the process of finding out what works for me.
So...that's what's on my mind today.
(If you read all of this I'm pretty impressed.)
Mostly I just wanted to get that out there. I would love to hear from anyone going through the same thing, or just any thoughts on it, really.
Sidenote...it's almost the weekend!
Now there's something to smile about.