Realising that I had anxiety was a strange thing for me. For most I imagine yes, but for me a bit more or so I felt.
Realising that I had anxiety
Anxiety is well known to be a very debilitating mental health condition. I should know after looking after people for almost 2 decades who were suffering from anxiety. My day to day job entailed helping people identify ways of managing their anxiety. We used different tools and methods to find out what worked for them. You could say that I had a pretty good understanding of anxiety compared to some people anyway.
Suffering from anxiety.
Often the feelings are not recognised immediately as ‘anxiety’, but a mixture and a person can easily put their feelings down to life stressors around them. Which can often be the case. But when does that feeling turn in to anxiety?
For me, it was a build-up of life events and how I dealt or approached situations.
My behaviour was changing slowly, bit by bit, but the changes were there. And yes, my classic advice that I gave for years – “it is often others around you that notice anything before you do” . Well, I didn’t adhere to that
It didn’t even enter my head until my family started showing increasing concern for me. The concern was to the point that I felt like a bit of fraud getting all this sympathy and told them that I wasn’t really that bad.
But, on the back of my own advice, and the insistence of my family I went to see the GP.
Confirmation of how bad my anxieties were.
I went along to see the GP and explained that I think I need ant-depressants (being a know-it-all) He happily prescribed them but asked me first to fill in an anxiety tick-test – Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7). It was at this point I still didn’t realise the extent of my anxieties.
I read all of the questions on the test answered with total honesty. As I worked through the questions, I was scoring top on each question . And on some I felt that the top scores didn’t provide a true reflection of just how I was feeling or acting. I felt that there should be higher scores for some of them.
I looked at the GP and jokingly explained that I am not trying to convince him that I am really bad. However, the results have surprised me at just how severe my anxieties have become.
I also did a depression test, but scored lower on that. Again, being honest and the score was still significant, but the anxiety results were fairly obvious where my issues laid.
I was prescribed anti-depressants (Sertraline) that he felt were the best to focus on my anxiety symptoms.
Dealing with finding out I have anxiety
I always thought that if I ever suffered anxiety then I would have the tools in the box to deal with it and work through it. Turns out that I am wrong and I am now following every step that others advise. I do feel a bit in the mercy of their hands, but anxiety is something that I simply cannot just ‘ride out’ or manage alone.
I may not have anxiety to the extent that is textbook or steretypical. I can still go shopping alone (in fact I prefer it, but am constantly worried about bumping into people I know. Strangers don’t concern me too much). I can still do things that I have met others who cannot. But I cannot ignore that the symptoms remain and that the people closest to me have such big concerns.
The realisation that I had full-blow anxiety surprised and scared me. But I have seen and guided through many people that on reflection were where I was on this day and I can focus on this fact.
The fact that I have seen so many people learn to manage anxiety in a way that works for them that. I WILL find a way that works for me 🙂