My fight against Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and panic disorder

from Pixabay by Maialisa

from Pixabay by Maialisa

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On September 11, 2001, two terrorist-hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers. On September 12, my father was deployed to Japan to aid in the war on terrorism; I was only seven-months-old. From that point onward, I had severe separation anxiety and abandonment issues due to my dad having left me. That was the start of my journey with anxiety.

My anxiety was so bad as a baby that I would have night terrors about my mom leaving me or my grandparents leaving me; I would wake up in a screaming fit. My family was planning to temporarily move to Japan in order to be with my dad; however, my anxiety was so bad that moving me to another country could be detrimental to my health. That was me as a baby. An average child does not have nightmares until they are two-years-old. I was a seven-month-old baby.

Growing up, my anxiety died down until I was in about fifth or sixth grade. I started to experience panic attacks that prohibited me from going to school. I missed almost 30 days in one year just due to anxiety issues. It was not until freshman year in high school that I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. GAD is severe anxiety that interferes with everyday life. This made daily life difficult. It is like the feeling when you go downstairs and think you missed a step, but that feeling is every single second of every single day. It does not go away.

Later that year, I was diagnosed with a panic disorder. A panic disorder is “a psychiatric disorder in which debilitating anxiety and fear arise frequently and without reasonable cause” according to www.dictionary.com. For some, panic attacks caused by panic disorder can send the afflicted to the hospital. I have never had to go to the hospital because of a panic attack; however, I have come pretty close. One of my most vivid memories of a panic attack was during picture day back in seventh grade. For whatever reason, I absolutely did not want to have my picture taken that day, to the point where I was sobbing uncontrollably and unable to attend school. This happened many times during middle school and even a couple days into freshman and sophomore year in high school.

About a year and a half ago, I started to see a counselor at Cornerstone Counseling of Ashland. I started going once a week for about eight to ten months, then going every other month once my anxiety and panic disorders were somewhat under control. Going to see a counselor was and is so much help. I will admit; at first, I was wary of the idea of telling a complete stranger my deepest fears, my struggles, etc. After a couple weeks, it became easier and easier; where I was once dreading going to counseling, I started to look forward to my sessions with my counselor. It was like I could leave all my struggles and pains in that office and walk out ready to face the world.

Counseling is definitely an overlooked form of treatment for anxiety disorders, panic disorders, depression, etc. When I first started going to counseling, I remember thinking “How is this going to help me? This is just some sham, talking about my feelings with some stranger cannot and will not help me.” Boy was I wrong. It is one of the best things I could have done for myself.

By going to counseling, I was taught different techniques to help combat anxiety attacks, panic attacks, etc. I would definitely recommend counseling to anyone struggling with anxiety disorders, panic disorders, etc. It also does help to speak to someone about your latest struggles and get it out in the open. Keeping those struggles inside is the worst thing you can do for yourself.

It takes awhile to find the right counselor that will meet your needs; but once you do, you will notice a difference in your life emotionally, mentally and even physically.

 

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