1. Generalized anxiety disorder is more complicated than just worrying a lot.
It’s more like being followed around by this omnipresent cloud of dread and fear determined to rain on every tiny aspect of your life. Plus other symptoms, too.
2. It’s not the same thing as social anxiety.
Social situations might cause some anxiety, but that’s more a side effect of mosteverything causing anxiety. That said, GAD can exist alongside other anxiety disorders like social anxiety, as well as other mental illnesses like depression.
3. We get anxious over the ~normal~ things like tests, big presentations, first dates, whatever.
4. But then, we also do over stupid, small, irrational things.
Did I lock the door? I know I already checked, but am I sure? What if something happens to me and no one thinks to check on me? WHAT WAS THAT STRANGE NOISE BECAUSE IT DEFINITELY WASN’T JUST THE WIND.
5. We even get anxious about being anxious.
You feel it coming, creeping up on you, and the anticipation of waiting for it to hit is like:
6. But tbh, usually there’s not even a tangible thing to be anxious about. The anxiety is just there.
Imagine constantly hearing the boss music in a video game but never seeing the threat.
7. A big part of GAD is the frustration that comes with it.
One second I’m safe in my apartment watching Netflix, the next it’s like UGH WTF WHY DO I FEEL THIS EXISTENTIAL DREAD WHY CAN’T I BREATHE NORMALLY ANYMORE THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING HAPPENING WHY???
8. It comes with a lot of physical symptoms.
Stomach problems, dizziness, headaches, insomnia, sweatiness, muscle tension… Just to name a few.
9. And there is constant questioning of whether symptoms are anxiety-related or something else entirely.
10. We have a complicated relationship with “calming” activities, to say the least.
Sometimes, that stuff helps. Sometimes, there’s just no effing way.
11. You might think we’re perfectionists.
But more likely, it’s excessive self-criticism and a fear of making mistakes that drives us to seem that way.
12. We might come across as a little uptight when it comes to making solid plans.
Being able to schedule things and have a plan helps us chill, so ~winging things~ is just not enjoyable. Can we just decide when and where we’re going to meet?
13. And open-endedness = torture.
You’re running late? OK, so do I sit here and do nothing for what could be, like, three hours? Do I start something that will inevitably be interrupted when you get here in five minutes? Did you die on your way over? UGH WHY CAN’T I JUST RELAX?
14. You might think we’re prone to canceling plans thanks to anxiety, but we don’t do it lightly.
In fact, it actually causes MORE stress because then you have to think of excuses and worry about disappointing your friends, and ugh. Nope. We basically have to force ourselves.
15. Keeping busy is super important for keeping sane.
Whether it’s diving into our work or taking up knitting, doing something is always better than doing nothing and getting lost in our thoughts.
16. And when anxiety paralyzes us and we can’t doanything, that’s even worse.
Seriously, it’s lose-lose.
17. We might come across as clingy when we use hanging out as a way to keep anxiety at bay.
Being alone is pretty much just asking to fall down an anxious thought hole.
18. Little things add up really quickly, so sometimes, we might freak out over something that seems tiny.
When really, it was just the last straw.
19. And we’re pros at overanalyzing everyday interactions.
20. We can keep ourselves awake at night for hours on end just by thinking too much.
Which sucks, because sleep is precious. Sometimes, it feels like the only time we can turn the off switch on our emotions.
21. Our minds are brilliant at coming up with worst-case scenarios.
You know, just to torture us. For fun.
22. We don’t want to hear that we have ~nothing to worry about~.
Also, please don’t push us to ~face our fears~.
23. It’s important to us that you know that we know our worries aren’t rational.
And that you know it’s more complicated than just needing to calm down.