Generalised Anxiety Disorder
I was diagnosed with GAD several years ago. Its secondary to a life threatening heart problem that I have and the ICD I live with. Its difficult to describe the overwhelming nature of it to people who haven't experienced it, but its like that feeling you have before a major exam or test that you have to pass and you haven't done any work for it. That stomach in knots, feeling sick, feeling dizzy, dry mouth, shaky legs, trembling and inability to sleep has been with me for literally days on end. The sense of something nameless but terrible about to happen can be totally consuming and impacts on all areas of life.
Fortunately I found the right medication for me and have a very supportive primary care physician who now understands how bad it is and will prescribe the drugs I need without a lecture about dependency and addiction. I'm also lucky in having an iron will and refusing to allow this disorder to control me. I still socialise, work fulltime and take chances with new opportunities even if my mind is saying "Whaddya think you're doing! This is terrifying! take me home NOW!" I know that if i start giving in I will eventually become housebound, but its a fine line between keeping doing things that keep me sane and driving myself like a beaten dog into misery.
Like others with anxiety problems, I've also avoided people, stopped going out and been too anxious to answer the phone, let alone the door! At one point I couldn't go to work because I was convinced that I was totally incompetent and that everyone disliked me. Every time I went into my office I started crying. It was embarassing and if I hadn't taken the time off I think I would have resigned. I also have problems with depression mixed with GAD - its not fun.
I've found lots of things that help along with medication. I read, I use the computer, I go for walks, I write in my journal and I talk to people about it. That way I I distract myself, don't feel so crazy and others understand when I'm having a 'wobble'. Living with GAD is a challenge and I strongly believe that the impact of these types of disorders are underestimated. There are so many people suffering and unaware that there is help available.