If you had told me four years ago that I would be writing about this experience on my blog, I wouldn’t have believed you. I have issues expressing weaknesses, especially when they’re ones that could be misunderstood as being crazy or ridiculous. However, as I have lived with the reality of my affliction for several years, I find that I want to talk about it and explain the world from my perspective. Maybe this will help someone understand that anxiety doesn’t have to be crippling or help explain why I can end up in a corner at the change of a plan. Either way, this will take some time to explain, so consider this part one to talk about my diagnosis.
It was junior year of college when I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It was the Fall and I was living with a roommate and suitemate who liked the same boy, I had a full class load, a sister who was dealing with heart-break, and all of my typical stresses you would deal with. The first sign that something was wrong was during a study session with friends in my room. I suddenly felt dizzy, weak, and short of breath. My suitemate (who was studying to be a physical therapist) took my pulse and found that my heart rate was extremely high for someone at rest. Over the next several days, she would check up on me. No matter how I felt or what I was doing, my heart was pounding. I would still feel dizzy and short of breath at times.
I went to the on campus nurse and they did blood work. Shockingly, everything was normal, and none of them had any idea what was going on. Finally, they asked me questions about stress and other symptoms. I was most assuredly anxious, and since there was no major cause of it, I was diagnosed with GAD. The nurse gave me a low dose of anti-depressant in an effort to balance out my brain chemicals. This seemed to work fairly well and didn’t numb me the way that anti-anxiety medication can. I went to counseling and discussed my problems and was given ways to relax.
However, this was just the beginning. Actually, I don’t know if it was the beginning at all. But that’s for another time…