Preface: I love this cartoon. I wish I was the first person to think of Anxiety Girl, as this would absolutely be the name of this series. But like many things, I only admire great ideas other people come up with first, so Anxiety Diaries it is.
I need someone to make me a cartoon.
In all seriousness: I am officially (by a real doctor not run by Google) diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic attack disorder, social anxiety, and a little clinical depression thrown in too.
About GAD: With GAD, you have an overwhelming feeling of stress and worry and anxiety. Usually, it is not about having panic attacks all the time, but you just have this sense of doom almost always. Sometimes you feel perfectly fine, then all of a sudden you get this feeling of panic, usually having no idea where it came from. It is not the same thing as regular stress. It is often debilitating and keeps you from doing normal things that normal people do.
I originally visited my doctor due to being tired all the time. It turned out extreme fatigue is a big symptom of GAD. Any time I get into a particularly stressful situation, an overwhelming feeling of fatigue comes over me. I can be completely energetic and well rested, then all of a sudden I can barely keep my eyes open. Like any psychological condition, it is different for everyone.
My GAD looks like this:
- Extreme fatigue
- Nausea/stomach cramping/vomiting
- Body shakes
- Heart palpitations
About Panic Attack Disorder: First of all, not everyone with GAD will have panic attacks, and not everyone who has an occasional panic attack has a disorder or an anxiety problem. That’s just a fun thing I have. Life really enjoys being a bitch and throwing me these fun adventures.
When you have a panic disorder, you have panic attacks frequently and without warning. They usually last several minutes and are an irrational reaction to something you fear. Some people with panic disorder have triggers that set it off, while others have absolutely no warnings.
I am somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, I am perfectly fine then all of a sudden I swear I am having a heart attack. At other times, I know it is coming before it has arrived because of a trigger. This is actually me having anxiety about possibly having a panic attack, which then causes my anxiety to spike and gives me a panic attack.
Sound ridiculous? It is. This is literally the stupidest disorder to suffer from. Most of it is in your head. I am insistent that the bigger imagination you have, the worse it is going to be for you.
And this is how my panic attacks go:
- Heart pounding, heart palpitations, which makes me feel like I am going to die.
- Hands sweating.
- Dry throat, can’t swallow, afraid to swallow.
- Irrational fear of doom.
- Physically shaking from head to toe.
- My mind working in overdrive: it tries to convince me it’s nothing while also convincing me my heart will stop beating any second.
The fact that I not only have general anxiety basically all the time, but moderate to severe panic disorder (I have at least one attack a day, usually), it’s a miracle I can function as a human and that I ever leave the house.
Welcome to The Anxiety Diaries. It’s a party you were invited to but won’t attend because you’re too afraid to leave your house.