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When My Generalized Anxiety Disorder Means I Can't Let Myself Stop Worrying


I feel guilty when I’m happy.

I feel guilty when I don’t worry.

If I’m happy, bad things will happen.

If I don’t worry, things will go wrong.

I feel irresponsible if I don’t worry about something. Worrying about something is part of how I take care of things for my family.

If it was just me, I wouldn’t worry. But it’s more than me. And so, when something goes wrong, it’s my fault — because I could have done something about it. I could have worried about it more, been more diligent.

But I wasn’t. And now it happened. (Has it?)

I’m so tired. It’s exhausting. So exhausting that I stop caring. And I sit down.

But then…

I get up. I check “it” out. Make sure “it” is OK. And sit back down, looking at the wall, wondering.

What if. What if. What. If.

I realize that what has “happened” hasn’t happened. But, my god, it feels like it has. It’s so real. The smells. The tight chest. The dizziness.

I avoid having dinner with my family, with my children, my wife — because I feel guilty enjoying being with them. I don’t move from my chair, and I feel guilty about not being with them.

It’s frustrating when my mind tells me two things at once: that everything is OK, but everything is not. I can only reason things out so much, I can only pray so much, I can only distract myself so much. Moments like these, I stand on a precipice: either I fall into peace, or into fear.

I’m trying to live with generalized anxiety disorder. I’d like to think one day I won’t have to deal with it, but I’m coming to terms that, that may not be the case. That I’ll have to learn to experience joy through the worry. That I can’t wait for the pain to stop so I can enjoy life.

Image via Thinkstock.

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