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Getting Diagnosed With Generalized Anxiety Disorder After 45 Years

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Ever since I was a toddler, I have worried. When the first day of school approached, I would work myself up to the point of making my stomach hurt. My mom would let me stay home, and by the second day of school, I was fine. I’m sure my friends at school wondered why I always missed the first day. My second-grade teacher thought there was something “wrong” with me because I didn’t talk. Some of my classmates thought I was “stuck up” because I wouldn’t talk to them.

As I grew older and starting hosting family gatherings, my worrying would be off the charts. Even though I was 100 percent completely organized, again I would get myself worked up to the point of my stomach hurting. But once everyone started to arrive, I was fine; it was like the worrying was switched “off.” When the hubby and I would get an invitation to a social event, about three to four hours ahead of the event, I would start having a headache and a stomachache and would convince my husband to go without me because I didn’t feel well.

Fast forward to November of  2013. I had an appointment with my primary care doctor and I was telling her how much I had going on in my life. She diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder. Talk about a “light bulb” moment. After 45 years, I finally had a name for all those feelings, all that worrying. Hooray!

The next decision was to figure out if I wanted to go on medication. Being a fiercely independent person, I thought it meant admitting I couldn’t handle “it” by myself. Good grief, it doesn’t mean that at all. Being put on two different medications was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It doesn’t mean you are admitting defeat and are weak; it means you are strong by doing something to help yourself. I am not a doctor, and I know medication is not for everyone. All I know is the medication has worked for me. For the past two and half years, I have felt more “balanced.” The worrying isn’t 100 percent gone, but it is manageable.

I think it is good to talk about mental health issues. I loved it when Kristen Bell, a celebrity, recently talked openly about her anxiety and depression. I admire her even more than I already did for speaking out. Isn’t it about time we talk about it?

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: July 18, 2016
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