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How Sharing My Story Helps Get Anxiety Out of the Driver's Seat

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Shhh, I’ll let you in on a secret. I have anxiety. Yes, that’s what my lovely psychiatrist said. I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). I was diagnosed officially about a year ago. Not many people know I suffer from anxiety, panic attacks and have obsessive tendencies. To put the cherry on top, I’m also an introvert.

On Facebook you can see pictures of my family and I enjoying life and traveling the world. But what the pictures don’t show is all the preparation it takes me to actually get out of the house, on a plane and heck, even to the grocery store. These pictures don’t show everything in my life has to be scheduled and calculated down to a science so I can avoid peak times, crowds and anything else that would cause my already high anxiety to go to the next level.

No one knows I hardly drive anywhere, let alone drive somewhere by myself. If I must drive somewhere, I stay on familiar but less traveled paths to avoid traffic. I stay inside my little familiar radius and I don’t go outside my bubble if I am driving.

Anxiety has taken a toll on my life for many years. Only a handful of people know of my secret life with anxiety where minor things can trigger me and lead to a panic attack. People don’t see I can barely leave the house to get the mail because I can be engulfed by anxiety. They don’t see that spur of the moment things don’t work for me. That being said, please don’t ask me to do something last minute. I have to prepare my brain to be ready for it. Even if it’s only to go out to lunch!

I cannot control the fact I overthink every single detail. But here I am sharing this secret with you. And I don’t even know you! I know this is just a step in taking control of my anxiety. Even if there are harsh opinions in response, I must strive to remember this. They are just opinions. I can only hope that by sharing a bit about my anxiety, I will help someone else see they are not alone.

I don’t share with many that I have anxiety. I don’t share that I take medication to get through each day with less anxiety, just so I can be able to spur of the moment go to the store if I need to. But I do! I’m happy to share my story with others. I want others to know it’s OK, it will get easier and anxiety doesn’t have to have full control and always be in the driver’s seat. You can take back control and put anxiety in the backseat. 

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Originally published: November 14, 2016
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