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The Struggles of Living With Both Chronic Illness and Anxiety

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At times I question, why me? Then in the same breath I turn around and ask, why not me? Anxiety and depression is something I have been dealing with since I was 12 years old. At the age of 18 I was diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). This is when I started taking daily medications.

I am 29 now and much more aware of how my mind works. I would be lying if I said I didn’t slip back into a depression when I got my mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) diagnosis. One thing I am is realistic with myself. I knew it was going to be a major life adjustment and it would take some time to get mentally prepared for a whole new lifestyle.

Since my diagnosis, I have switched my depression and anxiety medication quite a bit. I am finally on a regimen I am OK with that makes me feel at ease. These are just a couple of scenarios of what it’s like living with MCTD and GAD.

Hanging with my friends:

On the outside: I’m laughing, having a great time and keeping interest in the conversation.

MCTD: Every joint in my body is hurting, don’t look too uncomfortable, also planning what pain medication I will take later to help me get some relief, also not wanting to be here.

GAD: Oh my gosh, they can totally tell I don’t want to be here.

Friends leave the room:

MCTD: (exhales heavily) Trying to make sure I’m relaxing, rubbing on my joints to maybe loosen things up a little.

GAD: (tensing up forgetting all about relaxing) Oh my gosh they are leaving the room to go and talk about me.

Taking care of my kids:

On the outside: Dancing around to make them laugh.

MCTD: Oh you’re sooo gonna pay for this later!

GAD: If I’m not a happy-go-lucky mom part of the time they won’t have good memories from their childhood. I don’t want them to know mom is sick and hurting mostly all the time.


On the outside: Shining my brightest sexual star!

MCTD: I’m in a full-blown flare right now and really need to be lying down, resting and not moving.

GAD: I need to meet his sexual needs.


On the outside: Lying down physically prepared for sleeping, eyes closed and everything!

MCTD/GAD: Noticing and feeling all the joints that hurt. Wondering why I can’t just shut my brain off and relax, knowing that if I don’t get much sleep, the next day will be horrible for me.

There are a lot more scenarios and to be honest, some days my mind doesn’t stop. I sometimes have dreams about things I worry about. For me it is an everyday battle mentally and physically. Some days I literally say out loud, “I don’t know how I made it through today.” I believe in a higher power that helps me get through it all every single day!

Keeping faith in better days to come!

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Photo via Dreamerjl83 on Getty Images

Originally published: December 26, 2017
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