GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Repost: I originally did this piece in 2019 – Its a good resource and general information for General Anxiety Disorder. Thanks for supporting my blog, enjoy todays post.

Let me start this post off with a link to a great resource the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . This site has excellent information for anyone who thinks they have an anxiety disorder or knows they do and you just need more information. This website has a lot of information and resources and can assist with a multitude of issues. I strongly recommend taking a look at the site and the reference material it offers.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is essentially a catch all for nonspecific anxiety triggers most of us call them phobias. “GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms” . When I read this I realized that at several points in my life this applied to me. GAD isn’t a constant condition it can come and go but I’ve found in my travels that more often than not it is always present just to varying degrees.

“GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.”

I thought this excerpt from the site was particularly potent. 6.8 million adults… Ya we aren’t alone. I found it very interesting that they claim women are twice as likely to be affected. I can logically extrapolate some instances why, pregnancy, physical appearance and family pressures come to mind. The worse part though is the multitude of factors and the lack of specificity as to why this occurs.

Essentially anything can trigger this, maybe you went to a concert Saturday and your ears were ringing when you got up the next day “am I going to go deaf?” you ask yourself. A common seemingly sterile situation right? So the next time you don’t hear something correctly are you now delving back into anxiety? Technically yes, again its degree’s but you are anxious about a future outcome based on an example of the past. You can’t absolutely say that your past experience will be identical to your future outcome but it’s your best gauge.

Then you begin to think “god if I just didn’t go to that concert I wouldn’t have this issue” and on and on it goes. That’s just one very simple example but it’s a prelude to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no definitive moment as to when it begins for anyone, but when you are “in the moments” of anxiety you know it. The sensations are unique to everyone but if you’ve had panic attacks you know the gambit it can run. You can be highly functional and then for days struggle to get out of bed because you can’t overcome the anxiety.

Then, one day you feel good. Not perfect, not “wow that was silly I am free and clear” but the fog clears for you and you go on without worrying about it at all. This is GAD and it can flip day to day, week to week for your entire life. Knowledge is power and remember you aren’t alone.

Twitter is increasing your anxiety

Twitter is a great means of communicating with other people, so let’s get that out of the way first it is not without value. Unfortunately Twitter has devolved into a running gun battle of shouting, negativity and mental anguish. You really don’t have to go for into the twitter verse to see it either. Maybe you don’t use Twitter, then disregard. If you do use Twitter then you know exactly what I mean. If you suffer from anxiety and use twitter? You’re a glutton for punishment I guess.

Here is a quick synopsis of what a normal day on twitter is like:

Random Twitter user: “I had a great Orange today, I prefer Oranges over Apples”

5-10 Random Twitter users reply: “So what your saying is you hate Apples…. You are a racist/every other ist they can think of”

Random Twitter user replies: “I didn’t say I hate Apples, I said I prefer Oranges over them”

5-10 Random Twitter users reply: “It’s the same thing, you can’t hide your “ist” we know who you are and we know what you stand for”

It’s a lie, names do hurt

Meantime the peanut gallery shows up. Hundreds of replies later lines are drawn, you are either for Apples or against. Names have been called, threats have been made, tears have been shed, and yelling has occurred, anger is abound.

You? You’ve lost your appetite and will likely not eat an orange again and your anxiety is off the charts. Why? Because you prefer oranges over apples.

Perhaps you use Twitter for affirmation, perhaps for you it’s a comfortable environment because you happen to fall in line with the current popular narrative. That’s fine for you, remember every time you pile on, someone else is on the other side of the screen. You might be contributing to their declining mental health, conversely they may be contributing to your declining mental health by disagreeing with you.

At the end of the day all of us who have some form of Anxiety have to take hard looks at what is contributing to our condition. Twitter is a cesspool of negativity and an echo chamber. It’s a constant drumbeat of self-righteousness and that can be extremely exhausting. Anxiety is horrible and Twitter is making it worse for you. If you continue to engage in Twitter you are ensuring that anxiety thrives, stop enabling your anxiety and shut twitter off.

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Wisdom from the past: Alexandre Dumas

“The difference between Genius and Stupidity is Genius has its limits” Alexandre Dumas

I don’t think we need a long elaboration on this particular quote. Its rather simple really, stupidity knows no limits as stupidity doesn’t possess the requisite knowledge to understand its limitations. What does all this mean? It means, often when you see stupidity in nature or from people or ideas the notion that it has a limit doesn’t apply.

That would require someone or something to intervene and often when stupidity presents itself, regardless of venue the purveyors of the stupidity are unwilling to allow alternative points of view as that presents a direct threat to them. A good example of this is the political discourse on Twitter. On both sides you have such levels of stupidity that it’s a continuous “double down” effect.

Hence there is no limit. I mean, have you ever seen anyone online change their particular views on an issue? Admit their folly and have an actual mia culpa and shift direction? I’m betting if you have you could count them on one hand.

Be careful out there and remember stupidity can pull you in, it can devour your time and consume your energy. Use common sense and try and follow the simple premise that it’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.

You are doing great, one day at a time.

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Ways to manage anxiety (insert eye roll here).

So I found an article here that was decent… Many of the articles you see online are mostly click bait and rehashes of things we already know. I understand that’s cynical, but it is what it is. This article was a bit of click bait as well “3 best ways to manage anxiety”

Right like there are 3 magic steps we can take and that’s it, game over we win. Anxiety is like water, just when you think it has it contained it seeps in from another location. Its not always an overwhelming flood, sometimes it’s the slow trickle that inevitably wears you down.

That said the article had one pearl that I though was worth sharing. From the article: When you notice you’re worried about something bad happening today, think about how likely that outcome really is. Has it happened many times in the past? Is it the most likely outcome? Are there other things that could happen instead? Most of the time, the things we worry about never end up happening, so the anxiety we experience causes us unnecessary suffering. Redirect your energy instead toward the things around you that are in your control. 

This is a great articulation of something I have been working on for literally years. I succumb to worry bordering on panic often (like many of us I am sure) but I work diligently to consider “is this really going to happen?”. So often it’s the case that nothing remotely as bad as I thought was going to happen does.

I think this is an extremely important concept to remember for those of us who suffer from anxiety, and this article does a good job of reinforcing it. The scenarios we create in our minds are often the worse case scenarios, as it would apply to us. As an example, I recently gave notice at my job, prior I had a whirlwind in my head of all sorts of scenarios that would play out from being sued to people begging me to stay.

It consumed me, and I was unable to sleep the night before and was riddled with anxiety. None of my mental forecasts came true. It was for all intent and purposes a standard run of the mill process with no surprises. For those of us with anxiety though, that’s daily life.

Like water, sometimes it’s a flood, sometimes it’s a small drip but either way you get wet, just to what degree? Now I’m waxing poetic and should probably stop, LOL.

You’re doing great, one day at a time.