I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
When I explain it to people, they often don’t really get it. Shit, I still don’t really get it sometimes. But it’s not for me to get. It is for me to accept and figure out how to best navigate and manage my mental health.
Feeling anxious once in a while and having anxiety are two very different things—the former consists of normal day-to-day worries, while the latter begins with a thought or feeling that you become fixated upon, leading you down a rabbit hole of anxiety, sometimes coupled with legit physical symptoms (like a racing heart and profuse sweating).
Exhibit A – My heart rate and GAD.
When I am in a state of panic or have an “episode” of my heart racing, I immediately check my HRM on my Apple Watch; and what would you know, it’s only racing at 59!!!! A sense of calm rushes over me seeing that number, then I head to my room and grab a CBD Nano Jellie. To get a quicker fix, I chew it up and let is sit under my tongue, hold for 30-45 seconds, and then swallow.
Isn’t crazy that my brain and body are telling me my heart is racing at what feels like 259 BPM, but in reality it’s only beating at 59?!
If your anxiety is more than run-of-the-mill stress, check out below to learn more. Compliments of an article in Women’s Health Magazine.
1. Your anxious thoughts don’t go away.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you tend to be become extremely anxious in situations where your friends or family might get only a little anxious. “Your anxiety also tends to be long-lasting or persistent; it never seems to dissipate. When our anxiety begins impacting daily life and our ability to live a fulfilling life,” that’s when it’s an issue.
2. You can’t focus.
It’s not uncommon for people with GAD to be mistakenly perceived as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Me, I am raising my hand. I also have ADHD, but I don’t medicate with “amphetamine salts” because it makes my heart race and triggers my anxiety even more.
Individuals with anxiety disorders often have a difficult time focusing. “You are constantly in your head and get distracted by all the obsessions and negativity rattling around in there, to an outsider, it looks like you have ADHD.”
3. You’re always afraid of making the “wrong” decision.
If you are dealing with an anxiety disorder, your decision-making skills are pretty much shot.
Anxiety disorders “make you indecisive because you fear making the wrong choice. You fall into an endless pit of worries as you think about all the endless possibilities and outcomes to your decisions—and that worry can be paralyzing.”
4. You find it impossible to snooze.
Anxiety has a way of taking your thoughts on a ride that leaves you unable to catch some shut-eye. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), some level of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders.
It’s me again. I am raising my hand if you can’t see me. I have severe sleep issues – insomnia basically due to anxiety. I took Ambiean for a few years and let me tell you, Tiger Woods wasn’t lying if he didn’t remember what happened while taking it. Ive been there.
5. Your anxiety is coupled with other symptoms.
GAD can also manifest as physical conditions, including muscular pain, restlessness, and fatigue. And don’t be surprised if you also experience gastrointestinal issues. Anxiety disorders can lead to GI upset, including diarrhea, cramping, and heartburn, since your body is always in a heightened state of anxiety.
Hi, it’s me again! I will spare you the shitty details (see what I did there), but all of the above have impacted me over the years. I know most of my physical pain and fatigue is from my soccer days & having kids, but I definitely agree that my GAD keeps some of these issues active.
6. You worry about worrying.
Yes, many anxiety disorders are triggered by specific worries: GAD, for example, might make you worry about the unknown, like what your future holds; while a phobia might make you fear the immediate, like a spider dropping down in front of you.
But anxiety disorders can also make you have anxiety about having anxiety. Worrying can become cyclical and lead to even more worrying.
7. You want to avoid all of the things.
It’s not uncommon for a person with an anxiety disorder to avoid situations—no matter the level of importance—in order to quell excessive feelings of anxiousness.
But MH magazine points out that that avoidance feeds into anxiety disorders too. “The relief you feel from escaping anxiety-provoking situations reinforces anxiety.” So basically you can never win?!
8. You always see the glass as half empty.
It’s not uncommon for anxiety disorders to strip you of any optimism. As you think about the different outcomes for your decisions, they often lead to one conclusion: It will suck. The future seems bleak and hopeless.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT
The most helpful thing you can do if you struggle with anxiety is to get professional help!
Sleep, eating well, and staying active can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Treatment for anxiety disorders can also include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), coping skills, and possibly even medication (cough cough – CANNABIS).
There are two major categories of medication that are used to treat anxiety: antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Antidepressants are seen as long-term treatments for anxiety, while anti-anxiety medications are a short-term way to relieve physical symptoms like muscle tension.
Back in the day before we moved back to Florida from South Carolina, I took both: Prozac and Xanax. I didn’t feel better on them like I had hoped (or the doctor stated), so I decided if I was going to continue to feel that way on the medication, I might as well feel similar off the medication.
So as guided by my doctor, I slowly weaned off both the Prozac and Xanax. During that time we were in the transition to move back to Florida and medical marijuana had just became legal. So you know what was the first thing I did when we moved back? Got my medical marijuana card… and connected with a USDA organic CBD company. (Our CBD is better than the dispensary!)
At first, I only supplemented with CBD. After a few months, I slowly started incorporating THC into the mix and began microdosing with THC – while I continued to take CBD daily.
A quick Marijuana 102: microdosing – people getting the maximum benefit from the minimum amount, without becoming stoned, paranoid or lethargic.
I microdosed to regulate my mood, relieve stress (ANXIETY) and tension that builds up, and allow me to feel more at ease. It’s like taking a 1/2 of a Xanax, but not.. because it’s a plant and organic 🙂