I want to talk about the difference between normal levels of anxiety and having an anxiety disorder. Nearly everyone gets anxious, it's normal. What separates every day anxiety from an anxiety disorder is when it starts to affect your life and how you function. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which basically means I am overwhelmed with worrying and anxious thoughts almost 24/7. To the point I feel it physically. I can't explain the sheer terror of laying in bed at night, not being able to breath or calm yourself down, and having every worry and question about your life go through your head. I should of's about the past, what if's about the future; all happening at once. You want every problem, every question, every worry solved right then and there. It's overwhelming, and you're sure you're doomed if you can't figure it all out.
My boyfriend and I disagreed on something having to do with Sex Work. After sending him articles I was able to sway his opinion a bit. I know this was a big deal since even one of his best friends couldn't do this. I know what we aren't going to agree on everything, but for someone with an anxiety disorder it isn't that easy. I jump to conclusions (he hates women and wants to control them!) I ask impossible questions about the future (what if he has a daughter who wants to be a sex worker?), and worst of all I forget all the good things about the person you love. Suddenly this one thing I disagree on is magnified and I dwell on it; maybe even twist it around so it seems a lot worse than it actually is, and pretty soon I'm so deep that I'm convinced the two of us are doomed to break up and not last. It's not as simple as just, "remembering people disagree," it doesn't matter if I know other couples disagree, it doesn't matter that there's so much other stuff we agree on; or that part of why he loves me is because I'm so passionate. What makes it even worse is the black and white thinking that comes from having BPD.
This anxiety isn't just reserved for my relationship. I've had a lot of good stuff happen lately, but I haven't been able to really enjoy it because I'm so overwhelmed with anxiety.
New job? What if I lose it? I have to do my budget. What if they don't renew my contract?
New therapist? What if it doesn't work out? What if I can't get an appointment?
New friends? How long before I push them away.
These are just some of the worries and anxieties that go through my head. All the time,at the same time. It's almost 3:00am and I can't sleep. My anxiety causes night terrors, I wake up panicking, desperate to make everything okay.
Anxiety disorders are cute, they aren't fun. And being anxious about a job interview does not equate to having an anxiety disorder.