Hi guys, this forum is always such a welcoming place, so I guess I'm just looking to see if anyone has gone through the same problem I am right now.
Basically I had my first anxiety attacks at 10 years old when my only parent was diagnosed with life threatening cancer. After about a year with a therapist and my parent beating the cancer, I got better and though was always more of a stressed out kind of person at times, never had any sort of experience like I did when I was a kid. I did discover though, that when I'm anxious or having an attack I delve heavily into using triggers that don't always make a lot of sense. Like when I was a kid and it started happening we were learning about the crusades in school so I was absolutely terrified of seeing or hearing anything having to do with the crusades for about a year. As I got older these triggers for when I was feeling stressed out turned into other irrational but more common things. For example I'd be really scared of catching HIV even though I'm abstinent most of the time, so would be probably in the least likely demographic given my lifestyle habits in the world to contract it, that kind of thing.
So fast forward to this year and am now in my mid 20's. I've never had a problem in the past with alcohol with considering my alcohol habits unhealthy. I drink more than a lot of people, and less than a lot of people, but I think I had pretty normal habits. I was primarily a social drinker and never really kept it in the house a lot. So early this year I started to hate my job more and more, which is a really stressful job too, and a lot of other external life stuff was popping up. I recognize now that I was subconciously fighting back the full on flare up of GAD but at the time I started to self medicate by drinking more than I normally would, and realizing that my alcohol habits were becoming unhealthy. One morning at work my GAD broke to the surface and I started internally freaking out, though I don't get full on panic attacks usually. Basically that day I quit drinking because I googled that that may have something to do with it, and pretty much did not drink at all for a month. At this time it seemed to have no effect on my anxiety levels. My anxiousness was consistent throughout even though I had cut out alcohol and a lot of caffeine. After awhile I re-introduced small amounts of alcohol and again it doesn't really seem to have any effect on my anxiety levels in terms of whether I drink it or don't. My GAD seems to get really bad when I'm PMSing, or some days it will just be worse than others, and when my GAD is bad I don't drink, and that's not a problem.
However now I've pretty much convinced myself I'm an alcoholic and that's what is causing all this, even though on days when I'm not anxious I feel completely fine and the idea doesn't seem to bother me at all. All of my close friends and family say they don't think I'm an alcoholic, and they are definitely the kind of people that I feel like would tell me if I was. However, this seems to be my new trigger stressor and it's a tricky one because it's kind of subjective and taboo.
I haven't really encountered anyone else for which this seems to be more of a manufactured trigger as opposed to an actual cause, and every time I google it I read about how it usually means you're an alcoholic and it stresses me out more, so I was wondering if it's just me