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Author Topic: Not really sure what to do.. I'm new  (Read 171 times)

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Offline queenbee

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Not really sure what to do.. I'm new
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:17:56 PM »
Hey Y'all!
I'm not sure if this is the right place for me. I haven't been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but after researching GAD, my life makes more sense. I have an appointment with a doctor for Thursday. I feel like talking things out with someone who understands might help. So I guess I'll just tell some of my story and see if anybody has any coping tips to share.

I'm 19 years old. I go to college, where I have been in the Band for three years. This year, I am a member of the Inaugural Winter Guard team. My life is pretty busy with school, work, winter guard, and some semblance of a social life.

When I was younger, I worried about everything. My mom says that in kindergarten, I would come home crying every day. I was terrified that I would get my clip moved for doing something wrong. I was a quiet and very shy kid. I loved to read and would rather sit in my room than go out and play with friends. I was put into the 5th grade challenge classes during first grade and skipped second grade altogether. When we realized that I was going to obsess over my grades in school, we found another outlet to divide some of my perfectionism. My parents decided to start my career as a competitive baton twirler by age 8. When I turned 10, I won my first of 20 National or World championship titles. I practiced every day of the year from age 9-16. Overall, twirling was wonderful because of the exercise, confidence in my ability to twirl, exposure to a whole new world, dedication, etc. I always worked really hard to be perfect, but that was normal for me.

Outside of twirling, I didn't really do anything else. I was too quiet in school to have many friends, and I hated doing presentations. I remember my heart racing, my face and chest blushing, and the extreme fear that I was going to stutter. My mom always said she didn't know why I always got so nervous before speaking or performing, because I was so good at it. Logically, I knew that I was going to do well, but it didn't stop me from stressing about everything.

It also wasn't just being in front of people that made me nervous. What if I twisted my ankle and couldn't compete? What if I missed a question on the test? What if my friend hasnt texted me back because she actually hates me? What if I have a wreck? What if I flip my car and die? I asked myself so many questions everyday, which I guess is normal. The thing is, these questions never went away. On a daily basis I still think about these and so many other things.

The real reason I started researching anxiety disorders are some recent health scares. A few weeks ago, I noticed that my head had hurt terribly for a few days and heart was racing constantly. I have a lot of headaches, but my pulse remained above 100 bpm for about a week straight. I went to the campus health center for an ecg. They mentioned that I had some palpitations. They did some blood work, but the only problems were low calcium and protein levels. I am waiting for more blood tests, but decided to look into the problem. Anxiety came up, and after reading just a few descriptions, I realized that this could be my problem. I had briefly considered anxiety as a problem before, but my mom was a "tough lover" I guess you could say. I heard a lot of "Just calm down, just take your vitamins, you need to chill out, sleep more, you're just freaking out, you should step out of your comfort zone."

Like I said, I'm not sure if anxiety is an explanation for the way I feel, but after reading a lot, I think its possible. Can anyone give me suggestions? I feel a little better just writing some of it down. I just don't know what to do or who to talk to at this point.

Thanks,
Nervous girl
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Not really sure what to do.. I'm new
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 06:41:48 PM »
Hi,

Welcome to the forum . . . we will do our best to support you . . .

You are 19 and have a busy life but you may be having some anticipatory anxiety which comes out in what if scenarios . . . although it does not help much, most of us have that symptom . . . .you are taking the right steps because you need to check out your physical status and then work on your psychological status . . . when a person is prone to perfectionism for whatever reason, anxiety usually manifests itself in what if scenarios because it is our (I am similar to you) way of trying to control all eventualities but that is not possible . . . .I call it the Mr. Spock syndrome from the original Star Trek series . . . when we cannot figure out a way to control everything, anxiety comes into play as it feeds back into the what if . . .

The good news is that our brains still are pretty flexible up until the age of around 25 . . . . we have a lot of plasticity but you are picking a great time to deal with your issues . . . .

You recognize that you have an issue and you are following up on it . . . good for you.

Now, some strategies for the in between times . . . I am not a med professional so I am speaking just from personal experience . . . I had to turn the what if scenarios into so what scenarios . . . .so what if I make a mistake . . . just makes me human . . . so what if I don't get if I don't get the highest grade? . . . when we are good at something or even great at something, we fear that one mistake will let us be less admired or less perfect . . . look at the Olympics . . . sh*& happens, you move on . . . . if you obsess over every little error then you are denying yourself one of the greatest opportunities . . . to learn from your errors and even if it is not an error, you are learning the strength of your confidence . . . if a person never makes a mistake or fails, then that person never has the confidence of recovery . . .

It is difficult for folks who do not have anxiety to understand that if it were just a matter of calming down, we would all have done that a long time ago . . . it is more like learning how to manage the triggers and resolving the root causes. . . I can't say it is an easy journey but it does make you stronger ..  .at least it did for me . . .now, don't get me wrong . . .I still experience anxiety (actually going through a particularly anxiety provoking time now) but I rely on strategies such as writing in a journal, mindfulness, exercise, etc. to help me through it . . . my problem is anticipatory anxiety also . . . I have a med appointment on March 17th and then a follow up one on March 26 . . . I am worried; I am anxious but I am doing my best to realize that I still have those moments in between to live . . . .I guess that I feel better if I can fill up those moments between now and then by distracting myself . . .

Don't know if this helps any, but you may have had GAD a long time and it is only getting through right now . . .but you are strong and you must believe that . . . follow through with your plan and by all means if we can support you, come here . . .we are a very welcoming community . . . .I have received tremendous direct and indirect support through my cyber-family here and you will too . . .take care, and let us know how you are doing . . . KC
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Offline MobileChucko

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Re: Not really sure what to do.. I'm new
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 06:43:00 PM »
Hi Queenbee...

Welcome to Anxiety Zone.  You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations.   It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.

We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation.  Feel free to explore the rest of the forum.  You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.

We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18.  Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.

You are starting off on the right foot, by investigating physical illnesses that might be causing your symptoms.  I would suggest you make an appointment to have a complete physical, and discuss your symptoms openly with you doctor.  This can help to ease your mind.  Certainly, the symptoms that you are describing can be caused by anxiety.

Anxiety conditions are treatable.  Known treatments that work include the use or anti-depressants, therapies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), exercise, and the use of omega-3/fish oil.  Supportive therapy includes proper nutrition (eating frequent, small meals), keeping yourself hydrated  (drinking plenty of water), getting proper rest/sleep, and practicing meditation techniques/mindfulness, to name a few.

Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone...  The very best to you, Queenbee!...  Chuck :grinning-smiley-003:
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Offline queenbee

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Re: Not really sure what to do.. I'm new
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 07:43:00 PM »
Thank you kconners. I do believe that I might have been experiencing this all my life. It helps a lot to know that there is a name for it and I'm not crazy. I have always tried to take everything a day at a time. You said that you journal..  I have never been very consistent with that, but writing does make me feel calmer too. I hope that your med appointments go smoothly.

And thanks to MobileChucko as well.

I guess I wait until I hear from the doctor. I'm just nervous about admitting to myself and my friends and family that I might have GAD. I've always tried to be a strong person who didn't need much help from other people, but I think that is what I need most right now. I am worried that if anxiety is causing my heart problems and headaches now, at such a young age,  what will it affect later in life with the stress of jobs, families, etc.
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Not really sure what to do.. I'm new
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 07:16:14 AM »
Hi Again,

Sometimes I am not very consistent with journal entries myself . . . .I find, though, if I write before going to bed, then it is a way to verbalize my concerns . . . after I write, I put the journal and those concerns away and I usually have a better sleep.

For me, it takes more strength to live the process than it does to hide it. You may find folks without anxiety do not really understand what is going on. They are often well intentioned, but they do not experience anxiety at the depth that those of us with anxiety do. Often, the anxiety that they experience is intermittent anxiousness that is normal; not the every present feelings that we have. You will also find that there are folks who may not understand anxiety, but who will be there for you to support you because, for them, your well-being is the most important and all that matters is that you get better and get better you will. Recovery takes strength because it is not just an event, but a process. I won't lie . . . the process can be frustrating, disappointing, and, at times, discouraging so the strength comes in by getting over the road blocks . . . by taking one moment at a time and, often, having to move out of your comfort zone. As strange as it may sound, anxiety can be a comfort zone . . .we get used to it and as much as we hate it, there is some trepidation to move out of it because we know it but move out of it we all must do to recover.

You are 19 and from a brain perspective, as I said, you are at a good age to recover . . . .you will find that the strategies that you learn now guided by a skilled therapist (and you may have to "interview" a couple of therapists to find a good fit) will strengthen your skill sets to manage every day stress as well as those more intense episodes; so, rather than playing the what if game of what may happen later in life, play the "what is" game and focus on recovery. With your background in band, etc., you have the skill sets of determination and focus so you need to look at recovery as a new skill set . . .

For those friends and family who are there for you, great; for those who decide that they cannot handle the news for whatever reason, well, that is there problem . . . yours is moving forward from moment to moment and eventually day to day and then eventually to managing your anxiety and getting on not with life per se but with living it . . . .come here any time as we will support you in whatever path you choose . . .take care, kc
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