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Author Topic: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.  (Read 454 times)

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Offline worldbeat99

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Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« on: April 12, 2014, 01:39:24 AM »
For the months of Jan - March, 2014, during the worst winter Chicago has ever seen...I found myself dealing with a case of GAD, generalized anxiety disorder.  My therapist confirmed it.  I seemed to feel anxious from morning to night, 24/7.  I didn't feel like myself.  My life seemed strange to me, distant.  It was unnerving like a nightmare I couldn't wake up from.

But I never gave up hope that I could return to myself.  I started researching anxiety and GAD.  I started going to Meetup groups for people with anxiety and made some great new friends.  I regularly participated in online chat rooms for anxiety which was helpful.  I started doing regular physical exercise to naturally reduce stress and increase endorphins.  About 50 jumping jacks in the morning, some jogging in place and sit ups.

As a nichiren buddhist, I chanted to reveal my true buddha nature, and to reveal my anxious nature to be an impostor.  I found a therapist who exposed me to ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  She also told me a bout mindful meditation.  I found a GP who was great and supportive and a good listener.  She put me on buspar and increased dosages for the best effect.

Gradually, my stress levels started to go down.  I was better able to manage my nervousness, to befriend the affliction rather than be afraid of it.  I even found myself having fun at work, being able to accomplish more.  ACT therapy helped me shift my focus away from the anxiety and toward my goals, the things that gave my life meaning.  And that nightmare of anxiety has slowly receded.  Was it the chanting, the buspar, the therapy, the Meetup groups?  Was the GAD only seasonal anxiety?  Could all these things be part of the solution?

All I know is that I no longer felt the urgency to see a therapist and brought that to a happy conclusion. 
I don't even call it anxiety anymore.  I call it nervousness or anxiousness because those words are friendlier to me.  I still take the meds
and do as much of my regime as I feel I need to.  I still feel stress at times because life that's a natural part of life.  But I manage better and I feel much more like myself.  I just wanted to share my success in hopes that it might encourage others.  Anxiousness is a tricky
thing to manage.  I wish everyone the best of luck!

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Offline kconnors

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 02:01:04 AM »
Hi,

This is such great news . . .thank you so much for letting us know . . . it is indeed joyful to know that you are are succeeding . . . here's to a new time for you in your life .. . take care, kc
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 02:11:51 AM »
Thanks kc.  It surely has been a journey.  I wish you my happiness in your own journey.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 01:03:58 AM »
I'd be interested in others who are making progress with their GAD.  Or folks who've overcome it.
What was your strategy?   :spineyes:
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Offline sigwafsus

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 06:32:03 PM »
Thats great news man!  I'm always happy to hear inspiring success stories, I've had a tough last few days and looking for some hope.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 06:40:46 PM »
Thanks, Sigwafus.  Sorry your last few days have been tough.  Don't give up hope that your true self, your true heart, is much bigger
than your anxiety.  For me, I do anything I can do to fight for my happiness.  It seems to be working.

I'm starting a Meetup.com event just for GAD sufferers.  If anyone lives in the Chicago area, the event will be May 10th, 2014.
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Offline anxietysucks!

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 08:42:14 PM »
When you say that you felt nevrous 24/7, do you mean that you felt like you were keyed up and on edge for that whole time? I've had anxiety for over a year, but usually I would calm down after getting out of a certain situation, or if I went home. Lately, I can't calm down no matter what I do. I use to be able to talk it out, and then I'd feel better. Now, it just seems to stay there. I also have been startling easier, which is frustrating. I'm going to see a DBT therapist on Friday, and probably will be starting meds too. I want to have hope, so this story was great! I just want to feel like myself, and not continue to have anxiety. I want my life back!
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 09:05:29 PM »
Hi AS, when I was dealing with GAD during this past winter -- it seemed like my nervousness was constant.  Whether I was at work or at play,
whether a situation was stressful or not.

Although I worked with a therapist who had me track my stress levels by the hour each week, from when I woke up to when I went to bed.
That has helpful cuz I realized that there were times that my stress was lower.  So maybe it wasn't literally 24/7.

The definition of GAD from NIMH does say this:

If you have GAD, you worry all the time about your family,
health, or work, even when there are no signs of trouble.
Sometimes you arenít worried about anything special, but
feel tense and worried all day long.

10 deep breaths in and out -- has always helped me destress.  Physical exercise too.

Good luck when you see your therapist.  Therapy and meds can be very helpful.
As I did both, slowly my nervousness got smaller as an issue.  And I started focusing more
on my goals and the things that gave my life meaning. (ACT therapy)  Rebuilding my circle of friends, my writing.
I feel I do have my life back.  There is still nervousness sometimes, but it's manageable.
Nervousness can be good and I accept it as a part of life.  But it no longer dominates my life.
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Offline anxietysucks!

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 11:28:52 PM »
Thank you for the kind encouraging words. I've dealt with this for a while, but never had it this constant or bad. It's bad enough I don't feel like eating, and I feel like no one else has ever felt this bad. I worry that it won't end, yet I know it will. It just has come out of nowhere, and I don't know how to stop it, since I don't know what the cause is. Hopefully Friday will at least help me start to calm down
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Offline SSG

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 05:37:35 PM »
Just curious.  I have seen a couple of counselors, and I would love to hear if anyone has anything specific they learned in counseling.  I'm not really sure counseling is working.  Talking about my anxiety doesn't seem to make it go away.  Also, I am on Buspar, and wonder what strength others are taking???  How long did it take to kick in?  So glad you are doing better!!
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 11:45:01 PM »
SSG, you bring up a good question about counseling.  But first to answer the question on dosage.  I first started on a low dose of 7.5 mgs of Buspar.  After two weeks, not feeling much change, my doc upped my dosage to 15 mg (7.5 in morning and 7.5 in evening) which I stayed at for a week.  Then the dosage was upped to 30 mg (15 in am and 15 in pm).  I knew from my own research that the max dose was 60 mg and those that respond to Buspar often respond at 30 or so.  To be honest I have never felt a dramatic kick in (as I did went I started prozac years ago), but it was more of a steady but sure feeling.  A sense that anxiety as an urgent issue was decreasing.

As for therapy, I went to a clinic in Chicago that specialized in anxiety and depression.  I worked with a student therapist at a reduced rate.  Honestly, at first I was impatient.  The therapist was using CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy.  But I was already very familiar with these concepts.  So I challenged her to please try to find approaches that were newer to me.  She introduced me to ACT therapy (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) which I loved.  She taught me how to do mindful meditation, and breathing exercises.  She helped me see that anxiety is not always a bad thing.  (For instance, when I did public speaking for my novel, I knew that I'm feel nervous and excited.  I accepted that.  But I also knew that I would give a great presentation.)  When I first came to see her for therapy, I told her I wanted a life without any anxiety.  She helped me see that a life without any anxiety is not a life.  That anxiety is a part of life, as is joy and love and struggle.  After four weekly therapy sessions, I ended them on a good note.  I still use things I learned from that therapy.
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Offline Benadryl

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »
Thanks for the post. I know how great it can be to finally feel like yourself again. And how awful it can feel to feel like you're walking around in someone else's skin. I agree so much that endorphins help immensely. If I could prescribe one thing to everyone on this forum it would be exercise. Your body needs it. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you.
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Offline SSG

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 07:51:05 PM »
Thanks, Worldbeat99.  I will have to check in to that therapy!  I have just gone up to 45 mg of Buspar this week. 
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Where has my GAD gone? Feeling much more like myself.
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 12:31:26 AM »
Benadryl, you are so right.  Physical exercise is a simple, powerful challenge to anxiety.

I want to continue to include exercise in the morning for 15-20 minutes.  Love the endorphins.
Just because I feel better, I can't totally abandon the many things that have gotten me here!
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