Hi everyone, my name is Kim and I'm a 28 year old living with generalized anxiety disorder. It started shortly after I began my graduate studies. At first I thought it was merely depression and couldn't understand why I was having so much trouble in class, why I couldn't remember the simplest things, why I felt so overwhelmed with emotions with no real logical explanation for them. It started out as small as a simple thing. I was hurt when I found out that my exboyfriend (who I haven't dated nor seen in the past 10 years) was getting married. I was slightly irked by it but I thought I was over it, or maybe even disappointed because I wasn't dating at the time, so it made me feel more alone. Then other things happened. At work I continuously get work because I work with kids who have autism and behavioral issues so I would come home with bites, headaches, bruises, scratches, etc. etc. At one point I was on a antibiotic every other week for some new injury. Other things happened, I did a group project in one of my classes and one of my "classmates" basically called me stupid. I wasn't getting straight A's but I was passing my classes with above a 3.0. I was commuting to school every weekend- a 3 hour drive, find a place to spend the night and drive back the next day after a weekend of sitting in class for 18 hours. These things pushed me towards hurting myself. I had never cut myself before but it happened and I felt a sense of release. I knew I needed help and tried visiting the school therapist. . .it only made things more difficult that there was not one available during the summer when I was seeking treatment from the school therapist. I moved closer to school so I wouldn't have to commute.This involved finding another job and ways to continue paying for things while being a student. I still continued to cut myself and I noticed myself separating myself from everyone and everything. I got a dog. This helped me get up and get out of the house. It also helped take my mind off of things. I was constantly adding more stress to my life not realizing that the anxiety that I was not addressing was keeping me depressed. Time went on, I continued to struggle through my coursework. It progressively got worse because I continued to forget things, continued to overanalyze things, i always used to worry and could never concentrate. The worse part was being tired and not being able to sleep. I could be up all day from 6am-10pm and would not sleep a wink cause the thoughts in my head would continuously run. So even though I would set up enough time to get my work done, study or what have you, I still would never get anything done. Long story short- I failed out of grad school, which was the major source of my anxiety. So now I have all these financial obligations for a degree I don't even have, working a mediocre job and trying to get treatment-but oh wait I don't have insurance anymore since I had to leave the graduate program. I'm finally on anti anxiety meds- for the first time in nearly 2 years I feel genuinely happy. But I still have outlandish reactions to things, I worry, I overexaggerate, I'm still a mess but I'm less of a mess. I'm trying to clean it up. I've been exercising more frequently which in turn has helped significantly with my sleep so I hardly ever need to take sleeping pills. I box at least 2-3 times a week and try to stay active. I've noticed I'm less lethargic and have more energy. I'm just not sure how to address my issues, I want to go back to school and finish up what I started but things about school have this triggering mechanism that makes me continue to have hurtful thoughts, cry, become distant with others, and just brings about an emotional overload where I shut down. Then its back to depression. I've only recently been open enough to share with a few trusted family and friends so I feel like I'm at a point where I can make a positive change and can look at myself and tell myself that I'm overreacting and I don't need to stress about everything but I need ideas for how to calm myself down, besides self talk. And it makes me worry when I feel like I'm always going to worry. It's just a vicious cycle that keeps going.