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Author Topic: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?  (Read 764 times)

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Offline worldbeat99

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What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« on: May 30, 2014, 10:12:13 PM »
Since this is the GAD section, I thought it might be interesting to see how different people experience GAD.
For instance mine is a frequent sense of dread.  But I don't have many physical symptoms like other GADDERS.
Also do you ever have trouble telling where anxiousness ends and sadness begins.  Sometimes I find them hard to
separate.  But one thing about GAD is that it does not seem to be triggered so much as an ongoing shadow.
Though strangely I've noticed I'm a bit more "not myself" in my free time than in my work time.

There can be points in the day when I feel totally myself and GAD is nowhere.  I would like to feel myself a majority of the time.
That is one way I can track my recovery.

But what does GAD feel like to you?
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Offline Lori_BT

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 07:07:59 AM »
Great question, and I hadn't really thought about how I would define GAD for myself until a few weeks ago when I was trying to explain it to a family member. I have always been more anxious/sensitive than most people I know, and I am pretty sure I've been living with GAD from the time I was a very young child. The way I would describe my GAD is this: For me, the feelings of anxiety and dread come and go - seemingly out of nowhere. I'll be fine, going about my life, and then BAM! Something (usually something that would not really alarm a non-GAD person) will send me into a downward spiral. The things that set me off vary - anything from feeling that I have a serious health issue to thinking that there is something horribly wrong with my house to intense worry about what people are thinking about me. I tend to obsess over whatever issue has set me off - for awhile - and when the issue resolves itself, the anxiety does not go away. It just seems to attach itself to something else. As each issue (imagined or real) is resolved, the anxiety remains, and if there isn't something obvious for me to attach it to, I will look for something - anything - to be anxious about. Eventually, the anxious feelings subside, and I am able to live normally until the next episode strikes.

My main symptoms are:
- Whatever I'm worried about plays over and over in my head - like a tape that you can't turn off.
- Inability to concentrate (can't read or watch TV or have a real conversation) because I keep going back to the obsessive thoughts.
- Difficulty staying asleep.
- Rapid heart beat - especially in the early hours of the morning - 3 or 4ish.
- Sinking feeling in my stomach.
- Nervous energy - having to keep busy for fear that my thoughts will make me go crazy.

I guess that overall, I picture my GAD as a velcro ball. The ball rolls in with a worry on it, and once that worry subsides, the ball keeps rolling until another worry sticks to it. This cycle repeats until there is no more velcro for worries to stick to, then the ball rolls away. At any point in the future, another velcro ball rolls on in. That is really my GAD in a nutshell. Looking forward to reading about everyone else's experiences. Wishing all a beautiful and peaceful weekend.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 10:25:53 AM »
Lori, that's a great description of your GAD experience.  I love the velcro ball image.  Are you treating your GAD with anything particular?
What is most effective for you?
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 10:00:51 PM »
My experience with GAD has been moments of fear and panic which have spanned over the last 8 years.  And I guess you could say the fear of fear then turned into multiple physical symptoms, such as, tense, sore back muscles, stomach issues, and rapid heart rate to name a few.

When this all started around 2006 or so I remember sitting in my bed a lot wondering how in the world I got to that state of anxiety, and how would I find my way back to myself.  It was a very dark time for me.

I went through psychological counseling, which consisted of talk therapy, and a bit of CBT.  And I've had a few tries with SSRI's.  Both of with helped immensely----my thinking is a lot better these days as I have learned what my cognitive distortions were and rectified them.  The medication helped as it took the edge off.

I know what triggered my anxiety to start in the first place, I went through a terribly traumatic emotional event in my marriage, and I kind of got stuck in anger that I could not express.  I believe that repressed emotion is what was making me 'sick' (for lack of better words).  No expert told me that is what happened, it's just my opinion on what caused it.

But anyway, I have grown from this experience with anxiety---it forced me to change for the better in all aspects, so in a way it turned out to be not as bad as it seemed to be.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2014, 12:10:37 AM »
CarrieAnne, it's sounds like you've been able to get the upper hand over GAD.  Great to here.

Some weekends I am by myself.  But this weekend, I'm with 4 friends.  Tonight one of my pals is staying overnight as we
eat good foods and watch tv.  I enjoy having overnight guests.  Having a steady flow of friends makes it harder to
get thinking about anxiety which is a good thing.
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Offline tinam7

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2014, 09:29:47 AM »
Lovely thread, thank you. Actually not sure whether I qualify to post here because I seem to have a touch of everything, GAD, OCD, Agoraphobia, Depression, etc. The struggle has been life long as I look back. Plenty days of suicidal thoughts to days of reclaiming the chi (life force from tai chi) and feeling as if I want to cure the world of its ills.

Key pillars are CBT, exercise (a variety, esp. yoga and tai chi), meditation and writing "Books on the Shelf."
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 10:06:47 PM »
Tina, we don't discriminate against those who have a little of everything.  Sorry for the tough days, and
wishing more of the "cure the world" days.  I like exercise, ACT, yoga and helpful books.  I'm also part of
an online anxiety group that is supportive.
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Offline LizzeyDizzy

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 01:30:40 AM »
Great question, it's always been very hard for me to explain it to anyone but here goes.
I started having Anxiety issues when i was 8, on Jan 24th 2005 my Grandfather died in a car accident in front of my school bus when i was on my way home; he was hit by a drunk driver who was on the wrong side of the road. After that is when i started having Anxiety and Panic issues, it started out with just severe separation anxiety from my mom, i was 8 so my parents just brushed it off as being normal. It didn't get real bad until i was 12 and i got into a severe bike accident, in which i flew off my bike 40 ft and landed straight on my face i almost died and had to spend 6 weeks on crutches and bed rest. After the bike accident really weird things started to happen to me, in example i would completely freak out in cars and i started hyperventilating. I still have issues with cars although not as bad as it was before my parents split. I am gonna explain why i would freak out in cars cause it has a lot to do with my anxiety and panic issues; sometimes if we are only going 30 mph it feels like we are going 100 mph and then if we are doing 60 mph it feels like we are crawling down the road , when that happens i get really bad feeling in my stomach and i automatically freak out cause i think we will crash and die. My other anxiety issues deal with my heart and my stomach and even my moods, my heart races very fast and then i get physically ill when it affects my mood i go from being extremely happy to wanting everything to end. I also suffer from night terrors and extremely violent nightmares every night which is why i rarely sleep. Now i am going to therapy, i start on june 13th; all of my symptoms don't have to do with Anxiety my family doctor is pretty sure i have PTSD.  I just live moment to moment and try not to react to the anxiety because if i did i would have anxiety attacks all day. I also have a therapy cat that i trained to wake me up if i am having a nightmare or if  i have an anxiety/panic attack in my sleep.
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Life can be full of tragedies, but it's up to us to make those tragedies a beautiful reminder of what we once had.

Offline tinam7

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2014, 08:58:03 AM »
Do you mean our supportive group here? Not sure what ACT is or how it compares to CBT. What esp. do you like about yoga?

"Cure the world" times are actually distressing. For one thing I feel responsible for the ills (an Omnipotence Error discovered in CBT) and am totally, utterly, hopelessly powerless. Watch the news, and despair. But thank you for the inclusiveness.
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Online ECee

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 03:08:39 PM »
I can't pinpoint where my anxiety started, as it feels like it's always been there. My mom told me I'm just a generally anxious person, as so was she and my grandma, but neither of them had it to my extent. Although for three years now I'd been suffering worse than I'd ever had in my life, although it's gone up and down.

A lot of my anxiety is similar to what's already posted. It's very similar to what Lori's said. I'd feel an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety for bouts of time, and sometimes I cannot figure out what I'm anxious about, but it's usually about school and fearing horrible things happening. Little things will set me off and take me all the way down (things like a part of something I planned fell through).

usually his is what my GAD looks like:
- loss of appetite (this has gotten so bad to the point where I lost 10 lbs because I'd get sick if I tried to eat)
- being very superstitious, and I know it sounds silly but I do, and it's not the knock-on-wood, throw salt over your shoulder kind of thing, it's weird things I feel like I have to do so nothing bad happens. If I have a dream that something bad happens, I'll cancel plans.
- trouble falling/staying asleep
- losing my mind over something ending (especially end of breaks or vacations, as I dread school so much, I can barely enjoy vacations anymore because all I feel is the dread of its end)
- fatigue and tiredness
- fear of going out (this comes and goes but it's to extremes)

Right now I'm in a very bad bout of anxiety and my family has been trying to find a psychiatrist for me, and I'm considering taking a semester off college, as I've struggled very badly with my first year. But this causes me anxiety of not staying on track in graduating in four years though.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 06:14:06 PM »
@Tina, I am part of a supportive online anxiety group.   AnxietyZone won't allow me to say much
about that group and it gets censored.  Here's a hint.  It is a group of faces.  Know what I mean?  It's 9 people I've met at Meetup groups
in Chicago, and from various anxiety websites.

As for ACT vs. CBT.  Try googling a comparison.  CBT is mainly focused on correctly false thoughts that make us suffer.  ACT has to do with
making peace with anxiety, and learning to focus on our goals and values that make us happiest as a way of moving focus from anxiety.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 06:17:17 PM »
***** Lizzey, sorry you've had some rough times in your life.  I can see how anxiety could be triggered by them.

But I'm envious that you have an anxiety cat.  That's cool.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 06:20:15 PM »
ECee, sorry you're having a bad bout of anxiety.  But that's great you're family is trying to find a good psych. for you to see.

My recent GAD has just been for 5 months and my general doctor has prescribed meds for it like buspar.  I've been on it 10 weeks
but no effect.  So I'm going to see a psychiatrist to manage and guide me anxiety meds.  I'm looking forward to a new perspective.
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Offline tinam7

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 08:13:41 AM »
Know what you mean even if I am a tech dummy. It is nice to share issues with others.

ACT stands for Acceptance, Commitment Therapy, perhaps an extension of CBT. Both are very good except that I am also still an old, selective Freudian. Believe we must first have insight into our early years. It is the foundation to then aim for change, as I see it. Altogether the learning experiences are mighty interesting.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: What is GAD to you? How do you experience it?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2014, 10:51:43 AM »
Yes, we can learn from the past.  I have kept a journal since high school which is helplful. I'm 55 now.
But recently I did a house cleaning and through out most of them.  Unfortunately, I threw out some
journals where I had a relapse, then a recovery.  Oops.
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