This Is A Thing That Happened.

I was recently (and very belatedly) diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD if you’re nasty. It’s a diagnosis I’ve put off for a while. Mostly because I was having anxiety attacks about admitting that I have anxiety attacks (which is how wormholes are created). Finally, after encouragement and support from my family, Grace, and Kate, I decided to go to the doctor and talk about “it” and “my options”. My doctor, who has been my doctor since I was 11, was absolutely wonderful about it. He was the perfect combination of compassionate and clinical and when I burst into tears, he handed me tissues and didn’t once look at me with pity or condescension. Instead, he listened to me. He talked with me not at me. And he created a plan for treatment that gave me relief and hope for a time when my day wasn’t measured by how many attacks I had.

Most important to me, is that for the first time, I’m able to laugh at my anxiety. Laughter is my trusty coping mechanism (sorry denial, you’ve been good to me, but not as good as laughter) and finally being able to rely on it again has made all the difference. Now, when I have a thought like “This plane is going to crash.” I’m able to prevent myself from falling down the rabbit hole that leads to me having chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath, and the certainty that if I move at all, I might die. How, do I prevent myself from falling down the rabbit hole? I laugh. I laugh at what I’m thinking. Immediately after “This plane is going to crash.” I think “Yeah, it’s going to crash because there’s too many motherfuckin snakes on this plane!” And then I laugh because, c’mon, snakes on a plane? That’s hilarious. And then maybe I don’t fall down the rabbit hole because I interrupted my anxious thought with a funny one. And before I was never able to do that, but I can now. And it doesn’t always work but it works more times than it doesn’t and I’ll take it. I’ll take it.

And I guess I’m posting this because I want everyone to know that this is something I’ve struggled with and am now dealing with and it’s a thing that happens. And it happened to me.
– Mae

28 thoughts on “This Is A Thing That Happened.

  1. Thank you SO much for sharing. I too have AD, MDD, BDD and PTSD, EIEIO…. all courtesy of the US Navy. Meds have been good to me over the years, but NOTHING works as well as laughter. Good thing my Hubs gets this cuz he is a funny mothertrucker! GADS unite! Or, GADS untie! Depending in what day it is….

  2. Anxiety sucks, but what sucks worse than anxiety is actually admitting to it and dealing with it. I’ve had it for years now and even when I could admit I was depressed, I couldn’t admit I had anxiety because it seemed a little too weird for me. Honestly, I didn’t really come to terms with it until I read “bossypants” by Tina Fey. Damnit, if someone as successful as Tina can admit to having anxiety and find humor in it… Why can’t I? Who would have thought a book by a hilarious comedian would change my life and help me cope with something that made me feel like a crazy person?

    I’m so happy you have such a great doctor, family, and friends to help you deal with anxiety! πŸ™‚ There’s nothing better than a kick-ass support system!

    • “Bossypants” helped me too! I’ve gotten to where I recommend it to all my friends who have anxiety- I felt like for the first time, I was allowed to be anxious.

  3. Glad you’ve gone and gotten a diagnosis. I, too, developed anxiety years ago. It’s under control 99% of the time now with a minor “attack” on rare occasion. I have Ativan just in case – and honestly, just knowing that I HAVE it to take IF I need it seems to keep the anxiety attacks at bay.

    • Yeah- I’m on regular meds but I’m hoping to wean off of them eventually and then just keep them in case of emergency. It will be a good day when that’s possible. πŸ™‚

  4. I’m glad you sought help! A couple of years ago when I was diagnosed with dyslexia, I felt horrible knowing that there is really no way my reading could get any better, and that I will always get the pronunciation wrong. I tried not talking. Didn’t do me any good. Now if I pronounce something wrong, I laugh about it. Good sense of humour is a great remedy! πŸ™‚

  5. Laughter is what I use too! Though I’d never really realised that that is what it is. I just started calming myself down by saying things like “oh Erin, this is just silly. I mean, really…” So, self deprecation humour, I guess. Whatever works!

  6. Go you for summoning the courage to face your anxiety head-on and get help with it. Denial always seems safe, but really the only way out of a bad place is to go through it. Best yet is to go through it with a sense of humor. I hope you continue to feel proud of yourself as you make your way through.

  7. I am brand new to this site…only 9 min into it and I’m happy to see this. I have GAD too….and can tell ya, I do my best to laugh at life…in honor of my Dad.RIP….ya ol’ goof. Lil’ Lisa

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Mae. I don’t think it’s easy to do so, but by doing this you’ve written a post that’s not only enjoyable, but brings light to a problem that not everyone knows about. I’m sure there are other people who have or know people with anxiety issues, and this could be a big help.

  9. It helps to distract oneself. When I was on a mini bus hurtling down the Atlas Mountains in Morocco with my sister, she was a lot nervous about the hairpin turns the driver was taking on two wheel, so we started reciting Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhyme about Cindarella together, and before we knew it, we were safely (? – it’s all comparative!!! Safely compared to two wheels on a hairpin curve) carreening along a lovely flat road with no mountains or hairpins in sight. You just gotta keep on smiling. πŸ™‚

  10. Finally come back to read this blog again, because I’ve been busy coping with my own anxiety and panic disorders! Yay!
    It sounds like you’re headed on a great path to getting yourself sorted out. We’re all pulling for you, and I completely understand what it’s like to measure your day by how many panic attacks you have. I still live in worry that it’ll get back to that point, but I think I’m gonna follow your example and start laughing at this!
    Cheers πŸ™‚

  11. Wow, you’re brave. I mention my GAD (yeah, that acronym is particularly off-putting) from time to time on my blog, but I usually just hint at it by saying that I’m a “high stress person”. And I never bring it up in person.

    You may want to look into a book called “Calming Your Anxious Mind”. I have found it and the mindfulness/meditation practices helpful. Though they would likely be more helpful if I was better about making time for them…

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