After struggling with depression and anxiety since childhood, I was diagnosed Generalized Anxiety Disorder just last week. If you'll bare with me, I'd like to share my story. I apologize in advance for the lengthy introduction.
I'm 27. For as long as I can remember, something has been "wrong" with me. From the time I was a kid, I've been prone to bouts of depression, finding myself just inexplicably sad, and feel awful about myself. These sad feelings often erupt into anxiety, where a panic comes over me I can't control. I find myself sobbing, screaming and completely obsessed with what I know are trivial things.
Recently, these bouts, these "breakdowns", have become more and more frequent. I have recently gone back to school to complete my university degree and moved back in with my parents after a year away. I have a new boyfriend, who I care about very much and who I know cares deeply for me. However, relationships have generally been a source of anxiety to me and I find it a struggle not to let my insecurities, extremely low self-esteem and GAD ruin what could be something great and lasting.
I know these life changes have had a great impact on mental health. I beat myself up constantly for not getting my degree sooner and for not being the adult I feel I should be.
After a bad breakdown last Wednesday, my mother insisted on taking me to the local emergency room to see a member of their crisis intervention team. I was reluctant. I've been to two psychiatrists (I cannot afford a psychologist) and didn't feel comfortable with them and stopped after two or three sessions. However, I went and spoke to the mental health nurse on duty and a hospital psychiatrist. Both asked me many questions and validated how I was feeling. Then the doctor told me about Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I've since researched.
Every symptom I've read hit home and now I feel like with a name to my "wrong"-ness, I can somehow justify getting help. I always felt as though the doctors I saw didn't think anything was really wrong with me and I felt guilty for wasting this time but now I feel like I do have a problem and there are solutions for it.
That said, I likely won't be able to start counselling until the fall and have come here to share my story and seek peer support. In case you're wondering, I've been on Paxil for about 10 years, starting at about 10 mg/day when I was a teenager up to 20 mg/day about five years ago. The psychiatrist I saw last week suggested I up it again to 30 mg/day. Another struggle for me is remembering to take my medication regularly and I know forgetting to take it half the time certainly isn't helping.
Anyway, I look forward to learning more about GAD and how those of you who have sought help finally found peace of mind.