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Most people do not experience anxiety on an everyday basis. Anxiety is supposed to protect you from danger, but that is not what Generalized Anxiety Disorder also known as GAD says. With GAD, anxiety becomes a “guide” in one’s life. This is what makes a diagnosis so tricky. When you experience anxiety in a way that seems to confirm the threat is true, everything one experiences is real. Why would you feel something so intensely if there is no truth in it? GAD is a behavioral health issue. People will accept a malfunction in the body, but will quickly overlook anything that happens in the behavioral aspect of the brain. Most people with GAD describe an embarrassment that comes from sharing the topics of their fear. They hold this information close. The fears they experience usually to the very core of who they are. This makes the feelings even more intense and embarrassing. Those diagnosed with GAD feel that if someone were to find out the truth of what they think or feel, it would be devastating.

 

If someone had a heart condition, would you expect that person to explain why there is a need to stay in bed most of the day and isolate themselves? Obviously, the heart malfunction is the cause. However, what if anxiety makes a mind run 1000 miles an hour and only the only way to feel peace is through escaping, avoiding, reassurance and following specific safety rules? Society is less tolerant of mental behaviors than they are of physical issues. The reason being, there is tangible evidence that an ailment is not controllable unlike mental health were people will act as though it is a choice. Society is so wrong.

 

GAD sees what is valued most and exploits those feelings. Because of the way GAD works, it can target issues such as family, self, religion, finances and any other issue that may take a big role in one’s life. Everyone on this planet has worries and concerns, but someone experiencing GAD has a different relationship with those thoughts. A GAD brain does not regulate concerns and worries in an average way. For example, I say something to anther person that might not be kind it may only cause me a slight feeling of anxiety, 2-3. Using a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest level of anxiety. With GAD, a person may easily experience a 6-7 or even higher level of anxiety. Over time, experiencing this reaction repeatedly will teach the brain to confirm the emotions. The emotions solidify in the mind. There is truth in what they fear. If the fear were false, why would one feel these emotions so intensely? The other part is neutralizing emotions; it is a second reinforcement that what they fear has value. For example, let us say our GAD sufferer is terrified of putting a classmate out when they have the thought of asking them to go hiking. Because the anxiety gets so intense, they give up the idea of asking, they might even emotionally beat themselves up, the anxiety goes down and their fear confirmed. Interestingly enough, this emotional beat down can often give them relief. It is common to find someone with GAD has low self-esteem. This can become one of the costs or side effects of “neutralizing” their anxiety. Just because a person gets relief for beating themselves up emotionally, it does not mean it is true. In fact, if you follow a person’s life with GAD, you will see that very rarely will the issues they are worried about happen. The classmate would probably just say, yes to the invitation to go hiking. Worse case scenario they say no. Even if the fear was true or were too happen, they would have to have to deal with the consequences just like everyone else. Topics can change as new issues come up with GAD, but the feelings they experience with each topic is similar. Unfortunately, GAD is a chronic disorder. GAD will control a person throughout life or the person afflicted will control GAD. The more one fights symptoms by not accepting them as well as facing one’s fears, the more control one can get over GAD symptoms. 


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