When a medical doctor uttered that word to me, it was a relief. I finally had a label I could put on what it was that I was feeling. That feeling I had of my emotions wanting to burst out of my chest? Anxiety. My hands and feet tingling when agitated? Anxiety. Feeling triggered and not able to come down from the fear and anger? Anxiety. I thought with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis, I finally had some clarity in what was going on with me.
Unfortunately, our brain and body functions can’t always be wrapped up in a neat little diagnosis, as desperately as we might want them to be, and as it turns out, calling what’s happening to me “anxiety” isn’t enough.
For the past several months, things have not been “right” for me. Lots of staring into space. Lots of easy startling. Lots of agitation. Lots of avoidance. Rare moments of feeling good. “Oh, it’s the anxiety,” I thought.
I finally admitted to myself last week that I needed help for something more, and I am now seeing a therapist who is trained in treating trauma.
Without going into details about what the trauma was, it’s something that has affected me for at least five years. I received my anxiety diagnosis while I was experiencing the trauma, but as my new therapist tells me, the “anxiety” label is an incomplete snapshot of what’s happening with me now.
So yes, I have anxiety. But it’s something more than that. I’m working on that something more. And for the first time in years, maybe I’ll finally find relief.
If things aren’t feeling “right” for you, you can ask for help. You don’t have to suffer through life and think that all of the bandaids you’re using to keep it together is as close as you’ll get to thriving.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I feel comfortable talking about it. In the meantime: