Thursday, August 30, 2012
When it's not just nerves (esperanza magazine)
I've lived with anxiety my entire life. When I was younger, people said I was just a 'nervous girl'. And for the longest time, that's what I believed was wrong with me. I just thought that the heart races/flutters, the extreme panic I felt being out in public, the insomnia (yes, even as a child), all of the worry I was plagued with, and feeling like I was going to pass out when too many people were around was...'normal'. I'd always felt that way an no one around me tried getting me help to make sure so I dealt with it.
It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties being treated for depression and an eating disorder that I discovered that all of those things I felt weren't normal and that I needed alot more help than I'd believed. I have GAD and panic disorder. Finally, it all made sense.
There is a huge difference between nervousness (a normal bodily response to certain kinds of stress or experiences) and anxiety (a disorder that interferes with how we respond to stress, experiences and situations). They have very similar symptoms (eg: heart racing/flutters, sweating, etc.), the difference is that once the stressful or worrisome situation is over, the body slowly returns to a calm state. Anxiety is a constant feeling of nervousness, worry and panic. It's very important to make sure you seek help if you even think it might be anxiety. Keeping your body in that state for a long period of time can do damage to various organs.
If you aren't quite sure you can tell the difference, esperanza magazine put out a fantastic article on the subject. They also give solid definitions of General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, which is very helpful. (Click HERE to be taken to the article online.) The earlier you get the help you need, the healthier you'll feel.