More than a diagnosis

Melissa - Paoli, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Anxiety is defined as “A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from … a realistic or fantasized event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning”(anxiety) by Feeling stressed out is one thing, being completely incapacitate by your anxiety is a completely different story. I live that way; I have felt like my anxieties would tear me apart, I have felt like I was going to die, because I could not calm my breathing. It’s a bit like running a marathon, but you run until you collapse. I have generalized anxiety disorder, which is defined as “exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events… Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person’s thinking that it interferes with daily functioning” (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) by the fine doctors at WebMD. After my diagnosis, I decided that I would never let my disorder control me.

My story of anxiety problems began at an early age, around eight or nine. My parents were having marital problems, and I feared the worst for my family. This was the beginning, worrying about things out of my control. When I got older, my anxiety worsened with puberty. My fears became more irrational; going to school became a battle between my mother and me. There came a turning point, I was seventeen; at a movie with my friends I randomly began to panic and hyperventilate. This was the turning point, but it was not when I was diagnosed. A few months later I was on senior week with two of my friends in North Carolina. I began to panic again; it was much like the movie theatre incident, except this time, it was worse. I experienced a new symptom, a sharp, stabbing headache. It focused all its attention on the left side of my head, temporarily taking the sight from my left eye. My two friends rushed me to the emergency room; the doctors never fully understood what had happened. After my parents got the emergency room bill for that I went to see my doctor. Finally, on June 20th at around 3:30 in the afternoon I was officially diagnosed with General anxiety disorder.

I felt so painfully limited by the diagnosis. I was going to have to deal with this for my entire life. I didn’t want to live my life afraid of everything. I vowed to myself that I would always fight it; I would always tell myself that I am better than my disorder. I have never let it totally control who I am. I believe that if you want to be, you are stronger than your label, you are stronger than you may think. I could have accepted that I am always going to be afraid and worry for my entire life, and never gone far from home, never taken a chance, and never done some of the amazing things I have done. I am more than my anxiety, this is believe.