I love these things. What is GAD? There are so many ways to answer this. It’s three words that neatly describe this kind of awful grinding feeling I get in my stomach in the morning. The best way to describe it is like, you know when you get some bad news or you have a sudden feeling of terror and your stomach feels like it does a rather nifty double back flip and lands on it’s face? Imagine that dialed down to about 50% but ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it’s a fleeting feeling and sometimes it goes on for days or weeks. Sometimes my brain joins in and does hoola hoops with Bad Thoughts, like way too many hoola hoops at once for one 3lb organ. The hoola hoops spin and get tangled up and fall off and make a big old mess. Props for the effort, brain, but perhaps circus skills aren’t really your thing. With all the grinding and the hoola hoops, occasionally I get panic attacks (like, seriously, stop the circus guise). Additionally GAD partners up with it’s really shitty friend and my brain lies to me. It tells me that I’m awful and nobody cares. It tells me I’m incapable and stupid and an imposter and am totally undeserving of love and belonging. It convinces me that pushing everything I love away right now very quickly and staying in bed forever really is the only option. Screw you, brain. This is what GAD to me.
In adult land, GAD is a common disorder that causes a person to experience ongoing anxiety that interferes with their daily lives. Symptoms are both physical and emotional, including restlessness, insomnia, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations, fatigue, constantly going over the same thoughts, extreme irritability and a whole host of other awfulness tailored to your own personal hell. Around 5% of the UK population are thought to suffer with GAD and there are over 3 million reported cases in the USA. It can be treated with a combination of therapy and medication. Sometimes it lasts for a few years, sometimes it can be lifelong. It often requires management, like any other kind of long terms illness.