Do You Suffer From GAD?

One of the fall-outs from experiencing trauma is living with generalized anxiety disorder. It is a of a sense of dread that colours everything in life, so the person can’t relax and focus on what’s happening now.

Note: The difference between ‘normal’ worrying and generalized anxiety disorder is the worrying associated with GAD is excessive, intrusive, persistent and debilitating.

Signs and Symptoms

The person diagnosed with GAD will typically struggle with the following, on a regular and ongoing basis:

– Constant worrying

– An inescapable feeling of anxiety, and the feeling this is something that is outside their control

– Being constantly troubled by intrusive, anxious thoughts. (Thoughts they can’t switch off)

– Being unable to tolerate uncertainty, and not ever knowing what the future may hold

– A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread

– Being unable to relax, and to enjoy time alone

– Difficulties with attending, focusing and concentrating

– Feeling overwhelmed; feeling life is out of control

– Avoiding situations which leave you feeling worried or afraid

– chronic muscle tension

– Having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, because your mind won’t switch off

– Feeling restless or edgy

– Tense headaches and migraines

– Upset stomach and nausea.

What Can You do to Help?

Here are a few things you can try to help you cope with GAD:

1. Do your best to build a good support network. We humans are social animals. We are meant to be with other people. Isolating ourselves will increase anxiety; whereas spending time with others reduces cortisol (a stress hormone). These should be people you feel comfortable with.

If you sense your anxieties are beginning to spiral, talk them out with a trusted friend. Meeting face to face can help keep things in proportion. 

Think through in advance who it might be best to avoid when you’re feeling anxious. For example, if your sister is a terrible worrier then she probably won’t be the right person to calm you down, or to reorient you, when anxiety assaults you. As yourself the question: Do I generally feel better or worse after talking to this person? The answer here will give you important information.

2. Use your senses to ground you in the present. Notice and name what you can see, hear, smell, touch and – perhaps – taste.

3. Move your body. Doing some form of exercise – even if it’s only taking a short walk – will help to dissipate excessive cortisol. It will also release, and increase your levels of endorphins (the feeling good hormone).

4. Practice some kind of relaxation technique such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation. These will stabilize blood pressure, slow your heart rate down, regulate your body’s ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response, and help you cope with any symptoms of hyperarousal.

5. At some point when you’re not anxious, set aside some time to take a new look at your worries. What are the triggers? Are they self-generated? Are there errors in your thinking that, perhaps you could challenge? (For example, perhaps you tend to think about worst-case scenarios.) These are areas you could address in counselling, or perhaps work through with a caring friend.

Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”

29 thoughts on “Do You Suffer From GAD?

  1. As a person who occasionally struggles with GAD, I can identify with your statements—especially the last one.

    Our most anxious thoughts are often inaccurate.

    Anxiety is often amplified because it is largely a FEAR of fear.

    It has helped me to realize that, while debilitating, panic attacks are rarely fatal.

    We must trust ourselves that handle anxious thoughts when they arise—using the methods you mentioned.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I appreciate your comment: “Anxiety is often amplified because it is largely a FEAR of fear.” This is so true. If we deal with anxiety a lot, this almost certainly becomes the case!
      And, yes, panic attacks can be very frightening but, as you share, realizing that we always survive them can be a huge help when it is happening again.
      Thank you for sharing your wisdom, David. Have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. There is a much over which we have no control. But God remains in control of the world. We can give our anxieties over to Him. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties…” (Ps. 139: 23). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yes, it is so wonderful to know Emmanuel never abandons us or leaves us to our own devices. We experiences all the sorrow and pain with us … and, as you say, we can cast our anxieties on Him. Thanks for sharing this Anna. Have a lovely day.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What is the difference between GAD and Pure O OCD?

    I ask because my son has been diagnosed with the latter, but the list above describes his “attack” symptoms to the letter.

    And, how do I help him when I cannot get him to actively engage with coping strategies?

    Liked by 3 people

    • O OCD has more of an obsessive component to it. It deals with anxiety through the use of hidden mental rituals. GAD is much more general … where you feel anxious all the time, or you feel excessively anxious in situations where others would experience a mild, ‘normal’ level of anxiety (say the way you would feel before sitting an exam).
      I would suggest talking to his counsellor about how best to work with him. If he is an adult, it really needs to be self-motivated. No-one else can do it for you. It’s tough when you’re the onlooker, and it’s someone you really care about. I feel for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, it is.

    He doesn’t like to go to therapy, and refuses to take medications. I respect his wishes as best as I can, but it’s so difficult to watch your child self-destruct. (Especially when you know your genetics played a role in his mental affliction.) 😭

    Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate it more than I can say! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I use to be on the Ptsd
    Board another anxiety disorder

    On the GAD board

    Everyone had the same triggers firing and excessive anxiety

    Theirs was
    Not connected to
    A
    Person or event

    A traumatic experience

    It seemed GAD sufferers did not have a cause to try to fix or integrate

    I had childhood abuse to work on and integrate

    For someone with serious PTSD
    Triggers fired
    15 times a day

    GAD was foreign for me

    Do you work on calming your adrenal stress
    Response and what else

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was surprised to come upon this long ago

        .
        Psychologist, anxiety treatment specialist and author, Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D, defines Self Talk and how it works:
        “It is so automatic and subtle you don’t notice it or the effect it has on your moods and feelings.
        It appears in telegraphic form- one short word or image (”Oh no!) contains a whole series of thoughts, memories, or associations.
        Anxious self-talk is typically irrational but almost always sounds like the truth.
        Negative self-talk perpetuates avoidance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We all have struggled with our self talk

        I think it is connected to self worth

        For me I found affirmations to be helpful

        Hard to have self worth with a river of negative self talk flowing underground

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is very useful info. Maybe I should bring this up to my dr at me next appointment and see what he thinks. I feel like most people would tell me these feelings are normal in the first year of losing a child. Honestly, I’ve had these feelings for the last 7-8 years…back when Jace was actively using, throughout all of his overdoses. I can only explain it as being on a roller coaster, sometimes those feelings were more intense, sometimes they were bearable but, those feeling were always there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t be surprised at all if someone who’d gone through the same trauma as you said they struggled with these symptoms. Those feelings and reactions are normal and understandable. In many ways, you were on the same roller coaster as Jace. … And then there was the awful trauma of his death on top of that. A year is nothing under those circumstances. Thinking of you.

      Liked by 1 person

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