Introduction to Anxiety
Generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. In people with GAD, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. 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, including work, school, social activities, and relationships.
What Are the Symptoms of GAD?
GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, as well. Symptoms of GAD can include:
- Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
- An unrealistic view of problems
- Restlessness or a feeling of being “edgy”
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
- The need to go to the bathroom frequently
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Being easily startled
In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias), suffer from depression, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol.
What Causes GAD?
The exact cause of GAD is not fully known, but a number offactors — includinggenetics, brain chemistry and environmentalstresses — appearto contribute to its development.
- Genetics: Some research suggests that family history plays a part in increasing the likelihood that a person will develop GAD. This means that the tendency to develop GAD may be passed on in families.
- Brain chemistry: GAD has been associated with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve cell to nerve cell. If the neurotransmitters are out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can alter the way the brain reacts in certain situations, leading to anxiety.
- Environmental factors: Trauma and stressful events, such as abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, changing jobs or schools, may lead to GAD. GAD also may become worse during periods of stress. The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, can also worsen anxiety.
Source: MedicineNet Visit for more details.
As one of the ways of getting out of the house and back into the social enviornment as well as to give me something to do I had started volunteering. First I volunteered for a while at a local church. I would clean up and organize the pews once a week and I also volunteered at the local SPCA as a dog walker. The hopes were that the volunteering would also help with my depression. I volunteered from January 2011 until June 2011 when I started my carpentry apprenticeship. I relapsed into my depression and did not continue to apprenticeship for long.
After the relapse and once I started feeling a bit better it was suggested that I volunteer at the local hospital. I followed up on the volunteering and started to volunteer as a porter. Porter’s are volunteers who help people get to the area of the hospital they need to be, take files from one place to another, take blood tests to the labs etc. It wasn’t too bad but after a couple months my depression was starting to get worse and so I stopped volunteering at the hospital. This was unfortunate because I went back into seclusion.
As of last week I started volunteering at the hospital again. I didn’t want to be volunteering in a position where I would be dealing with the general public as I felt uncomfortable and anxious of giving the wrong information or taking people to the wrong area so I started volunteering in the health records department. I didn’t mind it last week and hopefully this will be something that I can continue doing without any problems. I would like to start looking for part time work soon and try to get myself back to a somewhat normal life.
The Depression Support Group
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety or some other mental distress, we hope that the information on the site will help you cope. If someone you know is struggling, something here may enable you to assist them. You are not alone – we understand the pain depression causes but feel there is always hope. Successful treatment is possible – seek professional help.
Well we have been lucky and the last few days have been really nice and warm and sunny as well. So the snow has pretty much disappeared and the ice on the sidewalks is all cleared up. That being the case I have started to go for my walks again. My walks are a fast paced walk and I go for anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour walks. I haven’t noticed any difference with my depression, but that is understandable as it is too soon to feel any results from the exercise. However, if I continue to walk at least 2 walks a day I should see some improvement, hopefully.
I had gotten out of sync with taking my medications and as a result my depression got worse. The stay in the hospital has me back on track with taking my meds when I’m supposed to be taking them and taking them every day. This will help, hopefully, to keep me motivated to go for my daily walks.
Well my stay in the hospital was short lived, but that was to be expected as it was mainly to get me over the hump of suicidal ideation and back on track with sleep and taking my meds in the morning. I really don’t like to be up on the psych ward in the hospital, I hate being there. Mostly because there is nothing to do there except watch TV, and I’m not a TV watcher so I was bored out of my mind and spent most of my time laying in bed. The passes that were given to me went well some spike in anxiety and a drop in depression but nothing that I couldn’t manage.
Being out of the hospital I am now facing the same issue as being inside, there isn’t much for me to do that I am interested in which brings on the boredom. At least at home I do have the computer and I can listen to some music. Also I can start going for my walks again; I would like to start that back up. Before winter I was doing 2 one hour walks every day. It’s been a while since I have done any walking like that so I will have to take it a bit slow to begin with and let me feet get used to being used like that. It’s a fast long stride walk that I do in order to get the heart rate up.
There are a lot of different strategies that you can use when you are in a depressive state that will help you through that period of time. Some coping strategies work and some don’t, it all depends on the person and what works best for them. You may also find that you take a coping strategy that is suggested but end up modifying it to suite you personally which there is nothing wrong with that, that is actually what you should be doing. The strategies are just a basis to start from and allow you to modify them to work best for you.
Something that is fairly new is mindfulness. There are Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) clinics that use mindfulness to help alleviate depression and other symptoms of mental health disorders. In a nutshell mindfulness is being in the moment or the present. Focus on what is going on around you, what you hear, see, smell etc. When a thought comes along, let it float away.
You can imagine yourself sitting by a river, imagine the river is filled with leaves and as a thought comes along, or emotion, put it on the leaf and let it drift down the river, don’t allow yourself to follow the thought through and take you away from the present. Sometimes it can help to have something to hold to remind yourself to stay in the present.
Breathing can also be helpful, be mindful of inhaling and exhaling. When you inhale, inhale through your abdomin, let your belly rise and fall. Try not to breathe through your chest, breathing through your belly allows you to relax. Be aware every time your belly rises and falls and stay in the moment.
Mental Earth Community (MEC) is a free, independent, non-public, peer support site for people with mental illness of any type. Live chat, blogs, and forums available to adults. Strong emphasis on safety and security. You’ll find this online community to be very supportive, nonjudgmental and understanding. From support forums about various mental disorders, medications and different coping skills, to leisure forums like art galleries and entertainment forums, you’ll find MEC a healthy environment for personal healing and growth.