Monday, February 22, 2010

Spotting A GAD Girl

Josh calls me his "GAD girl". It is "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" and I have struggled with this since I was a little girl.

When I was 4 years old I was hospitalized for stomach issues and crazy symptoms and underwent many tests and procedures. One of which was a tube that was placed through my nose that went all the way into my stomach to pump out my stomach. These are memories that I remember all too clearly. The doctors could never really pin-point where all the problems were coming from and when all was said and done they said that it all linked back to excessive worrying. What in the world does a 4-year-old in a very loving, nurturing and godly family have to worry about?

My sister had just started school and I had a baby brother and my mom saw a need to get me involved in something that was just mine. Something that only I could do, something that I could thrive at. So, she enrolled me in a violin program=) (I have a pretty wise mom)

Well, fast-forward to the present. I had learned to live with my problem and it just became part of life. I thought, "Hey, everyone is stressed out and everyone gets frazzled over little things...right?" Josh was seeing it get out of hand after Micaiah was born, though.

We both started seeing a pattern...
  • Numbness (in my lips and legs)
  • Irritability (way more than what is NORMAL)
  • Insomnia
  • Fidgeting (think "nesting" to the extreme!)
  • Nausea (when the phone would ring or I'd look at my calendar-wondering what was going to happen next)
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Heavy feeling in my chest
  • Hot Flashes and Sweating
  • Twitches (especially my eyelids)
  • Exhaustion (I suppose from all the trauma my body was feeling)
  • Trembling (my hands would start shaking when it would come on strong)
  • Worry over simple, everyday tasks
  • Felt like I just couldn't handle my children
  • Crying-let's just say I cried A LOT, not just at sad stuff, at everything. My friend Holly always laughed with me because I was always the one who'd be "that girl" crying at everything=) I still do, don't worry my unashamed crying friends (we have a club you know), I still shed a tear or two during those sappy Hallmark commercials!
It was textbook GAD and I had it bad!

There were a few problems though...
  1. I HATE taking medication, especially for long periods of time.
  2. Aren't Christians supposed to be worry-FREE because worry is a SIN?! I must not be doing something right.
  3. I like to at least appear like I have it all together and if I got "help" then I would be admitting that I don't. It was a big pride issue for me.
But action needed to happen. I was getting to where I couldn't function during the day. A trip to run to the grocery store and post office, or my kids getting in the least bit testy, would turn into a full blown panic attack. It was the most awful, helpless, frustrating, depressing feeling in the world.

I tried the whole natural route but it didn't NEARLY do the trick.

So, Josh made the call and I went in to see the doctor. I got home with my prescription and felt the relief. Just knowing that "help" was on the way. It took about 4 weeks for me to start feeling the effects but man was it worth the wait!

I have never felt so free, so full of life. My quiet times are much more full and intimate. I feel like GAD has been such a distraction from His voice! I can handle everyday tasks. In fact, instead of feeling like making baby food the other day was just something I had hanging over my head and to get checked off of my list, I turned the olympics on in the background, took my time and actually ENJOYED making food that I knew was healthy for my sweet boy. Instead of feeling like I just "cannot handle" the events of the day with my kids I enjoy time with them. I don't remember the last time I just broke down and cried, even with the ER scares with Cai a couple of weeks ago.

I have had these verses (and quote) on notecards in my Bible for years:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

"The one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead."
Philippians 3:13

"So do now worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings."
Matthews 6:34

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrows; it empties today of strength."
Corrie TenBoom

I used to feel constantly convicted of these verses, knowing that this was such a huge struggle for me. Now, I praise God for creating such gifted people who can make something that will help us GAD folk get to a place where we can pray these verses into our lives and allow God to do His thing!

So, be encouraged all you who are heavy-hearted...To God Be The Glory!


MeMe and Poppee said...

That's why we love you so much!

jim thompson said...

so, so good!! wow, i'd never even heard of GAD but i'm so glad you've gotten relief and are feeling better!

- sara t.

mel said...

I had stomach issues all through my childhood and adolescence. Test after test after test finally resulted in shrugged shoulders and a "Well it looks like IBS so that's what we'll treat her for." I was always very anxious and nervous.

I realize now, after Arwen, that it never really went away. It became worse while I was pregnant and developed into full-on, hard core anxiety-laced PPD after Arwen was born. Chris was the same way about really pushing me (us together) to do something.

I haven't quite got the nerve yet to post about it on my blog (shameful, I the blog was meant as an outlet to reach out to others as I was on this new life journey) because of pride, I suppose, and general shame. There is such an unfortunate stigma attached to 'getting help' and being in therapy. But, Chris and I have been going to counseling together for probably almost 6 months now and it really has made a difference.

I feel the same about meds though and that was another part of my hesitation.

Thank you so much for your candor! It's so easy to see everyone else as perfect and so put-together and feel like something is wrong with you for not being what everyone perceives or even what you yourself see as perfect and right. I'm so thankful now for the push Chris gave me. Counseling (and, I believe, Arwen too) has helped me find my voice and strength. I don't feel that I have to anymore allow certain people in my life to manipulate me or control me simply because they're elder figures. It's very liberating. I do feel now like I'm back on track and can see/listen more clearly for the path and guidance that's there for me.

Sorry for the long spill. I'm so glad you're feeling better!! And I'm glad for the additional strength you've given me!

jayandjoy said...

Tasha, Thank you for posting this. I am so glad that you were able to get medicine. Praise the Lord for Medication. The Lord has given us very wise doctors to give US very wise medication to help us function with the every day tasks of life, (like answering the phone :).

Gotta love the GAD girls!

I love you Tasha, Maybe this is why I have always loved you so much... we have a very close bond! :)

mom said...

I love you, dear Tasha, and feel so badly that you have struggled with this so long. However, even that has made you who you are, and you have built another Ebeneezer where you can look back and see God's hand working in your life.

II Cor. 1:3-7

Anonymous said...

So good! Thanks for your transparency and honesty.

Holly Furtick said...

Praising God for the miracle of modern medicine! Anxiety can be such a beast. It shows itself differently in each person. So glad to know you are feeling better!

the broomes said...

I love you, girl! I LOVED spending time with you this weekend. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for posting this; it shows humility and that your heart is for God's glory and not your own. You are one of the most godly wives/moms that I know. Thanks for being my friend:)

K said...

Wow! I have not been diagnosed with GAD, but this sounds so much like me, even the stomach issues as a child. Thank you for sharing this. I sometimes get frustrated when someone tells me "not to worry" as it's not like I am able to turn it off. Like you wrote, I know God is in control and worrying doesn't affect the outcome, but I still worry, not b/c I want to, I just don't know how to not worry.

Stephen and Tara said...

Tasha, thank you for sharing about this so openly. It will help so many people. I am so thankful for finding something that has been so helpful.

Emily said...

wow... I just read this after you posted this link after my comment on another post...

This is me all over the place! I try to control it, but I just can't. When I was little I was diagnosed with "nervous stomach" and given this pepperminty tasting medicine to take (periactine, I think?) whenevr I'd have one of my "episodes". I remember going for x-rays when I was small and they found nothing. I still get sick when I get nervous. It's this terrible circle-- I feel worried and it makes my stomach hurt, then I freak out thinking I've got some crazy disease, then it makes my stomach hurt worse. I have terrible stomach issues now.

I worry over small things. I can't seem to keep the small things small. I wonder all the time how other people can be ok with that feeling. I guess everyone doesn't have the same feeling?

It is so comforting to hear that someone else is open about this issue. It helps ease my mind. I am not really crazy! haha ... Thank you so much for sharing!