Anxiety is an illness typically diagnosed alongside of depression. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety five years ago when I was 13. Anxiety, to me, is described as a feeling of worry and always being nervous. Constantly feeling like someone is watching you, sweaty hands and feeling like a huge ball is at the pit of your stomach. I strongly believe we all have some sort of form of anxiety, just some being worse than others. At the time of my diagnosis I was told I had anxiety due to a traumatic event I went through at age 10 which also caused me to have depression and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). PTSD causes my abnormal sleeping patterns and makes me irritable. Anxiety is a very difficult concept to grasp and causes a headache, literally.
There are many types of anxiety that you can be diagnosed with. Separation anxiety, typically affecting children, is when you have an attachment to a person or an object and letting go physically hurts. Selective mutism, occurs when a person chooses not to talk in certain social situations. Specific phobia is having fear of a specific object or task like flying and heights. Panic anxiety causes panic attacks without warning or with triggers and always having fear of that next attack. Generalized anxiety is the uncontrolled worrying. I have a mixture of generalized and panic anxiety.
Through research I have discovered that anxiety is associated with many other disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome, also called IBS, is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. In early 2016, just two years after being diagnosed with anxiety, I was diagnosed with IBS and all of these symptoms affect me along with one fifth of adults. The colon is partly controlled by the nervous system, which is why anxiety and stress triggers your IBS symptoms. In my experience, when I am stressed out, like after an argument, I start to feel my stomach cramp very badly. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this; medicine only helps calm the symptoms down. Trichotillomania is characterized by repeatedly pulling out one’s own hair, most commonly from scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes. I also found this out while researching, and this fact completely caught me off guard. I have never heard of this disorder nor been diagnosed, but I relate to it. When I am very nervous I find myself picking at my eyelashes and eyebrows. I mostly pull my eyebrows out and I never related anxiety to it very much. Other disorders related to anxiety include ocd, excoriation, hoarding, and body dysmorphic disorder.
Anxiety will always be a part of my life, but after researching I definitely learned a lot more than I knew before. This helps me understand how to control my anxiety and hopefully I may help others in this same situation. Anxiety and all the quirks that are associated with do not have to be frowned upon if we just speak about the topic and educate others.