The King is Dead

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Have Issues

I have become Wembley, worrier of worlds...
Dammit, I even dress like him.
It turns out I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Yay.

I’ve also got celiac disease, lactose intolerance, Meniere’s disease, and a ton of allergies, so this really takes the cake. I’m a pretty messed-up dude.

I’ve been trying to write about this for a couple of months, but I kept chickening out. Lots and lots of people in the RPG community have issues – many of them far worse than mine – so it seemed really self-indulgent to bawl about my annoying but hardly deadly mental disorder. Depression is much, much worse, after all.

(Admittedly, waking up at 3 AM because your cat isn’t sleeping at the foot of the bed and immediately concluding that he must have died of a blood clot because he was limping a little earlier that day and then having to get out of bed to find him and reassure yourself that he’s still alive before going back to bed and being unable to sleep properly the rest of the night IS NOT FUN.)

The thing is, I’ve had GAD pretty much all my life. It runs in my family and affected me even as a child. Sometimes, it has really gotten in the way of personal happiness and success. It’s gotten worse over the last year because some genuine worries that preoccupied much of my energy are now gone, and the disease is now creating unreasonable concerns to take their place. I’ve had some mood swings, depression, panic attacks, and just plain weird enervation over the last twelve months, but it’s getting better.

It got worse first, though. Back in April, I finally followed the brave example of Wil Wheaton and admitted I had a problem. I went into therapy, learned some techniques, discovered I should stop drinking caffeine (dammit), and I’ve been getting things back on track. I sometimes wish I was on actual medication for anxiety, but a crying, laughing marathon of the Fairy Tail anime does wonders for purging bad thoughts.

During this course of self-discovery, I’ve over-extended myself a bit. I’d like to both apologize to and thank +Eric Simon , +Vickey Beaver , and +Charles Akins  for their indulgence and support. The next few weeks will see the completion of several outstanding projects, and then I should be able to approach future commitments with a more realistic idea of my capabilities. 

Honestly, knowing I have a problem and I’m not just being a hypochondriac or worrywart has been very liberating. Being able to isolate self-defeating thoughts and identify them as a disease allows me to set them aside and deal more with real issues. It isn’t easy (some estranged relatives have been badgering me this week and that has really been setting the GAD off), but overall it’s allowing me to create better mechanisms for both my own and my loved ones’ issues.

Also, it turns out all that talk about how exercise helps is true. I’m not really losing weight, but an hour at the gym really helps perk up the brain. As a life-long unathletic nerd, I'm honestly surprised.
 
Also also, the cat is fine. He's got a problem foot that bothers him from time to time – just like me with my bum knee and jammed finger – but otherwise he's a very healthy, active seven year-old cat. I won't be surprised if he lives into his twenties.
 
 

2 comments:

  1. Brave of you to state this openly, as a mental health professional I wish more people would, and it's great that you've sought support in order to manage things better. I hope you find a way through this that works for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm just paying it forward. If Wheaton hadn't had the courage to write about his problems, my wife and I would never have dealt with ours. Maybe somebody who reads my blog will get the courage to do the same.

      Delete