Posts tagged ‘phobia’

Anxiety is My Invisible Illness

There have been so many great blog posts for Invisible Illness Week about inflammatory bowel disease that I didn’t have anything else to add! So I decided to go another route and let you all know about who I am and my invisible illness.

There are days where I feel like I am completely losing my mind, where I am so overcome by negative thoughts and desperate for some relief that I wished someone would hospitalize me. Days where the thought of eating, going outside or even talking to my husband make me want to crawl into a cave and hibernate. Days where I am so on edge that I snap at people who I love and people I don’t even know.

Many people don’t recognize that I am “sick” because they can’t see it. My sickness is on the inside, masked by years of practice of concealing any physical evidence of the illness, thus rendering it invisible. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean its not there.

The Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders classifies what I suffer from as code 300.02- Generalized Anxiety.

I’ve been living with generalized anxiety and panic attacks for most of my life. I was always an anxious child – the one who clung to the fence in the schoolyard in first grade screaming about not wanting my parents to leave me alone at school. I was the child who would come home from sleepovers at 11 p.m. because of overwhelming anxiety about being away from their parents, even if it was just down the road. I was the teenager who tried to go to sleep away camp on three separate occasions but called home every day in hysterics (I was never allowed to come home early though). I was the teenager who, after the suicide of her friend, was so overcome with grief and anxiety that going to school became too much to handle.

I was 16 years old when I was formally diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health,

“people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly.”

That’s one way of putting it.

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September 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm 2 comments

Learning to live with vomit (somewhat)

Living with someone with Crohn’s Disease for the past three years and dating for almost six has caused me to grow up pretty quickly. I mean, for those who know me, I’ve always been a 50 year old in a 25 year old’s body to some degree. I am an extremely anxious person with some pretty bizarre minor phobias (flying, drinking, boats, etc.) that all stem from one major phobia-VOMIT.

I have never thrown up (or at least that’s what my parents have claimed all my life- I have some vivid childhood memories that contradict that belief). And, as many people know, those with anxiety don’t like not to know what something will be like. So I guess, in a bigger sense, my phobia is a fear of the unknown that has manifested itself in a fear of vomiting. For the longest time, I couldn’t even say the word vomit. I had a therapist in high school who tried doing exposure therapy for me and as one of my first “assignments,” I had to sing the song BINGO but replace BINGO with VOMIT. Talk about bizarre (and surprisingly helpful).

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June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm 1 comment


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