Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and Anxiety

I've talked a little about anxiety before, but I'm going to go there again today. 

As a kid, I knew that people were "anxious" about things, but I never knew it was something you could have long term. Those people were just worriers. 

When I first started my counseling classes and started noticing some of the symptoms of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) in my husband, I started learning that anxiety was a real thing that affected people on a larger scale than just worrying. 

I thought for a long time that it would make sense for him to have anxiety. There are some other people in his family with diagnoses of mental disorders (bi-polar) so it wouldn't be out of the question for him to be dealing with anxiety. I studied it more in depth and as time passed I realized that he was just under a tremendous amount of stress. 

After that time, as I've posted before, I realized that I had some anxieties. These are of the natural sort, thunderstorms, height, darkness, etc. I've never experienced a real earthquake, but I'm sure if I ever did it would also bring on a full blown panic attack.

This isn't anything I can control, and only relaxation techniques can really help with it. I know that nothing would likely happen, but I can't help the fear that something might. 

I've had those fears my entire life. I can't remember not running for the front door without looking back for fear of what might be behind me. I used to make my grandparents take me to the cellar if there was a severe thunderstorm a county away because I felt safe there. 

Ten years ago, I gained a new fear. Ten years ago, on September 11 2001, I had a fear for my safety and security in my own country. That was something I had never even considered before. I had always felt safe in my country. My family was patriotic, lots of military history. I'd never had a reason to not feel safe.  Since that day I have felt constant worry about another attack, or something worse. It's not fore front in my mind, or something that I can't deal with. Sometimes I have to turn on CNN at night to make sure that something isn't happening. It's just there, in the back of my mind. 

Last night, my anxiety was already a little higher than normal. All of the posts on Facebook just had me a little on edge. A little after midnight, I hear this sound like a gun shot. I get up to look only to hear several more pops and see bright flashes. I run to Archer's room. He's fine, it's still just flashes and sounds, and look out his window just as it's stopping. 

I have no idea what it was, I'm assuming black cats or something. Whatever it was, had me shaking and my blood pressure was through the roof for hours. I, again, went to bed with CNN in, just in case something happened again this morning. 

Anxiety is a funny thing. You just can't control how you feel you just have to deal with it. It's not always a real fear, but it's most definitely a real feeling. 

I challenge you, if you aren't knowledgeable about anxiety, become so. Learn about something that is truly affecting many people around you, and possibly even you. I had anxiety my entire life, and didn't realize it until I learned the true meaning of the word, in a diagnostic sense.

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