If you’ve been following my blog you know that I suffer with generalized anxiety disorder (“GAD”). I say I suffer because most days are really hard for me. Especially work days.
Having a career and being successful is really important to me. Sometimes work is a great distraction for my anxiety and I look forward to getting in the office and getting busy. Other days the thought of going into the office and hiding my anxiety all day is so daunting that I have to call in “sick”. Living with anxiety is really hard but having to hide that panic when it creeps up in front of a group of people in a public place is even harder. I’m in a position at work where I have to attend meetings and speak in front of people. Sitting in a conference room full of people for 2 hours is legitimate torture. I sweat, I get dizzy, I can’t form sentences, I can’t control my thoughts and I can’t focus on anything but the time and how much longer I have to wait before I can get the hell out of there. Excusing myself in front of a group of 10 is embarrassing but sometimes I need air. What are they thinking of me? Do they know that I’m having an anxiety attack? Am I sweating through my clothes? Will they notice if I don’t go back into the meeting?
I’m a good employee – hardworking, reliable, willing to take on just about anything. But on days like today where I can’t muster the courage to face this demon in front of the world, I feel worthless. Pathetic. Replaceable.
How much easier would it be to work and deal with life if I could just come out and tell everyone that I have GAD? How great would it be if they were accommodating to me if I had to work from home a day here and there when I’m having a hard time or sneak out of a meeting without explanation if my head starts to swim? But really, how amazing would it be if I could do all of that and have no one think that I was lying. That I wasn’t suffering because on the outside I look normal.
Today was the first day since I started my new job a month ago that I couldn’t face going into the office. I couldn’t go into the office. I don’t have a laptop yet so I couldn’t work from home, so I used a PTO day. My boss seemed to be ok with it but I am not. Instead of focusing on calming myself down and gearing up for the week the thought of disappointing my boss today (even though she said “no worries feel better”) and having my GAD affect my career is making my anxiety worse. I have a lunch with my boss’s boss on Wednesday, an after work- work function Thursday night and an all day town hall with my entire department (hundreds of people) on Friday. How am I going to survive this??
The same way I’ve survived until this point in my life. It’s really hard. Today I feel weak. Like I just can’t live this way anymore. No I am not going to hurt myself and I’m not suicidal. I’m just so tired of fighting. I just want control of my thoughts and emotions. I just don’t want to be judged. I don’t want my disorder to negatively affect those around me. I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL.