Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Secret

I hope I'm not writing this blog without reason. I am about to reveal a secret I've kept from most people since I was 12 years old. Only a few people know of this secret... some of the closest people to me are even unaware. Not because I don't think I can tell them... but because they just won't understand. Now I am sharing it with the world - or at least the 6 people who read my blog - in hopes that maybe someone will read this who has the same secret and know they are not alone.

For the past 9 years, I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Honestly, if you've never experienced it - or never known anyone suffering from it - you probably just laughed at me. It does sound pretty foolish at first.

If you are unaware of what GAD is, Wikipedia says: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophise, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friend problems or work difficulties. They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating,insomnia, and hot flashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced.

What GAD is NOT, however, is something that can go away with willpower. GAD, similar to depression, is just as physical as it is mental and emotional. Trust me, if I could stop this by just "not worrying", then it would have been over and done with by the time I was 13. My main focus of anxiety tends to be my health. When I was younger, it was much more broad. I worried about my parents dying, about being a victim of a terrorist act, even about the rapture. These are not things that a 12-year-old should be concerned with. Now, it usually starts with a symptom that gets completely blown out of proportion. I feel dizzy or tired, and I think that I automatically have a terminal illness, like a brain tumor or cancer. Lately, I have been extremely dizzy... which causes me to panic... which causes me to feel even more dizzy. It's a vicious cycle. It interferes with my daily life. In high school, I had to stay out of school for 2 weeks because I literally could not function. A couple of years ago, I stayed out of work for 10 days for the same reason. I have only had 4 or 5 times in my life where it got so bad it turned into a panic disorder like that, and I can tell I'm fighting it off right now. It could be because the trip back to GA was so stressful, along with having a sinus infection and getting ready to tell my husband goodbye for 7 months... but many times GAD gets really bad for no reason at all.

When this happens, I can't help but get furious with God. Mainly, because I will pray and pray and pray, and I don't see any immediate results. He isn't taking away the physical symptoms, and He isn't taking away the fear. There are countless verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear, but I wish it was that easy. I just rely on my mom and family in times like this to pray for me, because my prayer seems to be so ineffective and my relationship with God so detached. Maybe I'm doing this wrong. Obviously, there is something the Lord wants me to learn from this, but I feel so weak and helpless when I'm in this state. Worthless. Hopeless.

Go here:

This is one of the best websites I've found to explain GAD.

Other than that, I don't really know why I wrote this blog, except if you have any words of encouragement, I'd love to hear them. If you suffer from the same thing, know you're not alone.

A constant state of fear is not a way to live. That's not living. This is not living. I know there's a way to break this curse. There has to be. Pray that I find it.


  1. I'm so proud of you for sharing! Thank you! I will be praying for you. I can only imagine how difficult that would be to deal with. I know God is using this for His purpose and hopefully one day that will be revealed to you. Love you!

  2. Haley... I love you..just read this..on March 3...God will and is delivering you...healing is on the way....

  3. Hey Haley,

    I saw your blog through Monica and Andy's.

    Your symptoms are very familiar to me as I suffer with the same thing and have since I was very young also. I also suffer with Depression along with the anxiety. I started being medicated for it when I was your age....married, new baby, living away from my mama and dizzy!!! Afraid of everything and everybody, afraid to sleep at night when my husband was working, afraid to stay by myself with my new baby girl(Monica Rose).

    Some of the relationships that I formed and some of the people that I let in to my life and depended on were not good for me, I was so desperated to feel safe. It took me many years and a lot of suffering to undersand that I can count on JESUS more than anyone!!!

    My favorite verse in the Bible is "I no the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to give you hope and a future, not to harm you."

    Another is, Thou oh Lord are a shield for me. My glory and the lifter of my head.

    One day when I was having a panic attack I just prayed to the Lord that I dont care any more I am working through this or else. Sure enough when it was over I was ok. They come less frequent now, but are still around.

    Be confident in your faith that JESUS loves you more than you can no and watches over you each and every minute awake and asleep.