I have Anxiety Disorder

What now?

Whatever your diagnosis (GAD, PTSD, OCD, etc.), and whether it was years ago or just yesterday, your journey towards fulfillment should begin immediately. Every unique anxiety disorder story tells a tale of pain, loneliness, confusion but most importantly, hope and overcoming.
To remind you that you are not alone and that every story is valuable, we want to share stories of people who have experienced anxiety disorder and how they dealt with it.
I spent years feeling sorry for myself while I could have been using all that energy to fight the symptoms.

I was diagnosed in middle school. I am one of the 'lucky ones,' having lived with the knowledge of the condition for as long as I can remember. The worst thing is that I did not have the mental strength to cope with it until two years ago, when I turned thirty and began attending regular meetings with people who suffer from an anxiety disorder. Finding myself a role in a large and caring community has contributed significantly to my self-esteem. I am currently working on improving many aspects of my life to the extent that I thought was unattainable for me only a few years ago.

- Chris (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

Even though there is no cure, I feel more confident knowing the enemy and learning to live with it.

It wasn't until I graduated and struggled to find a job that I realized I had an anxiety disorder. I blamed my lack of success on my degree, my parents' economic situation, and many things actually until I learned what was holding me back. After a decade of coping with the condition, I have developed some of my techniques for maintaining my mental health, and I'm pretty optimistic about the future.

- Lindsay (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

I did not address the issue before it was too late to save my family.

I'm nearly forty years old, but I only found out I have anxiety disorder recently. It was such a relief because I have suffered years of addiction and went through a horrible divorce because I did not recognize the pattern on time. Although I know I have a lot to do, knowing the actual cause of my struggles gives me hope.

- Derrick (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

Having an anxiety disorder does not automatically make you an underachiever.

Having become an orphan early in my life, I had to fend for myself very young. I remember how learning that I had an anxiety disorder made me angry at first. A sort of social stigma surrounded this condition at the time. It is still like that nowadays to a certain extent. When we do not have the resources to deal with something this serious, including financial abilities, we must find enough strength within ourselves.

- Donna (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

I used to blame my career failures on my personality.

I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder later in life. In retrospect, I might have lost too much precious time and career opportunities while trying to figure out what plunged me into these constant ground-hog-day-style situations at every new workplace. My advice is to speak to your doctor as soon as you start finding yourself in a failure pattern that is constantly repeating itself.

- Erica (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

Learning to accept myself after I discovered I had anxiety disorder was the hardest thing for me.

I have suffered stigma due to my anxiety disorder, particularly from people who have only heard a little about it. I was confused when I first learned what anxiety disorder is and that it can develop out of nowhere in anyone. I believe it is crucial to increase public awareness of what anxiety disorder is and help people experiencing anxiety not feel isolated or alone in their struggle.

- Jason (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

Recognizing that anxiety disorder does not define you is only the first step.

I have been struggling with an anxiety disorder my whole life, switching medication, moving from one place to another, losing jobs and friends. The day I realized that none of it was my fault that is when things started to change. After all, my goal should be to fight it and not ask: 'Why me?'

- Robert (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who understand my struggle.

My family has a history of anxiety disorders, so I might have had it easier than most people. While I feel fortunate that I have so many people who care for me, I also feel obliged to support everyone who has gone through something similar. This is why I supervise several support groups in my area and help people with anxiety disorders connect.

- Marta (Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder)

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