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Anxiety

calendarJanuary 6 2022

Emilie shares her story around general anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety, how these conditions have affected her, how friends have helped her and what you can do to help people you may know, who may have these conditions.

Hello, my name is Emilie! I have various different disorders, and neurological differences, including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Tourettes, Depressive Episodes, and past Social Anxiety

In this blog I will be talking about how a friend has helped with my General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and something that meant the world to me when my Social Anxiety was really bad.

Emilie is smiling, she is resting her chin on her fist. A dog is sitting by her knee.

General Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the feeling of being anxious about almost everything and anything for no real apparent reason. Often, people affected by GAD will feel overly worried about a all sorts of things relating to their life such as health, money, work, school and relationships.

GAD is something really hard to deal with because it has so many levels to it, that many people don’t even realize. If somebody is in an environment that might trigger them or be hard for them, it is very tough to push through it.

One time, on a whim, I had the urge to tell my story in front of at least 50 people. This was years ago when doing something like that was a huge deal for me. Doing things on a whim or doing something spontaneous is often really hard for people with anxiety disorders because we’re so used to planning everything in our heads and spending a lot of time preparing for the situation.

I told my best friend that I kinda wanted to do it, but I was pretty scared. She is really good at getting me to do things outside of my comfort zone and she encouraged me to do it. So, although I was terrified, I did it! I was able to speak and got through it, however, it was so overwhelming for my emotions and anxiety that I ended up breaking down afterward. I went to the bathroom and locked myself in the stall.

My friend came right after me and got me to open the door. I was shaking and crying hysterically because it was very hard for me. She just gave me a big hug and didn’t let go. I managed to say: “That was really hard…” and her response was; “Yeah but you did it anyway, you did it.” This was so important to me, just the fact that she stayed with me and didn’t let go. It took almost twenty minutes for me to calm down and she hugged me and was there for me the entire time. 

one character is sitting on the floor crying with head in hands. A second character is kneeling beside them with a comforting hand on their back.

How you can help

The moral of the story is that the most important thing you can do for someone, especially for anxiety, is to be there for them and not completely avoid their triggers. It is very easy to try and avoid their triggers as well, but this just makes the anxiety around the situation bigger because then they are fuelling the thought that they can’t get through it. The best thing you can do is to help them get through it, don’t overdo it, and try to help them stay in the situation for as long as possible. Be there for them and help them to slowly see how much they can do. Tell them that even if their anxiety tells them not to do something, it doesn’t mean that they can’t do it.

Social Anxiety

Character is standing with his hand over his mouth

Social anxiety is anxiety triggered by being in social situations. It can be triggered by the fear of being centre of attention or noticed, by worrying you might embarrass yourself or being judged by others.

Going to a new school and being the new kid is never easy, but it is even harder if you are crippled with Social Anxiety. It had gotten so bad that if someone even looked at me or said anything to me at all, my brain had alarm bells going off. I would often have times where if I was caught off guard when someone spoke to me, I wouldn’t be able to answer. If I did, it was so quiet that they wouldn’t be able to hear me. The thing was when I would try to speak, my mouth would move but nothing would come out. This made it even harder to make friends because when someone would say ‘hi’ to me in the halls I wouldn’t be able to reply. People often thought that I didn’t like them or was being rude, but I just couldn’t help it.

There was, however, a girl in my class that began to notice that I was actually responding. If she saw me looking at her in the bathroom mirror, she would smile back. If I said hello and she noticed, she would say ‘hi’ back as well.

Small things make the world of difference

This sounds like such a small thing but it meant the absolute world to me. It made me feel safe and that I wasn’t invisible, which is something I used to feel all the time at all of my other schools. To be honest, sometimes I wanted to be invisible so that I wasn’t bullied. After a few months, I was actually able to answer her, with spoken words. I could tell that it made her happy and it made me so proud of myself! If she hadn’t done this it would have been a lot longer until I was able to properly speak to people.

The moral of the story is to be kind, pay attention, and do things that might not seem like a big deal to you, because they could mean the world to someone else!

Treat us like humans

I hope this was helpful in some way and even if you don’t know someone has a diagnosis, try not to judge them because you have no idea what they might be going through or why they are the way they are! Just treat them as human, because that’s what they are, everyone deserves to not feel invisible!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and let me know if you have any questions!

About Emilie:

Hello, I am Emilie. I have anumber of different disorders, and neurological differences, including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, GAD(General Anxiety Disorder), OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Tourettes, Depressive Episodes, and past Social Anxiety.

I am also an Author where I write Children’s Books showing the life of characters with different disorders. The series is called “Inclusion Club” and the first book is “Say Hello to My Little Friend, His Name is Bob!”. I just released the second book called “Bob Wants a Job!”. The books are available on Amazon in English and German with many more to come, including a few novels.

You can follow me on YouTube(michelle.a.dawson) and Instagram @michelle.a.dawson & @michelle.a.dawson.creates.

Or you can email me at: michelle.a.dawson3@gmail.com.

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