Monday, July 27, 2009

Why are you doing that? or, The joy of an anxiety disorder

I have Social Anxiety Disorder. It doesn't come across while I'm blogging, because I'm blogging. I don't actually see any of you, so it's easier to be social.
I've had this disorder for years, though it has only recently become bad enough to warrant a diagnosis. My doctor finally gave it a name when I was diagnosed with Fibro, people with Fibro often have an anxiety disorder also. They seem to be connected, though no one really knows why.
Disorders like OCD and easting disorders are all anxiety disorders. And these disorders can be completely overwhelming. Sometimes going to the grocery store can be too much. I have been known to refuse to go into my own back yard because my neighbors were out. The idea of meeting people can be so frightening to me that I will avoid all social situations. And that doesn't even take into consideration eating at social events. I have had panic attacks before casual get togethers because I might be expected to eat in front of people, which I can not always do.
I am medicated, without medication this disorder severely interferes with my life. I will probably have to take this pill every day for the rest of my life just to function like a normal person. And that is unbelievably frustrating.
People don't realize that people who have anxiety disorders know that something is wrong and can't fix it. We aren't like other disorders where the person has no idea something is wrong, we know. We can't do anything about it, you become locked into your own mind. We know that you are impatient with us, and we know why, but again, we can't change it.
The funny thing is, you probably know someone with an anxiety disorder (other than me. I mean in real life). Or you know someone else with another disorder. And chances are that person is untreated. They have listened to people tell them that taking a pill to feel better is being weak and they should just suck it up. They have no insurance, their doctor won't listen to them. The state of healthcare is awful, and the state of mental health care is even worse. People go untreated because no one can help them, or no one will help them. And a depressed and anxious country is a country that will be good for nothing at all.
At some point we have to agree to end the stigma attached to mental illness of all kinds, and then agree that we need to treat people who have these disorders. In a way I was terribly lucky, I had a doctor who knew that if I had disorder a I would also have disorder b. I have insurance and a wonderful primary care doc who will listen. Not everyone is that lucky, and at some point after the healthcare system is revamped we need to make sure that everyone else is that lucky. And we need to make sure that they know that if something is wrong it's OK to ask for help.
It's a shame though, but I don't think it will happen in my lifetime.


  1. Hi Leigh,

    Geds has your blog linked, so I got here from there. I just wanted to say I also suffer from social anxiety disorder. I'm not insured. I have been going to a local free clinic, and they handed out antidepressants, so I am set for the next 6 weeks or so, but their funding got cut, so I can't really go back once these run out. And even though the medication has cut back on some of the problems, I still can't go out into a social situation, with people I don't know, unless there is a lot of alcohol present. I can handle going to the store, but that's because the store is where the booze is. Meh. I don't really know if I have a point, except to thank you for posting about this.

  2. If you are a victim of minor depression, it is possible for you to get rid of it with little effort but once you fall prey to serious depression, it may become altogether impossible to tackle this disorder without opting for medications. And among the medicines available in the market to treat depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, Xanax and Zoloft are highly popular.


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