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Living life to the fullest with Anxiety Disorder & More

by Madison
(California)

In third grade, I was diagnosed with A.D.D. along with dyslexia, anxiety disorder and other learning disabilities. As I was taking a child development class I learned that one diagnosed with A.D.D. could also be diagnosed with dyslexia and that one diagnosed with dyslexia could also be diagnosed with anxiety disorder. For me, I was diagnosed with all three and it's been a long journey to get to where I am now. When I tell others that my anxiety disorder results in test anxiety, they look at me like I'm overreacting because everybody has "test anxiety" and it's "normal". I try my best to not be frustrated by their comments, but I hate to break it to you, you do not have test anxiety or anxiety disorder. Yes, you may feel anxious about a test or you might not remember an answer to a couple of questions. But that is not test anxiety. What I have, now that's the definition of test anxiety. While you might forget a couple answers, I forget everything that I studied and knew before the test was put in front of me. When I look at the test, I don't see questions that need to be answered, I just see a bunch of random words and my mind goes completely blank. I can't remember a single thing that we talked about in class or from what I studied during the test, but once the test is over and no longer in front of me, I remember everything. My teacher could ask questions in class and I could know the answer right off the top of my head, no questions, no second guessing myself, just pure confidence and understanding in the answer I give. Now, for those who say it's normal to feel anxious about things in life, you have no idea what anxiety disorder means. I'm not just nervous for a couple seconds and then able to do what needs to be done. For example, you may be nervous about giving a presentation and you may stumble or forget a few things and that's normal. What's not normal is being so anxious about giving the presentation that your heart starts racing 100 mph, your hands start shaking nonstop, you become lightheaded, you stumble over every word you say, your palms become sweaty, you feel like you want to cry, you feel like your going to puke, nothing comes out when you try to speak and you can't stand still. That's what I have to endure every day, not just giving a presentation and being done. No, I am talking about life in general. Not being able to things you want to do because all you do is ask "what if" questions, or constantly over thinking every little thing around you. Not being able to express why you feel the way you do because it's so overwhelming you cant think straight and knowing that any little thing at any given moment can cause a panic attack. Now there are arguments about whether or not medication is a good or bad thing. Here is what I have to say about that: My parents tried everything they could to help me with my anxiety before agreeing to medication. Now, I understand why some are skeptical about putting their children on medication. Many say they prefer alternative methods, and I agree. But if you have tried everything like my parents did, and there hasn't been any improvement, then I would definitely recommend medication. If my parents didn't agree to try medication when they did, I wouldn't be able to be the person I am today. I wouldn't have graduated high school, I wouldn't be driving, I wouldn't have found my love of dancing on stage, I wouldn't be able to work with children and do what I love, I wouldn't have been able to do overnight girl scout camps, church camps or sleep over at a friends house. I wouldn't have been able to graduate college with an AA in social behavioral sciences and child development. Medication doesn't change who you are, it helps you become the person you want to be and could be. It does not cure anxiety, I will always struggle with anxiety for the rest of my life, and even though it may not feel like it, medication has allowed me to keep my anxiety under control. It now takes a lot more for me to have a panic attack than it did before. I am able to live my life in ways I probably couldn't before.

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