The What-Ifs of GAD

I am 45 years old. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). As far back as I remember I have always been a worrier. A what-if.. er!

Around the age of 20. I started to struggle with public transport. I switched from the bus to the train to get to work so I could get there quicker. I then relied on lifts from friends or co-workers. Things gradually worsened but I was saved when I finished work to have my first child. My first panic attack struck when he was 4 days old. I then had Post-Natal Depression (PND). Constant worrying about the baby. Was he well, too hot too cold, etc. Things went from bad to worse until I was afraid to be alone. I couldn’t go out on my own and wouldn’t go far even accompanied.

My doctor put me on medication. After a few years of meds, I got through this very difficult time but still struggled with being alone. I went on to have a second child, all well. Then I hit 30. Massive anxiety, an intrusive thought sent me plummeting into deep anxiety, depression and I was back at square one. More meds. I couldn’t go to the cinema. Attend school plays alone, go anywhere crowded, in fact, my life was a struggle every day.

Fast forward to today, I am now 45. Am I better? yes and no! The anxiety is still with me. It rears its ugly head at times. Some bad weeks with lots of bad thoughts and what-ifs, but I have gone back to work full time. I drive to work every day for 45 minutes through a big town, I shop on my own, I attend conferences on my own, I relish my own company. I have been free from antidepressants for 14 years but still, take the odd beta-blocker.

More importantly what has helped me?

I picked up the phone and did a No Panic telephone support group, I learnt how to prevent panic and control my feelings, I also used their resources daily. I learnt mindfulness and now mediate most days. I do yoga twice a week and swim twice a week – on my own. I read and listened to podcasts, YouTube videos and self-help books. I am who I am. I am still trying to accept that. I have quite a stressful life. I work in Special Education Needs (SEN). My youngest is high functioning autistic but has needed lots of support. My oldest has SEBD! But is now an adult, who apart from his hyperactivity is a kind and considerate adult.

It’s been a rollercoaster but I have got through. Accepting the fears and the what-ifs as what they are is key. The anxiety feelings are brought on by the way we react to our thoughts. The books I have read (and recommend) are anything my Dr Claire Weekes. The Happiness Trap based on ACT. Out of your mind and into your life, based on ACT – on audio. Ruby Wax’s book on mindfulness. Loads of CBT books, too many to mention. Podcasts, The OCD Stories by Stuart Ralph and The Compassionate Mind on audio.

A last little tip from me to you – Make goals, don’t look back your not going that way. #tellyourstorystopthestigma


How can No Panic help?
No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services include:
Providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.
Our aim is to give you all of the necessary advice, tools and support that you will need to recover and carry out this journey. No Panic Recovery Programs