This week, we are talking to Alabaster about what it's like to live with General Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Enjoy!
Hey there Alabaster! Thank you for agreeing to do the interview. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m Al, a 16 year old non-binary kid. I enjoy singing and video games, and I dabble in writing, poetry, and voice acting.
I have both diagnosed general and social anxiety disorder, as well as agoraphobia and major depressive disorder.
What does anxiety feel like for you, both physically and emotionally?
To me anxiety just feels like something that was always there, but is now kinda abusing its power over me? Either that or it feels like a pushy friend who’s trying to help by pointing out all possible dangers to me, but in reality none of them are really a threat.
Emotionally it’s super fucking draining, worrying about everything all the time. Especially when it comes to people bc they’re everywhere and communicating with others is kind of a necessity.
Physically it’s draining as well, but it makes me tense all the time so when I de-stress it just makes me even more tired then I would usually be.
It’s like my brain’s on a treadmill all day.
What led up to you being diagnosed with anxiety?
What led to being diagnosed started off with my depression, I didn’t want to do anything anymore, I was mildly suicidal, and I never had any energy. Also around that time I started having an increased amount of panic attacks, like it went from one every three weeks to two a week.
I had sought out a new therapist bc mine wasn’t working out too well at the time, so I found a new one and also started going to a physiatrist.
I knew I was depressed, I knew about the general anxiety, but the social anxiety was a bit of a surprise to me.
I always thought I was just bad with people, but it’s called something??? It’s super comforting knowing I’m not just The Worst.
Do you go to therapy or take any medication to help you manage the anxiety?
I do go to therapy and I’m working on finding meds that work for me, I’ve been taking Prozac for about two months now, and I’ve also gone on and off gabapentin and abilify in that time, the side effects were too much for me to handle.
You mentioned that you like meditation for anxiety. Do you have any resources or techniques that you would like to share?
As of yesterday I’ve started using the app Headspace in the morning, because that’s usually where my anxiety is at its peak.
Previously when I’d wake up my brain would instantly cut to everything that could go wrong. I’d try to subvert those thoughts with positive affirmations and trying to reason with myself as to why I’m thinking the way I am, what’s happening, and why I felt like I was being physically held down in my bed. I only do five minute sessions but it’s so much better to wake up and have a moment to have my head clear and free of any sort of stressor.
If you have an anxiety attack in a public place, what do you like to do to deescalate yourself?
As for deescalation in a public place, if I am in public during a panic attack I’m usually at school, so I usually go to the counselors office. If they’re not available or if I’m not at school, I always go to the bathroom.
Sure people are going in and out but just being alone in a stall- even if you are on a toilet- is better for me than seeing everyone and worrying about wether or not they see me.
For those that care take someone who has anxiety, do you have any advice on how they can better help someone who has anxiety?
My boyfriend has super bad anxiety as I do.
The main thing we do for each other is asking how we can help before anything happens. If we run out of conversation or have nothing to do, we discuss coping mechanisms, both ones we can use when on call together and ones we can do alone if the other is unavailable.
Thank you for your time, Alabaster. Do you have any last words or encouragement for those who are current living with anxiety disorder?
No prob bob!! As for words of encouragement, you’re going to have bad days. This is known. Sometimes you may have more bad days than good, but know that a good day is going to come around. I’ve made it to school a total of five days this month as of May 15th, where there have been a total of 11 school days. Sometimes when you think you’re getting better, that turns out not to be the case. Sometimes the best progress is made when you least expect it.
Alabaster1223#1400 is a member of the House of Misfits Discord.