The Facts About GAD

When you wake up every morning, you feel sick to the very pit of your stomach.

Your appetite is dwindled, with even your favourite foods no longer attracting your attention.

When you stand you feel dizzy. Your head often feels heavy and your legs like jelly, barely holding you up.

You cry all the time and constantly feel as though you are in one of those haunted house attractions, waiting for an actor dressed as some grizzly creature to jump out at you from behind the next wall.

You are living on the edge but you aren’t any racing fast cars. This adrenaline is certainly not the same as when you’re queuing for the biggest roller coaster at Alton Towers either. It’s always there. And you don’t really know why.

This is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, also known as GAD.

GAD is a physiological disorder that is often diagnosed in people who suffer from excessive or unreasonable anxiety within everyday life. This level of ‘extreme worry’ can be extremely debilitating and disruptive to an individual’s life.

Everybody at one stage in their lives will suffer from Anxiety about certain aspects of their life. This can include worries about school or a job, a relationship, and finances. But when that worry consumes a person to the point of causing them ill health and prevents them from living a healthy, happy life, it is often Generalised Anxiety Disorder that is orchestrating it.

You may just think you are ill or stressed out.

When I was diagnosed with GAD a few years back I just thought I had the flu but anxiety can make you feel like you are unwell.

So I thought some bite-size information on GAD might help a few people looking for information.

 So, what causes GAD?

 Abnormal neurotransmitter levels within our brain are the reason for many anxiety disorders. They cause the brain to behave inappropriately as they control the nervous system. Neurotransmitters affect our mood, our concentration as well as our sleep and weight, and when their levels are unbalanced, they can cause the number of anxiety-related symptoms.

When it all boils down to it, our Brain Chemistry is the prime reason for Anxiety and Stress-related illness.

But of course, Anxiety can be triggered or caused by a number of different factors. These can include:

Trauma

Stress

Side effects of certain medications

Genetics

Medical Conditions (This is why you should always have your GP diagnose Anxiety rather than assume that is what you have, just to make sure you are not suffering from a medical illness)

What are the symptoms of GAD?

There are a number of mental symptoms, which will lead to the diagnosis of GAD.

These, of course, will include excessive worry and anxious thoughts.

But many people find themselves confused by the other symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Here I’ll explain the science behind the most common GAD symptoms.

Headaches

An anxiety headache will most likely be caused by muscle tension. We have a number of different muscles not only in our head but our neck that we tense when anxious or under stress. This muscle tension can lead to muscle fatigue and aches. Your headache may also be caused by dehydration, as when we are suffering from anxiety, we tend to forget to stay hydrated and healthy.

High levels of stress and anxiety can also cause migraines. Remember to take the time to look after your health and keep hydrated! You can also use techniques such as mindfulness meditation to relax, relieving headaches caused by tension and stress.

Nausea/Digestive Upsets (includes Acid Reflux, IBS, etc)

High-stress biology will cause the production of extra stomach acid as well as tension within the stomach muscles, which can throw your digestive system out of check and balance.

You can deal with this by eating little and often. You could also try taking a probiotic to maintain healthy bacteria within your digestive system.

Dizziness and Shaking

These symptoms are often caused by hyperventilation. People with anxiety will commonly over breath which means they will take into much oxygen. This is also common with panic attacks. The best way to deal with this is to take deep, slow breaths in through the nose and slowly breathe out through pursed lips as though you are blowing a dandelion. This will regulate your breaths and help you to calm down, therefore stopping you over-breathing.

Depersonalization

This is often described as being in a dream-like state. People with GAD will often feel detached from their own thoughts and wonder if they are going insane. This is because the anxiety is causing an erratic nervous system. Using breathing techniques and grounding (I’ll do a blog post all about this) will really help you to relax and have a calmer mindset.

Easily tired/Insomnia

With anxiety, our brain is always on high alert and acts inappropriately to every day worries. The best way to describe it is by watching Horror films constantly. Your brain and nerves are on edge like some crazed, masked man called Mike Myers are going to jump out and chase you down the street. Because of this, people will anxiety disorders like GAD will feel emotionally exhausted. They may also find it hard to keep a regular sleep pattern or ‘wind down’, in turn leading to Insomnia.

Check my blog post on Insomnia to learn more about this and how to better deal with sleep disorders.

Other symptoms of GAD can include;

General Tension

Difficulty concentrating

Irritability

Being easily startled.

These are all caused by high-stress biology.

If you or someone you know is suffering from GAD, share this post and encourage them to see their GP for a general health check and a proper diagnosis. This will also allow you to access various services, which could help you to deal with the disorder.

I really hope this blog post has helped anyone looking for more information and insight on GAD or anxiety in general.

This is England 90 Review

SPOILER ALERT!

Anyone who has followed this phenomenal series from beginning to end will understand why This is England fans across the country were left bawling their eyes out as the series came to an end the other week.

Yes, the last episode of the series had arrived, a series that had started as a gritty independent film set in 1983 and traveled right up through the years to the beloved era of the ’90s. I can honestly say, I’m going to miss those fictional characters on my TV.

Lol, Woody, Milky, Shaun. We’ve seen these loveable characters grow up in front of the screen (literally as Thomas Surgoose was only 13 when he prised his role on the film as young Shuan). We’ve seen their ups and downs. We’ve witnessed them mature and change throughout the years and true fans will agree, many have become ‘attached’ to them.

Just like the film and previous two series, This is England 86 and 88, this series was NOT a disappointment and the last episode wrapped everything up in a gripping and nail-biting finale where most of our characters got a happy ending.

Lol and Woody finally tied the knot in a wedding, which, although traditional, was certainly as close to ‘them’ as they could get! The reception at the miner’s club was far from fancy but it was certainly true to the characters.

Kelly got kicked out of the flat by Harvey when he found out she was addicted to crack. She ran away and was pursued by poor Gadget. Sadly though, Gadget still doesn’t get the girl.

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I think Meadow’s was looking to portray Kelly as the lost soul, running from herself and blaming everyone else for her problems. But you couldn’t help but feel sorry for her when she turns up at Lol’s wedding with a card and finally admits she had a problem with her sister. I’m really glad Meadows allowed Kelly self-reflection as a character. I was starting to worry she’d gone completely off the rails. Her reunion with the gang was cleanly bringing down some walls that have been built between the characters in this series. Harvey appears to be making reconciliations with Kelly. Although Gadget’s fairy tale love story was not to materialize. Harvey appeared to have that corner covered though. But as they say, mates before dates YO!

Shaun, however, did find himself an eligible beau in the form of fellow photography student Charlotte. And Smell was left no more than a fart in the wind. Although she was sure to show her green-eyed monster before the episode was finished. I’m still a bit confused as to why Smell didn’t have more presence in this series, seeing as she was a more developed character previously. But I’m more than happy that Shaun found his vocation and ended the series as one of the most likable and developed of the characters.

So pretty much all our favourite characters were together again, happy in life and in love.

But that couldn’t account for the fact that this last episode left just a few people ‘upset’ by Combo’s exit from the series.

The café scene in which Milky drove Combo to a derelict café to ‘talk things over’ was possibly one of the most powerful scenes witnessed in the series.

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For the first time since the series was born way back in 2006, we see vulnerability in Combo we have never seen before. Even when we cast our minds right back to the end of the film, remembering the brutal assault inflicted on the much loved Milky and just how unprovoked and evil it was, we still can’t help but feel desperately upset when Combo meet’s he’s demise.

Throughout the series, Milky has been deemed a quiet and gentle character. I couldn’t help but feel some frustration and disappointment when he allowed he’s relatives to take Combo away, tears, and regret etched across his face. He didn’t even try to prevent the act from happening.

It’s quite easy to understand why he wanted revenge against Combo. After all, this was the man who left him so badly beaten, his family was unsure he was going to make it. Yet I think this series allowed the audience to reflect on what revenge really means and whether it truly makes us feel better in the long run.

We can understand the resentment Milky feels towards Combo, and his anger. But seeing that look of remorse on Milk’s face throughout Lol and Woody’s wedding celebration just showed how a quick decision acted upon in a moment of passionate anger, can leave you feeling nothing but guilt. As the old saying goes ‘an eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind’.

Stephen perfectly portrayed a man on the edge. I couldn’t have imagined Combo could feel fear. Throughout the series, he has been portrayed as the alpha male, the boss, and a guy who stared fear straight in the face and laughed. But I can guarantee that audiences across the country who watched Meadow’s final installment of This is England on Sunday, would have fought back tears as Combo cried and screamed for he’s own life as the hands of a vicious gang even bigger and stronger than him. I can honestly say that scene was one of Meadow’s most traumatic and emotional. The audience would have felt helpless. Nobody wanted Combo to suffer the way he did. The fans had grown attached to him. And to know he didn’t have such a happy ending will have left a lot of people still attached to their TV screens, hugging them tightly and asking Meadows ‘WHY?’

Meadows really is a creative genius. He captured the countries imagination with some of the most lovable and intriguing characters to ever appear on British television and a story with true realism.

It was British television at it’s finest and truly BAFTA award-winning if I do say so myself.

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