I have struggled with anxiety for about 12 months, after suffering a series of panic attacks this time last year. I have had medical tests and have been to a psychologist and I don't have the attacks anymore. However, the general anxiety is still hanging around.
I find that when my mind is occupied I don't think about the anxiety, but because the physical symptoms/sensations are still quite frequent, I find it hard not to think about it. I try and stay positive but it's very draining. I'm finding it hard to get excited about certain things in life that I usually enjoy. I feel I have improved thus far but I'm just after some tips on how to move forward.
I'm glad to hear that you saw a doctor and had a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, as well as being referred to a psychologist who helped with some of the symptoms. Far too many people do not take that step, and can spend their entire lives overshadowed by what are treatable symptoms. You've made a really positive start, which shows that the treatment received does work for you, although it sounds like some more help is needed before you can fully manage these symptoms.
Many people don't realise that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental health problem in Australia. Fourteen percent of us are affected every year more than double the number affected by depression.
The term "anxiety disorders" covers a whole range of conditions, from obsessive-compulsive disorder, through to phobias and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), where the person feels a regular, non-specific unease and worry, as though some terrible thing were always just about to happen.
People affected by true anxiety disorders cannot be dismissed as "natural worriers" who just need to calm down. If only it were that easy! When a doctor diagnoses this condition, it means that the symptoms are seriously interfering with the person's capacity to get on with and enjoy life. Thankfully, the treatments do work for the great majority of people.
As you are continuing to experience discomfort, I would strongly recommend you visit your GP again and give a clear description of the feelings you have been experiencing. The doctor may recommend a further course of psychological therapy, which will help you manage these symptoms, and nip them in the bud before they can start to seriously affect you.
It may also be worth discussing with the doctor whether you might have some form of depression as well it is very common for people to have both conditions. Dysthymia, for example, is a type of "low-grade", ongoing depression where the person feels flat all the time and has difficulty experiencing pleasure or excitement in anything.
Only a doctor can diagnose these conditions, of course, so do ask for a longer appointment in advance and give as much information as possible so that a diagnosis and treatment plan can be organised.
For more information about anxiety disorders, depression and other mental health topics, visit the SANE website at www.sane.org, or call the SANE helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).