Your palms are clammy. Beads of perspiration cascade down your forehead as your heart thrums out a staccato rhythm. Your thoughts are tangled like a ball of yarn; a coherent sentence eludes you as you attempt to communicate what you are feeling.
All of these symptoms occur, not as you are facing a roaring lion or a roaring crowd as you stand on stage, but rather, as you are sitting in the safety of your living room, anticipating taking a test, going on a first date or driving to the supermarket to complete your grocery list. Anxiety has grasped you by the hand and threatens to carry you away in its clutches.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V (DSM-V) describes Generalized Anxiety Disorder as:
Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least six months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
B. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past six months).
Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
Although this description alludes to sometimes being incapacitated, there are those who experience a mixture of symptoms who are able to function in their daily lives. It is when the signs of anxiety make one’s life unmanageable that treatment needs to be addressed.