Interview Two: Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression with an Obsessive Flavor

Published by Inside Our Minds on

“There’s too much mental darkness in the world for us to stifle our capacity for empathy.”

[Content Warning: Parental and Spousal Abuse, Drug Usage]

Reading Time – 2 minutes

From a Religious Upbringing

Many people in my family have obsessive tendencies… we’re a family of overactive brains. My upbringing was very religious, and there’s a certain tendency in many religious upbringings to reward anxiety and obsessive behaviors. For instance, when I would obsessively self-shame or self-punish, I was praised for my “spirituality” and told constantly how good of a person I was, thus reinforcing this incredibly destructive behavior. I was always the good kid… you know, that kid who always wanted to do everything right and follow all the rules, even at the expense of my wellbeing and development as a person. I feel like I was allowed and even encouraged to abuse myself, all because it made me seem “holier,” and I obviously harbor a deep resentment of this kind of perverted religiosity.

My father was a controlling and domineering parent. For instance, he would obsess over family finances. He and my mother would go upstairs and “do the bills,” which consisted of him obsessively combing over every line of text, every number, sometimes hundreds of times, forcing my mother to follow along and affirm him constantly. During this time, my sister and I would have to be absolutely silent so my father could concentrate. Not a single sound for hours, unless we wanted to get screamed at. We could read, or watch a movie on mute… maybe. I feel like I was originally more extroverted, but experiences like this pushed me more into myself… made me more introverted.

Describing Anxiety

It’s like a constant narrative in my head… my mind constantly telling myself things, sometimes not even in comprehensible words, because it’s all so chaotic and moves so fast. These negative thought patterns become a part of me, and I have to fight against them. For example, I have some close friends who I’ve known for a long time. Recently, I walked over to them to say hello. While walking away, I heard them laugh, and I automatically assumed they were laughing at me. These hypothetical situations play in my head so many times that they can almost become reality, leading to real feelings and reactions on my part.

“Tourette’s Lite”

I’ve actually never really experienced stigma per se. As a child I was diagnosed with Nervous Tic Syndrome. I experienced facial and vocal tics… like a Tourette’s lite. One year, my teachers had me leave the room… they brought in a speaker with Tourette’s to talk to my class about my tics. They got my parents’ permission, but not mine. I was mortified and embarrassed… it was pretty much the worst thing that I could imagine happening at the time. Still, none of my classmates ever mentioned my tics or approached me about them after that, and I didn’t experience any bullying as a result.

Coping Mechanisms

Weed… honestly it’s amazing for anxiety and helps me channel my various thoughts and energies. Plus music, especially in my teenage years. I really got into metal, because the music sounded like what I heard inside my brain. That’s part of the reason why I’m now so committed to art; I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to feel understood and truly known by a work of art, and ever since, music has been a crucial part of my life.

A Word of Advice

Actually listen to people, especially to kids. Don’t assume by default that people are seeking attention or lying to you about their struggles, again, especially when these people are children. Open yourself to someone else’s pain, or at least don’t hinder someone else from doing it. There’s too much mental darkness in the world for us to stifle our capacity for empathy.

Comments are highly encouraged!

Inside Our Minds will relay all comments and questions to the participant, to respond to at their discretion.

Thanks for reading!

Inside Our Minds

Inside Our Minds is an organization that works to elevate the voices of people with lived experience of mental illness and madness.


Anonymous · 07/04/2016 at 13:17

This person is great with words. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I have a question for the speaker. Are you religious or spiritual today? I’m sorry you had this experience, because spirituality is such an important part of my recovery. It would be a shame if it was ruined for you.

    Inside Our Minds · 10/04/2016 at 15:52

    Thanks for the question! The participant is working on a response. I’ll post it here when they are finished.

    Inside Our Minds · 02/05/2016 at 14:31

    Here is a response from the participant:

    “I am still spiritual/religious today but my spirituality had to go through a pretty serious revolution to get me to this point. In general, though, I tend to blame human religious systems and their focus on sustaining authority relationships rather than religion/spirituality in itself for the horrifying effects religion has on so many people. I am very happy to hear that your spirituality has been so healing for you, and thanks for asking :)”

Noelle · 07/04/2016 at 15:39

I have had anxiety for many years and have found great relief and comfort in using essential oils. Lavender, chamomile, and Bergamot specifically have helped me very much. I diffuse them and apply them to my neck and chest.

Anonymous, Too · 26/04/2017 at 00:01

I second Anonymous, this was very absorbing. If you would care to share more of your story, I’m sure there are many who would be interested in following your journey. Anxiety is such a common issue, and can be debilitating. Fellow sufferers benefit from hearing that they are not alone. I applaud your willingness to be open and this forum. ~Anonymous, Too

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