My name is Olivia Cupp-Korb, I’m 15, and I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Before I get into my story there are four major things you should know about GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
- GAD is classified as, “Severe, unrealistic or excessive anxiety that interferes with one's daily life” (ADAA)
- The typical onset of GAD occurs between four and eight years old with the average diagnosis age being thirty
- GAD only affects 3.1% of the US population
- Only 42.3% of those who suffer from GAD receive the proper treatment
I had what can be called “a common path” to diagnosis. As a young child, I would do silly little things such as, making sure all the doors were locked before I went to bed, or making sure that I could see into my parent's bedroom while I was sleeping, and god forbid if I ever slept facing a window. Now I get that seems like I was just being a scared little kid, but I was actually presenting early symptoms of GAD. At roughly ten years old I began to experience physical symptoms. It started with sleeping problems, it got to the point where I began using medications just so I could fall asleep a night. Then came the stomach problems. The pain that I was going through was truly unbearable so, my parents took me to the doctors. At that point the doctors just chalked it up to dehydration or lactose intolerance. I tried everything I could think of to relieve my stomach issues, but nothing (and I mean absolutely firkin nothing) worked. Eventually I just stopped complaining and learned to fake a smile. Fast forward five years and 2020 happened (which we don’t need to get into right now). My stomach issues were worse than they had ever been. At the mention of leaving the house my stomach would launch into its worst cramps and pains, it felt like I couldn’t escape my own body. I couldn’t take it anymore, so at my yearly check up I brought up my concerns, and was given a Generalized Anxiety screening.
Now fast forward six months to January 2021. In the six months since my diagnosis I have had three medicine “bump ups” and go to therapy every two weeks.As of writing this post I haven’t had an anxiety attack in over a month.Which is major major progress! I’m considered “lucky” in the mental health community. I was diagnosed at an early age, I have very supportive family and friends, and it was relatively easy for me to find the right combination of therapy and medication. Everyones journey is different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find help. Sixth months ago I wish I could’ve found someone like me, some one that could truly tell me there’s a light on the other side. I want to be that for someone else, if I can save one person from going through the years of pain I went through, then I’m glad I shared my story. It may not be as insane or as glamorized as movies and books make mental illness out to be, but it’s true and it’s raw and it’s ugly. I hope others see this story and feel empowered to share their own.
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…You may not realize when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you” -Walt Disney
If you wish to learn more about GAD please look at the links below:
The Depression Project — https://thedepressionproject.com/