Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Anxiety Without Focus, as a State of Being

People with ACC and/or autism often have what is termed free floating anxiety or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  What this is, is a type of anxiety that simply comes and goes with more days anxious than not, all without a clear cause or reason.

Add on top of this any change, whether it be seen as "positive" or "negative" and the state of anxiety can be unbearable.  ACCers do not deal well with change.  This is not "psychological" or stubbornness, it is because we live with a brain that thinks and remembers differently.  Many of us have memory encoding issues, trouble remember things as they happen in sequence.  This being so, it makes all the sense in the world that any disruption to our environment or routine is anxiety provoking.

Anxiety presents itself with a mixture of both physical and mental attributes:

Physically we can experience a pounding heart, sweating, stomach upset or dizziness, frequent urination or diarrhea, shortness of breath, tremors and twitches, muscle tension, headaches, extreme fatigue, and insomnia. Mentally we experience  feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, feeling tense and jumpy, anticipating the worst, irritability, restlessness, on constant watch for signs of danger, we feel like our mind has  gone blank.  Any given individual with ACC can experience any mixture of these symptoms.

These symptoms will often lead to anxiety/panic attacks.  Panic attacks come with a surge of overwhelming panic, feelings of losing control or going crazy, heart palpitations or chest pain,
feeling like you’re going to pass out, trouble breathing or choking sensation, hyperventilation, hot flashes or chills, trembling or shaking, nausea or stomach cramps, and feeling detached or unreal.  If these symptoms persist several times a day it is classified as a panic disorder.  This is highly debilitating and itself leads towards depression if not treated.

While there are medications that treat anxiety symptoms many people have success with cognitive behavioral therapy and/or dialectical behavior therapy.  I myself use a combination of all of the above.

Routine and consistency are really important factors in the life of someone with ACC or autism.  The moment these become in any way disrupted the door opens for anxiety.

As I have said, if this anxiety is allowed to continue for any length of time, it leads to symptoms of depression...I know, in fact, I am going through both anxiety and depression as I write this.  It's so frustrating too, because I have recently made some positive changes in my life...but as I've mentioned before, change of any kind can be incredibly anxiety provoking for both ACC and ASD people.

A not so pleasant look into the brain, on any given day, of someone with ACC...

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