I have a vivid memory of waking up, at 4 years old, with the most ominous fear in the pit of my stomach. It felt like what some might recognize as stage fright - but there was no immediate threat. I was perfectly still - wondering what the hell was going on - and going deeper into panic mode. In the 38 years since, I have woken up most mornings feeling this way.
We're taught to think of anxiety as a negative thing, and I mostly believe this to be true. Mostly. The problem is - what if my sense of impending doom and failure is the very trait that drives me to do a better job? And if that's the case, should we panicky types take steps to alleviate anxiety or just ride it out?
Decided to see a specialist and get a mix of meds specifically to address my genetic predispositions. Turns out I'm unable to make dopamine, GABA or seratonin because of a gene mutation (MTFR - appropriate...) and evidently I have ADHD. Handy information to know at 42... I suppose it explains my need for systems and order to keep myself on track, otherwise I'd just be constantly distracted. It's been 3 months and so far so good. So great, in fact, that I've gotten over my crippling fear of driving on the highway. My work doesn't seem to have suffered (although my boss may disagree) - however, I am not tending toward manic when I'm super overwhelmed. Nothing is perfect, I guess. I highly recommend the genetic test to tailor the right mix of meds - if you have the type of insurance company that will pick up (most of) the tab.