Change of any significance has always been hard for me. Every year growing up I dreaded the first day of school, far beyond what felt like the "normal" mourning that summer was over. Going away to college was physically wrenching—I spent the first week unable to eat, convinced that I would never be as content as the hordes of new best friends I was surrounded by. While everyone around me sailed through the first few days, I cried myself to sleep and constantly warred with the nervous feeling in my stomach.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they called it. GAD. Which, somehow, seems fitting. GAD, which reportedly affects about 3 percent of the U.S. population, is characterized by frequent, constant worry with little or no cause. A GAD sufferer will generally bear a daily burden of anxiety not tied to any specific threat. Through no choice of our own, we live in a state of anxiety that is largely disconnected from the reality of our otherwise normal circumstances. While my daily anxiety is a bit better now thanks to exercise, therapy, and medication, it remains a quiet companion. The National Institute of Mental Health reported on a study that found women are 60 percent more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime. Perhaps the higher frequently is due to women's desire to control certain aspects of our lives; perhaps it lives in the same gap we all do, between expectation and reality. Either way, an anxious life is a hard one, and the less we talk about it, the more isolated we feel.
Which is why I was glad to hear about the publication of The Anxious Christian (Moody), by Rhett Smith, a marriage and family therapist based in Texas. The subtitle alone is worth the price of the book: ...1
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