If you’ve struggled with anxiety and opened up to someone in your life about it before, chances are you’ve heard some variation on the utterly misguided sentiment above. People who have no experience with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept of what’s sometimes referred to as “free-floating” anxiety.
Generalized, or free-floating anxiety is not the same thing as the anxiety a non-afflicted person feels when they have a big test coming up, or a deadline at work. It’s not the same as worrying about whether your significant other will like their gift, or whether the birthday party you’re throwing will go well. You see, generalized anxiety isn’t about anything at all. It’s a pervasive sense of dread that hovers over your shoulders; a feeling of paranoia and being unsettled that simply never goes away.