I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 16 years old. Prior to being diagnosed and treated I developed (what I thought) were pretty good ways to cope with the constant feeling of nervousness. My main strategy was telling my mom everything I was nervous about at about 9:00pm every evening, while laying on the living room floor. Another was sleeping (Note: I didn’t, and don’t currently, sleep because I am feeling nervous, I just sometimes sleep when I feel nervous because I usually wake up feeling better). Now that my anxiety is controlled, I find that when I’m feeling stress or nerves within the realm of normal, that my coping strategy involves cleaning and/or organizing things.

I can’t say if it’s an effective or healthy strategy, but I sure get a lot of stuff done. I’m also usually able to fall asleep, or continue on with my day afterward. The behavior definitely falls on the mild spectrum of an obsessive compulsive tendency, as I use it as a means to relieve anxious feelings. I will admit that sometimes I wish I didn’t feel compelled to clean and organize, but that I’d much rather put things in order than have a relenting compulsion related to El Caminos.

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