A good way to understand a personality disorder is to compare it to the norm. It allows a person to contrast the differences in the disorder to the average by showing you both sides of the personality. Rather than solely focusing on the disorder, discussing the norm helps people to understand what aspects of the disorder are abnormal and what aspects are found in standard personalities. The personality disorder that I am going to compare to the standard in this paper is Generalized Anxiety disorder. To do this I am going to recount an experience that I have had, and then interpret how a person suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder might deal with the same experience.
Generalized anxiety disorder has a number of specific traits. The main trait is excessive anxiety and worry. This type of anxiety and worry should be occurring more days than not for it to be considered this type of disorder. Some of the other characteristics include restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and disturbed sleep. When most of these symptoms are evident it is fairly clear that that individual most likely suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Several weeks ago, I was asked to go on a trip with one of my really good friends from Cincinnati. She had asked me to fly down to Tampa with her to spend the day at the beach and then to attend this party that she had been invited to. It was very short notice and the flight to Florida was departing at nine thirty the following morning. It was also going to be a very short trip and we would be leaving Tampa at ten o’clock on the same day that we arrived. It was a very exciting opportunity and I wasn’t going to pass on this spontaneous way to spend a Saturday.
Besides having to pack I also had to find some way to get down to Cincinnati, which was about an hour and a half away, that night so that I wouldn’t have to get up extremely early and drive to the airport in the morning. I knew of some people from Cincinnati that were thinking of going to home that night. I called them, but unfortunately all of them were going to stay in Springfield. The only other option I had was to borrow a car from my family.
Telling my parents that I needed to borrow a car so that I could drive to the airport and fly to Tampa was not going to help my situation at all. Regrettably I choose to tell a few lies in order to get the car. Explaining the miles on the car to them after my little adventure was extremely tough, but I pulled it off though and they didn’t suspect a thing.
Now that I had transportation I hurriedly packed some things for Saturday, got in the car, and headed down to Cincinnati. It was getting fairly late and the drive was really making my tired. I rolled down the windows and cranked up the radio hoping that it may revive some energy from deep inside of me.
When I finally got to my friend’s house I was so relieved to finally be able to get some sleep. The drive was so tiring that I somewhat wished that I would have just waited and gone early in the morning. I left all my things in my car and jumped into bed and my eyes were practically shut before my head hit the pillow.
We both woke up a little later than what we had planned so the morning was very rushed. We quickly got dressed and started the drive to the airport. We got to the airport with only about ten minutes to spare and we finally caught our breath when we sat down on the plane. We were on our way to spending a very exciting Saturday in Florida.
Even though I would find it hard to believe that a person with Generalized Anxiety could manage to make it through all of the steps that go along with making this particular trip. I am going to assume, however unlikely, that the person does achieve the goal of making it onto the plane. I am going to call the person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder Mr. Gad.
Upon hearing the invitation to spend the day in Florida a million thoughts flew into Mr. Gad’s head. What about my school work? How safe is the plane? What will my parents think? How am I going to pull this off? Do I have enough money? What about all the other things I had planned for Saturday? (Excessive worrying)
After finally deciding that it would be fun to go on the trip Mr. Gad begins to prepare for the short excursion. Mr. Gad called some of his friends that were from Cincinnati and that may be going home for the weekend. To his dismay none of them were going, and this really upset Mr. Gad. Even though it really wasn’t any of their faults that they weren’t going to Cincinnati, Mr. Gad became short, cranky, and aggravated with them on the phone. (Irritable)
The next thing Mr. Gad tried was to ask his parents for a car. Mr. Gad hated to lie, but he knew that in order to get the car he had to come up with some type of story. Mr. Gad’s parents knew something was wrong because Mr. Gad’s story was very unlikely. He kept talking about one thing and then he would shift to another part of the story and he couldn’t really focus on the lie that was imperative to getting the car. (Inability to concentrate) Because his parents didn’t feel like accusing him of anything without being completely positive, they decided to lend him the car.
At this time Mr. Gad was all set to go and he started to head down to Cincinnati. While Mr. Gad was driving, his hands seemed to clench onto the steering wheel. His legs were feeling extremely taut on the petal. (Muscle tension) He couldn’t help but thinking about whether or not his parents would find out. He also kept wondering about whether the trip in general would be worth all the trouble that it had put him in. (Worrying) As his mind was tormenting all of the negative aspects of the trip, Mr. Gad couldn’t really focus on the road. (Inability to concentrate) He was swerving over the line again and again. Luckily he made it to his friends house before anything bad could have happened.
After the rigid drive Mr. Gad was extremely tired. Even though he had made it in Cincinnati before 7 PM he had to go to sleep. All of the worrying and thinking that had gone on made him tired. (Easily fatigued) However, when Mr. Gad was lying in bed he couldn’t fall asleep. He continued to think about his schoolwork, his parents and about the worth of the trip in general. Mr. Gad got very little sleep that night. (Disturbed sleep)
When he finally got onto the plane it seemed that the worries continued to follow him even into the air. His legs were cramped up and he tightly squeezed the armrest to relieve some of the pressure in his hands. (Muscle tension) Even though the process seemed horrific to Mr. Gad. He made it onto the plane and was on his way to Florida. But somehow I don’t think that Mr. Gad will be able to fully enjoy himself with all the stresses that seem to follow him wherever he goes.
Now when you read the stories one after another it is easy to note the differences in personality. Worries, aches, and an inadequacy of concentration plague Mr. Gad whereas in the other story these characteristics are less prevalent. Rather than just listing the characteristic of Generalized Anxiety disorder, the stories allow you to understand how a person would react in different situations.