In addition to OCD, I also struggle from GAD. While the worries that accompany OCD are very often irrational, GAD is marked by worries that are generally based in reality, though they commonly are distorted and exaggerated.
One of the big things that really affected my anxiety symptoms was the economic woes of the last 4 or 5 years. Particularly, in the Fall of 2008, my husband and I were hit with some setbacks. We experienced some significant financial losses. Even with those losses, we were alright. There was never any question of whether we could pay our bills or keep food on the table. We were never in "trouble." We were, however, faced with having to make some changes with regard to our financial plans.
I was struck with deep anxiety about what the future held. Moreover, I was, at the time, pursuing a degree in Accounting/Finance. Many of my homework assignments were to read news articles about the economy and to write reports about them. These assignments forced me to analyze and think about the failing economy day after day. This only intensified my fear.
I had been a long time follower of Christ. My trust should have been in Him alone. Unfortunately, I discovered that a lot of my security actually rested in material things, rather than in my Lord. This stress led to an exacerbation of my anxiety symptoms. Of course, the vast majority of my anxiety symptoms pre-dated 2008. However, I believe this fear and panic partly encouraged my illnesses to worsen at an accelerated pace, until I experienced a near break-down in the Fall of 2009.
During that Fall, I was so very sick and so very angry at God. I felt completely alone, and utterly abandoned. I realize now that was not true, but it certainly felt that way. By December of 2009, I slowly began to work my way to recovery through my therapy. I was still angry at God for several months. I told family members I didn't want to pray with them because I felt it was useless. I even considered permanently walking away from my faith. Thankfully, my family did not listen, and they continued to pray for me. I reached out to someone on staff at my church and he helped me to see God's goodness through my pain and my tears. Finally, after much soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to follow God, in spite of my struggles. I did not understand what was happening in my life, and it hurt so badly, but I just knew I could not walk away from Him. In my heart, I renewed my commitment to follow Him regardless of my circumstances.
That was a little over two years ago. A tremendous amount has happened in my life since then. I have recovered much of my health. My marriage is stronger than ever. My trust in my Savior has grown. I was very humbled by my mental illnesses, and though that was unbelievably painful, I learned a lot from it, including how desperately I need God. I've been given a new purpose in life. Material things can never provide me with the security I'm looking for. Trust is still a struggle for me, but at least I recognize it now. I'm choosing to trust, even though I don't necessarily feel it. I often have to keep reminding myself to trust, and that monetary security is just an illusion.
Some years ago, I remember reading the following example. I really wish I could recall where it came from because it is so beautiful and has meant so much to me (it may have been Corrie Ten Boom who wrote this). Basically, the author told us to think about a tapestry. On the unfinished side of the tapestry, it's a big mess. There is thread going every which way and it can be difficult to make out the picture. However, right side up, the tapestry is a thing of beauty. Our lives are like that tapestry. We only see the unfinished side. God sees the beauty of the finished work. My life is that tapestry. Your life is that tapestry.