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What does "trouble relaxing" actually mean?

A

anatta

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Dec 26, 2014
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I have to fill in a form requesting therapy for OCD, and it includes a screening questionnaire about depression (the PHQ9), and one about GAD, called the GAD-7. Now, I know I don't have GAD and I'd rather they didn't waste their time trying to work out if I do. I want to fill it in accurately, but most of the questions seem to be asking the same thing which makes me doubt I'm understanding them correctly.

In particular, what does it mean in the context of GAD to have "trouble relaxing"? I'm sorry if this sounds really stupid, but it can't be about restlessness because there's a separate question about that, and it can't be about worrying or anxiety because there are multiple other questions about that. Does it mean that you don't want to do anything for just fun, like watch TV or have a bath, because you're too busy doing something practical? Or does it mean that not having anything important to do to distract yourself, makes you have even more anxious thoughts?

On the one hand, I relax too much in the sense that I spend a lot of the day desperately seeking distractions such as comedy videos, and on the other hand, those activities are also frequently interrupted by intrusive thoughts and mental compulsions. I can't sit around daydreaming because intrusive thoughts bother me more then, so I seek distractions, but the distractions are themselves of a leisurely nature when I'm not at work. So do my distractions represent having trouble relaxing, or are they themselves examples of relaxing?
 
pepecat

pepecat

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I think it probably means how easy to do find it it to sit and watch tv, or go for a walk, or go to the cinema without feeling anxious / restless - are you ABLE to sit for a couple of hours and just think about 'nothing' other than the film / tv show you're watching, or book you're reading, or music you're listening to, or whatever.

If you're doing those things as distraction from the anxiety, then in a way they are relaxing, because you're trying to relax yourself so that the anxiety decreases, but if you're still interrupted by anxiety and thoughts, then than would suggest you have trouble relaxing.

You could be over-thinking this a little bit as well.......:)
 
A

anatta

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Dec 26, 2014
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I've gone with your interpretation, pepecat, and finished the form. I think the questions are too vague, but it seems most people answer them quickly, so I suppose they go with their initial impression of what it means without thinking about it. I have some autistic traits and misinterpret questions and statements more than most people do, and it's not clear to me which of the different interpretations I can think of actually represents what the person who wrote it meant, so I tend to analyse them to death to compensate, haha.
 
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