36 Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends to Know

Unanswered text messages. Declined invites. Missed calls. When you live with anxiety, sometimes little aspects of friendship can be hard. But that doesn’t mean people with anxiety can’t maintain friendships. And it doesn’t mean people with anxiety don’t care about their friends.

We asked our Mighty readers who live with anxiety what they want their friends to know.

Here’s what they had to say: 

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1. “It may seem irrational to you, but what I’m anxious about is very real for me.” — Paige Johnson

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2. “I never know when it’s going to hit me. And when it does, I just need you to support me.” — Dani Hazlewood

3. “I’m not just blowing you off. It’s hard to make plans and just as hard to talk on the phone sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t desperately want to spend time and talk. I just can’t.” — Marie Abbott Belcher

4. “Don’t give up on me when I isolate myself.” — Jen Jolly

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5. “Just having someone you love and trust reminding you to breathe sometimes really helps.” — Tania Lynne Sidiqi

6. “Be patient with me; it doesn’t always look like a full-blown panic attack. It sometimes comes out in the form of anger or what looks like major frustration.” — Tabitha Rainey

7. “Even when things are wonderful, I’m always waiting for something horrible to happen.” — Lindsay Ballard

8. “When I’m being quiet, I’m not sad, bored, tired or whatever else they want to fill in the blank with. There’s just so much going on in my mind, sometimes I can’t keep up with what’s going on around me.” — Amanda Jade Briskar

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9. “I can’t just turn it off.” — Katie Keepman

10. “Sometimes when I’m feeling the anxiety, I have no idea why I’m anxious.” — Laura Hernandez

11. “Everything can change in less than 30 seconds. Too many people in one area, no known exits in a certain situation — the list goes on.” — Ashleigh Young

12. “For real — it’s not you, it’s me. Generalized anxiety feels like drowning all the time. Most times life in general intensifies that feeling. If I have a hard time making plans, don’t take it personally.” — Cory Lee Tyler

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13. “When you ask, ‘Are you OK?’ you might think I don’t trust you when I say, “Yes, I’m good!” But in my mind, I think you’ll stop seeing me as a kind, funny and calm person if you knew the truth.” — Arianne Gaudet

14. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every invite I’ve declined, every time I’ve seemed irrational or nasty because I was overwhelmed or scared. I’m sorry for every time I’ve said I’d do something but then backed out. I’m sorry my anxiety hurts you, too.” — Melissa Kapuszcak

15. “Anxiety doesn’t have a ‘look.’ I don’t have to be trembling or hyperventilating to be anxious.” — Vicki Blank

16. “I need you to reach out to me, even when I’m so anxious I’ve stopped leaving the house. I need to know someone still cares and wants to see me.” — Hayley Lyvers

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17. “Don’t shut me out. My anxiety may stop me from doing certain things, but just being asked to join in can sometimes make my day.” — Vikki Rose Donaghy

18. “I analyze things constantly because of anxiety. I cannot turn my brain off and it can be exhausting.” — Cailea Hiller

19. “Anxiety is not an attitude.” — Clare Goodwin

20.It’s not your job to fix me. Please just love me the way I am.” — Carole Detweiler Oranzi

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21.I want to first apologize for the hundreds of times I’ve bailed on you. The hundreds of times I had to leave early and you had no clue. The hundreds of times I had to tell you no.” — Mary Kate Donahue

22.Most of the time you won’t know I’m having anxiety unless I tell you,” — Kylie Wagner-Grobman

23. “If I’m not comfortable doing something, just let it go. Don’t try to convince me — it makes it worse.” — Jennifer DiTaranto

24. “I’m not a flake. Sometimes anxiety stops me from doing social things. I might cancel at the last minute, but it’s never out of unfriendliness or being lazy. Know that if you need me, I’ll be there for you in any way I can.” — Bridget Hamilton

25. “I don’t know what’s happening in my head a lot of the time either. I understand you don’t get it, but your efforts mean the world to me.” — Avery Roe

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26. “Please don’t tell me to just get over it or that I’m being silly.” — Carla Estevez

27. “When I cancel plans with you it’s because I’m afraid to admit I’m a heaping mess. It has nothing to do with you… and everything to do with my panic attack.” — Dorie Cabasag-Smith

28. “Keep inviting me to group things even though I usually decline. Some days I feel stronger than others, so my answer might surprise you. Be patient.” — Kara Edkins

29. “Don’t take it personally when I don’t want to go out. My comfort zone is my home. It’s my safe place.” — Elizabeth Vasquez

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30. “When I say I can’t take on even one more thing, I really need you to understand I really just can’t.” — Christine L Hauck

31. “When I can’t do something, no one is more disappointed than me. Please try to understand that.” — Lindsey Hemphill

32. “Sometimes I just need to be alone. It’s not personal. I’m not mad. I don’t have some problem. I don’t just need to shake it off and do something fun. I just need to be alone so I can reset myself and breathe a little.” — Stacey Weber

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33. “Every time I talk to you, I go over every word of the conversation many times in my head. If I said something I feel I like I shouldn’t have said, even if it’s as simple as incorrect grammar, I will obsess about it for years.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober

34. “I’m still me. I’m not my anxiety.” — Abi Wylie

35. “I know it can seem ridiculous at time, but please, please, please just love me through it.” — Melissa Renee Wilkerson

36. “Give me some space, but don’t forget me.” — Vickie Boyette

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*Some responses have been edited and shortened for brevity

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