What I Want My Loved Ones to Know, From Someone With Anxiety

I always want to say sorry.

When someone you know or love has a mental illness, it can be really hard on both of you. I am well aware of this, because I know my anxiety can make other people stressed, as if it’s infectious. Depression is the same – if I am sad and full of pessimism, it can influence those around me in the same way. Sometimes, all I can think to say is that I’m sorry.

When an individual is affected by a mental illness, they are often the ones to receive attention; they are the ones to be pitied. But how often do we, people living with mental illness, think about the people in our lives who become our rocks when everything else is crumbling to pieces?

Here are some things that I want to say to those around me, who may not understand what I’m going through, but who love me unconditionally in spite of this piece of my mind.

1. I’m sorry  I don’t always make sense, that I can’t always articulate how I’m feeling, how I’ve cancelled our plans and ruined our day, how I am cripplingly insecure, how I push you away, how I can’t understand myself— I’m sorry.

2. Thank you – for being there during good times and bad times.

3. You are important too. If you need me, I’ll be here.

4. You are so strong – never underestimate yourself.

5. I know my thoughts aren’t always logical, you don’t have to tell me that.

6. Please be patient with me.

7. I’m not crazy.

8. Try not to change plans at the last minute.

9. Please don’t be angry if I change plans at the last minute.

10. It is an illness, it isn’t “all in my head.”

11. Be honest with me.

12. Be prepared for what to do if I have a panic attack. It’s not pretty.

13. Be prepared for a hundred ‘to-do’ lists.

14. Talk to me – this can’t be an elephant in the room.

15. Forgive me.

16. Research as much as you can about what I’m dealing with.

17. Listen to me.

18. I love you.

There are a hundred other things I want to say to you, to ask of you, but this is enough for today. One day at a time, we can get through this. I am so passionate; I am able to feel emotions so incredibly strongly. This means the bad times are awful but the good times are amazing. Yes, I feel hurt and pain and insecurity and fear, but I also feel passion and love and loyalty. These emotions are the ones I’m proud of, and I want to use them as fuel to make our relationship a good one.

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