What a Person With Anxiety Needs Friends and Family to Know
I know you see me, day in and day out. My happiness fading. Exhausted. Irritable. Ashamed. You have been there through it all.
Through the flood of tears.
Through the pain.
Through the replaying scenarios in my mind,
Over and over and over again.
Through my incessant building of “false” bridges.
Through the restless nights.
Through the shutting down.
Though the indecisiveness.
Through the backing out of plans.
Through “preparing” for yet another round.
I have gone head to head repeatedly with this seven-letter thief. You have tried fighting it with me, and you have also left me to face this alone. You have both taken it away and contributed to it tenfold. It’s been a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. Our crusade together is a hard-fought one. Yet, it is one that is not going anywhere, anytime soon. It is one that we are never going to “ultimately” win.
Sometimes, you words tear through me like a dagger.
“What in the world do you have to be so upset about?”
“You need to stop the ‘craziness.’”
“I don’t get it. All this worrying is such a waste of time.”
And try as I might, many times, I cannot offer an explanation that makes sense. As I fill with shame once more, failing once again to offer you any kind of justification for this invisible beast’s grasp on my existence, my defensive mechanisms kick in. I become almost angry, wishing with all my heart you could understand, for just even a mere moment, the inner-workings of my mind. Truthfully, sometimes I wish I could just scream at the top of my lungs.
“If you think I could control this, erase it, then don’t you think it would be gone already?”
My anxiety? It is something that has been a major part of me for as long as I can remember. It has managed to creep into every crack and crevice of my life, into every new experience and into everything that was meant to be enjoyed. It is a thieving expert. It has stolen every ounce of happiness from the world around me.
My anxiety? It is not something I can simply regulate. Ignore. Forget. Or neglect. Let alone, “delete” or make vanish.
My anxiety? It is embedded within my existence, to my core.
The truth? There is not always a explanation as to why I feel the way I do. At times, I genuinely don’t know why I am so upset, why I am so incredibly fearful or why I am once more finding myself on a closed circuit of “what ifs” and “why nots.”
The thing is, I am not asking you to understand. I am simply asking for your support. At times, I know my battle with this invisible beast can be downright exhausting, for you and I both. I wish I had a magic wand, so I could use my three wishes:
-To make it disappear altogether.
-To reinstate my happiness and peace.
-To erase every moment that it crept in to steal a precious piece of joy and beauty during our time together.
Unfortunately, the reality is I just can’t.
My request? It’s simple. For you to understand my anxiety is always going to be a part of me. It is a part of myself I loathe more than you could ever imagine. At times, it is less a part of me, and at other times, it will consume my existence. So, I simply need you to decide if this merciless mental illness that is part of me, can also be a part of you.
We know what it is capable of doing. More than anything in the world, I want you to know that even if you don’t understand, even if in no possible way can you relate, even if you hate it as much as I hate it, I want you next to me. As my support. As my coach. As my partner. And as my friend.
My greatest fear? Is that you will let your frustrations and inability to relate sway you in a direction far away from this grueling battle we have waged together. The thought of this reality literally tears my heart in two. Because, together, even if we can’t fully take this monster down, we can move mountains. One day at a time. Slowly opening our pathway to the splendors and joys of the life that we were meant to know.
Image via Thinkstock.