What I Wish My Loved Ones Knew About Anxiety
1. We May Frustrate You at Times
One of the hardest parts about living with anxiety is what it does to our relationships and friendships. Our anxiety-ridden selves find it hard to believe that we can be loved and accepted. We are constantly torn between pushing people away and worrying about losing them. We don’t want to lose the people we love, but our minds simply cannot help but worry over that. It’s frustrating, yes, but it also shows how much we care about you.
2. Tough Love Isn’t Helpful
Sometimes, people with anxiety can be pretty stubborn. It takes us awhile to understand something. It’s not because we can’t comprehend, it’s because we have two parts of our brain that are fighting for control. It may be easy to get tough with us, but please know that harshness and tough love hurts more than it helps. It makes us sink further into self-depreciation mode, and makes us feel even worse about ourselves. Please try and be patient. It might not be easy, but we appreciate your gentleness and sensitivity more than anything in the world.
3. We Don’t Want or Need Pity
While a gentle tone is appreciated, we don’t need you to feel sorry for us. We don’t need to hear “I’m sorry” or “I know you are suffering.” Instead, we need encouragement, positive energy and the occasional shoulder to lean on.
4. It’s the Little Things That Mean the Most to Us
As someone living with anxiety, sometimes I need to be reassured from time to time. We need to be reminded that we’re loved, cared about and supported. Something as simple as a sweet text message, hug, “How’s your day?” or affirmation can make a world of difference.
5. Anxiety Is a Real Diagnosis
I’ve struggled with other health issues caused by my anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, encourage them to get help or be a beacon of help for them. Don’t let them go through this alone, don’t shame them for something they can’t control, and don’t shame them for seeking help. All you have to do is be a friend.
6. We Are More Than Our Anxiety
Yes, anxiety is a part of us, but it’s not all of us. While we worry, regret, get emotional and be as confusing and complicated as calculus, we also have our strong points. We have huge hearts that love and cherish those close to us. We love with all we have and we will always be there for those who need us. We may not always be the best friends or family members, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love and respect you. Nor does that mean we aren’t (or can’t be) a joy to be around. Believe in us, we believe in you.
Thinkstock image via Medioimages/Photodisc.