5 Responses That Make It Difficult to Talk About My Anxiety

At times, I am reluctant to talk about my anxiety. It can be uncomfortable for me to share about my anxiety with family and friends. I have tried but when I did, sometimes it was difficult to cope with how people responded.

Here are some of the stressful responses I’ve received when I talk about it:

1. Listening to respond.

Some are concerned with planning a response to what you are saying rather than truly listening. This is a huge issue. I don’t want solutions, other stories or suggestions of things to try as potential cures. I just want to be understood.

2. Sharing a story or experience similar in nature.

Unfortunately, this similar tale may be an attempt “one up” my story about someone  who has a more serious illness or worse symptom. If I tell you about my anxiety, please listen.

3. Offering possible solutions.

I have been offered all kinds of cures from referrals to doctors to magical herbs. Right now, as I am sharing my story with you, I simply want to be heard.

4. Offering religion as a cure.

Prayers are wonderful and I gratefully accept them. But I do not want the power of prayer to shut down an open and honest conversation about my anxiety.

5. Questioning my treatment choices.

When I have shared the story of my anxiety and my subsequent choices about how to manage it, not everyone has agreed with my choices on doctors, medication and lifestyle. People have suggested many other options instead of listening to me and giving me options later.

What I am hoping for when I do share my anxiety with a family member or friend is simply for that individual to listen and demonstrate caring and concern by nodding, saying yes or asking follow up questions. That would show me a person is listening to me and that I am being heard. Simply listening would be a big help to me and my anxiety.

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Thinkstock photo via Lubushka.

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