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What's Really Going on When I Pull Away From Your Friendship

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A couple weeks ago I got into a fight with a friend of mine and it was like a switch was flipped in my head. Suddenly, I didn’t want to be around my friends. I felt stuck with no escape. I felt like there was an elephant on my chest and even though I knew everything would be OK, it felt like it wouldn’t. I’m told this is a common symptom of anxiety that presents itself rather intensely in me.

Trying to explain it to my friends was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. How could I tell them they didn’t do anything wrong, but the thought of being around them scared me to death? The best way I can describe it is my friends became my biggest fear. Talking to them makes my palms all sweaty and my heart starts beating and I feel like I am going to faint. The worst part is I don’t know why.

I can’t imagine what this would be like for the friends around me. One day we are fine, and the next day I can’t talk to them without feeling a panic attack headed my way. I wish I could explain to my friends exactly what happened and why it isn’t their fault, but I can’t do it. I can’t even process it myself.

The only words I can reassure you with are, it isn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything. You have been a wonderful friend and your support means everything. There is nothing you can do or could have done to change what’s happening to me right now.

For someone with anxiety, friendship is the most valuable thing in the world. Believe me when I tell you I wouldn’t ever give your friendship up for no reason. I know it doesn’t make sense to you, but right now its the only thing that makes sense to me.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Ingram Publishing.

Originally published: April 7, 2017
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