The Mighty Logo

20 Things People With Anxiety Are Afraid to Tell Their Friends

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

There’s often no rhyme or reason as to why and how anxiety affects us — it just does. Sometimes it makes us miss out on social events. Sometimes it’s overthinking so much that texting back feels like climbing a mountain. Sometimes it’s needing reassurance, again — and again — that you’re liked, that your friendship is valued, that you’re going to be OK.

Living this way can be a tough thing to explain to your friends, so some people just don’t — figuring it’s easier to keep their mouths shut. But staying silent about your anxiety often only deepens the gap between friends, and you might be surprised what happens when you let a friend in and explain how you feel.

To start you off, we asked people in our mental health community with anxiety to share one thing they’re too scared to tell their friends.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “I desperately crave their help and support but am scared of seeming clingy or scare them off. I feel totally alone even though I’m functioning well and laughing.”

2. “It’s noisy inside my head all the freaking time and my thoughts spiral out of control at the tiniest slightly worrisome thing. I’m so tired of people telling me to try to think of something else or try not to worry about it. Believe me, if I had that choice we would not be having this conversation.”

3. “When I want to leave a party or don’t want to be in a group setting, I’m not doing it to avoid them. I don’t want to have an anxiety attack and ruin their good time because of it.”

4. “My anxiety makes me question everything, leaving me unable to ever actually make a decision. That is why most times I cancel last minute or just don’t show up.”

5. “I’m lonely. I’m terrified. It’s hard to ask for help. I feel worthless. Literally every decision I make in a day stresses me out. I think they only pretend to like me.”

6. “I seek approval from friends and family, but I’m so afraid my craving for reassurance will scare them away. I want them to understand that they mean the world to me and that I trust them if I go to them with my problems, but I also don’t want them to think less of me because of it. I’m afraid to tell them I’m feeling anxious every day because I’m afraid they’ll think I’m ‘faking it’ or I’m being too ‘dramatic.’ I’m always conflicted with the way I feel because I don’t want them to change their perspective on who I am, but that’s probably just my anxiety speaking.”

7. “I’m pretty open with everyone — but only when I’m online and able to hide behind the internet. In person, the most frightening thing is to say, ‘I’m having a panic attack right now.’ I hide my panic and any sign of anxiety to the best of my ability behind quietness, excuses and hiding in bathrooms. Bringing attention to the fact that right now is the very thing I talk about all the time with panic and anxiety is terrifying.”

8. “I feel alone. Totally isolated and alone. Despite their best efforts to cheer me up I always feel alone even when they’re right next to me to no fault of their own.”

9. “I’m not lazy, mean or trying to inconvenience them when I don’t want to go somewhere or I cancel plans we made. Sometime I just can’t do it.”

10. “I’m terrified to tell people that I avoid when things get tough, and it’s in that moment when I need them the most. Yet, I’m so terrified of being judged that I don’t ask for their help. It’s a terrifying, lonely cycle.”

11. “It isn’t their fault I distance myself. I am constantly paranoid around them even though I shouldn’t be. I am terrified I will say something wrong or disappoint them or how disgusting they find me or even that they hate me. I’ll come up with scenarios in my head at night that involve how they’ll tell me they hate me and how they wish they weren’t my friend.”

12. “I am terrified that no one likes me, everyone I know is lying to me and just waiting for the right moment to turn against me… I feel like at any moment I will be left all alone without anyone… I don’t know how to be a person without other people.”

13. “I already feel like a huge burden, I don’t want to add to it. And I honestly 90 percent of the time I can’t explain why I’m anxious. So I’d rather not say anything and just get through it on my own.”

14. “I’m not trying to ignore you when I don’t text you back. It’s hard for me to have conversations via text. I’m afraid my words will be misinterpreted and you’ll leave me.”

15. “No matter how long I’ve known you, how many times I’ve been to your house or how many people I’ve met with you, I will still have anxiety attacks when something changes or someone new comes around. Just let me ride the wave and be there to hold my hand, help me up or talk me down from my irrational thoughts. Please don’t leave me alone. It might be embarrassing for you, but it kills me every time and I’m sorry to be ‘that friend.’”

16.I’m afraid to tell them some of the things that trigger me.”

17. “I don’t always want to talk. I love talking to them, but sometimes I want to be alone. I feel claustrophobic if I feel like I absolutely have to do something.”

18. “No, I wasn’t at work. I couldn’t go to your event or go out for the night because I couldn’t face leaving the house. I couldn’t get over who might be there, who might not be there, who I might have to talk to… I just couldn’t. You’re still my friend and I don’t love you any less. I just couldn’t. I’m sorry.”

19. “I’m always second guessing everything I do and say around other people. That’s why I’m quiet.”

20. “No matter how many times I say I’m fine or that nothing is wrong, please, if you think something is off, don’t ignore your hunch. Ask me about it. You might even have to ask me about it multiple times. Chances are, I’m just afraid that you don’t care or that I’m wasting your time.”

20 Things People With Anxiety Are Afraid to Tell Their Friends
Originally published: February 28, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home