So the first thing I will say is that I stole this list from another website. Although it is not my own, it is one of the most truthful things I have found about anxiety on the internet. Instead of just copy and pasting this thing onto my blog (because that would be no fun…and kind of stealing) I’d like to take a look at the list and elaborate.
7 Things Anxiety Sufferers Would Like their Family and Friends to Know
1. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Ah, yes. The old “I don’t get it, so it can’t be true.” Anxiety is something you cannot see with the eye, it is something you feel in your mind…chest….heart…etc. People are very quick to judge if they have never experienced something before. Even if you don’t understand it, it is very real. It’s not your fault if you don’t understand it, but it’s not right to turn your back on the fact that it does exist.
2. I am embarrassed and ashamed that I cannot do the things you can do.
This point sort of and sort of not applies to me. I practice exposure – forcing myself into situations I would normally feel anxious about. So in some ways I can do things the average person can do, even though I may not enjoy it.
But there are also certain situations I avoid like the plague. Social situations in which I don’t know anyone or using the telephone. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s reality for me. I have been put in situations where I have to go to social engagements with my fiancé or use the telephone to order pizza and I would honestly rather go hungry and sit inside and read a book by myself.
I am very embarrassed by these things. It’s embarrassing to tell my fiancé I can’t go with him because I physically can’t bring myself to do it or he has to order food on the phone because it makes me nauseous. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’m working on.
3. I don’t like feeling this way.
No. Never. I’m not leaving social situations or slamming down the phone when someone picks up because I want to. My palms become sweaty, I become shaky, nauseous, my brain freezes….it’s a mental AND physical feeling I do not enjoy.
4. I don’t use anxiety as an excuse.
Anxiety is not an excuse. Just like #3 says, I don’t want to feel this way. There’s a difference between using anxiety as an excuse and knowing your limits. There are situations in which I can expose myself to, and there are others in which my anxiety and stress levels just cannot handle. I know these limits and sometimes they are embarrassing, but I have grown to be okay with them.
5. Stress can make my anxiety much worse.
True story. I think this is common sense though.
6. I know many of my fears are irrational.
I know it. Again, like #3 says, I don’t want to feel this way. I know my fears are irrational, but that doesn’t make them any easier to conquer. Sometimes it makes it even harder, because we put stress on ourselves to overcome situations that are out of our control.
7. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do.
It’s okay. Seriously. I don’t expect you to know what to do. The only thing I expect is respect and understanding my anxiety is real, even if you don’t know what it feels like.