I have anxiety.
This may or not surprise you. If it does, well…then I’ve succeeded in my goal of keeping it mostly to myself for so long.
But your life is so exciting! You’re constantly changing and growing and making all these plans that I am regularly jealous of and impressed by… I just don’t understand why you feel anxious!
Let’s start with this: feeling anxious and having anxiety are not the same. Just like being sad and being depressed are different. Just like being happy spending time with someone is different from being in love. They’re certainly related, but they’re certainly not the same.
And as far as not understanding why I feel this way? Well, I don’t understand it either, so welcome to the jungle!
It’s not a consistent thing. I’m not heavily medicated. I’m not sick. I’m just a human being…and this is my thing.
And, lucky me, it’s rearing its ugly head.
Instead of this being a “poor me” type of post, I thought I’d take this opportunity to cover some tips for dealing with people/friends/family handling emotional battles – both brain-created and life-created.
1. Please don’t try to remind us of all the reasons we shouldn’t feel the way we feel. Here is an example of this: “You have so much to be happy for or excited about. Focus on that!” It’s super wonderful of you to want to help, but in our emotional state, all that does is remind us that we’re hurting in SPITE of all of that, which may make us feel even more dysfunctional.
2. Don’t avoid telling us what is going on in your life. If you have great news, tell us your great news. If you have bad news, share it with us. You’re not going to make us feel worse and you’re not going to make us feel like we’re missing out on something unless you keep it from us. Don’t treat us like we’re sick and fragile, please.
3. Believe our words when we tell them to you. If we tell you we aren’t mad at you, we mean it. If we tell you we want to sit on the couch and do nothing, don’t try to convince us to go out. If we say we need to be alone, well that may be what will help most at that moment. We may not know what is happening to us at the time, but we do still know how to express ourselves. Maybe poorly, but we’re trying.
4. The biggest, most important thing I can share with you is this: accept that this is happening to us and there is very little anyone can do about it other than accept it. Feeling like it’s okay that we’re going through it all really can be the biggest help and the best chance we have at feeling better sooner.
There’s a tendency – a natural, human, wonderful tendency – to want to help those we love and care about. No one is going to deny that, and we all appreciate that. But sometimes the help we need is just a person to sit next to us while we ride the struggle bus rather than someone to try to help us off at the next stop.
Until then, I suppose the wheels on the bus will just continue to go round and round…