The picture here is all smiles from all of us. We’re laughing, we’re drinking, we’re having a good time. However, with anxiety I can’t always be laughing. I can’t always join in on the party. There are times where I just want to stay in my room or be away from everyone. It’s not you….well it kind of is. See, if I don’t see you as someone that will make my anxiety better instead of worse, I’m sorry I can’t be around you. It’s not that I don’t want to be, I would love to….but I’m looking out for the both of us. There are a few friends and family members that I know how to help me when I have an episode, whether that be them giving me a cup of tea, holding my hand, giving me a big hug, etc. However, I can count those people on one hand.
I come from a big family and if you’re not one of those 5 people, I won’t want to have an anxiety attack around you if I can help it. I don’t want to put you through that or have you raise my anxiety cause you’re trying to help me (but in fact you’re making it worse). It’s not your fault that you don’t know what to do, but what I’m about to list below is your fault.
Thinking I’m Being Rude
I am not being rude because I just want to be alone or stay in my room. I am not myself when anxiety takes over. I am a different person. I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to be around people. Yes, this might be a bit of a pride thing too (not wanting you to see me at my worst), but please accept that.
Ignoring Me After I “Ignore” You
This goes hand in hand with the above. Don’t think that just because I “ignored” you and wanted to be alone gives you the right to ignore me when I’m not in panic mode. When I have an anxiety attack, I sometimes don’t even know you’re talking to me or what is going on in my surroundings. I’m more focused on me trying to fight whatever is going on in my head or what my body is going through. You ignoring me does not make me feel any better about my anxiety and makes me hate it even more. It also shows me that I can’t add you to those people I trust when having a panic attack because you’re not showing me that you can handle my anxiety.
Thinking I Don’t Love You
Even though you’re not on the list of people I can go to when I have a panic attack, I still love you. It doesn’t mean that I love one of those five people more, it’s just that they know me better. They know what to do, they’ve maybe experienced an attack with me, or they’re someone that I feel I’m just a little bit closer to than you (don’t lie, we all have a favorite friend, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.).
You not Contacting me
I’ve had a few people tell me over the past that they were scared to ask me how my anxiety was after having an attack. Best thing to do is just text me cause I don’t have to get back to you right away, if I’m still having a panic attack. It shows you care too, which is always nice to know. Thankfully, I don’t have depression with my anxiety, but sometimes my anxiety does trigger my emotions and will make me think that you not talking to me for a few days means you hate me, I did something wrong, or I scared you off. 9/10 times I know you don’t think any of those things, but that’s what my anxiety does. On another note, if I don’t contact you in months, it doesn’t mean I’m too busy for you. It most likely means I feel like I’m bothering you and I don’t want to do that, so I wait for you to text or call me first.
Telling me to Just get Over it
Never do this. Never ever ever ever. Don’t tell me to stop worrying. Do you really think I want this? Do you really think I want to worry that that pain in my side is bone cancer and can’t get that thought out of my mind? NO! I don’t want to worry about things like that. I don’t want my mind to go to the worst possible outcome. I CANNOT HELP IT! Please, never tell me to just get over it or stop worrying. It will just make things worse and will make me feel worse.
Not Including me in an Event Because you Know I Have Anxiety
Just because I have anxiety, doesn’t mean I don’t want to do things. I have good days and I have bad days. Some days, I have to reschedule. Some days, I have to fight that urge to just stay home and stay in bed (my safe place). Some days, I’m excited to go out and there won’t be any issues. So, please, just because I cancel once doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out with you ever again or that my anxiety will tag around every single time.
I know it’s hard to understand anxiety, especially when you don’t experience it yourself (lucky you). However, that does not mean you get to judge me for my actions when I’m having an anxiety attack. Again, this just makes me feel worse about my anxiety. Thankfully, I have more good days than bad days since I’ve learned how to control my anxiety, but I still do have my bad days and I can’t control when my good or bad days will happen. Just know, whether you’re a family member or a friend, I do love you and I do want to spend time with you. If I cancel last minute, I’m not social at family events, or I do something that offends you I am sorry. Do not hold that against me, please, and don’t be afraid to try to reschedule. Again, I love you.