An open letter to people who have loved ones that suffer from anxiety

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I cannot just “calm down”.

I cannot just “get over it”.

I cannot just “wait it out”.

And I most importantly am not the cause of the problem.

When it comes to mental illnesses, people have the mindset that they should not and are not considered a “real” problem.

Oh how I wish that were true.

When I just burst into tears and you just keep repeating “tell me what’s wrong” even after I’ve said “nothing” a billion times, it makes me think about everything I’ve ever done wrong.

When I have to leave the classroom at school and you yell at me asking me where I’m going in front of the whole class, it makes my throat close.

Trust me, it is better for everyone if…

When I am not in the mood to have a full conversation and just want to be alone, listen to me.

I have many little pet peeves and irks about me that result with others not taking me seriously. When in a store and asked to go approach a worker about a certain item, my heart begins to pound vigorously.  I physically cannot grow up and go up to a random person and ask them a question, so it is better to save the argument for something else and just do it yourself.

Another anxiety inducing situation is having to drive somewhere for my first time alone. It makes my body freeze all at once. I am already terrible with directions and having an fake australian speak to me through the phone does not ease my anxiety, contrary to popular belief.

Just when you thought there cannot be more, there is. Everyone loves to pretend that they “don’t care what people think of them”, well I do. I need reassurance that I am loved pretty often if I’m going to be honest, and I know that can get annoying, but it is a game the mind plays with the head and is not in my control. So, when I keep asking if you’re really my friend, just for my sake, reassure me.

Think about this; imagine being put in a glass box for 24 hours in the middle of a street, not being able to move, but allowing everybody to come near you to stare at you. Yeah, I bet you would not like that. Neither do I. And that is how I feel everytime I have an anxiety attack.

Instead of going all Hannah Montana on me by saying “everybody has those days”, why don’t you try just being in my presence and letting me do the talking – when I feel it is necessary to.

Or, when I’m bursting into tears for no reason, why don’t you just rub my back?

Or, just not ask me why I’m leaving the classroom in front of everyone. Like c’mon. I’m a good student, where the hell do you think I’m going?

Less is more when it comes to panic attacks.

People believe that since I’m an extrovert, that I make up my anxiety. But, me being an extrovert just allows a small distraction whenever in group setting.

I encourage you to just simply be there for your loved one instead of judging them because it is not as simple and neat as people play it out to be.

Sincerely,

Your loved one.  

 

christine

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