have difficulty not being suspicious of others’ intentions
make a huge deal out of the smallest thing
things you should keep in mind:
we’re scared of everything
pretty much all of the time
it’s an actual disorder
it manifests as impulsive behavior
you can’t fix us with words
telling us “worrying is silly” won’t make us stop worrying
it’ll only make us feel silly
and then we’ll worry even more
“oh god, am i worrying too much? what if they call me silly again?”
also, we wear a lot of armor
cold, heavy, affection-proof armor with spikes
we constructed this armor as children
we’re fairly certain you will never be able to pry it apart
but there is a nice person under there, we promise
things you can do for a friend with an anxiety disorder:
ask them if they’re comfortable in a place or situation
be willing to change the place or situation if not
activities that help them take their mind off of things are good!
talk to them even when they might not talk back
(they’re probably too afraid to say the wrong thing)
try not to take their reactions (or lack thereof) personally
(the way they expresses themself is distorted and bent because of their constant fear)
(and they knows this)
give them time to respond to you
they will obsess over how they are being interpreted
they will anticipate being judged
it took me four hours just to type this much
even though i sound casual
that’s because i have an anxiety disorder
things you shouldn’t do:
tell us not to worry
tell us we’ll be fine
mistake praise for comfort
ask us if we are “getting help”
force us to be social
force us to do things that trigger us
“face your fears” doesn’t always work
because—remember—scared of everything
in fact, it would be more accurate to say we are scared of the fear itself
emergency action procedure for panic attacks:
don’t be condescending
remind us that we’re not “crazy”
sit with us
ask us to tighten and relax our muscles one by one
remind us that we are breathing
engage us in a discussion (if we can talk, then we can breathe)
if we are having trouble breathing, try getting us to exhale slowly
or breathe through our nose
or have us put our hands on our stomach to feel each breath
ask us what needs to change in our environment in order for us to feel safe
help us change it
usually, just knowing that we have someone on our side willing to fight our scary monsters with us is enough to calm us down
if you have an anxiety disorder:
even if you worry that it’s not okay.
it’s still okay. it’s okay to be scared. it’s okay to be scared of being scared.
you are not crazy. you are not a freak.
i know there’s a person under all that armor.
and i know you feel isolated because of it.
i won’t make you take it off.
but know that you are not alone.
Speaking as someone who suffers daily from an anxiety disorder of my own, this means so much. And it is so true. As humans we all struggle with anxiety from time to time and that makes it difficult for some to realize that it is a real disorder that comes in many forms and can often be crippling. Some people don’t take the time to understand and it’s easy for us to feel isolated for that reason. That’s why I love this post and I think it has so many important points. I want to print it off and give it to everyone I know.
Um wow. So this is nearly spot on with me and it makes me really happy to see it all written down. Easier to accept that I have an issue with anxiety. I take medicine for it but not very strong. I don’t do all the things on that list but if I had to guess I definitely can relate to about 80-85% of it. Which scares me…a lot. I know I’m not alone since clearly we both have anxiety issues but it still scares and worries me that it may never go away…