Sharing your anxiety

What are your experiences with being open about your anxiety? I have never told a soul except my family. My friends know I am an anxious person, but they would never suspect I have an anxiety disorder. I don't feel ready to open up to my friends because I feel like they aren't really friends and I just want to tell the right person. I don't want to have this locked up but I also don't want to announce this to the whole world

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  • K---7, if I could do it over again, I would have kept my anxiety more to myself. In my case, even family didn't understand. As for friends, they turned away. People just don't understand the impact anxiety can have on one's life.

    I agree that you don't want to keep this locked up, it just makes us feel more alone. But again, you don't want the whole world to know. It can be a very lonely illness. I'm glad that you joined this forum where you can feel comfortable with people who understand what you are going through. We're here whenever you need a friend. Take care.

  • My family doesn't understand either, except for my sister. It is tough because not telling someone only keeps up the anxiety but telling people risks judgements.

  • Exactly, very well said. We're kind of caught in the middle. :(

  • I tend to agree with Agora1, and ask why do you want to tell anyone? You hit the nail on the head. What we really would like is for the people who know don't make a big deal out of it. Like diabetes, cancer, gall bladder problems, a back injury, or even pregnancy. That we could just "hang out" with them. But because we never know when we are going to have a "bad day", it becomes inconvenient for even former close friends to include us in their lives, and those friendships fade.

    I discussed PTSD with my husband-to-be, but in the rose colored ears of premarital love, he wasn't listening. He didn't have a clue. On our tenth anniversary earlier this month, he told me he doesn't understand my PTSD, but he has "just learned to live with it." He loves me, but my response was for him to consider signing my post marital agreement. (I am an attorney who had invested well before PTSD ended my career.)

    I won't discuss family, as I have an extended one 900 miles away but they just know I have limitations, and long phone calls and short visits work out. My husband's family is small and consists of users and opportunists. He and I have given up on them.

    Want to know where I have felt the most comfortable and have friendships? At NA, where I first went because a doctor simply just took me off a medication cold turkey. I told him I felt like I was holding onto the mast of a ship in the middle of a perfect storm. I don't have drug abuse issue, but the NA members know a great deal about prescribed drugs and stuck with me while I went through the withdrawal of that medication. That doctor no longer practices medicine.

    No, I don't encourage you to share the cause of your "nervousness", any more than I would suggest letting people know you have a sixth toe. :)

  • Hi I started to be open/honest with family and friends about my anxiety and having counselling but started to realise I was being seen as playing the 'victim' people watching what they say and thinking I've lost the plot. Now I say nothing I feel stronger that way. I speak to my husband and therapist about my issues. Only if a close friend asks I will tell them a bit but will keep it light and say things are good work in progress etc. Until you have suffered the pain of anxiety and panic attacks yourself then no one else can understand x

  • I agree, no one will ever understand anxiety unless you go through it yourself. But it is frustrating how people/those you love don't want to try to understand it and/or see you have a "weak mind"

  • Yes think it's more about them feeling uncomfortable or taking things personally if you chose to do something differently due to your anxiety. X

  • I totally agree unless you have suffered you can't understand x

  • I know just how you feel but I'm sure you will find that special kind person who will listen and understand People really don't understand and seem to be afraid of anyone mentioning anxiety

    I've had horrible comments in the past by being too open I even had someone tell me how selfish I was to have it !!

    I recently went for a pre op and had to write down on the form anything I suffered from asthma etc there was a section for mental health so I put anxiety disorder Everything was discussed at length but when she got to anxiety she just read it and turned the page !

    Wishing you all the very best

  • Its crazy i told my family and friends about wat i go threw. And there very supportive of me

  • You are very lucky my mum suffered but when I did she told me to not think about it and I never had any support My sister used to laugh at me My husband is my rock

    I've only ever found a handful of special people who have been kind about it I'm going on an anxiety and stress management course and I'm looking forward to being able to discuss this

  • This is an interesting discussion as my experience has been quite different. My mother and father in law don't have any understanding but my mum suffered in the 1960's and back then she was labelled as neurotic so she has such empathy for me and is my biggest help. My husband is a fixer so justs wants me to take medication and get over it. All of my girlfriends however have suffered anxiety at some stage during their lives (most of us as a result of sleepless nights month after month with wakeful kids) and have taken medication on and off. They are all very understanding and accommodating.

    I feel that talking about it to others can go a long way to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and to re-label it as a result of exhaustion and stress. I have 2 kids (12 & 15) and i think it's really important to talk about it and not hide my emotions and crying etc as it builds resilience and makes them less fearful of the unknown and if they experience these feelings in the future then we can talk about it and heal as a family. Here in Australia it is a hot topic and every single day there is a news article about anxiety, panic and depression and the efforts to destigmatize it and recover.

  • Agree not everyone is unsupportive. My supportive friends are other mums who have also suffered anxiety. My daughter is 4 too young to understand it's complexity but I'm all about talking about how we feel. Sadly my main issues are with family a bit stuck in their ways and thinking. Focus on the good relationships I say x

  • I would love to be able to discuss it like you can but I have come against such prejudice even in this day and age that I just keep quiet unless I feel a person is a compassionate caring one

  • Some people have no empathy whatsoever. I experienced this when I flew to Florida for work and had an anxiety attack on the plane. My co workers were not supportive at all and I couldn't get off the plane.

    My friends and my mom have been my highest supoorts. My boyfriend tries but I can sense his irritation which makes me feel worse.

    Have you tried an anxiety group? You may also make a friend or two there that you can speak to about your experiences. There are also mental health hotlines out there that will listen. I had to call one recently as I needed to talk to someone at 2am.

    Just remember that you're not crazy, there are lots of us just like you and you WILL be ok. This too shall pass. I am also here of you need to talk to someone.

    Feel better xo

    Jenn

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