Looking for Support: I’ve had anxiety since... - Anxiety Support

Anxiety Support

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Looking for Support


I’ve had anxiety since I began college. My family doesn’t get it and are saying things like “don’t worry so much”. I honestly wish I could. It wasn’t until I did my Master’s that I was put on Lexapro. (Context: I’m in a different country and in grad school). I never felt so calm in my life - I felt like I could live life at its fullest. A year in, I began having PMDD symptoms and was switched over to Prozac. Now I’m so jittery and I’m having so much trouble sleeping. I talk to my sister for support - but was met with “you shouldn’t be relying on this” and I told her that I don’t think she understands how it affects me when I don’t take my medication. She said she’s worried that I will not be able to live without it. I wish she’d understand that I don’t want any of this - if the anxiety wasn’t there, I wouldn’t need any of this. I’d love to live a life without anxiety and I wish she’d know that. She’s saying things like I should be finding other ways to manage, which I already am. I function so normally with medication and therapy. I’m just so hurt that I’m met with such lack of support and understanding ):

1 Reply

I wish I had time to reply properly but I've been awake all night and desperately need sleep but wanted to at least offer a tiny but of positive feedback if nothing else.

First of all STOP LISTENING TO YOUR SISTER. She undoubtedly loves you and has your best interests at heart, but people who do not understand that mental illness is exactly that: ILLNESSS, just don't comprehend that we might actually need to be on meds for life. If you were diabetic and she told you to stop relying on insulin you would rightly laugh at her ignorance. She is not a doctor or a therapist and her well intentioned negativity is doing the exact opposite of helping, it is making you worse. Stop looking to her for help in this regard; your college will have a counselling service - which may or may not be any good but you won't know until you try. The important thing is to focus on finding decent support from people who undertstand. Equally crucial, though, is to make sure not to seek support from people who are just going to tell you what you want to hear. Life with chronic anxiety can be a living hell, and only those of us who have experience mental illness can truly understand the real truth of that, but at least professionals are trained in not judging - in theory at least; there are plenty of bad counsellors and therapists, sadly.

In essence, there are two types of people when it comes to support for mental health difficulties: those whose only agenda is to support us in finding our own ways to cope, and those who think they are helping but whose own ignorance, biases and their own agenda for us will always get in the way. There is a third group, of course, those who are ignorant and even mean, the "it's all in your head/just pull yourself together" brigade, and it's vital to be able to identify and steer clear of these types. Which can be difficult if they are friends or family.

I'm not going to offer any advice whilst I'm this tired, so I'll simply venture an opinion: stop expecting support from those who clearly cannot offer it.

Theres an expression which springs to mind here which I think comes from Buddhism but it could have been some comedian or other who said it: "never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it irritates the pig". I'm not trying to imply that your sister is a pig - I'm simply quoting the phrase as I heard it - I am simply trying to make the point that when we struggle with our mental health we desperately want those we care about to undestand and be supportive, but the reality is that this is sometimes impossible and persisting in trying to educate them can create great strain on even the strongest relationships, can worsen our anxiety, and robs us of time that would be better spent seeking support from those who can give it.

I hope this helps in some way.

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