Monday, February 20, 2017

What You Need to Know If You Love Someone With Anxiety

Do you love someone who has been diagnosed with an ANXIETY Disorder?
When you think of a PANIC Attack, what comes to mind?
Let me tell you about this disorder and what those of us who live with it would like you to know.

I have been dealing with ANXIETY Disorder & PANIC attacks for over 35 years.  Recently, while on a trip visiting family, I was hit with multiple PANIC attacks.  I had been planning this trip for several months, but didn’t think about how my grandchildren would react as they watch me go through one of these.  My son had heard me talk about what happens when I’m blind-sided by one of these episodes; But I’m not sure he had witnessed one.

My husband (a former EMT) is very supportive.  While we were dating, he soon discovered that I battled with an ANXIETY disorder.  There are times, though, that he gets impatient and says the wrong things during my PAs.  

Here’s what I’d like him and others who love me to know .. 

I Am More Than My Anxiety

Please don’t treat us differently

People with ANXIETY disorders are just as awesome as you are.  You may feel like you need to walk on eggshells around me wondering when the next PA will happen.  This just adds to my anxiety. 

We don’t see it as a limitation

Living with this disorder isn’t exactly how I planned on living my life.  I have a lot to offer others.  I’m intelligent, caring, and capable of doing so many things.  There are many people who are highly successful and battle everyday with ANXIETY.  

Whoopi Goldberg (afraid to fly)
Heather Locklear (anxiety & depression)
Jessica Alba (OCD, a form of anxiety)
David Beckham (British soccer star, ataxophobia – fear of untidiness or disorder)
Howie Mandel (OCD, germaphobia – obsessed with cleanliness
John Mayer (Pop Singer, anxiety attacks)
Johnny Depp (coulrophobia - fear of clowns)

Sometimes we feel the need to run, hide, be alone

Don’t take it personally when I push you away.  It’s just my ANXIETY and I need space to gather myself together, recharge, or refocus.  When I’ve had a PANIC attack, I’m pretty exhausted.  The episode takes so much energy, both physical and emotional.  

Change is difficult and hard for us to manage

I’d love to try new things, visit exciting places, travel to see family, and attend social events.  On most days, I’m able to.  But there are days when even the smallest change to my routine can trigger a PA.  As I mentioned before, my trip to visit family and see my grandchildren was extremely traumatic for me.  However, I enjoyed the trip very much.   

Companionship and interaction with others is important

Friends & family are important to me. As previously stated, I may not be a social butterfly, but don’t let that fool you.

We don’t need you to worry about us

Your companionship is imperative; but don’t fuss & worry over me.  During a PA, you can help me by remaining calm, make eye contact, talk softly to me, hold me (or my hand) and help me to feel safe.  I’ll be okay.  I know that.  I don’t realize that, though, as I’m battling my PANIC.

We know our anxiety may be irrational 

Don’t tell us that we are getting worked up over nothing.  During my ANXIETY attack, I’m experiencing an enormous amount of fear.  My thoughts & what I say may be irrational at the time, but it is very real to me.

We get overwhelmed easily

My PAs may last a few minutes to several hours. But it’s only temporary. And it is noone’s fault. It is just who I am. Allow me time to go through it and get myself together afterward.

Remember, you don’t love an anxious person, you love someone with anxiety. Don’t define us by our disorder. We may act irrational during our PANIC attacks. But, we are far from being “crazy”. Educate yourself and others about ANXIETY disorders. Talk with us and we will share our feelings with you. Be compassionate & understanding. A hug goes a long way in making me feel safe & loved. 


The storm has passed. See the rainbow?
It’s beautiful. Life is beautiful.
And you are beautiful too.
IAMicried | Visions of Rainbows

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© IAMicried 2/20/2017
Visions of Rainbows