what I wish my friends knew about anxiety

This is one of those posts that is hard to write. I think it’s hard because there’s a part of me that wrestles with shame about dealing with anxiety. Honestly, when I don’t have to deal with it, I wonder if it’s really a part of my life and then, then there comes the moments where it creeps in. And truthfully, I really dislike it, but sometimes I don’t know how to reset my brain instantly. So then, you guessed it, comes the shame.

It’s shame, my friends, because I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t have it all together.

That’s the worst part about when it creeps up. It seems like I’m standing in the midst of the world of everyone walking one direction and there I am stuck and can’t figure out how to make my feet move at all. And that is annoying and humiliating. Because most of the time, there isn’t anything really really bad in my world at the moment. And there I am watching everyone move through their lives and I can’t seem to figure out how to lift my left foot and start walking. 

So I kind of wish you all knew that part. Because that part is hard.

And I think that I need you to know a couple other things. 

Mainly, that in those moments any of us that deal with anxiety don’t need a list of things they’ve done wrong or right or how great they are or how they’ve messed up or any of that. We just need to be told that we are okay and that you love us. It’s also not the time to start a debate about life or our friendship or life changes or any of that. Trust me, in those moments of anxiousness are the moments where I will dig my heels in deeper than ever. That not only gets me stuck but gets me spinning in an irrational spin.

It’s not because we’re being stubborn.

It’s control.

That’s the most important thing I want you to know. In those moments when anxiety rears its ugly head are the moments where I feel like I have slipping control over my life. Remember, everything could look perfect and put together, but for whatever reason whatever triggered that anxiousness all of a sudden normal things feel like end of the world things. Dirty dishes a mountain, laundry a tsunami, fighting kids a start of the third world war, bills are the crash of the stock market, relationship issues are the end of me having friends.

Does that make sense?

So even though you can CLEARLY see that there isn’t a mountain of dishes or a tsunami of laundry or a world war or the stock market crash or me forever living alone on Walden’s Pond for me, in that moment, that’s what the world feels like. 

Overwhelm. 

So have grace.

A whole bunch of grace. 

Because when the anxiety passes and I can see life with eyes that aren’t distorted I’ll see the truth. And it is easy to attach the label of shame to my identity. You, my friend, can help me there. You can love me in that space. You can help with the dishes and laundry and kids and whatever. You can show up.

Don’t try to fix me. Or tell me nothing is wrong. Or that it’s in my head. Or I’m crazy. Or anything else.

Just show up.

Just love.

Just be there.

Just be my friend. 

I promise I will do the same for you. That’s the nature of friendship. Loving each other in the ups and downs. And for some of us that means in those anxiety ridden days. That’s true love, true friendship.

So I guess thank you. If you have stuck around with me all these years you also know that I’m fun. I laugh. I love life. I am efficient at dishes. And like a wave crashes up and down and ebbs and flows so does my heart. Maybe less than it used to, maybe I know the triggers more and more, but sometimes I break, I fall apart and I just need your hand.

Thank you my friend.

Thanks for loving all of me. Anxiety included.

~Rachel 

ps. I hope my honesty makes you feel less alone. And if you have friends like me, maybe an insight into their hearts. They really do love you, they need you. So to all of you, thanks for sharing and making the stigma of anxiety just a little bit less. 

20 Responses to “what I wish my friends knew about anxiety”

  1. February 4, 2019

    ther Reply

    Thank you! This is so spot on! God bless you!!

    • February 5, 2019

      Anonymous Reply

      Thank you so much for that post and your honesty.

  2. February 5, 2019

    Christine Reply

    My daughter is like that.

  3. February 5, 2019

    Donna Reply

    Thank you for putting into words what I cannot express during these frequent times. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

  4. February 6, 2019

    Anonymous Reply

    With you friend. Nobody knows what is behind the facade we show the world.

  5. February 8, 2019

    Jenn Reply

    Beautiful written. I have never been able to explain what I’m feeling when in the moment or even after, but you’ve eloquently shared it perfectly. Thank you so much!
    JKL

  6. February 9, 2019

    Melissa martinez Reply

    My sister has major anxiety. I have not been there for her when she needed me the most. I’m the one w
    I tell her all the things she’s doing wrong and is acting insane. I regret not being more supportive.
    Her anxiety manifests with her screaming at me or others and honestly she’s just very mean. She can’t be physical toward people to.
    I am going to try and just be quite and help her when she needs it after reading this article

  7. February 9, 2019

    Junie Reply

    Thank you for writing this! I’m engaged to someone who suffers from anxiety, and it’s been so hard for me to understand those moments and what happens to him, suddenly. He completely shuts down. Then, I get angry and I want to talk about it in the moment, and start demanding a response, but it only gets worse. I realize now that I just need to silently love him through those moments.

  8. February 9, 2019

    Anonymous Reply

    My life

  9. February 9, 2019

    Mb Reply

    Just brave! Just true!

  10. February 9, 2019

    Janelle Reply

    And if you don’t have friends who understand or care? What do we do then? 🙁 It’s really impossible to make new friends when your anxiety is through the roof.

    • February 16, 2019

      Anonymous Reply

      I don’t have any friends either. It sucks. I have to call my pastor sometimes

  11. February 9, 2019

    Jess Reply

    Wow thank you! This was amazing to read. I almost cried.

  12. February 11, 2019

    Heather Reply

    First of all, let me say that I’m sorry you go through this. Secondly, you are very brave to share! And thirdly, thank you for helping us understand as much as you can about anxiety. My sister has been plagued by anxiety and panic attacks since the age of 10. She was not diagnosed until in her 20’s. I may not understand what she goes through, but I support her in any way I can, whatever she needs. xo

  13. February 12, 2019

    Anonymous Reply

    That’s explained so well , better than I could put in words , but the more you talk to people the more you realize there are loads of people that have anxiety about different things. I just get busy and go to gym or walk and try not to focus on those feelings. FEAR is big , over the many things that others wouldn’t understand. Eg. having blood pressure taken. 😳Silly but mastered it and am thrilled 👏👏👏👏🙏

    • February 16, 2019

      Anonmymous Reply

      How did you master not being so anxious when having your blood pressure taken? I get so anxious having my blood pressure taken so then it is high.

  14. February 15, 2019

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for this post! It came at a very trying time in my life.

  15. February 16, 2019

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for your honesty, putting into words what many feel BUT can’t express!😟

  16. February 16, 2019

    Yolanda Reply

    I suffer from anxiety but thank God it’s not as bad as it used to be. I used to have MASSIVE panic attacks to where I would have dissociative episodes because my brain literally couldn’t handle it. Anxiety attacks literally make you feel like you are going insane. What finally helped me was cutting out caffeine.

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