10 Things People With An Anxiety Or Panic Disorder Want You To Know
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10 Things People With An Anxiety Or Panic Disorder Want You To Know

It's hard to explain and hard to understand.

10 Things People With An Anxiety Or Panic Disorder Want You To Know
Sarah Richman

Coming to college, I have learned that anxiety is a lot more common than I thought. Maybe just as many people in high school had it, but they weren’t so open to talking about it. There are always going to be people that don’t get it. Be open and explain how you’re feeling, you’d be surprised at how many people want to know about anxiety and will do whatever they can to help you. Here are a few things that people with anxiety want you to know:

1. It can be completely random

I have no control over when my anxiety takes place or my panic attacks. There are triggers, but most of the time I can’t figure out what they are. It is NOT an excuse. If anxiety were just an excuse, my life would be a lot easier. It can happen at any time, and that’s one of the worst parts about it.

2. We don’t WANT to bail on our plans

I cancel plans way too often. It’s hard because when I make the plan, it sounds like the perfect idea. Then, when the day comes and I can’t catch my breath, and I’m shaky and nauseous, I physically cannot follow through. It’s pretty easy to lose friends this way and it sucks cause I never intentionally do this. I hate it but sometimes it’s the best thing I can do for myself.

3. It’s a disorder. Not a feeling

When someone talks to you about their anxiety, don’t say something like “you get really worried about certain things.” We all get worried about things, but this is not the same thing as anxiety.

4. We don’t want to be on our medication

One day I hope to not be on medication: to be able to be myself without taking a pill. It’s terrifying that in order to get through the day, I have to be on medication. One day, I will be able to take control of my body and come off the medication. I look forward to that day.

5. We can’t just “relax”

That is probably the worst advice you can give someone with anxiety. When I am having a panic attack or I’m just anxious and someone tells me that I have nothing to be worried about, I know they have no idea what I’m feeling. I know there is nothing specific that anyone can say to make it end, but saying “relax” is something I just can’t do and makes it even more frustrating.

6. Things affect us differently

Things like coffee and alcohol have a totally different impact on people with anxiety. Don’t get me wrong. I love coffee. But when I drink it, I have to plan it out. I have to pay close attention to my anxiety that day and if I am the slightest bit anxious, I can’t have it. Alcohol also makes me extremely anxious, so the advice I get from some people to “go out more” is not helpful. At all.

7. Just cause it looks like we’re fine doesn’t mean we are

My panic attacks are different every time. Sometimes, I can’t control my body. I shake uncontrollably and pace back and forth. It can be completely evident that I am not okay, but then other times, I can sit still and look totally fine. I’ll tell someone I’m anxious and his or her response will be “you look fine.” I have dealt with panic attacks since I was nine. Sometimes I can hide it, since the circumstance does not allow for my shaking and pacing.

8. Being there is the best thing you can do

I am so thankful for the people that have sat with me for hours, the people that know exactly what I’m like when I panic. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed in anyway when I’m with them. Finding people who can look at your face when your out to dinner and know you need to go for a walk are the best people.

9. We are extremely empathetic

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s because we know what it feels like to need someone. Finding someone else with anxiety is pretty special. There’s an instant connection. And honestly, helping people through anxiety is something I enjoy doing. It’s a reminder that I am not alone.

10. It’s real and it’s hard

It’s pretty obvious when people think that anxiety is bull and its probably one of the most hurtful things. We wake up in the morning with it and go to bed with it every night and for someone to say that we are overreacting or that we are just stressed is painful. As hard as it is, knowing that so many people go through it and helping someone who is feeling alone makes us feel worth it and special. We will all get through this. Together, we will kick anxiety in the ass.

Now for people who know exactly what I’m talking about, I am proud of you. We all get each other and every thing you get through is a step forward. It’s hard, I know but in the end you are going to end up stronger than you could of possibly imagined. Lean on your friends and find people who know what you’re going through, you are never alone.

~Written with love and appreciation for everyone that has helped with my anxiety, from phone calls to sitting with me at 3 a.m. I am beyond lucky.~

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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