18 Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know

18 Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know

A couple of things we go through on a daily basis.

By the title of this article, I’m guessing you opened it because you too suffer from anxiety, or maybe you love someone who has anxiety. Whatever the case may be, these are just a few things you will be able to relate to/ know to be true. We’re not crazy or neurotic we just have a different life than you. When you’re done reading this you will probably become overwhelmed and be put under the impression that our life consists strictly of anxiety. That is not the case. Yes, our anxiety plays a major role in our day-to-day life, but it does not define us. If you do not suffer from anxiety, then hopefully this will give you a better insight of what it’s like, and if you do suffer, then these will probably hit home and ring true.

  1. Our symptoms just show up. One day you’ll be fine, living like a “normal” person almost forgetting your anxiety. The next you’ll wake up or be in the middle of a conversation and you’ll have been struck. The best way to explain this – it's like a light switch in your brain, it turns on and off as it pleases, and suddenly you’re not the same person.
  2. Plans aren’t valid until you’re actually doing them. If you have anxiety then you know the drill. Someone will try to make plans a week in advance. The plans will sound good at the time and you’ll have all intentions on doing whatever it is they’re asking, only hoping you will feel good that day.
  3. Depression. A major stigma of anxiety is depression. Once you’re diagnosed with anxiety you’re automatically considered depressed. Although this is the case for some, it’s not the case for everyone. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated it makes me when I tell someone I have anxiety and they say “ohh…depression” and if they don’t say it, you know they’re thinking it. No you insensitive a$$hole, I’m not depressed, I just do a lot of worrying. There really needs to be an end to this labeling, both are serious illnesses, and its ok to be depressed, but I am not that.
  4. We're really good listeners. I’m no scientist, but I think it's because we know what its like to have a bad day so often that were basically pros. Sometimes listening is exactly what someone needs and we understand that. We know the value a good listener holds, and we are more than happy to be that person for you.
  5. We know how to be empathetic. We are thankful for sympathetic people, but were not trying to be, “felt bad for”. It means so much more to me when someone actually tries to put themselves in my shoes instead of giving me a weird, uncomfortable look and a tagline such as, “things will get better.” We know the difference between feeling bad for someone and actually feeling for someone. The difference between the two is a thousand miles and they have totally different effects on us.
  6. We share an unspoken bond with each other. Knowing there are other people who are going through the same thing is actually reassuring. When you don’t have to explain yourself to someone it’s a really great feeling. They know what you are going through and actually understand.
  7. The annoyance of hearing someone who doesn’t have anxiety say they do. No hunny, you’re just stressed. I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy, but if they could live how we live for just one day, they would throw the word anxiety out of their (dramatic) vocabulary.
  8. “Calm down.” If everyone could understand and accept that although we wish with every fiber in our being that we could just, “calm down,” we cant. These two words are so annoying and make us feel even crazier than before.
  9. The hatred of a pill bottle. Knowing that the one thing that actually controls and helps your anxiety comes from a tiny orange bottle is so frustrating. The envy I have for people who can be themselves without taking drugs is unspeakable. I often find myself wondering what my life would be like if it didn’t revolve around a single pill.
  10. Reasons. Most of the time there is no real reason for our anxiety. My mom can always tell when its just one of those days for me, and she knows the struggle because she also goes through it. She try’s to make me feel better and usually starts by asking the question, “what’s bothering you?” Sometimes I can answer this question but for the most part, I cant. My answer usually goes something like, “if I knew what was bothering me it wouldn’t be bothering me.” A majority of the time there is no apparent reason and you’re left feeling blah until it goes away.
  11. The way we come off. No, I’m not trying to be rude, I’m not lazy, and I’m most certainly not looking for attention. On the days we’re tip toeing around our anxiety were doing our best not to wake up the devil. If it means being reserved or staying within the boundaries of our comfort zones, that is exactly what we are going to do. Everyone deals with it differently and the last thing we are worrying about is your perception of us. Our anxieties are scarier than your judgments.
  12. “Leave me alone.” It’s not said to be mean; it’s just that sometimes we need to handle it by ourselves. We appreciate your yearn to help but its not going to work.
  13. Your pep talks are annoying. We know, “life is great” and “there’s more to life than the problem you’re facing right now”. We hear it way more than we should for our own good. Contrary to popular belief, we agree with you, we know life is good. We do have good days and for the most part, we are genuinely happy. We enjoy life just like you, we just have a significant more amount of stressors and they affect us differently.
  14. A big “LOL” to the “live for today” notion. We would love to live in the moment, but instead we’re busy reliving the past or predicting/foreshadowing the future. I’m sure its great to unconsciously live in the present. In fact, we wish we could, but 9 times out of 10 other things are consuming our thoughts.
  15. One word: coffee. Coffee for people with anxiety is a blessing and a curse. Before we order a cup we need to assess how we are feeling that day. On good days, it has the same effect on us that it would for anyone else. On bad days, it will cause difficulty breathing and in turn, enhance the chest caving feeling.
  16. We know most of our fears aren’t rational. We still can’t help it and are still going to obsess over them. Your logical reasoning for them to be thrown away is a waste of time.
  17. Trying to describe how you feel. It’s honestly equivalent to describing color to a blind person. You’ll only understand what it feels like if you, god forbid, experience it. The feeling of being a prisoner in your own mind and body is unexplainable and trying to relay the feelings we experience won’t do any justice. If we could explain what it feels like we would just so you could see anxiety is real and we’re really not attention seekers.
  18. We’re thankful for all of the relationships we have. You’ve seen us at our best and our worst, and you still stick around. I can’t even begin to explain just how thankful I am for everyone in my life. I know I’m not easy to deal with yet you still refuse to jump ship. Thank you for being you, I hope you know how much you are appreciated.
Cover Image Credit: http://cdn2.collective-evolution.com/assets/uploads/2015/10/tumblr_me3dfr1IAG1qiihii1-1.jpg

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My Asexuality Is The Last Thing I Hate About Myself

Oh, by the way - mom and dad, I'm Ace!

This week my fellow UCF Odyssey writer and asexual Chris Mari wrote an article explaining his asexuality and his complete detest for it. He goes into detail about how is sexual orientation developed, what it is, and how he feels about how it affects his relationships. It is a really insightful article about the accepting process of discovering your own sexuality.

However, I feel like Chris is taking this the wrong way. Being asexual, or any sexuality for that matter, is nothing to be ashamed of and you should never hate yourself for it. It took me a while to figure it out and it took me even longer to accept it. But once I did, my life, relationships, and my view on my asexuality got better. I don't see it as a curse or a disease. I see it as being a part of the awesome person I am (not to brag).

There are many things that I don't like about myself, but my sexuality is not one of them. I hate that I am messy, that I like to mix all of the fountain drinks into one cup, and that I am a terrible driver. I do not hate the fact that I am a five-foot-two asexual woman who eats a lot of pasta.

To be clear, like most sexualities asexuality has a spectrum with different attraction levels and variances between each individual. There are many types of asexuality and each type varies on sexual orientation, lack of sexual attraction, and romantic orientation, which is completely different from sexual orientation. At its core, being asexual means that you lack sexual attraction to others, have low sexual desire, and never initiate sexual activity.

Asexuality means many things to many different people. You can still be in a sexual relationship with someone and still consider yourself to be asexual. You can be attracted to others and still have romantic relationships and still be asexual. It does not have to confine you, your relationship, or you sex/non-sex life.

Unlike Chris, I figured out my asexuality as a teen. Around my senior year in high school, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing the same feelings towards sex and sexual desire as a lot of my friends. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on me being "too mature" for relationships in high school, and that "all the guys in my grade were unattractive." Which, by the way, was not true.

It wasn't until I started Googling these question I had that I found out what the issue was. I am asexual. And it wasn't until the first relationship I had that I realized I was more of a gray-asexual than strictly asexual. I sometimes feel sexual attraction to others, but only when a strong emotional connection is formed, and even then my sexual attraction is little to none.

Having sex does not mean having a relationship and having a relationship does not mean having sex. Trust me, I know. A romantic relationship is built on a strong emotional connection, respect, and intimacy, which does not necessarily mean sex. My past relationships were built on strong emotional connections and mutual respect. Sometimes there have been feeling of sexual attraction, but in a lot of cases, there weren't. If/when I am in a relationship, there is a lot of emotional intimacy, caring, and a lot more Netflix binging than in most non-asexual relationships.

Chris, it sounds like you are still dealing with the fact that you are asexual. And let me tell you, from my own experience, once you accept it your feelings towards it won't be so negative. There is an entire community of people like you and I that understand what you are going through. But this is something that you shouldn't hate yourself for.

Being asexual does not mean you are broken, have a disease, and are not capable of being in a relationship. If you surround yourself with accepting people, accept who you are as a person, and find that person who loves you for who you are and not your asexuality, then you will see how awesome it is to be who you are meant to be. Trust me, it's good to be part of the plus! We give it that extra credit!

Cover Image Credit: Jon Ly

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If You Want To Be A LGBTQIA Ally, Here's A Good Start

Here's how you *actually* support the LGBTQIA community.

Let’s face it: It’s 2018. Times are changing, and the LGBTQIA community is becoming more and more accepted in societies around the world. However, we’re still a LOOOONG way from equality, and even further away from equity.

As these changes become part of contemporary culture, many people (including within the community) want to help and support their family members, friends, co-workers, etc.

But there’s not really a guide to alliance, and many well-meaning allies don’t understand how to properly support the community. Even with the best intentions, allies can offend, divide, or harm the community they’re trying to help.

So if you consider yourself an ally in any form – or even if you’re part of the community – here are some simple tips to support your LGBTQIA peers.

Labels, Terms, And Slurs

Queer and/or Gay (Or Neither)

Nobody in the community is exactly the same. Some people will use different terms to describe themselves, but that does not invalidate their perspectives and you should respect those terms. You also should not assume what terms to use when referring to someone.

There’s no catch-all term for the LGBTQIA community. Many people do not feel comfortable being labeled as “gay” because it does not describe their identity.

For example, intersex and transgender people who identify as heterosexual may be offended by the linkage of gender identity and sexuality.

Some people have begun to use the term “queer” instead which used to be (and can still be) considered a slur against the community. However, there are many folks who are uncomfortable with this term as well and have had negative experiences with it, and you should never automatically assume that someone is fine with this identity. Long story short: just ask!

Reclaiming Slurs: Complex, Yet Simple

That being said, I must re-emphasize: it is SOLELY up to someone in a respective community to what terms they must use. Do not use slurs unless you are reclaiming them. Reclaiming is a process where LGBTQIA people use the words of their oppressors in order to “reclaim” their power.

It is somewhat controversial and people may not believe in reclaiming slurs. That being said: If you are not in that community, you should never reclaim a slur that’s not yours.

If you do not identify as a lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, sapphic, queer, etc. femme or woman, you should not use the word dike to refer to yourself, and especially not to refer to others. If you are cis, you should absolutely never use the word “tr*nny” because that is ABSOLUTELY NOT your word to reclaim.

Invalidating Identities: A No-No!

There are a few identities in the LGBTQIA community that face unique struggles including bisexuality, pansexuality, and many identities under the transgender umbrella. While the concepts of identities may appear similar, and someone may identify with several, it does not make them the same identity, and it does not invalidate the existence of any.

A big example: Bisexuality is NOT “outdated pansexuality”, and pansexuality is NOT “special-snowflake bisexuality.” I am personally comfortable using both terms to describe myself but typically introduce myself as bi. You need to respect the terms people use even if it “doesn’t make sense” to you.

Microaggressions, Stereotypes, And More!

Please Stop With The Attack Helicopters

Listen, I get it. It appears that many new genders and sexualities are “popping up” everywhere and it’s hard to understand sometimes. But those jokes you make, or that you let your friends make, are invalidating as HELL. When you make those jokes or allow them to happen, you are actively harming the LGBTQIA community.

"But I like these jokes!" You may say. Imagine this: you spent your whole life in the closet feeling different, weird, and morally wrong. You’ve been threatened, attacked, or abused for your identity.

Finally, you gain the courage to be yourself among your friends. Your friends then make jokes along the lines of “I don’t get your identity, therefore it is wrong.” You’re back in that closet again. There’s a difference between a good joke and thinly veiled transphobia.

I’m Not Your Gay Best Friend (Or Your Fetish)

Here’s a newsflash: LGBTQIA people are STILL people. We are more than just a stereotype or a toy for you to use. You cannot simplify us to our sexuality or gender, and you can DEFINITELY leave me alone if you’re going to treat me like an object.

Do not ever ask a gay man to be your gay best friend. Do not make inappropriate comments towards your lesbian friends regarding lesbian porn. Do not ask bisexuals or pansexuals for a threesome.

Do not call trans people traps. Do not say “omg this trans person looks better than me!” because that implies they’re supposed to be lesser than you.

I Am Also Not Your Teacher (Or Experiment)

People who don’t know much about the community naturally have questions about it. Many of us are willing to educate you and help you out – but respect the ones that don’t want to.

Also consider this: if you wouldn’t ask a straight or cis person that question, why would you ask them?

It’s not my job to explain to you how cis women have sex together, so please stop asking me that. It’s weird.

It is also not my job to have sex with you because you’re “unsure” and “experimenting.” I completely understand the curiosity, but not everyone is comfortable talking about these things, and not everyone has interest in sex to begin with.

Identity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality

I’d Prefer If You Didn’t Prefix With “Preferred”

“Preferred pronouns” are just someone’s “pronouns” unless stated otherwise. The preferred is not necessary unless someone is not completely “out” yet. Pronouns can be confusing, but many people understand if you mess up because people are only human.

Not only that but please respect your friend’s entire journey of their gender identity. If your friend is still unsure of their identity or simply uses multiple pronouns, you can always ask which they would like to use that day. If your friend is out in some spaces but not all, you can ask how to refer to them in safe and non-safe spaces.

And especially: if your friend is completely out and only uses she/hers (or he/his), do not say they/them instead to “skate around” the subject. This is especially common with trans women – don’t avoid their identity!

All Or Nothing

You cannot support only parts of the LGBTQIA community and call yourself an ally. There is more than the L and G. Trans people are often excluded from false allies definitions. You must support all individuals in the community or you do not support the community. You also must support “all-the-way” – not halfheartedly or when you feel like it.

This also applies in another way that many people do not realize. It doesn’t matter if someone is a terrible person, you respect their identity. Many people misgender Caitlyn Jenner because she’s “problematic” – and that’s not okay.

You also cannot call gay people “f*ggots” because they seem like the "stereotypical gay" to you. And if you are in the community, you should NOT call other people “special snowflakes” because their personality differs from yours.


People in this community often have other identities that intersect with their LGBTQIA identity. Racism, sexism, classism, and xenophobia are unfortunately problems that are part of this community. I am not *just* a bisexual person, I am also a low-income Hispanic female.

If someone brings up their identity in another aspect, you should respect it. Often these identities are tied in life experiences and identity formation.

My experience as a low-income LGBTQIA person will probably be different than the experience of an upper-class LGBTQIA person. Both of our perspectives matter.

Okay, TLDR TIME: I'm Tired Of Reading

TLDR: Be respectful. If someone calls you out, do not get defensive. And if someone approaches you with a new perspective, do not shut them down immediately.

In order to be an ally, you have to be TRULY open-minded and willing to learn; from your friends, and from your mistakes.

Cover Image Credit: Julie Missbutterflies on Flickr

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