Content warning: Article discusses anxiety.
If you're anything like me, sometimes, your brain likes to sabotage what you would consider to be a perfectly fine day. It can be a perfect, windows-down, sunroof open, sunny, and 78-degree type of day, and my anxiety and anxious thoughts will still get the better of me.
That's the tricky thing about any kind of mental illness, but especially anxiety.
If you're one of the lucky people who doesn't have to deal with any kind of anxiety, then this is for you — the supportive, non-judgmental friends, family members, co-workers, or just kind people in general.
I don't expect you to understand what the heart palpitations or the racing thoughts and the hurried breaths feel like, but I appreciate that you withhold judgment and try your best to sit with me and help me calm down — that really means more than what you could ever know.
I just want to say that if I space out sometimes, I hope you know that you haven't done anything wrong at all. My little bugger of a brain just likes to be obstinate sometimes, and I wish I was born with the brain chemistry to where that wasn't the case, but I can't do anything about that other than take the anti-anxiety medications I was prescribed.
Let me be perfectly clear about this: I know a lot of people have a lot of qualms about prescription medication, but these anti-anxiety pills help me to function like a relatively normal human being every single day. Without these pills, I would be worse than a nervous wreck.
I understand why some people feel that prescription medications are absolutely awful because some of the side effects of these medications can be super unpleasant. But, if you had the flu, you would want to go to the doctor and take whatever they prescribed to feel better, right?
Mental health works in that same way.
Here's the thing I want to say if you're with me, and I'm having an awful anxiety attack: If it looks like I don't want to hang out, like I'm spacing out or like I'm generally not interested, I can promise you that it's seriously not you — it's my anxiety.
My panic attacks generally tend to look like me spacing out, getting really quiet, and having an all-over deer-in-the-headlights look. I sincerely promise you, you're doing absolutely nothing wrong, and as soon as I'm able to practice my breathing exercises and my mental grounding, I'll be OK.
Thank you for not judging me or making me feel like I'm the biggest freak in the world whenever this happens.
That really means the world to me to know that I can count on someone, like you, to let me walk through my own storm and that you'll be right beside me with an umbrella for the occasion (as totally corny as that sounds).
Thank you for trying your best to understand what's going on inside my brain at the moment and for being part of the solution and not making me feel worse than what I already do. Thank you for your kindness, your empathy, and your compassion — that means more than you could ever know.