Updated: Sep 14, 2019
I went to an event last night, and I didn’t die. That’s right. I left the cosy sanctuary that is my house, and I went OUT. I can already here you saying, so? You went out? Well pals, this is a huge achievement for me. Let me explain.
I consider myself to be of an extroverted introvert. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, if I know you, I can generally handle a social situation. I can be loud, I can be excited, I can actually even go as far to say I have fun. But if I don’t know you, or I am going to have to do something alone – boy oh boy.
Having anxiety is one of the hardest things to explain to someone. It works differently for everyone, no one’s anxiety is the same, but it is, does that make sense?
For some, a trigger might simply be having to wait in line somewhere. It might be having to drive a car. For some, it’s social situations. Hell, there are some people out there who cannot even pinpoint what gives them anxiety. But they have it and they do their best to live their lives with it.
For those living around people with anxiety, I thought I’d outline a few things that might help you out or understand how we’re feeling, or what we need from you. Cause you love us and we love you for loving us, even when we are having a meltdown in the middle of the lounge over going to the supermarket.
FREAK OUT MODE:
Even when we’re freaking out, we’re totally aware of how we’re making you feel and guess what? This escalates our emotions even more. Basically, we’re upset we’re upset and we’re upset we’re upsetting you and we’re upset…
Tip: Be calm, be patient. Breathe for us, because we probably can’t.
BUT MY COMFY CLOTHES PROTECT ME?
We don’t want to go out. Nope not there. Nope not there either. The supermarket? Oh NO NO NO. Why? because honestly that old wench Nancy pushing into us with her trolley was not what I needed today.
Tip: Sometimes you just need to go without us. If you’re worried leaving us alone is bad thing, don’t worry, we’ve told you to go without us! We probably need that space to wind down.
OK WE’RE OUT BUT ARE YOU SURE THEY LIKE ME?
I’ve been friends with Susie for 4 years but I still do wonder if she hates me because I once said how are you when she asked me if I wanted a drink
Tip: Involve us. But don’t PUSH us. Most of the time we just want to feel like our presence isn’t driving the people around us, up the wall.
ELEPHANTS DON’T FORGET
We will remember something we said or did on Dec 2nd 1999 and we will spend a consuming amount of time agonising over it.
Tip: You probably do this without realising already, but remind us that it’s actually not a big deal, or that you’ve actually forgotten about it. Let me guess? You have no idea what we’re talking about anyway because you actually did forget about it.
CAN’T BREATHE PASS MY INHALER:
There’s a big group of people around and you can see we’re really starting to feel like the room is closing in on us.
Tip: (and this is just one that helps me personally) Firstly, the fact you’ve even noticed that I am not coping in a group situation, gives me reassurance, and the fact you’re standing beside me and reassuring me is really, really, calming. I want to be out! I want to be with my friends, I just don’t really know how to ‘fit in’ so to speak. TBH – I am worried I might say or do the wrong thing.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
The house is tidy asf, but theres a jacket on the chair, and when you open the bedroom door, there’s clothes all over the bed and then I went into the spare room and there’s random stuff all over the floor.
So, to you, the house is tidy, but for us there is more to this. When you look, you see clean, when we look, we see these small details that make us freak out, and we don’t even mean to…because once upon a time we probably pushed that washing on the bed to the side and slept around it.
ARE YOU THUMBS BROKEN?
This is that whole ‘You never text me back within the 2 minutes I require’ so I now am thinking the worst situation.
Tip: text back faster. OK KIDDING. I know you have a job/life/busy. My advice on this one is to remember to text back more than “k” and “haha”
To end – I know that how I feel, and what at works for me, may not work for you. What I see as anxiety, you might see as something else. The great thing about the internet is we all have opinions and we’re all different.
Just know, if you’re suffering from anxiety, or if you’re living with someone with it, you’re not alone.