Can you imagine living with a feeling of apprehension or fear that could descend on you at any moment without notice? The sense of danger or panic can be momentary or lingering. This sense of powerlessness can even create physical symptoms in the body.
What about walking out of the door and all of a sudden you start feeling overwhelmed or stressed out? Your heart starts beating out of your chest, you start sweating and you fall into a debilitating state of emotional instability.
The worst part of this scenario is that it can happen any time day or night with on warning at all.
This is the world of someone suffering with anxiety. Many people do not understand that this is what is happening in the mind and body of someone with anxiety.
When you have a friend that is dealing with an anxiety disorder, symptoms of the disease can prevent her from being able to connect with you in the way she wants to.
In this article I want to describe anxiety and then share some things that people living with anxiety want their friends to know. I hope it provides insight to help you be a more compassionate friend for them.
The combination of mental and physical symptoms can cause people living with anxiety to seem like they are not interested in developing or maintaining their friendships. This is not actually true. They are suffering with their symptoms in silence.
Here are some quotes from an article on Themighty.com called “36 Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends to Know,” by people who are living with anxiety want their friends to know:
“When I cancel plans with you it’s because I’m afraid to admit I’m a heaping mess. It has nothing to do with you … and everything to do with my panic attack.” — Dorie Cabasag-Smith
“When I can’t do something, no one is more disappointed than me. Please try to understand that.” — Lindsey Hemphill
I can’t just turn it off.” — Katie Keepman
“It’s not your job to fix me. Please just love me the way I am.” — Carole Detweiler Oranzi
“Sometimes when I’m feeling the anxiety, I have no idea why I’m anxious.” — Laura Hernandez
“I analyze things constantly because of anxiety.
I cannot turn my brain off and it can be exhausting.” — Cailea Hiller
“I want to first apologize for the hundreds of times I’ve bailed on you. The hundreds of times I had to leave early and you had no clue. The hundreds of times I had to tell you no.” — Mary Kate Donahue
“I’m not a flake. Sometimes anxiety stops me from doing social things. I might cancel at the last minute, but it’s never out of unfriendliness or being lazy. Know that if you need me, I’ll be there for you in any way I can.” — Bridget Hamilton
If you have a friend that is living with an anxiety disorder understanding how much they want to connect and sometimes can’t because of anxiety might help you to support them.
Dr. Daemon Jones
This article was originally published on EmpowHer.com.