How Do I Explain My Anxiety to a Loved One?
When you experience anxiety, it can feel impossible to explain. You want to let others know how you're feeling but aren't sure how to articulate it. You might worry that they'll judge you or misunderstand you when you just want support. It doesn't help that simply by having anxiety, you may feel nervous about sharing something so vulnerable.
Anxiety is a mental health disorder that is often misunderstood. You can explain your anxiety to those close to you, and it doesn't have to be scary. Having anxiety impacts your ability to work, study, socialize, and function.
Understanding your anxiety is the first step in explaining it to someone else. Anxiety disorders affect roughly 1 in 5 Americans every year. It is a widespread mental health problem and is treatable. Seeking help from a licensed professional can help you determine the cause of your anxiety. Not only can they diagnose you with social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or another form, but they can properly explain it to you and even help you explain it to those in your life.
Anxiety can be brought on by genetics, trauma, stress, and brain function. If you can accept your anxiety, it improves the likelihood that others will. Understanding that can ease the shame surrounding mental illness and allow you to move forward with a deeper understanding.
Talking to Others About Anxiety
The stigma behind mental illness is still present, leaving people with anxiety feeling ashamed. Admitting you're struggling is one of the hardest parts. Support from friends and family is an integral aspect of healing. Opening up to a loved one about your anxiety provides you the opportunity for greater support, knowledge, and guidance throughout your mental health journey.
Not only is it beneficial to explain to loved ones what is going on with you, but you may find solace in them. You may find out that a loved one is also working through a mental health struggle, and now you've found someone to relate to and work with. The benefits of speaking about your anxiety to friends and family include:
Early recognition of symptoms and earlier treatment
Understanding and support
Lower risk of enhanced symptoms
Improved likelihood of receiving and continuing treatment
Explaining Anxiety to a Loved One
Explaining your anxiety to a loved one can be worrisome. Although you know and understand the benefits, actually doing it can be intense. You don't know how someone will react. Of course, you want your loved ones to understand, but explaining it to them is the first part. Hopefully, by working with a therapist, you've determined that your mental health should be a focus no matter the judgment from others.
Don't Have Expectations
Release any expectations about how this conversation will go. No matter what you imagine, everyone will respond differently. Some may hug you and ask how they can help, while others may tell you to relax and go for a walk. Expecting a certain reaction may only make you more nervous.
Prepare what you want to share. You may be open to letting them know you have anxiety, but you may not want to share that you take medication to help. That is entirely up to you. Understand that simply saying you have anxiety may not be enough to get the message across. Let them know what anxiety means for you, or they may interpret it as being nervous for a date or public speaking rather than as a mental illness.
You can let them know what a panic attack feels like or how it feels when you are anxious so that they can get a sense of your mindset. You may want only to explain so much. Let them know you aren't open to questions and just wanted them to know. Maybe you'll share more down the line.
Some people may already know a lot about anxiety and be able to support you right away. Others may want to do some research, and some may listen and forget about it until the next time you feel anxious. Think about how long it took you to come to terms with your anxiety when you were experiencing it. Your loved ones should always respect you, but give them time to know how to deal and help if you want it.
Share Your Plan
It is up to you whether or not to share, but it can help your loved one understand your progress and what you're going through. They may offer unsolicited advice that could be triggering for you, so let them know you have a treatment plan working for you right now and aren't open to suggestions if that's the case. If you haven't gotten professional help, your loved one can be a great teammate when finding a therapist.
A friend who just learned you have anxiety may have good intentions but actually make you feel worse in some cases, so be honest. Don't be afraid to let them know what you need and what doesn't help. When you're having an anxiety attack, let them know if it helps to talk to you, rub your back, or give you space. They won't know what you need unless you tell them.
Lean on Them
Your loved ones are there to support you. Remember, you can lean on them. You do not have to hide your fear or anxiety from them. You are not a burden.
Anxiety can impact every aspect of your life. You want to be able to share it with your loved ones so they understand what you're going through and can help if need be. Although having their support will ease your worry, having that conversation can instigate your symptoms. Here at California Care Detox & Treatment, we work with you and your family to help improve your support system. We will take the time to ensure you and your family are on the same page. We can include them in your treatment or help them accept your privacy. Our method is to work with you and customize your care plan to fit you and your unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all cure for anxiety, we will do everything to help you cope with anxiety and live a healthy, happy life. Call us now at (949) 281-0632 to get started.