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How to tell a friend or family member about your anxiety

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Wondering how to tell a friend or family member about your anxiety? It’s one of the hardest things to do – telling friends and family about your anxiety. You’ve taken the massive step of realising that you need some help with your mental health and you’re wondering how you’re going to even begin telling your friends and family about it.

This was exactly my position not too long ago. I was struggling day after day to get by, and it wasn’t long until I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to cope alone.

TALKING ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS GIVES YOU POWER

I strongly encourage you to talk about your feelings as soon as you can. Tell a friend or family member about your anxiety as soon as possible. It sounds corny, but the act of just speaking your mind to someone is truly like a weight lifting off of your shoulders.

What I thought was going to be the hard part was actually quite simple. I wasn’t ashamed of how I was feeling. I was more concerned with people understanding that what I was feeling was more than just worry. It was a bodily reaction that was beyond my control.

ANXIETY VERSUS NERVOUSNESS

I think people often misunderstand what anxiety is. I’ve had many people tell me over the years that I just need to relax, calm down and not worry so much. Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve had people tell you the exact same thing. And don’t you just want to tell them that if you had the ability to flick a switch, you simply would of done that already? I know I have said that to many people in the past.

SO HOW DO I TELL PEOPLE?

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to tell people how you’re feeling. There is only your way. Do it on your terms, however you see fit. But do it. It will be one of the best things for your own state of mind.

Rather than going into too much detail, I usually explain to people that I am feeling overwhelmed and that sometimes I feel like I am losing control. Most people will understand without any further explanation, other people don’t seem to quite grasp the concept that worry and anxiety are two separate things. Sure, they play off one another but they are two different concepts.

For me it was a gradual process. I was still trying to understand exactly what my feelings were to begin with. What got me through is explaining as best I could to my family that I was feeling overwhelmed and these feelings were something that were out of my control.

You can do this – just breathe. It will be okay!

If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress you can reach out to Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue’s support line is available 24/7.

Lifeline: For crisis support, Lifeline provides a 24/7 line, as well as online resources on a range of issues.

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