things we are trying to do all the time:
- be safe
things we can’t help but do all the time:
- second-guess ourselves
- behave impulsively and reactively
- take everything personally
- have difficulty accepting compliments
- have difficulty reciprocating friendly gestures
- have difficulty finding the courage to respond
- have difficulty not being suspicious of others’ intentions
- make a huge deal out of the smallest thing
things you should keep in mind:
- we’re scared of everything
- pretty much all of the time
- it’s an actual disorder
- it manifests as impulsive behavior
- you can’t fix us with words
- telling us “worrying is silly” won’t make us stop worrying
- it’ll only make us feel silly
- and then we’ll worry even more
- “oh god, am i worrying too much? what if they call me silly again?”
- like that
- also, we wear a lot of armor
- cold, heavy, affection-proof armor with spikes
- we constructed this armor as children
- we’re fairly certain you will never be able to pry it apart
- but there is a nice person under there, we promise
things you can do for a friend with an anxiety disorder:
- stick around
- ask them if they’re comfortable in a place or situation
- be willing to change the place or situation if not
- activities that help them take their mind off of things are good!
- talk to them even when they might not talk back
- (they’re probably too afraid to say the wrong thing)
- try not to take their reactions (or lack thereof) personally
- (the way they expresses themself is distorted and bent because of their constant fear)
- (and they knows this)
- give them time to respond to you
- they will obsess over how they are being interpreted
- they will anticipate being judged
- it took me four hours just to type this much
- even though i sound casual
- that’s because i have an anxiety disorder
things you shouldn’t do:
- tell us not to worry
- tell us we’ll be fine
- mistake praise for comfort
- ask us if we are “getting help”
- force us to be social
- force us to do things that trigger us
- “face your fears” doesn’t always work
- because—remember—scared of everything
- in fact, it would be more accurate to say we are scared of the fear itself
emergency action procedure for panic attacks:
- be calm
- be patient
- don’t be condescending
- remind us that we’re not “crazy”
- sit with us
- ask us to tighten and relax our muscles one by one
- remind us that we are breathing
- engage us in a discussion (if we can talk, then we can breathe)
- if we are having trouble breathing, try getting us to exhale slowly
- or breathe through our nose
- or have us put our hands on our stomach to feel each breath
- ask us what needs to change in our environment in order for us to feel safe
- help us change it
- usually, just knowing that we have someone on our side willing to fight our scary monsters with us is enough to calm us down
if you have an anxiety disorder:
- it’s okay.
- even if you worry that it’s not okay.
- it’s still okay. it’s okay to be scared. it’s okay to be scared of being scared.
- you are not crazy. you are not a freak.
- i know there’s a person under all that armor.
- and i know you feel isolated because of it.
- i won’t make you take it off.
- but know that you are not alone.
Can I put this on business cards or?
reblogging because this is good and useful for me especially the last two parts
I’m gonna give you a “read more” jump so you don’t have to deal with this story if you don’t want to.
People with anxiety disorders can appear to be very cheerful and engaged with whatever it is they’re doing at any given time. They can act as though everything is perfectly wonderful and as though the sun is always shining over their heads, when really, it’s not. It hurts all the more when this kind of person trusts you, tells you that they have a ton of problems going on, and you laugh at them and tell them to cheer up like they normally are.
Posts like this are my favorite kind of posts because they are informative to those both with and without anxiety disorders. There are people who fall into them at all points in life, some who have conquered theirs, some who lock them in a closet and hope they won’t come back, and many more that fight theirs day-to-day. It’s not a fun thing to tackle, and it’s difficult to have a friend that sometimes doesn’t know how to handle themselves. You can be someone’s very best friend by taking the time to ask them what they need and by respecting their wishes. If your anxiety-ridden friend needs space, give them space. If they need a hug, give them a hug. Don’t be the person who thinks, “oh, they need space, they must want me to lurk in the corner of the room and stare at them until this idiot gets over themselves.”
Be a bro. Don’t force yourself in; don’t spill their secrets to anyone who breathes in your five-foot space bubble. Let them have their space, because they’re not invading yours.