Over the years of struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, I have gone through many learning experiences and trials. For a long time, I tried to keep up appearances that my life was perfect and I could handle anything. In panicky situations, I would sort of lie to people by telling them I wasn’t feeling well but never really explained why. Or I would just leave. After years of “not feeling well” at family gatherings, people started coming up with their own conclusions. This only made things worse.
Telling Others You Suffer From Anxiety and Panic
I have found that being honest with those around you about what’s going on is usually the best thing to do. Trying to hide your anxiety from others, to continue the façade that everything in your life is perfect, only makes things worse. You start to worry about people’s reactions if they were to learn the truth. What would they think of you? You worry about your performance and whether you’re appearing “normal”- whatever that is. You worry that if they knew you were having anxiety issues, that you would somehow be ruining the vacation, holiday, or whatever occasion it is for them. It’s all very draining.
So, one day, I just opened up to everyone – a little. You don’t have to be giving out your social security number or anything, just a little honesty.
Nowadays, I tell my spouse when I am feeling anxious about a certain situation. That makes me feel more at ease that he is aware and can be more sensitive to my needs. I find that every once in awhile he’ll ask me how I am doing; which is nice because it lets me know he is thinking about my well-being and that he cares for me.
In social gatherings, if I am having problems and I am questioned about why I am not eating anything, for example, I just reply that certain situations make me feel anxious and this is one of them. I will eat something when I feel better.
People Worth Your Time and Concern are Understanding
I’ve learned that people are much more understanding and accepting than I give them credit for in my head. The support I have gained because of this honesty is priceless.
Now people know what is going on, so that if I am having a panic attack or just feel really anxious in certain social situations, I don’t get the questions because people know what is going on. If anything, people want to help me out.
I had a sister tell me that as sorry as she was to hear that I suffer from anxiety, she was delighted to know that I had problems just like everyone else in the world. She said I am more real to her. I have more depth.
People like real.
On the flip side, people don’t like whiners or complainers or people who are always “victims” of their surroundings. So remember that and be honest, but not a drama queen!
If you do come across someone who judges you for your honesty, who makes you feel bad about being who you really are, than why would you want them in your life anyway? We should be surrounding ourselves with supportive, loving, positive people.