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Sharing My Anxiety with My Family

March 1, 2021 Nicola Spendlove

I am experiencing heightened anxiety at the moment, as I am waiting for important medical results. I usually avoid sharing my anxiety with my family, but this time I decided to be more open. Telling my brother, who has chronic mental health issues, about what I am going through was surprisingly helpful.

Deciding to Tell My FamilyAbout My Anxiety

I was reluctant to confide in my brother at first because I figured he had enough on his plate. However, I was very much struggling and thought he might have some good practical tips for controlling anxiety -- so ultimately I decided to tell him (more on that decision in the following video). In this particular situation, my decision to share my anxiety with my family was a tremendously good one.

My Brother Helped My Acute Anxiety

Although he does not enjoy the fact that I feel so much anxiety right now, I think my brother has enjoyed being able to take on the "caring" role in the family for once, rather than the "cared for" role. He has been wonderful about checking in at intervals to see how I feel, and this has brought a new dynamic to our relationship.

I was right about the practical tips. My brother has given me wonderful advice on techniques for grounding myself when panic starts to take over. He has talked me through breathing techniques over the phone and used logic to help me rationalize which anxious thoughts are based on fact and which are based on catastrophizing. He has been able to give me the name of an excellent therapist who was able to fit me in for an emergency appointment, and this worked wonders.

It concerns me sometimes that I might be overloading my brother by asking too much of him, but he insists that he will let me know if this becomes the case. I also know that I am not able to support him as well as I usually am right now because of my anxiety levels, but we are so lucky that our parents are also there to help if needed.

Confiding in Family About Anxiety Can Be Scary

For my part, being the person who my family is supporting emotionally right now is a new and vulnerable feeling. I am learning to practice what I preach about mental health and sharing my anxiety with my family is a key part of that. 

I think going forward, I will be a little bit more open about my struggles with my family and friends, but it will depend largely on the situation. This is especially true when it comes to my brother, as when he is acutely unwell I am conscious of not burdening him further.

Have you any experience of sharing your anxiety with your family? Let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Spendlove, N. (2021, March 1). Sharing My Anxiety with My Family, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, April 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalillnessinthefamily/2021/3/sharing-my-anxiety-with-my-family



Author: Nicola Spendlove

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Lizanne Corbit
March, 2 2021 at 8:40 pm

Confiding absolutely can be scary. Any form of true sharing is vulnerable and that automatically triggers fear. I am so glad that you were able to confide in your family and then, additionally, receive wonderful advice from your brother. Anxiety is particularly good at making us feel like we would be better off keeping it to ourselves but often times we can gain so much from (consciously) choosing to confide in someone we trust and feel safe with. Thank you for sharing.

March, 3 2021 at 10:08 am

You're so right! Anxiety really thrives in silence too, the spell is broken a bit once we speak about what we're stuck ruminating on. It's been a great gift to connect to my family in a new way through this experience. Thank you for your comment.

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