I understand that it is difficult for people to understand anxiety, and I really do believe no-one could every truly understand how life changing and horrendous it is, unless they had experienced it their self. However, whilst I understand this, it doesn’t stop me being angry when people express their opinion on how I should behave/life my life with anxiety. I know some people are trying to do/say what they think are in my best interests, but I wish I could tell them that it REALLY doesn’t help. If I could tell these people how I feel it would go something like this:
I know you are trying to help me, but please stop trying to do this in unhelpful ways. I did not ask to be like this, and nor do I enjoy it.
When you try to chat and I am having a low day, I am not being ‘Moody’ by giving short answers, I am depressed. I have no answers. My mind will not produce a sentence, and I apologise for that, please just remember that I love you and that you are my favourite people to talk to.
When you ask me to join you and others in a social activity out of my comfort zone and I politely decline, please do not make me feel guilty for this, it’s hard for us all. I know you think I need to get out of the house and live my life again, but this is nearly impossible for me, please just accept that for now and in return I will promise you that things won’t always be this way.
When I tell you that I don’t know if I can go through with something that has been planned like going out to an appointment for example, please do not get angry and tell me that I have to and how I am not helping myself. Why not just try to re-assure me, and tell me that I just need to try? Forcing me is only going to make me feel more anxious. I know you are scared for me and are just trying to make me better, but hey, I’m scared and trying too.
When you ask me to travel miles to come and see you and I say ‘I can’t at the moment, maybe soon’, please do not treat me like my anxiety is stupid and that I can control it. I assure you, there is nothing that I would love more than freedom right now, I would absolutely love to come and visit you in your new place, but that is just not possible for me right now, and I am sorry. Rest assured though, it’s on my list of things to do when I am better, please just take comfort in that for now, I know it’s not much, but it will have to be enough.
But most of all, when I am having one of my extremely low days/weeks/months and I start questioning whether this world is the right place for me, please don’t be angry at me for telling you that I don’t know if I want to be around, you need to understand that when I am going through this phase, I have been thinking dark and horrible thoughts for longer than you know, and it has taken me every little ounce of courage I have to tell you that. Please refrain from telling me I am ‘Just being silly’, because to me I am living in a world with mostly grey skies and some days I just don’t know if I have the strength to continue. I can almost guarantee that in my darkest hours when I really just want to sleep/hide/crawl in a hole until all the bad goes away, I wouldn’t do anything that I may regret. Do you want to know why? Because I’m telling you instead. I am telling you that I am scared of the future and I am scared of myself. I am begging you to hug it all better. I am letting you in and I am asking for your help, like you always ask me to. I am relying on you to remind me of the good days and to re-assure me that this is temporary. Please, just understand that if nothing else.
So please, stop telling me that my fears are irrational, I know they are. My brain and my heart argue every day, and that’s tiring enough without having to argue with you too. Please do not get me wrong, I know you care and I know that from the bottom of your hearts you wish that you could help, but please listen to me when I say all I need you to do is be there, waiting to listen, waiting to hug and waiting to re-assure me. All I need is your love and compassion, I’ll do the rest.
You are the lights of my life, you brighten up my sky and you push all the clouds away. When life gives me lemons, you drink lemonade with me and you lighten up my heart every single day. I will be forever grateful for that.