Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to Help People with Anxiety

I think it’s time that I am a little vulnerable with you all. Recently, I’ve been in a funk. I don’t know exactly what the cause of the funk is, but it has made me a less pleasant person to be around. It’s probably hormones, says my mom. It’s probably stress, say my friends. It’s probably the fact that you aren’t happy, says my boyfriend. I don’t know who is right. It could be one of those things, or it could be all three.

But what goes through my head is something that no one will understand. When I look at myself, I don’t see what other people see.

To be clear, I have not talked to a doctor or psychologist about this, mostly because it isn’t all the time. Would a doctor’s diagnosis or treatment help? Probably, if I had an idea of what is wrong. But I don’t. By writing this blog, I am not intending on insulting anyone with a mental illness. I take this matter very seriously and hope you can understand.

For a while, I thought I had Body Dysmorphic Disorder. But again, haven’t been diagnosed, which is a key factor in mental illnesses. BDD is where you focus on a perceived flaw in your appearance. I constantly pick out flaws on myself: my one crooked tooth, my stretch marks, my mole on my cheek. Some days I think I look beautiful and try to capture a photo, only to find out that I don’t look that great. I used to edit my hair, my face, and my skin to make myself look acceptable online. I’ve gotten over that phase (mostly), but it is still hard to accept that I’m not perfect.

I also think I have a social anxiety or high-functioning anxiety. You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy. How can someone who is such a people-person have anxiety? Truth is, I’m not a people person. I’d rather type a blog post in my one-bedroom apartment than go out. I hate crowds. I’m not good at public speaking and no amount of training can ever fix that. Plus, on the internet, I can be whoever I want to be. (I’m not completely different on here, I’m just a little better at typing words than saying them.)

So what is high-functioning anxiety? Essentially, I like being busy. I strive for perfection. But I also can’t say no. I’m afraid of what people will think if I decline work. Sometimes, I take on more than I can handle. I’m very stressed. I want to go for a walk but I can’t because I know there are tasks that need to be done. I don’t relax easily. But you’ll never know something is wrong because everything looks fine.

     Ask if I’m ok.
If I say yes, ask again. I know that sounds stupid but I don’t always let people in easily. If you make a habit out of checking on me, I’m more willing to tell you when something is wrong. (Although, don’t want you to feel like I need a babysitter because I don’t.)

     Don’t give up on me.
Sometimes I do want to be alone, but if you give up on me, then I am going to give up on myself.
Remind me why we are friends. Tell me the reasons why you love me. I’m not trying to be the needy friend/girlfriend, but hearing you say good things about me will make me feel less worthless.

     Help me see the positive in situations.
I tend to see the glass on the emptier side. When I can’t find a positive, I stress myself out. Sometimes I need someone to point me in the right direction.

     Don’t force me into uncomfortable environments.
I typically will not pick a crowded setting, so please don’t force it upon me. I have no problem with you suggesting that we go out, but please understand if I want to stay in or go somewhere less public.

     Don’t be a fake friend.
Please don’t pretend to care about me when we hang out, and then go and talk behind my back later. People like that are toxic and are the reason why I have a hard time trusting and opening up.

Having a support system is key. As time goes on, I start to find out which people in my life I can open up to. Not everyone understands that I don’t know if I have something wrong with me. Most of the time I’m fine, but it’s the random days that hit me like a school bus and push me back to the start.

But hey, gotta start somewhere, right?

Have you or someone you know been affected by some form of anxiety? How did you help them?


  1. Kudos for being brave enough to share this�� I struggle with bouts of depression from time to time and it can be so confusing and frustrating when I don't know what's triggering it and how to get myself out of the funk. It's a constant struggle. Great advice!

    1. Thank you for your comment! Yes, it is a little frustrating because I don't know why I get the way I do, but I'm definitely getting better at finding ways to distract myself when I do get into a mood.

  2. I struggle with anxiety as well. I love the advice you gave others! I can so relate!

    xo Nicole

    1. Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you can relate.