The response I received was so heartwarming - and I would like to thank those who contacted me on here, via email, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You didn't only read my blog, you helped me prove to a tiny part of my anxious mind that I was right to post it.
There was one theme that did seem to occur in most communication about the post, and that was about the need (and problems involved) for communication. This was mentioned by people on both sides of the anxiety fence. There seems to be a lack of confidence in people to articulate their daily (hourly) battles, and a lack of certainty about what to say to someone who does have anxiety.
This is a bit of a catch 22. No one wants to offend, sound stupid or bring the subject up for fear it may worsen things. Frustratingly it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Of course we know that logic doesn’t really work alongside anxiety, however I am hoping we can all be encouraged to act on it being #timetotalk.
Lets start at the beginning...Here are some reasons people with anxiety may not want to talk:
- We don’t know how.
- We don’t know what we want to say.
- We don’t know what we want you to say.
- We don’t want to bore you.
- We don’t want to ask for help.
- We don’t want to look like we’re just craving attention.
- We are worried you will reject us and make our paranoia a sure thing.
- If you reject us we are in a worse place than we already are.
- We don’t want you to feel awkward.
- We’re worried you may catergorise us as some sort of nutter if you really knew what is happening in our mind.
- How can we make you know what is happening in our mind when we don’t know ourselves.
- What if we say something wrong, or give you the wrong end of the stick about something? Then we’d not only have to correct it, but also try again to explain while knowing we’d already failed once!
- Have I bored you with examples yet?
- I wonder if anyone is still reading.
- Why am I still typing? I’m so alone.
- Maybe people are reading to humour me. Or sneer at me?
- Hang on, back to the subject at hand…
As an aside - while I was typing just now I gradually felt my chest getting tighter, my breathing start to hurt, and my eyes started darting around in case anyone noticed. The thought processes run away with me, and as I lose control of my mind I lose control of the physical symptoms.
Just thought I’d throw that in as a real time example. I wonder if I’ll delete it.
An on the other side, here are some reasons people who don’t have anxiety may not want to talk about it:
- It’s a bit odd isn’t it? Mental health. It's a bit... mental.
- What if I upset them?
- What if they start to show symptoms of getting anxious? I won't know what to do.
- I tried before, they just cried, then snapped at me and said they didn’t know why they were crying.
- They seem ok, so they must be ok, mustn’t they?
- What can I actually do to stop it?
- I’m sure they talk all they need to with their therapist.
- They’re not having therapy so maybe they don’t need to talk.
- I know other people with anxiety, so I know what’s going on.
- Surely it’s better not to bring it up when everything is fine?
- I love them so much, and I don’t know how to fix it. If I say something I’ll have to admit that.
- I think they'll need to be in a 'good place' to be able to talk about it, so I will wait for them to bring it up when they are able to.
Here’s the deal.
Talking about anxiety is hard. It is scary. It is awkward.
It is also crucial. We have to start a more productive and beneficial path.
Just by reading this you are showing you have some sort of interest or attachment to the situation (I am being positive, and not letting myself think you are reading to scorn me!) and so that means that you can be part of this change.
Once we start to talk about it there will be a better understanding by everyone...
Which will make it easier to address...
Which will make those suffering feel there is less of a stigma...
Which will make it easier to bring up...
Which will help those who don’t suffer share and help their loved ones...
Which will make it easier to converse about...
Which will mean people get help more easily and sooner...
Which will improve management of their mental health...
Which will make them stronger and happier...
Which will make the world easier for those around them...
Which will make the world a far better place.
At the moment I am away with Mr. BuBakes and so the matter of communication is a huge one. (To any potential burglar we have house sitters, so save yourself the bother – plus due to my anxiety I’ve pretty much packed everything we own and brought it with us anyway!)
Of course we have our home balance of how I manage my anxiety. However, being away from home in a new situation without any of my structures in place brings potential pitfalls. It also throws us unforeseen challenges for me to face, and indeed for us to face. Being here for a couple of days has already thrown a few of these up; and has led to some difficult attempts at communicating, explaining and trying to “figure it out”. The anxiety also means I have trouble sleeping. These things combined means it’s a great time for me to really reflect on communication, struggles as they happen, and victories when we work it through.
Coming up I will be posting several posts in an attempt to articulate how communication affects both parties in a relationship, and hopefully give some tricks that we find helps us with this.
As always thank you for reading, have a fantastic day - and remember...
BuBakes is committed to reducing the stigma attached to Mental Health, and personally donates 25p for every order received to MIND. This is now kindly matched by THREE(!) generous supporters, meaning a £1 donation is made per order. If you would like to find out more about MIND, or make a donation you can do so here.