So recently I’ve been reading a lot of articles from ‘The Mighty’ Facebook page. And I’ve read a few different articles about what people with mental illness wish they could tell their friends and family. So, I thought I’d write my own list, to better explain where I’m coming from.
- I do think about you. Sometimes I can come across as selfish or clueless as to what’s going on around me. However, that is not the case. In fact, when I’m lost in thought it is often because I am thinking about family and friends and trying to figure out where I stand in my relationships. I’m often feeling guilty, because I obsessed about something or said something wrong or mean in an anxiety attack. I’m constantly worried that I’m going to lose friends and respect from family because I’m still trying to figure out everything in my head. It gets worse under stress and I don’t often think about what I’m saying in the moment.
- I do want to be around you. When I’m invited to an event or even to come over and watch a movie, I really do want to. When I initially agree to the invitation I’m already playing out this happy scenario in my head. But when it comes down to an hour or so before the event I get scared and start thinking of everything that could go wrong. I start thinking that I’d just ruin the event if I went because I’d panic and it’s just be more fun for everyone if I stayed home.
- I’m not avoiding you because of something you did. I know that it can come across that I’m avoiding you. Especially if we recently talked about deep stuff or if some sort of disagreement happened. I’m embarrassed of my actions and that’s why I avoid you. I feel like it’s easier for me to stay by myself because if I panic, I’m not dragging you into it. Inside I’m sad because I want to see you and want to be around you. I just haven’t mustered the courage to push past my own insecurities.
- I don’t mean to talk about my anxiety all the time. When you’ve spent the past two years mainly focused on your mental health, it’s hard to talk about anything else because you haven’t done anything else. Small talk makes me nervous because I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, not understanding what you’re talking about and making a complete idiot of myself.
- I’m not meaning to come across negative or sarcastic all the time. When I get nervous I tend to joke or be negative. I don’t mean to, it just happens when I’m uncomfortable. I usually say things about myself so I can point out my flaws before other people do. (Not that they will, I’m just thinking they might so I might as well tease myself first.)
- I don’t mean to overreact, I just get scared of losing something good. I want friends and I want to keep good relationships with my family. And because of that I sometimes become too involved in very silly things. I allow my insecurities to get in the way and end up sabotaging myself because it’s the easiest way to handle things. And I’m starting to realize that just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s better.
- I know that my actions affect others. I get overwhelmed being by myself in a panic attack so I can imagine what it must be like being around me when I’m panicky. I know that it can be very exhausting being around me when I’m in a certain mood. Right now, with recovery I’m still working on being around others while experiencing being uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable around you but around certain environments. In therapy you learn that anxiety can seem like a big monster but if you take control of it, it is actually just a little thing meant to help you. I tend to avoid activities because for one I get scared and decide to stay comfortable instead of moving forward. But two I don’t want to ruin events by having an attack or consuming the event because I’m uncomfortable and saying stupid things.
Now, I didn’t write this list to get sympathy. I wrote this because these are the things playing through my head that I just can’t seem to communicate clearly, verbally. I love my friends and family and I know that I’m not being judged. I know that we all have our challenges that we face. I wrote this because I really want you to know that I appreciate all you do. I appreciate the patience you have and the understanding you give. I hope that this will help others in my situation know that you are not alone in this journey.
Now, all these things I wrote are how I feel right now. As I’ve been typing this I’ve been able to identify what is rational thinking and what is not. Which is all part of the recovery process. Things aren’t easy. Some days make sense and go great and others are crappy and end up being really hard. I know that I control my anxiety and my thoughts, the fun part is figuring out how I can take control of it. I have the power I just need to figure out how to use it effectively.