Have you ever told someone about your anxiety and immediately felt let down?
First of all, if you’ve ever told anyone, congratulations. That is impressive and takes a lot of courage.
Now let’s get into it. How did that go?
I am so lucky to have a few friends that I can call when I’m feeling anxious and they know just what to say, how to say it, and happen to have 45 minutes available to talk me down.
Then, I have some other people in my life who, while they love me dearly, have no idea how to be supportive in these moments. I say “I’m feeling anxious,” and they
Ignore it (because now they’re anxious, unsure of how to respond)
Minimize it by saying “It’ll go away!” or “It’s all good!”
Express shock: “Really, why?! We’re having a great time.”
We’ve all been numbers 1-3 whether we realize it or not and that’s ok. What I want to talk about is how we can better support each other in these moments.
My immediate reflex when I don’t feel supported is to be distant, and then to be upset or even mad. In my mind I think, “How dare you not comfort me! Why are you on your phone? Don’t you understand how I feel right now?! I feel horrible… I need you… please help me”.
Of course, I don’t say any of that because I’m embarrassed and I want my feelings to go away, so I go into another room and work on it myself. This method takes longer and feels heavier, but then at least I’m not burdening someone else with my problems, right?
People who love you and love me, they want to help us. They just don’t know how, so we have to teach them.
Next time this is relevant to you, try saying “When I tell you I feel anxious, what I’m looking for in that moment is ________(comfort, humor, a hug, alone time)”. Fill in the blank for you, because we’re all different.
Then that person understands you and can give you exactly what you need next time! Your anxiety is now two against one and you feel more connected to whoever is on your team.
A cheat code: forward this email to share it with someone in your life and get the conversation going 🙂
I love you! I understand you! You are not alone!
Resources for Anxiety:
With love and light, and a wee bit of anxiety,
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