To Mom and Dad: It’s been tough to be myself these days, but getting you to understand my anxiety is even harder. Yes, motivational pep talks and praising my accomplishments make this dark cloud above drift away at times. There are many feelings behind my mind’s battle on whether to stand up and throw away the apple core in the trash that’s 8-feet away during a presentation and interrupt or hold it for the remaining time and fear of looking weird holding an apple’s core. Maybe this might give you a better understanding. These are things I wish I could tell my parents about my anxiety.
1) No, I’m not being negative
Growing up, I was surrounded by all the family chaos, therefore I’m going to get through tough times through accustomed chaotic methods.
2) I’m not being dramatic either
It actually hurts knowing you confuse my actions with anxiety and drama. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I sweat as I stand, waiting for my coffee in the middle of Starbucks. I have a hard time believing people are actually minding their own business.
3) Stop thinking I’m anti-social
It’s not that I don’t like people or refuse to contribute to society. There are just certain friends I choose to be myself true self around because judgments and assumptions make me nervous. I refuse to answer the frequent, “why are you so quiet?” when I have the choice to not be there.
4) If I spend a day in bed, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m sick.
No, nothing bad happened. Sometimes I need a moment to relax and recharge myself. Me taking a mental health day off helps me feel at my best.
5) My celebrations for small accomplishments are crucial
I’m a work in progress. Am I going to treat myself for going to the salon and telling the nail technician I want a different polish AFTER she started painting? Absolutely. Go me.
6) You really can help
Continue to invite me to places. Even though I will turn you down every single time because the thought of being around people makes me dread it, one day I just might find the courage to give you a different answer.
7) I just don’t feel like talking today
If I brush you off, it doesn’t mean I’m mad at you or the world. I’m just off balance. Someone most likely triggered my anxiety earlier that day and it hasn’t left my mind. Also, that J-Lo song I’m listening to sounds a lot better than my day, that’s why I didn’t take off my headphones.
8) I didn’t mean it
If I say something that doesn’t sound like something I’d say, please believe I did not mean it. Sometimes I really just don’t know what my anxiety is trying to tell me, therefore, I respond in anger. This is why these are things I wish I could tell my parents.
9) When it’s mentally exhausting
There are times where I come home from a long day at school or work, and though I may not be physically tired, negative thoughts and constant worries usually wound up in a headache from exhaustion and binge on Bob’s Burgers to avoid the dark thoughts.
10) I will be ok so I don’t need your comfort
You raised me to be strong. Though I seek for comfort, I really don’t need it. With my coffee and random confidence, I will continue to move forward.
There are many emotions one goes through and it’s difficult to get another, especially a close friend or relative, to understand. What’s not difficult to clarify is how important they are to us and after an anxiety attack, they’re the ones we look for.