I have anxiety. Anxiety is selfish, and therefore anxiety makes me selfish sometimes. I have to put myself/it first, and therefore you must too. I don’t want to be demanding but anxiety is demanding and therefore I am too. I will need you to be supportive and help me through the challenges of this mental illness.
Watercolor by Beth Jorgensen, print available for purchase here
First of all you have to understand that certain things are off limit to me; my anxiety makes me unable to do certain things that the average person would. If you like gigs or festivals then know that sometimes the mere thought of going will make me so anxious that I’ll back out even if we’re just about to set off. However, sometimes I’ll go and be fine, others I will feel panicky and have to stand on the outer edges of the crowd, or near the door, or sometimes have to outright leave. Know that I’ll need you to be with me at those times, that I’ll need you to be there for me and tell me it’s okay if you miss your favourite song. I’ll feel incredibly guilty but I don’t choose when anxiety strikes. I’ll need to know that this is something you can do for me and know I’d do the same for you.
If you like travel, know it makes me anxious. Everything from flying, to knowing if my suitcase is on the right plane, finding the accommodation and the fear of getting lost in a foreign country is anxiety inducing to me. I like visiting other countries, but in order for me to go with you I need to know a few things. If something went wrong could you calm me down? I need to know that you’ll ensure me we’ll figure it out, and stay with me.
Don’t lose your patience with me. Don’t make me feel alone. I need to know you’d put me first above anything.
If we’re with a group of friends, I’ll need you to choose me, be with me if I’m anxious. When I grip your arm or hand tightly, squeeze it back and know that I’m not okay. If you’re busy and I need you, don’t give me half-hearted “you’ll be fine’s”. If I have a panic attack in the middle of the night, sit up with me even if you’re tired and don’t let me deal with it on my own.
Sometimes I’ll lash out. I’ll get upset with why I’m feeling that way, why I have so many restrictions enforced on my brain, and when you don’t understand how I’m feeling. Please try to talk through it with me, because saying out loud the swirling mess in my head will help me to reduce and tackle the problem.
Most of all, please don’t give up on me. Even though I even drive myself insane and get frustrated with myself sometimes, I hope you don’t. I hope you can still love me more each day and not resent me for a mental disorder I never wanted.
Anonymously submitted to ArtParasites