How To Explain Anxiety to Someone

How To Explain Anxiety to Someone

If you’ve ever experienced fear, dread, or uneasiness, you’ve probably been hit with anxiety. And it can happen to anyone because it’s a normal part of life as a reaction to stress. Anxiety may be the cause if you break into a sweat, feel restless or tense, or have a fast heartbeat. It often goes away on its own, but it’s not always easy to explain to someone else what you’re going through.

One of the first things to tell someone is it’s common and affects millions of children and adults in the United States and worldwide. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health estimate that more than 40 million adults experience anxiety or symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

Here’s What to Tell Someone About Anxiety

It could be a precursor to something worse

If left untreated, persistent anxiety can lead to a more serious anxiety disorder. This may be a complicated conversation to have with someone, but you can explain your predicament with honesty and clarity. There are five kinds of anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

It may run in my family

When you talk to someone about anxiety, they may respond with something like, “You’re jittery, just like your mom.” And your response could be, “That may be true, because research shows that anxiety may have a genetic component.”

Anxiety is more than fear

Anxiety could be a precursor to other conditions if it’s not treated, but one of the reasons it’s not often discussed is the stigma surrounding mental health issues. People with mental health problems are perceived differently, and it’s only natural not to want to be thought of in that manner. But here’s the truth: anxiety is more than fear. It can result in physical problems like nausea, muscle pain, increased heart rate, breathing problems, problems with your bowels and urination, headaches, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain – all common among people with anxiety, according to Harvard Medical School.

Anxiety can go away on its own, but there are ways I can reduce it

It’s human nature to tell other people about your problems, and then watch as some recoil and make excuses for not being able to help you. But one of the ways to explain anxiety to someone is to tell that person that it may go away on its own, and that you’ve discovered ways to manage its symptoms. Tell them you can lower your anxiety levels by doing any of the following:

  • Enjoying a time-out to listen to music, practice mindfulness, meditate, do a favorite hobby, go for a walk, or distract yourself from things that bring you stress
  • Eating healthily
  • Staying away from caffeine and alcohol.
  • Getting enough sleep and daily exercise.
  • Managing stress levels and avoiding stressful situations.

Sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating

Yes, one of the physical symptoms is shortness of breath, but a person with anxiety may also be hit with a sudden panic attack. When that happens, fear levels get boosted almost exponentially, and you can feel as if you’re suffocating – gasping for air. Sometimes, anxiety symptoms can feel debilitating.

Yep, I feel great today, but I may not feel that way tomorrow

Honesty and transparency are vital in dealing with anxiety, especially if you have a good enough relationship with someone that you can tell that person the truth. And while you feel great today and have a positive mindset, tomorrow may be the complete opposite. This kind of conversation helps prepare you and your friend for what might happen soon.

Sometimes, I just want to be left alone

We all need our alone or “me” time, but anxiety drives that far more than other feelings. Desiring some privacy after a long day at work or spending hours at your child’s birthday party is natural, but the need to self-isolate daily could be signs of a bigger problem.

I feel like I’m depressed

You know your state of mind better than anyone else, but admitting you have anxiety and feel depressed can be difficult. But it’s a truth that other people need to hear. Not only will admission help you in the short term, but it can also prepare you for seeking professional help later. And the other person needs to know that depression affects millions of U.S. adults, so you’re not alone.

Contact Us
Call Us