Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Two Words The Anxiety Sufferer Dreads Most

Some people will never understand how an anxiety sufferer feels. It's that simple. Try as they might to empathize with what we're going through, they just don't get it. Nothing illustrates this more than when they utter that two-word phrase those coping with anxiety dread the most: "Just Relax."

Now I know they mean well, and I'm certainly not trying to drum up any undue sympathy, but that simple expression makes me want to scream. Don't they realize that if I could relax I would do it in a heartbeat? Can't they see that the inability to relax is exactly what characterizes this horrible illness? It makes me wonder what advice they would offer to someone with a lung disease. Take a deep breath?

For someone who has never felt the "weird" feeling of anxiety, the ability to comprehend its scope is impossible. Many relationships have been destroyed for this reason. Bonds become strained when anxiety is in the picture, as one person tries to cope with illness and misunderstanding and the other contends with the residual effects this misunderstanding creates. It's a horrible cycle, one that could be prevented with a bit of open communication.

If you suffer from anxiety, it's important to talk about it. Let your loved ones know how you feel, and be certain to tell them exactly what you expect of them. Your illness effects your family and friends, but that's often difficult to see when you're in pain. Let them know you don't expect them to "cure" you, only listen to you. This simple talk can reduce or eliminate those awful misunderstandings that can often be toxic to relationships.


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