1) Being anxious doesn’t mean we are not grateful for what we have: Many people with anxiety disorders are labeled as pessimists, and in some ways, this is quite understandable. I can tell you first hand that sometimes even I am shocked at the worst case scenarios I will come up with. That being said, when we are not anxious, many of us are extremely optimistic. We love our lives, our jobs, our friends, and truly take time to appreciate the people we get to share those experiences with.
2) Sometimes our anxiety is the very thing that makes us so successful: For many of us, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to be late for an interview, miss a deadline, or not be punctual for an event. To some degree, this might be something that actually serves to really help us professionally, especially if we work in deadline and appointment driven environments.
3) Don’t assume that people with anxiety disorders can’t handle stress, but understand that the WAY we handle stress might be different from the norm: Many of us struggle with disclosing our condition to other people out of fear that they won’t trust our judgment, or deem us capable of doing things that they would expect us to. Most of us are so used to our symptoms, that there are things we do almost intrinsically to help ourselves that go under the radar.
4) If we tell you, it’s because we REALLY trust you: One of the hallmarks of having an anxiety disorder is difficulties with trust. For many of us, it can be extremely hard to open up to new friends, or potential romantic partners. This comes from the tendency to try and control situations so we aren’t surprised by something someone could do that we wouldn’t have expected. So, if we are telling you about our anxiety or something that upsets us, it is because we are REALLY trying to get past that fear and bring you into our lives. It is important to understand what that means for us.
5) We know that our anxiety can be hard for you sometimes: Anxiety is not selfish. If we didn’t have to worry, believe me we wouldn’t. We never want to bother your with our anxiety, and wish we didn’t have to.
6) People with anxiety disorders are not weak or feeble: Oftentimes, people make the decision not to relay certain pieces of information to someone with an anxiety disorder out of fear that it will lead to some form of panic attack, but it is important to understand that our anxiety happens most when we DON’T have key pieces of information. So if there is something we need to know, it is better to tell us than have us guess.