The 8 things people with anxiety wish you knew |

I’ve had a few major life transitions lately, and my anxiety is at an all time high. I’ve had general anxiety ever since I was a little girl, but its strength and occurrence comes and goes daily. Personally, I do not characterize my anxiety as severe, but it is present to the point where it disrupts my life at times. I am not medicated for my anxiety. My anxiety generally comes from stress, as well as my minor obsessions and compulsions that get in the way of my every day life.

Let me paint you a picture of a typical scenario of when my anxiety has been out of control.

So, I am a relatively tidy person and cannot leave my house until the dishes are done and the laundry is put away. Because of this, I have made myself late to various functions, including school and work, because I have spent my time cleaning and tidying down to the very last minute, even when I knew I had to leave. Then, as I’m driving to school/work in a mad rush going nearly 80 on the highway, I have anxiety that I’m going to get pulled over (or cause an accident.) When I get to school late, my anxiety continues because now I believe that everyone will be looking at me when I walk in the door, and I worry that my professor will be angry at me. I can’t help but think about his possibly anger the entire class period, which makes me more stressed because, at that point, I can’t seem to concentrate on my studies. Sounds incredibly silly, I know. But this is a very real situation for me.

Sometimes, my anxiety is so severe that I feel dizzy and short of breath; it has caused me to burst into tears for no reason and feel tightness in my chest. Anxiety has caused distance between my fiancé and I at times because he doesn’t suffer from it, and doesn’t quite understand it either. But I know so many others have it WAY worse than I do.

Anxiety is horrible, and it’s a very real thing.

It is important to note that everyone’s battle with anxiety is different. My battle may be different from yours, your husband’s, or your child’s. Although I am currently working towards my Master’s in Professional Counseling, I am not yet licensed to legally speak to you about your anxiety. However, I have connections associated with the topic of anxiety, which is why I decided to write today’s post. This is simply an opinion post; what I may want my loved ones to know about my anxiety may be very different from how you feel about your anxiety.

Today, I’m writing about 8 things I wish my loved ones knew my my anxiety and anxiety as a whole.

1.) We can’t help it.

Anxiety isn’t just something we can turn off. Even if we participate in exercises to calm our anxiety, such as deep breathing exercises, speaking with a counselor, or writing our thoughts down on paper, it doesn’t just go away. We cannot just take a magic pill and get rid of our anxiety. We wish we didn’t have it, because it affects our life negatively. It’s hard to manage, and we must learn to live with it.

2.) We don’t need you to fix the problem or tell us we are being irrational, but rather have empathy.

Please, don’t try to fix the problem. We know that you are trying to help, but you actually are not helping at all because the problem is unfixable. Rather, be empathic. Use statements such as “I don’t know what you are going through, but I’m here for you”….”I can feel your pain and I wish I could make it stop. I’m your person if you need someone to lean on”…..”I love you and I’m always here for you…How can I help?”

3.) It’s unpredictable.

We never know when it’s going to come or go. We may be having a great day, but then something triggers our anxiety, and we lose control. We try our best to keep it together, but sometimes we can’t. Then we often times feel guilty for messing up your day because of our anxiety. The guilt, in turn, worsens our anxiety.

4.) It’s unexplainable.

Sometimes, we don’t even know the source of our anxiety. It may be a combination of stress adding up in our daily lives, or it may be triggered by something that has just recently happened, such as failing a test. Either way, this goes back to “Please don’t try to fix my problem, just be there for me.” You may not be able to understand it, but support me.

5.) We don’t say we have it just to get attention. 

Anxiety affects over 40 million Americans a year, or over 18% of the population. It is the most common mental health illness in our nation. When we say that we have anxiety, it’s because we mean it. We aren’t looking for excuses or to get attention. Why would we lie about something so horrible? We are telling you that we have anxiety because we trust that you won’t belittle us or make us feel worse about our condition.

6.) It causes both emotional and physical reactions.

As I stated in my introduction, every person experiences anxiety differently. Anxiety may cause shortness of breath, panic attacks, profuse sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, indigestion, and many more symptoms. Those are just the physical symptoms. In addition, people with anxiety may experience unpredictable fits of rage or anger, stuttering, zoning out, or not talking at all. There are several kinds of anxieties, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. We cannot be characterized or labeled into one tiny box, so please be patient with us.

7.) Sometimes we just need our space.

Sometimes, we just need a little space. We may need time privately to work though our emotions, calm down, or de-stress. If we let you know that we need space, please don’t be offended. We just need some “us” time. All too often, we feel bad for involving you in our “drama.”

8.) We just need to know you’re there.

Just you being there and being supportive means the world to us. That’s all we could ever ask for, whether you understand our anxiety or not. Please, just love us just the way we are.

The 8 things people with anxiety wish you knew |

If you suffer from anxiety, what else would you add to this list? Please feel free to contribute to the conversation below.


  • Candy Kage

    Extremely well addressed and yes sometimes being left alone helps for a short time.

    • Really glad you enjoyed this! And yes, sometimes space is needed.

  • Nicole Parise

    I too have anxiety issues, its always good to bring awareness – there is no easy fix or solution. Thanks for sharing!
    xx nicole

    • DEFINTELY no easy fix, that’s for sure!

  • YES. YES ON SO MANY LEVELS YES. I’ve written about my own anxiety before, so so much of this resonates with me. If I had a dollar for everytime someone said “Oh, just breathe deeply and don’t let yourself get to that level”…
    Just having people BE there like you said and not try to fix or change it but just accept and support…it’s huge!

    Coming Up Roses

    • YES. Don’t change it, just accept it!!! Here’s to hoping our anxieties get better <3

  • “Anxiety has caused distance between my fiancé and I at times because he doesn’t suffer from it, and doesn’t quite understand it either.” amen. Dustin and I are constantly working on communication during the times when I’m dealing with anxiety, but since he doesn’t deal with it, he just doesn’t understand it. My anxiety stems from PTSD/cancer and sometimes, the things I get anxious about, are so completely irrational and ridiculous and I know that they are, but I still get so anxious. I’m working on dealing with it, but just having people understand that it’s not something I can just turn off would be a big help!

    • Hey Chels! Yes, it can be a struggle. I’m so happy the post helps! Hoping your anxiety gets better. <3

  • Just knowing that people are there for you is the biggest thing. They don’t have to do or say anything, but just having their support and not having them judge you into thinking you’re “crazy” or that you’re just being “dramatic”. Anxiety is such a real thing and I wish society wouldn’t belittle it. I can relate to this on so many levels, so I really appreciate you sharing this today.

    • I’m so happy it resonated for you! Thank you so much for reading!

  • I LOVE this post and I want to thank you for writing it! There are so many people out there who don’t understand what we go through.

    • It can be so hard to address to those who don’t understand!

  • What a great post. Loved reading – anxiety is such a great issue and people need to know more about it!

    • Happy you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!!

  • I can definitely relate to how you experience anxiety. I can take the littlest thing and work it up into the biggest deal. Like, I don’t enjoy making phone calls but I do it a lot for work. But sometimes the thought of making a phone call just freaks me out and my anxiety gets so so bad about it.

    • Omg yes! I HATE making phone calls! I don’t know if it is a millennial thing or just a “me” thing. Like, I’ll do it, but I won’t be happy about it.

  • All of these are so incredibly true! I’ve had anxiety since high school and it can be so hard to deal with and arise out of nowhere.

    • It just sucks!! Hoping yours gets better <3

  • So true. I think it’s important to remember that it’s not something that can be helped or that makes sense. It just comes out of nowhere.

    • Yes, at least for myself. Can’t necessarily speak for others.

  • kp

    These are all SO TRUE! I’ve suffered from anxiety since middle school. I think the most difficult thing to explain to people and get people to understand is that there is no controlling it. One day everything can be fine and then the next it could feel like going outside of the house is the scariest thing ever.
    Thanks for writing this post :)

    • Yes. At least for me. I can’t speak for others’ anxiety, but mine differs each day.

  • I don’t suffer from anxiety but my fiance does so I’ve been on the other side of things and always try to encourage him and lift him up when he’s going through those more anxious times.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • You’re such a good fiance! Hope this helps.

  • my sister has anxiety as well, very nice post.

  • Shani Ogden

    This is a really enlightening post. I don’t really suffer from anxiety so it’s good to hear from someone who does and can share what makes the biggest difference so that I can respond in the best way possible.

    • It’s interesting to hear from your perspective, and I’m so glad it helps!

  • Great post! This is something that I struggle with at times, and your point about it being unexplained really rang true. Sometimes, it’s just that general anxiety that’s hard to get at the root of. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful piece! xoxo

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Angie! Yes, it can truly be hard to explain to those who don’t understand!

  • Heather Gullett Denniston

    This is really great. People need to hear this. I have written some posts on this subject too. It really needs to get out there.

    • I’d love to read them, Heather! You should share the links with me.

  • Adaleta Avdic

    Ooooh love this post because I struggle with a whole lotta anxiety all the time! I despise when people say “you’ll get over it” or “it’s not that bad, calm down” because it’s like NO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! xx

    • Right! It’s so hard to explain to those who don’t have it. Hopefully this posts helps.

  • Zana Djakovic

    Wow! This is so brave babe! Thanks for sharing your story, I really admire you because of it. You are really amazing, beautiful inside and out. And honestly this post touched me.
    Sending you lots of love! <3

    • <3 Sending lots of love YOUR way!! XO

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    Empathy is the biggest thing. Having a support system to just understand and hug you and listen is the best thing. I have generalized anxiety and it rears its ugly head at some of the oddest times too.

    • Empathy and support definitely are key. Hoping your anxiety gets better.

  • Thank you! I love posts like this because they really explain what we are going through. I am lucky to have a husband who understands how to deal with my anxiety but some others definitely don’t. It’s really hard when on the outside you seem okay but on the inside your world is turning upside down. Great post.

    • So happy you enjoyed it, Lacey! It’s very hard to describe to others who just don’t “get it.” :)