When You Feel Alone in Your Anxiety
Dealing with chronic anxiety can be lonely when you feel like others don't understand what you go through. One of the challenges with this is that it can cause you to want to withdraw from others.
When I was younger, I would often feel uncomfortable and awkward in social situations because I would feel anxious, but I did not quite know how to handle what I was feeling. I've gotten much better about this throughout the years, but I am still aware and familiar with those feelings of social anxiety and fears that others don't understand my anxious ways of thinking.
For example, the fears, the constant worries, the overthinking -- these are all things that I would often try to keep others from seeing, particularly in social situations, for fear that they would not understand.
How to Stop Feeling Alone in Your Anxiety
Explain Your Anxiety to Others
As I've gotten older, I've realized that it is important not to shy away from who I am and what my struggles are. This includes the feelings of anxiety that I still often experience, even though my ability to manage them has improved drastically over time. But these are real feelings, real emotions, and real symptoms that I experience, and that others experience as well, and so I have come to understand that, by talking about what I have gone through and still go through, perhaps it can help others feel as though they are not alone.
But when you are constantly around others who perhaps can't relate to what you experience as someone who copes with chronic anxiety, I think it is important to help them understand what you go through. By helping them understand what you experience, they can maybe help you recognize when your anxiety symptoms are spiraling out of control and help you to cope when it is necessary. They can also help you to feel more comfortable with expressing what you feel so that you don't feel alone in your anxiety, and you can feel more comfortable sharing with others when you feel anxious and need support.
What Is Helpful for Others to Know
Anxiety is complex, and not everyone experiences the same symptoms or degree and intensity of symptoms. Here are some things that may be helpful for others to know about anxiety:
- You can't just "get over it." Anxiety is not simply something that you tell yourself to get over one day and then feel better the next day. Whether you seek treatment through therapy, medication, or you have to constantly utilize intentional coping strategies to feel better, chronic anxiety is something that needs constant work, constant attention, and symptoms can sneak up on you unexpectedly.
- It can be physical and all-encompassing. There are multiple physical symptoms that accompany anxiety, such as a rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, etc. These symptoms, along with the fears and worries in your mind, can be so overwhelming and all-encompassing that you feel as though you want to crawl out of your own skin. It can potentially result in a panic attack, but even if it doesn't, it can truly take its toll on your mind and body to the point that it impacts your sleep, your appetite, and other aspects of physical health.
- Validation and support can go a long way. If you are a significant other, friend, or family member, sometimes simply being supportive and acknowledging your loved one's anxious experiences and feelings can be extremely helpful. You don't necessarily have to fix anything -- sometimes, we simply need something or someone to anchor onto when we feel like we are drowning.
Know that if you do struggle with chronic anxiety, you are not alone in what you go through, despite sometimes feeling this way. If there are things you would want others to know about your anxiety, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, August 17). When You Feel Alone in Your Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2021/8/when-you-feel-alone-in-your-anxiety
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
It's wonderful that you begin with "explaining your anxiety to others". This can so easily be the one thing we don't think or want to do, but it can make all the difference, especially when it comes to feeling our alone. So much of anxiety can leave us feeling isolated and like the last thing we want to do is bring others into our anxiety but explaining what we're experiencing can help us feel seen and heard when we need it most.
Thank you so much for your comments! Absolutely, I think that helping those close to us understand what we experience can really be helpful for us and them. It can help us to feel seen and not as though we are experiencing everything alone. Also, it can help them gain more of an understanding of what we go through.
Thanks for sharing!