Dealing with anxiety alone can be really isolating. Even if the people in your life know that you have anxiety and are supportive, it can still be difficult when you can’t talk explicitly about it to someone who knows what it’s like.
For years I had no idea that other people would wake up in the middle of the night panicking about some tiny embarrassing thing they did 10 years ago! Or that other people think extremely hard about where to place their hands in a conversation or hate going to get a hair cut because the small talk is excruciating.
I also didn’t realise that other people struggled to make eye contact the same way I did for years and struggle making or answering phone calls the same way I still do.
It was so thrilled the first time I got to speak to other people who suffered with Social Anxiety, just like me. To find out that all the quirks I had because of my disorder were totally part and parcel of it and there were other people who felt just the same way as I did, that was strangely comforting.
I think it’s so important to talk to people about your anxiety but also even more important to talk to people who struggle with the same issues. It helps to know that there are people in the same boat but it also helps to have someone there who can encourage you too.
These are my top 5 Reasons To Talk To Other People With Anxiety:
You can learn from them. Talking to different people with different ways of managing their anxiety can help you find something new to try. If you were going to try a new product for example, would you want to see reviews from real people and see what people were saying about the product? It’s the same way for me when I’m in an anxiety group, I like to see what people are doing to help manage and overcome their anxiety because it encourages me to try it myself.
You feel understood. Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand your anxiety if they’ve never had anxiety before, although it is super lovely when they try to and it’s absolutely not their fault if they can’t quite understand it. Just like I couldn’t imagine what it’s like not being able to hear because that’s not something I’ve ever dealt with myself and while I can completely acknowledge the difficulties, I can never fully understand what it’s like without going through it myself. That’s a major reason I love support groups, I’m in them for anxiety, PCOS, endometriosis… because every illness is different and having a group of people who understand your symptoms is incredibly comforting.
You don’t have to feel embarrassed. When everyone is in the same boat, it feels less embarrassing to talk about. I’d be embarrassed to tell someone who doesn’t have anxiety themselves that I have to wee a million times before a social situation but I would never be embarrassed to tell other people who have anxiety cause they SO get it.
You can encourage each other. Having people to talk to who also have anxiety can be great when you’re able to encourage each other. You can set each other goals, or help each other achieve your own goals or even help each other with homework you’ve been set in therapy. Having someone give you a pep talk or tell you that you’re doing well is fab when they understand what you’re going through.
Your achievements will be acknowledged. If, for example, you had a Social Anxiety Disorder and you managed to go on a bus journey for the first time or you managed to answer the door to a postman without hiding in another room, you instantly have someone who will see this as the massive achievement that it is. Whereas sometimes people who don’t have social anxiety themselves might see those day-to-day things as mundane, us lot see it as a mountain we’ve climbed!
This is why I created The Anxiety Lounge – a closed Facebook group just for people with anxiety, to support each other and give each other positive encouragement to achieve our goals. I wanted a group where you could ask for advice, post your goals and talk to friendly people who also have anxiety. This is what we’re doing.
If you’d like to be a part of the group, we’d love to have you there <3