From Our Readers
March 31, 2016 9:52 am
Shutterstock / Elena Kharichkina

I struggle with anxiety disorder. I know what it’s like to deal with anxiety day in and day out; many of us who have anxiety are dealing with more than just managing our symptoms to get through the day. We are also grappling with the way those symptoms can erode our relationships at a time when accepting outside support feels both necessary and overwhelming. Personally, I know that I need the support, but it can be hard to accept it. Sometimes, at my most anxious, I have a hard time being social — even with those I’m closest to.

If you have a friend with anxiety but are confused by their tendency to withdraw or ignore your attempts to reach out, I hope this list will demystify what can feel like unfamiliar territory. Here are some of the things some people with anxiety often wish our friends would say to us:

Shutterstock / Voin_Sveta

“Our friendship is more than just whether or not you come shopping with me or want to go sing karaoke with the girls. Our friendship is about you and me, ever-changing human beings who have decided we are going to love each other through this life.”

“Please don’t feel like you need to explain anything to me.  You never need to preface anything with me. I won’t hesitate to make accommodations that make you feel more secure.”

“Wanna just eat raw cookie dough and not talk?”

“I am your friend because I love you, and I know that the real you, the you that made me say, ‘I’ve got to have this person in my life,’ is still right there.”

“Anxiety is not your identity. It has not changed you into someone unrecognizable.”

“I still love to be with you, even if it means sitting in a quiet room with you not doing much of anything, that’s enough for me. Because you are still someone I’ve just got to have in my life.”

“I will never take it personally when you bail. I know whatever is making you feel overwhelmed has nothing to do with me. I know you are not pushing me away.”

“I understand why on your ‘good days,’ you agree to do something with me and then immediately dread it because you know on some level you that you won’t be able to follow through. I know it’s not because you don’t want to. I will never stop including you. I will never stop inviting you. I will never stop asking you to participate in my life. No matter how many times you say yes then no.”

“It’s totally cool if you text me last minute and tell me you can’t make it.”

“It’s totally cool if you say ‘yes’ to plans and then change your mind and say ‘no.'”

“If you need to be spontaneous, call me at 3p.m. on a Tuesday and tell me what you want to do. Even if I can’t get away, I can give you a few minutes so we can daydream about the adventures we’re going to have one day.”

“If you know deep in your heart that all we will ever do is daydream about these adventures, don’t feel sad. You exist. You are my friend. That is all I need to know.”

“When you feel hesitant to reach out to me because you think I must be tired of the drama, do it anyway.”

“Trust that we can tell each other the truth about our feelings and never have to shield each other from the worst.”

“You can text me about your insecurities, and I’ll talk you through it all.”

“I’m still here for you, even if we haven’t talked or seen each other in a while.”

“You can’t lose me, I promise. Not because of this.”

“You’re not alone.”

“So… do you want to order pizza and watch a whole season of Gilmore Girls later?”

April Ward is a Texas-based professional right-brainer whose nostalgia for all things ’90s borders on pathological. Her favorite things include coconut desserts, rainstorms, Victorian literature, screaming guitar solos, and vintage polyester. She lives with her exceptionally wonderful husband and two dogs (all of whom are allowed to kiss her in the face) and a pretty impressive nightgown collection.

“Our friendship is more than just whether or not you come shopping with me or want to go sing karaoke with the girls. Our friendship is about you and me, ever-changing human beings who have decided we are going to love each other through this life.”

“Please don’t feel like you need to explain anything to me.  You never need to preface anything with me. I won’t hesitate to make accommodations that make you feel more secure.”

“Wanna just eat raw cookie dough and not talk?”

“I am your friend because I love you, and I know that the real you, the you that made me say, ‘I’ve got to have this person in my life,’ is still right there.”

“Anxiety is not your identity. It has not changed you into someone unrecognizable.”

“I still love to be with you, even if it means sitting in a quiet room with you not doing much of anything, that’s enough for me. Because you are still someone I’ve just got to have in my life.”

“I will never take it personally when you bail. I know whatever is making you feel overwhelmed has nothing to do with me. I know you are not pushing me away.”

“I understand why on your ‘good days,’ you agree to do something with me and then immediately dread it because you know on some level you that you won’t be able to follow through. I know it’s not because you don’t want to. I will never stop including you. I will never stop inviting you. I will never stop asking you to participate in my life. No matter how many times you say yes then no.”

“It’s totally cool if you text me last minute and tell me you can’t make it.”

“It’s totally cool if you say ‘yes’ to plans and then change your mind and say ‘no.'”

“If you need to be spontaneous, call me at 3p.m. on a Tuesday and tell me what you want to do. Even if I can’t get away, I can give you a few minutes so we can daydream about the adventures we’re going to have one day.”

“If you know deep in your heart that all we will ever do is daydream about these adventures, don’t feel sad. You exist. You are my friend. That is all I need to know.”

“When you feel hesitant to reach out to me because you think I must be tired of the drama, do it anyway.”

“Trust that we can tell each other the truth about our feelings and never have to shield each other from the worst.”

“You can text me about your insecurities, and I’ll talk you through it all.”

“I’m still here for you, even if we haven’t talked or seen each other in a while.”

“You can’t lose me, I promise. Not because of this.”

“You’re not alone.”

“So… do you want to order pizza and watch a whole season of Gilmore Girls later?”

April Ward is a Texas-based professional right-brainer whose nostalgia for all things ’90s borders on pathological. Her favorite things include coconut desserts, rainstorms, Victorian literature, screaming guitar solos, and vintage polyester. She lives with her exceptionally wonderful husband and two dogs (all of whom are allowed to kiss her in the face) and a pretty impressive nightgown collection.

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