“No one understands what i'm going through,” does this sound familiar? It was my daily thinking during my anxietydisorder, and it is the most common sentence used by sufferers to describe the people around them who they've opened up to about their struggles with anxiety and panic, without much guidance in return.
As I look back on my own struggles as well as others I have worked with, I will always have the belief that people who suffer from an anxiety disorder are some of the worlds strongest and bravest people, period. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day we fight and battle against a believed threat to our existence with everything we have.
We become tired and fatigued to the point where getting off the couch is difficult, but yet we battle on against our biggest fears. This unfortunately is adding to the already steep hill that we are forced to climb in order to achieve full recovery.
So in fact, thinking that everyday people in our lives can actually understand and lead us towards some kind of road map to recovery might just be asking for too much. I came to the realization that it wasn't my friends or families fault that they didn't understand the intense physical sensations of anxiety, that led me to the emergency with a full blown panic attack for example.
I've learned that all your family members and friends can do is be there for you in your time of need, and listen to your struggles with continued support and optimism that the road to recovery will be available to you soon, which you have found through this program (if understood and applied of course, but no reminder is needed of course...right?).
At the peak of Michaels frustration (my close friend who suffered with Panic disorder and depression for many years before recovering) with his friends and family over not understanding Michaels struggles, he did the smartest thing any sufferer could do. He bought a short book about the facts about dealing with anxiety disorders, he thought about who in his circle of friends cared enough to help him in any way they could.
He handed his friend the book and told him to read up on what Michael was REALLY going through and didn't speak again until his friend had fully understood and finished the book.