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Telling Others About Your Anxiety

Telling Others About Your Anxiety

A challenge for many of us with an anxiety disorder is explaining it to others. Whether it's a spouse or a co-worker, you can make the task easier by planning ahead. We hope the following article my give you some helpful suggestions, but remember, however you do it, do it in a way you feel comfortable and safe with.

1. To begin your preparations, consider writing your thoughts regarding each of the steps listed here. Writing can help you clarify your thoughts and reasons for each decision you make.

2. Decide why you are telling the person about your anxiety disorder. Think about who this person is in relation to you. Do you simply want the person to know? Do you need help from the person?

3. Write down everything you know about your disorder. How did you first learn about it? How was it explained? What aspects of your disorder and treatment do you want to tell this person about?

4. Find some basic reading material about your disorder to share with the other person. You will want to explain in your own words first, but you'll also want to have further reading for the other person.

5. Consider various reactions the person may have to help yourself prepare for those reactions.

Remember that you cannot control other people's reactions, but you can be prepared for what to say in response.

6. If you are hoping that the other person will help you in some way, think about how you will ask for that help. It's best to be as specific as possible in forming a support person relationship.

7. Try to complete the previous steps all together. Don't put off talking to the person because your anticipatory anxiety will probably increase, making the process even more difficult.

8. When you are ready to talk to the person, be considerate of the person's time and emotional state. Make an appointment if necessary, even if it's a casual 'let's talk Friday after dinner.'

9. Respect your own emotional state, too. Only you know what you can say or how you can act with the people in your life, but respect your need to feel anxious or upset when talking about your situation.

10. If the discussion doesn't go the way you would have liked, ask the person if you can talk again. Even more helpful, see if the person will read a bit about your disorder before the next discussion.


Support is important, but remember that each person will act differently to your disorder. More

importantly, remember that you will always find support in other people who share your disorder.

If you are seeking help and the person agrees, be sure to outline a specific plan for your support

relationship. Remember that the other person needs to take care of him/herself as well.

If you are telling co-workers or employers about your disorder, be sure you know why you are doing it, what the consequences may be, and what your rights are.

Source: Internet Via the Agoraphobic Group ( Canterbury ) Christchurch , New Zealand

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