Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Friday, July 29, 2016

How To Help A Friend With Anxiety

Mandy Charlton, travel blogger, yorkshire, roseberry topping

I have anxiety, overwhelming, life interfering, pain in the ass anxiety, I've had it for as long as I can remember and every day I actively fight against it.  The only time I don't have anxiety is when I am working, once I am behind the camera I am in control and my body knows this, I guess after 10 years you could say it's a blessing and maybe that's why I work so often because when I pick up my camera my brain is instantly programmed to know that I am in charge and it better not mess with me!

I wonder then if there's some way of transferring this to my normal every day life, I'd like to share with you some of the things that make me anxious.

1. Being on time
2. Being late
3. Going out with friends
4. Staying home alone
5. Going to events
6. Not being able to attend events
7. Not blogging often enough
8. My children (this in itself has about a million different anxieties)
9. Spiders

Now this is just a top level list, on any day I may have all of these anxieties and yet still find even more things to worry about, strangely my dog has more anxieties than I do, I think we were made for each other.

This blog post isn't about pity or sympathy though as I thought I would try and help people, you see I live a life where I function in the real world, and not only that I run businesses, I write, I travel, I have the best friends, I'm a great mum and I think it's because I live life on my own terms and I'm surrounded by people who never judge me and always encourage me, I have friends with whom I can share my anxieties no matter how crazy they might seem in the outside world.

If you have a friend who has anxiety then I want to tell you this, in the past there were people who would tell me "come on, snap out of it, you are fine, pull yourself together, are you not ok yet?"  This my dear readers is the 110% wrong way to treat someone who is having an anxiety attack and most probably you will find that they will end up having a meltdown, panic attack or they will simply hyperventilate and perhaps pass out!

If someone you know is anxious then you must embrace them and love them, you can reassure them that they are going to be alright and then maybe ask them how can we make this better, what can we do together to help this awful feeling go away, do you need me to maybe just be there?  Can we both be in a cocoon together?  Sometimes a hug will make things go away, sometimes you don't want to be hugged, sometimes you'll want to all be together sitting on your bed (I had a sitting on my bed hour with Li and Harriet today, we're all grown up's and we sat on my bed together, it was an entirely epic hour) and sometimes you will just want to be alone, respect your friend and help them in whatever way they can and understand that this anxiety will fade and your friend will be fine, it's all you can do really.

It's so hard to understand the anxious mind, and believe me, I haven't figured it out yet but to me it feels like 100 pointy things all stabbing you in the head at the same time and by pointy things, I mean hard emotions like being worried or scared, it's an overstimulation of your negative neurons and synapses, too many thought processes and questions and not nearly enough answers.

Anxiety is a debilitating condition but with a little self care and a lot of love and friendship you can still truly do anything, I still have anxious moments when I travel but would I ever let it stop me from exploring the world?  Hell, No!  And you shouldn't let it stop you doing anything you want to either, every time we do things in spite of anxiety we kick it in the head and make it powerless, so come on, lets just go for it, lets support each other and show anxiety that it can't rule us because we're the ones in charge now!



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