As we wrote before, We Are NOT Alone: Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you. So, let’s now look at how we can help others understand our anxiety.
“Whenever I start to explain the part of my mental illness diagnosis that includes severe anxiety, I always receive confused looks. They are usually followed by judgmental comments about how ‘everyone has problems and stress in their lives,’ telling me that I need to ‘learn to cope and work through it all.’ I get told that I ‘shouldn’t let every little thing get to me” and that I’d be so much happier if I ‘stopped stressing over everything and just mellowed out.’”
“I don’t have social anxiety. People and crowds are not my issue. My anxiety is situational and builds upon itself, making it harder to function in some situations than others. I’ve tried to explain my anxiety again and again until I was blue in the face, yet I’ve been met with blank stares or judgments more often than not. I finally sat down and made an overly simplified chart, similar to the pain level chart used in doctor’s offices, in the hope that it might be more relatable and help others understand.”
“I know the chart I made is extremely simplified – anyone struggling with anxiety can testify that it is often so much worse. But I wanted to give examples that anyone could relate to, as well as providing a build up they might be able to imagine in their own lives.”