I am going to admit something that I'm actually kind of ashamed of: anxiety impacts my interpersonal relationships. There's no caveat to this; it's the simple truth. I try consciously to be mindful of when I'm anxious and use my coping strategies that I've learned in therapy to deal with anxiety without "bothering" my friends and loved ones. Despite these purposeful efforts, there are times when inevitably, my anxious behavior annoys people or even alienates them. 

It's frustrating to have the awareness that I'm anxious or panicky and I'm impacting the people who I care for. I want to be a supportive friend. I have a desire to help my friends, but when anxiety takes the reins I am (pun intended) overwhelmed by it. For example, I woke up at 2am and I began to have a panic attack. It was terrifying, and my immediate thought was "I'm never going to sleep again." One of the things that triggers me is when I believe that I will have chronic insomnia. When I don't sleep it exacerbates my mental health issues.

I tried my best to breathe through the anxious symptoms. I was breathing heavy, sweaty, and feeling out of control. I found my phone and dialed my dad's number. By the time he answered I was crying. I asked him if I was going to ever sleep again (even though I knew this wasn't logical) and he said "of course you will." His voice and reassurance calmed me down. I decided to take some medicine that helped me fall asleep and I didn't feel guilty about it, because my psychiatrist prescribed it to me. 

The solid truth here is that sometimes you need to reach out to your support system when you have difficulty calming yourself down or self-soothing. However, it's important to be mindful of other people's lives and boundaries. You can ask for help, but understand that there are times when there isn't anyone around to calm you down and you'll need to utilize some self-soothing techniques to make it through an anxiety attack.

I've certainly experienced this, and I'm certain many of your reading this have been through a situation where there wasn't anyone around to help you calm down from anxiety or panic. But guess what? You made it through and I did too.

Anxiety impacts friendships and it can also impact your romantic relationships, such as a marriage. You can read more about how mental health issues impact a marriage here. It makes sense, actually, because your husband, wife or partner is the closest person to you. They see you every day and they will inevitably be impacted by your anxiety. In my marriage I was undoubtedly anxious and I projected that anxiety onto my husband. I regret this very much, and I wish that I had better coping techniques at the time to deal with feeling anxious.

I've realized over the years that managing my anxiety falls on me. I'm the one living with this chronic mental health issue, and it's nobody's responsibly to make it better for me. I need to manage my expectations and know that I am responsible for my mental health. 

Unsplash 2017
Source: Unsplash 2017

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