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How do I talk to my family and friends about my anxiety?

107 Answers
Last Updated: 09/24/2019 at 2:43am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jackie Dross, M.S. Community Counseling


I have a passion for working with people from a non-judgmental, strengths based approach to meet their goals for personal growth.

Top Rated Answers
September 18th, 2014 10:17am
You can say, you know how we all get a little anxious at times? Well I get a little more anxious than say you or a neighbor or our cousin, but I'm still me. So please understand sometimes I will be nervous or fidgety and not as calm as I wish I could be. But I'm still the same person inside.
January 23rd, 2016 6:53pm
I've dealt with anxiety in my life. I actually still am! If you're afraid about your family or friends making fun of you for it, don't be! The worst thing you can do if you have anxiety is to not tell someone. It can make you feel alone and depressed. If you want to tell your family and friends but know how, just sit down with them and come right out and say that you have anxiety about whatever you have anxiety about. Your family will always be there for you, and if your friend doesn't care then they aren't your friend. Just remember, anxiety is an awful thing to go through alone, but it's your choice. I hope I helped some of you! Have a nice anxiety-free day! :)
December 17th, 2015 12:58pm
I am not supposed to give advice; do you wish to talk to me about it, instead. I am ready to listen. maybe that would help
March 21st, 2015 11:10am
Approach them with your problems and sit down and talk with them. The main thing is not to feel like you're bothering them because most probably, you are not. And also, make sure you let them know everything you feel or experience as they need to be aware of the complete situation in order to help you and support you better. :)
November 3rd, 2014 9:48pm
This is one of the scariest parts of dealing with a mental illness. You never know how people will react. Some people hold on to a stigma attached to mental illness even though it is an illness like anything else. No one blames you if you get cancer. Mental illness should be treated the same.
February 7th, 2016 10:56pm
Family and friends do not understand "anxiety". Family and friends think "yeah, everyone gets nervous about that" and they cannot appreciate that anxiety means more than "nervous". It means you can't breathe. It means your heart is pounding so loudly that you cannot hear anything but its beat. It means you feel like you are sinking into the ground and being forced to move your legs through their prison of floorboards. Explaining he difference between nervousness and the extremes of anxiety is the beginning. Explaining what you need from them when you are in the midst of an anxiety attack is also important. This can't be done while experiencing he anxiety. Talk to them before. Tell them how you feel just before it happens. Tell them what to watch for and to respect if you can't handle them around in the middle of it. Or tell them what they should do to help you. Communicate openly before during and after
November 14th, 2014 5:08pm
There are many ways to deal with this situation. A common way to express how someone is feeling is to write a letter, sounds silly I know but it works.
November 15th, 2014 10:28pm
There are a lot of different ways to talk to your loved ones about your anxiety, and sometimes different people appreciate and respond well to different approaches. First and foremost, remember that anxiety is not your fault, that you should not be ashamed of it, and that there is nothing wrong in sharing your experiences with those around you. Some ways that might be helpful to talk to your family and friends about your anxiety: be honest about it--tell them what it feels like in your body, mind and heart when you're having anxiety. Share resources: you can find these from a therapist, a doctor, online, and even on 7 Cups of Tea. It might help your loved one to understand what's happening with you if you're able to share this kind of information. Let them ask questions, and ask questions yourself. Remember that some people need to process new or different information for a while, while others can grasp it more quickly. Don't let someone's first reaction cause you to not open up to them in the future.
December 11th, 2015 9:16pm
Its hard to explain anxiety to people, You just need to ensure that you tell them exactly how it makes you feel and explain that that's why you act differently sometimes. We all get anxious, but say that maybe you get a little more anxious sometimes. Its okay to be nervous about it. Good luck, it'll be worth it once you have explained to them because they will be able to help you.
December 9th, 2015 12:34am
When I found out about my anxiety disorder, I was very upfront about it. It's not anything to be ashamed about! I told my parents I had terrible anxiety, and I wanted to talk to a therapist or doctor about it. I told my friends my anxiety had simply gotten worse, and they accepted me and continued on with our friendship like nothing had changed. :)
October 12th, 2014 9:38am
Talking about anxiety can be difficult, especially with the ones you love and know you best. I suffer from anxiety and I can tell you I have had some rough times. But it's important that your family and friends understand what you are going through so that they can help you overcome your life's challanges. I would suggest you collect osme information about anxiety. It makes you feel more human and less alien. Then tell your family you would like to talk to them about something important. Explain how you feel, tell them what they can do to help when you get an anxiety attack. Work on it together, don't feel like you have to be excluded from anything.
October 25th, 2014 9:44am
I personally asked my mother what it was like for her when she was younger as she suffers from anxiety herself, and from then on it was a lot easier to talk about it.
July 28th, 2015 3:55pm
I think the best way would be to try to bring it up to them at a time with little chaos. I'd open up to them about exactly how you've been feeling.
December 11th, 2015 11:38am
Anxiety can be very tricky to explain to friends and family, because it may be hard for them to understand how difficult your thoughts and feelings may be, how they impact your daily life and what they can do to support you. It might be a good idea to think about what you want to say and maybe take some notes before you sit down with the people you would like to tell about your anxiety. Think about how to explain your experience and its impact on your life, and about what you want your family and friends to do for you. Try to use I-statements ("When I get anxious, I feel X." "That feeling makes it hard for me to Y." "It would help me a lot if you Z.") Also, try to describe your anxiety by relating to your friends and family. In what situation might they feel the same anxiety? For example: on a rollercoaster, just before a big exam, in a job interview... This may make it easier for them to understand your experience and may even inspire them to find creative ways to help. In a nutshell: 1) Plan the conversation 2) Explain your experience, relate to your friends and family. 3) Explain the challenges you are facing. 4) Ask for help (be specific, use I-statements).
January 3rd, 2016 4:59am
Tell them how your anxiety makes you feel, how it can be sudden and unpredictable, and how it can seem to come from nowhere. Anxiety is a very real mental disorder and can affect everyday activities. Ask them for help some days when you need it, family can help.
January 27th, 2016 10:39am
There are many different ways. Some ways could be that you talk to one by one, or you can talk to a large group, or even small groups. Either way, they'll all support you because they love you.
October 26th, 2014 7:00am
It's often very difficult. Often family and friends also experience anxiety because you are experiencing anxiety. So they just want it to go away and they tell you stuff such as to be positive and that everything will be alright. If you really find a chasm growing between you and your family it might even help to ask a third person who can be neutral to help. It also helps to really know what you want to say and to insist on being heard. Also to tell them that you don't feel heard.
December 9th, 2015 2:17am
Open and honest. Your family and a few close friends should listen without prejudice. If they are not, you have to cultivate them to accept it.
January 14th, 2016 5:55am
Start with telling them that you feel something is not right with your life and you.. then highlight what all you feel is not okay with your life i.e. all the ways you feel anxiety is showing its outcome as(i.e. hint at anxiety.. and let them decide it inside their heads) and then slowly offer your explanation that you feel its anxiety.. and that you will need their help to get through it!!
October 11th, 2014 9:56am
Try to tell them that your anger is not from them in-order to listen then talk about your feelings.
November 6th, 2014 5:11pm
The best way I've found to tell my loved ones about it is calmly, and through analogies they might understand, like how there are legitimate physical symptoms (that often make my anxiety worse) and how improving your anxiety is a gradual thing, and it might still sometimes come back, and that support really helps. For example, my parents kept telling me to not be stressed, often in a frustrated way, which only stressed me out more. When I was feeling calm and not as anxious, I asked them to understand that I know the reasons I get anxious might sound silly to them, but the best thing they can do to help me is to offer support without advice. Like hugs and distracting me instead of trying to get me to try things to make me calm down, or just telling me that I'm fine and to quit worrying so much. It actually worked pretty well, and now they're much more supportive. Some friends and family, especially if they don't have anxiety problems, might have a really hard time understanding or supporting you, even if they want to. Instead of frustrating you both, it might be better to find a few people who can be your support.
December 30th, 2015 6:35pm
If you want to talk to you family and friends about it i think that you should sit them down and tell them how you feel. But if you feel like telling your family and friends is your only option. Its not. you can go to a professional like a psychologist or someone.
January 17th, 2016 5:15am
You may want to sit them down on a good day. slowly tell them and explain. Tell them prime examples.
January 17th, 2016 8:29pm
You need to try and just talk. I know it sounds hard but once you take that plunge, it all just starts coming out and the more that people know, the more they can help :)
January 20th, 2016 6:48am
Do not get frustrated, it's important you educate them on anxiety, this may be a process. Show them evidence and let them understand your struggle and why it's important that you receive their support and kindness. Explain why you've come out to them and why their opinion or reaction means so much to you.
January 27th, 2016 4:19pm
First breathe, and try to bring yourself to your present goal. Do not let anxiety talk you out of talking! Then, simply talk, focus on talking. No focussing on mind games such as belief in what they might say. Good luck!
February 7th, 2016 3:28am
You be direct, don't sugar coat it and just tell them what is going on, I hope it goes well for you, best of luck.
October 10th, 2016 7:38pm
For me personally, I find that it is easiest to talk about anxiety when I am feeling calm, as my old therapist use to say, strike while the iron's cold. So I wait till i am feeling calm and stable and then I ask them if they would like to know more about my anxiety and what it feels like. I either do that, or when I am feeling anxious, I simply mention how I am feeling at that moment. Talking about anxiety can be rough, so typically when/if I plan to speak about my anxiety, I like to do so with my cat snuggling safely in my arms.
December 18th, 2017 6:28am
It is important for your loved ones to know and understand the things you struggle with. The first step to talking to your family and friends is making sure you are educated on the situation so you can educate them. It is important for them to know how anxiety relates to you as an individual and what everyone can do together as a whole to minimize your anxiety. Try bringing it up over dinner or while alone with a trusted friend-chances are they’ll care about your well being!
October 16th, 2014 7:42am
tell them you are feeling anxious and uncomfortable in situations, they will totally understand and help you in every way possible.