In this brief blog, we will discuss how to explain anxiety.
Explaining anxiety is a very key thing as without your friends and family members understanding what you are going through they may not be able to help you or make your life much easier.
It is very important to explain anxiety to those you come into contact with on a day to day basis so they can have a better understanding and potentially offer you some help.
If you have anxiety you may also want to explain your anxiety to other key stakeholders who are important in your life or who you may come into contact with at later life.
We have outlined some key stakeholders below and provided a brief guide on how to explain anxiety to them.
What is anxiety?
There is a difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder which is a mental disorder.
We all feel anxious at some point or the other in our lives. We may feel anxious out of excitement for some good news or maybe at the fear of some bad news. This is normal.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
Knowing the difference between normal feelings of anxiety and an anxiety disorder which is a mental disorder could be a key difference for many who don’t seek mental help but suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- restlessness, and a feeling of being “on-edge”
- uncontrollable feelings of worry
- increased irritability
- concentration difficulties
- sleep difficulties, such as problems in falling or staying asleep
Our key frameworks on how to explain anxiety
This framework guides the rest of the content on this page. It lets you know how to explain anxiety regardless of who you are explaining it to. You don’t have to use this framework.
- Write It Down
- Explain the symptoms
- Explain with youtube videos, movie scenes or cartoons
- Share what you think may help and nothing more(maybe)
- Explain what triggers you( words, places etc)
- Let them know how they can be of help
- Let them know how you may react to situations when anxious
- Remind them of your anxiety coping mechanisms
How to explain anxiety to your Wife or Husband
If you are married and have a wife or husband then explaining anxiety to them if you have been diagnosed with anxiety or if you feel very anxious regularly and it is starting to affect your relationship with your husband or wife will be key.
Your husband or wife may have already noticed that you suffer from anxiety and were simply waiting for you to tell them and explain your anxiety to them when you felt comfortable enough.
To explain your anxiety to your husband or wife you should sit them down and tell them what anxiety is, how you have dealt with anxiety over the past few years or throughout your life, you should tell them when you noticed you had anxiety, how anxiety makes you feel and when you usually begin to feel anxious.
You should explain to them how you act when you get anxious, what situations will make you anxious and how they can be of some help to you if you begin to feel anxious.
If you have any medication for your anxiety you should also inform your husband and wife so they are aware of this and don’t dispose or consume your anxiety medication whilst thinking they were simply supplements.
This is how to explain your anxiety to your husband or wife from our perspective but you know your husband or wife better and you may not what you need to tell them, how you need to tell them and what you probably shouldn’t tell them.
How to explain anxiety to your parents
Dealing with life as a teenager can be very challenging, you may already be getting bullied at school or maybe you are the one doing the bullying. Cut it out!
In any case, if you find yourself feeling very anxious, nervous or vulnerable in particular situations, maybe your breathing rate increases around girls or when walking into the classroom, maybe you become numb and unable to speak at various moments during the day or maybe you are just incredibly shy and walk with your head down.
In either case or all, you may have anxiety but maybe you already know you have anxiety through your own self-diagnosis or maybe you have already seen a mental health practitioner, am mental health counsellor or your GP has told you that you have anxiety.
Explaining anxiety to your parents will be key if your parents are not currently aware that you suffer from anxiety.
It is very important that you find the time to explain your anxiety to your parents as your parents may be able to assist you by seeking further medical help or managing your anxiety with you to be encouraging you and advising you on how to deal with certain scenarios.
To explain your anxiety to your parents you should inform them that you have anxiety, tell them why you think you have anxiety, if this is because a GP or mental health counsellor told you then tell your parents who this person, you should tell your parents how you behave when you have anxiety, if you feel you can manage your anxiety and then you should explain when your anxiety started to your parents.
If you are over 18 or much older you may still need to explain your anxiety to your parents as they may still be able to offer you some help or guidance.
Your parents may have suffered from anxiety as well and may be able to provide you with valuable advice.
How to explain anxiety to your boyfriend or girlfriend
If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend then explaining your anxiety to them may just be the solution which allows your relationship to last longer as your boyfriend or girlfriend can manage your circumstances much better.
Most teenagers often breakup for issues they can’t seem to decipher themselves. At a young age you may experience so many feelings and some of them you won’t be able to decipher or be able to explain but if you find that you are always nervous or uneasy, or maybe you find that certain situations tend to make your blood boil and make you feel alone, abandoned, in fear or similar then you may have anxiety.
You should look to get a professional opinion on if you have anxiety but if you are already certain that you have anxiety then you may want to explain your anxiety to your boyfriend or girlfriend.
This is how to explain anxiety to your boyfriend or girlfriend.
To explain your anxiety to your boyfriend or girlfriend you should sit them down and first tell them you have anxiety, explain what this actually is, tell them how anxiety affects your relationship and what you feel you can both do about it, tell them how you react when you are anxious, tell them what they do that makes you anxious, tell them how they can help you when you are anxious, tell them if you currently take any medication for your anxiety.
By explaining your anxiety to your boyfriend or girlfriend you should be able to have a more fulfilling relationship whilst you manage your anxiety.
How to explain anxiety to your kids
If you have children who are old enough to understand what anxiety is and you feel your behaviour is affecting them and they should know that you have anxiety then you may want to explain your anxiety to them.
Depending on how old your children ae you will want to use different methods to explain your anxiety to them.
If your children are still very young then you should keep things short and simple. You may want to use a cartoon to explain your anxiety.
There are a lot of lovely cartoons that explain anxiety as the ones below do.
You should find a sequence in the cartoon where there are characters displaying anxiety traits and explain to your kids how the character is acting in that manner, why the character is acting in that manner and what could potentially help the character at that moment.
If the cartoon goes on to show when the character calms down and recovers from the anxiety then you may also want to explain how to calm down when dealing with anxiety to your child.
If your kids are much older than you, then you may still want to explain your anxiety to them if you feel it will be valuable.
In any case, when explaining that you have anxiety to your kids it may also be a very good moment to ask your kids if they are experiencing any of the anxiety traits you have explained to them. If your kids state that they are experiencing anxiety then you should take the opportunity and listen to your kids about their anxiety to see how you could potentially help them.
If you find that your kids are unable to explain their anxiety in a manner that is efficient and full of information then you may want to read our guide above on how to explain anxiety to your parents and ask your kids to explain their anxiety to you by asking them some of the very sensitive questions listed above in a manner where they will be able to produce the answers you need so you can help them further.
You may want to seek medical advice from the NHS or read helpful guides on how to help your kids if they have anxiety.
As your kids will likely spend most of their days at school then you should consider if telling the school is something you may want to do. You should consider how much information you want to reveal to the school and if you should get your child’s consent before telling the school that your child has anxiety.
If you have specific guidance on how the school should manage your child due to their anxiety then this is a good time to inform the school.
If your child has already been diagnosed with anxiety and is already taking anxiety medication for their anxiety then you may want to inform the medical department of the school and provide them with a short supply of the anxiety medication if there is ever a chance that they will need the anxiety medication in short notice.
You may want to do this if the medication is prescription anxiety medication which the medical department of the school may not be able to access easily.
If you leave the medical department of the school with a supply of some of your child’s anxiety medication then you should ensure you inform them of when your child takes their anxiety medication and how many doses.
Cartoons for you to use and explain anxiety to your kids
How to explain anxiety to your friends
Your friends may have noticed that you tend to shy away from certain activities or maybe you have lost a few friends because you simply wouldn’t partake in an activity which brought you anxiety, maybe you have become more socially awkward because you have anxiety.
If you have anxiety and it is affecting your relationships with your friends or family then you may want to explain this anxiety to your friends so they can be there for you and be more considerate of your anxiety.
This is how to explain anxiety to your friends.
To explain anxiety to your friend’s ou should first pick out which friends you want to explain your anxiety too. Not all your friends may be understanding enough or maybe there are some people in your friendship group or circle who you feel may just not understand what you are saying or maybe they do but just don’t care.
So before you explain anxiety to your friends you should first consider which friends you want to explain your anxiety and how to explain anxiety to them in a manner in which they are helpful and become better friends.
To explain anxiety to your friends you should explain how you feel in certain circumstances to your friends, explain what anxiety is to your friends, explain if any of your friends cause you to be anxious, explain where you feel anxious to your friends, explain how your friends can be helpful when you are having an anxiety attack, let your friends know if you take any anxiety medication which you may need urgently or not and if urgently let them know what doses of the medication you take.
You should also give your friends an opportunity to respond once you have explained your anxiety to them. It may be the case that one or two of your friends already suffer from anxiety and will use this opportunity to explain to the friendship group about their anxiety.
What to do when someone you care for has anxiety?
In any case, anxiety is a difficult topic and many people struggle to explain anxiety and they don’t even feel the need or have the courage to explain anxiety. If anybody is explaining anxiety to you then you should be very kind and listen to them, have the patience and allow them to finish their sentences without cutting in. Allow them to fully express themselves so you can find ways in which you can be a better friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, brother, father, mother or cousin to them.
If someone has explained their anxiety to you you should try and follow these guidelines.
Don’t make it a big deal
Don’t make it all about you
Be helpful but don’t give medical advice if you aren’t a medical professional
Tell them what you don’t understand but don’t insist on understanding, somethings are just hard to understand.
Anxiety has nothing to do with courage or character
Be loving and caring
Anxiety doesn’t have one head it can come in many shapes so be mindful
Don’t try to change them
Don’t ask them to “just get over it”
Don’t confuse their need to control their environment with their need to control you. Sometimes they look the same. They’re not.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, loneliness or any similar mental health issue then seeking help for it may be a good option. Mental health issues such as depression, loneliness and anxiety can affect anyone of us.
If you are under 18 then CAMHS, an NHS run programme may just be the answer for your mental health struggles.
You should look to see if you meet the CAMHS referral criteria and then fill in the CAMHS referral form.