Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about it. I’ll tell you that I’m having an anxiety episode so you can have a heads up, and I’ll tell you what symptoms I’m experiencing, but sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about the rest of it – and the rest of it is what’s going on in my head.
As I’ve written earlier, sometimes my anxiety is caused by nothing. When this happens, I acknowledge it’s there, and I deal with it. There’s nothing for me to talk about, trigger-wise. No amount of coaxing me to talk about it (or demanding, as some have done) is going to get me to speak because I have nothing to say. If you press the issue enough, I will have something to talk about, but it’s how much you’re bugging the crap out of me.
Sometimes I have anxiety episodes caused by triggering events. Triggering events may be something big and rational, or they may be something completely irrational, or they may be something that’s rational but should be only nominally aggravating.
I’m always willing to talk about triggering events with my therapist, a licensed professional who is trained how to help me work through these issues. Otherwise, I usually don’t like to talk about triggering events when I’m dealing with an acute anxiety episode. Why?
1. Talking itself can be triggering – When triggering events happen, they completely consume me. The goal for me when I experience an anxiety episode from a triggering event is to “turn the volume down,” as I like to say. I have a routine of things I do when trying to turn the volume down – breathing, talking about other things, getting something to eat, walking. Talking about the triggering event keeps the volume turned up, though, and sometimes makes it worse. This is because talking puts the triggering event right at the forefront of my brain, the last place it needs to be. Sometimes it’s just best to let it go and move forward.
2. I get to choose my method of healing – People usually have good intentions when they give advice to people. I say “usually” because sometimes, people aren’t so concerned with helping a person as they are controlling a situation. Regardless, I am a grown woman, and as long as I’m not doing anything illegal or anything that harms myself or others, I get to choose how I cope with my anxiety. If I don’t want to talk, I shouldn’t have to talk.
3. Talking, if it’s going to happen at all, is usually best after a crisis – If someone is drowning, you’re probably not going to ask them how it happened or give them a lecture on water safety, are you? You’re gonna frickin’ get them out of the water! Such is the case with dealing with anxiety from a triggering event. You’ve got to get out of the water before getting to the root of what happened in the first place.
So what should I do if someone I know is dealing with an anxiety episode?
As for myself – I don’t mind if someone asks if I want to talk about it or asks what they can do to help! Sometimes, I do want to talk about it. If that happens, all I ask for is that you listen from a place of nonjudgment. When I don’t feel like talking about it, though, please respect that and don’t press the issue.
As for others – don’t be afraid to ask what you can do to help, but be mindful of their response. Talk to a professional if you’re not sure – someone with proper training and credentials. I think it can be good to talk to a pastor or church leader sometimes, but sometimes you really need help from someone who has a background in the psychology or chemistry behind it all.
So now I’m kinda worried I’m going to offend you by asking if you’re okay.
Please don’t be afraid you’re going to offend me. I know that my anxiety affects my friends and family, too. I think that when someone asks me if I’m okay or if they can help, it can be as helpful for them as it is for me. I’ll do my best to communicate what I can, and I’ll let you know when I just can’t talk about it anymore. I want to make sure my friends and family are okay, too. We’re all in this together.