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Feb 23, 2019
I’ve kept my severe anxiety a secret from most everyone except my girlfriend. I even set up my therapy appointments behind my family’s back so I don’t have to have the awkward conversation about it. I don’t like pity and also don’t like people to think I’m weak. I spent my entire childhood being told to man up. My whole family thinks I’m a whimp and I try to prove them wrong and my anxiety isn’t helping. The only reason I’m allowing myself to vent on this forum is because it’s anonymous. Even so I’m terrified someone will connect the dots and find me here.

When I was 17 someone assaulted my mom and I in a road rage altercation. He pulled over and my mom rolled my window down and stopped to yell at him and he started punching me through the window. My face was pretty banged up, but my mom’s hand was bruised trying to block him. I’ve always felt like I should’ve done more to protect her and I hate myself for not being man enough to fight back. My dad never said it, but deep down I could tell he thought I was weak everyone thought I was.

Since then I’ve had a tendency to avoid opening up and I have this subconscious drive to prove myself and protect my loved ones. When my girlfriend and I started dating I started having flashbacks to what happened, I kept being dragged down to that place of helplessness and fear. I felt like I was too weak to protect her. I haven’t had a flashback in a while, but they usually happen whenever her abusive ex boyfriend starts causing a stink about her on social media. Sometimes they happen just because though. Other times it’s an image or smell or random thought that triggers it.

I’m not saying that anxiety makes anyone weak. I’ve just always felt like I’m “less than” because of it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s just something that’s been ingrained into me as a kid. And anytime I’ve ever thought of asking my parents for help I always cringe. I was just curious if anyone else has felt the same way before and if anyone has any tips to overcome it and accept their anxiety.

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Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2018
Hi Howlingvapor. One thing that you've got going for you is that you truly feel that everyone (except for your girlfriend) thinks you're a whimp. How about not trying to prove them wrong as you won't feel they've changed their minds unless you win an UFC title match. Plus, all that people pleasing, not just trying to be yourself is so exhausting. Anxiety is a disease, a disorder that doesn't make anyone weak. I produces great challenges to dealing with things, situations and people that others don't have to deal with. Just because a paralyzed person can't walk doesn't reflect that they're weak in any way.

Some of my suggestions would include not being afraid to ask your parents for help, not putting such a short leash on your girlfriend and not giving a rip about someone finding out you've got an anxiety disorder. You feel that everyone has such a low opinion of you that the only direction to go is up. It can't get worse but their opinions could stay the same or improve if you can figure out who you are and act accordingly.

I've got plenty of other suggestions if you'd like. Welcome to this forum, it's a very helpful and caring place.


New Member
Feb 26, 2019
Having an anxiety disorder doesn’t make you a whimp!!! It’s very hard to explain to someone who’s never had them what your going through but never feel ashamed. It’s talked about more now and excepted than when I had my first one 30 yrs ago. Then they told you “It’s just your nerves” pull up your socks and get over it”. Hang in there.
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