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How open should we be?

triceps

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#1
I'm retired, 66 years old and on disability from the anxiety I've had since I was 13. It's easy for me to struggle with this disorder in an open way, having gotten to the point in my life to not give a rip about what others might think about me. It helps me concentrate on striving towards the best quality of life while living with anxiety instead of wasting energy trying to act "normal" so that others don't question whether I'm weird or crazy. This approach seems to be helping me alot but I realize folks that are working or are in other situations feel the open approach is just not practical. I'd just like to say that if possible, not being embarrassed or ashamed of our disorders goes a long way towards minimizing the debilitating effect it has on us.
Any thoughts?
 

Rosy

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#2
I think anxiety disorder should be viewed as an illness and not something to be ashamed of. If you have diabetes or cancer it doesn't have to be hidden. But at one time cancer was treated the same way. Not anymore. You take medication for these diseases and you go to work. If you can't work for periods of time you should have no trouble getting disability.This is the 21 st century and it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe we need more research on how to control this. So many people are afflicted by anxiety. Many of us have had this all our lives. I have been more open to my family and as a result found out some of my family are in the same position. I don't know how to approach this but I'm sure somebody does and I would sure do anything I could to help.
 

scharley1973

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#3
I think anxiety disorder should be viewed as an illness and not something to be ashamed of. If you have diabetes or cancer it doesn't have to be hidden. But at one time cancer was treated the same way. Not anymore. You take medication for these diseases and you go to work. If you can't work for periods of time you should have no trouble getting disability.This is the 21 st century and it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe we need more research on how to control this. So many people are afflicted by anxiety. Many of us have had this all our lives. I have been more open to my family and as a result found out some of my family are in the same position. I don't know how to approach this but I'm sure somebody does and I would sure do anything I could to help.
hi rosy...i think thats alot of the problem :( disability is easy for some people but it seems like people that have a mental disorder...ummmm....its much harder :( ive been working part time jobs on and off for many years. i usually get fired becuz my attendance of course is not what employers want :( ive tried my whole life. this started in my 20s im in my 40s now. i filed for disability but to be honest...i dont think ill get it :( we"ll c. and i want to say welcome back :) i see where other ppl on this site know you, im newer so...i didnt know.
 

Rosy

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#4
hi rosy...i think thats alot of the problem :( disability is easy for some people but it seems like people that have a mental disorder...ummmm....its much harder :( ive been working part time jobs on and off for many years. i usually get fired becuz my attendance of course is not what employers want :( ive tried my whole life. this started in my 20s im in my 40s now. i filed for disability but to be honest...i dont think ill get it :( we"ll c. and i want to say welcome back :) i see where other ppl on this site know you, im newer so...i didnt know.
I hope the disability works out for you. If they only knew we try harder because of our problem. I wish you luck with that.
 

Hurt&Hopeful

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#5
Ooooh, great thread. I've been on both sides of this one - I've been too closed off, and I've overshared. :) At this point in my life, I believe that sharing anxiety struggles with others should be done, but done with caution and wisdom, just like any other personal information or struggle. My general rule is to not hide anything about myself, but not to offer up ALL of the information unless it's appropriate, it's someone I trust, and there is a genuine purpose for sharing. If someone asks, I'm honest. If I'm anxious, I'll mention it. I'm happy to talk about mental illness, anxiety, depression, etc. in public - in other words, I'm not embarrassed anymore that I struggle with anxiety, but the fact is that most people that I encounter won't fully understand it or want to hear about it on a super personal level. No more than they would want to hear about any other health problems I have. BUT - there are close friends that i have opened up to over the years. Some of them have had similar struggles, some haven't, but we love and respect each other. It takes some guts to open up about it, and it doesn't always go well, but there are people out there that care and are safe - you just have to find them, and that takes time and patience. I don't know how helpful that is... I'm really happy that mental illness is something that is discussed more and more these days, more openly, and I hope it continues to get better!
 

Hurt&Hopeful

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#7
I think anxiety disorder should be viewed as an illness and not something to be ashamed of. If you have diabetes or cancer it doesn't have to be hidden. But at one time cancer was treated the same way. Not anymore. You take medication for these diseases and you go to work. If you can't work for periods of time you should have no trouble getting disability.This is the 21 st century and it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe we need more research on how to control this. So many people are afflicted by anxiety. Many of us have had this all our lives. I have been more open to my family and as a result found out some of my family are in the same position. I don't know how to approach this but I'm sure somebody does and I would sure do anything I could to help.
I agree on the research - It makes me sad how much of our research is geared toward pharmaceuticals, though. Before you all yell at me, I have NOTHING against medication for anxiety (I'm on Lexapro myself). :) BUT - I think there is so much more we could learn about the brain/body connection and why so many people struggle with this. Because what makes us miserable with anxiety is not actually in our brains - it's in our bodies. It's the adrenaline pumping, and the heart flutters, and the tingles, and the shortness of breath. The whole fight or flight response. And so many things are tied into that - the adrenal system, our guts, our thoughts, our memories and learned behaviors...I wonder if some day we'll understand it more, and this will be a thing of the past? Gives me hope for my grandchildren. :)
 

Rosy

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#8
I agree. I take meds too but I know it isn't the answer. One day I think there will be more ways to deal with this. I won't be around to see it but maybe you will.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
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#9
It really depends on the empathetic connection between you and other people. That is something that just cannot be forced. If other people simply don't like you, or have little to no empathy or compassion - you will regret telling them things. At best, they will do nothing at all to help you, at worst- they will use whatever you tell them completely against you. If somebody truly loves/likes you or has lots of compassion for you, they will want to go out of their way to help you as if you are well, they are well. However, this kind of support is definitely rare in the world and it is beyond naive to count on it. It's definitely best to be careful who you trust to tell about your life.

I've noticed most Amercians especially 'talk at' people or 'talk down' to people instead of talking WITH them. Talking with (as opposed to down or at) somebody naturally reduces stress and anxiety, as sharing is a two-way street. This is usually done sometimes maybe with your own mother, or a close sibling/family relative but even then it can be rare. If society/civilization did this, anxiety symptoms would lesson as the harsh/sociopathic way a lot of people talk to others just makes anxiety worse, or it does nothing to alleviate it. Look at the way most people interact online, with twitter, talking about politics or whatever. Are they talking with each other, or down/at each other? And we wonder why people get so stressed out. Talking with somebody isn't about being too polite or 'fake nice' or being saccharine either. It is a method of mutual conversation that eases stress/lowers blood pressure instead of the reverse.
 

Kelculator

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#10
Well... Most of the time, personally, I just tell when it's necessary. I think when ti is required, talking about it might be better than not doing so? Either way, anxiety is going to impact your ability to do things, and on many other aspects. On one hand, people might look at you funny if you do tell, or make assumptions, act differently, blablabla... Or if you don't tell and start acting "differently" under stressful situations, people are gonna wonder and assume anyways.
One thing I always tell myself is that if I don't say it like it's weird, people won't think it is weird. Same goes for doing stuff too. If you act like a champ, people usually just take it easily (or at least easier). And I also have a sort-of "script-like" description about my anxiety, like how it affects me generally, and how it doesn't... etc. At this point, it's almost like "oh, by the way, I've got anxiety".
Of course, when you don't need to tell people or you don't feel comfortable doing so, it's absolutely fine. It's not like anxiety is something to be ashamed of, or dangerous, or a top secret. :)
 

Rosy

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#11
More people are seeking help now and that is a step in the right direction. I am very very lucky to have found a great psychiatrist. He is the best and I wish that for everyone.
 

Rosy

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#12
In a previous post I said I knew medication wasn't the answer. What i meant to say was that I know medication isn't the ONLY answer. Please don't stop taking your medication. I take mine as directed. I'm also thinking about talk therapy along with my medication.
 

AMcSwain

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#13
I'm retired, 66 years old and on disability from the anxiety I've had since I was 13. It's easy for me to struggle with this disorder in an open way, having gotten to the point in my life to not give a rip about what others might think about me. It helps me concentrate on striving towards the best quality of life while living with anxiety instead of wasting energy trying to act "normal" so that others don't question whether I'm weird or crazy. This approach seems to be helping me alot but I realize folks that are working or are in other situations feel the open approach is just not practical. I'd just like to say that if possible, not being embarrassed or ashamed of our disorders goes a long way towards minimizing the debilitating effect it has on us.
Any thoughts?
I agree. I feel so much better after I talk with someone about what’s going on.
 
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