Anxiety, guilt and finding the help and support you need
A lot of people who suffer from anxiety experience feelings of guilt and believe that this means they are weak. This guilt is brought about by the realisation that someone who at one time could do things so easily, now struggles to get through the day. They may be in a relationship, or have children, and feel guilty that they can no longer do the things they once could with their partner or children. They may even fight their way through the day, putting on an act to prove to themselves that this thing will not get the better of them, only to go to bed at night more tired and anxious than ever. Anxiety can affect people from every profession, even doctors, the very people we first go to for help, so let me stress that you have nothing to feel guilty about.
Some partners may be very understanding about how you feel, but some may not. They may put pressure on you to ‘pull yourself together’ and the constant strain of trying to cope can tire you further; your partner’s lack of understanding hindering recovery. Thankfully, I did have an understanding partner and I explained to her that the person she could see was not the real me. I asked her to bear with me and told her that I wanted to be the person I once was and that, in time, I would be. I lost a few friends as I was never available to go out. Certain people at work would snub me because I hardly spoke, but I did not wallow in self-pity! I knew I had to let all this negative stuff go and because of what I had been taught, I was not going to add any more worry to the mix. I also knew that I could sort all those problems out later when I was better.
At times, I felt like I was playing a role in a film – acting to try to appear normal – while at other times, attempting to hide how I felt. The pressure I felt trying to maintain this act, day after day, was immense and eventually I stopped trying to be the person I thought I should be.
So, if you see yourself in this way, learn to put yourself first. You cannot keep trying to be the person you once were. You need to stop putting on an act, admit that you are no longer the person you used to be and you tell yourself that you don’t have to keep up this pretence any longer.
If you have an understanding partner, then great; you have the support you need. If not, I would suggest that you start talking to each other and ask your partner to listen. You can even suggest that they read this and explain to them just how much you need their support while you recover. If they truly care, then they will understand and give you this support. A lot of their anger is caused by frustration, frustration that the person they see is not the person they fell in love with and they want you back as much as you do. A little more understanding from them may give you the freedom to start recovery.
Self-pity is another emotion that can drag you further into your illness. Again, this stems from a reluctance to accept the way you are as you ask yourself the question “Why me?” Constantly feeling sorry for yourself can only eat away at your spirit and cause you to feel more and more depressed about the way you feel. It is very easy to fall into this trap and I cannot stress enough just how important it is to accept how you feel and harbour as little self-pity as possible. Self-pity is a destructive emotion that will only prolong your negative feelings. You don’t need negative thinking during your time of recovery, so let all the negative thoughts go and build on the positives.