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Author Topic: Talking to people about GAD  (Read 319 times)

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Offline Lily120

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Talking to people about GAD
« on: October 10, 2013, 07:37:59 PM »
The people I'm living with don't know about my GAD. I'm dealing with more than GAD, but that's a long story that mostly ties back to the GAD. I want to tell them, and I don't want to tell them. Once I tell them, I can't take it back. I don't know how they'll react. I hate being vulnerable.

Even thinking about telling them, I feel like my stomach is upside down. But if I don't, it's like I'm hiding from the world and am stuck with it in my head. I don't know which is the lesser of two evils (or stressors, as the case may be).  Anyone ever been in this situation before? If so, what did you do about it? Any advice?

Thanks if you're reading this. It helps to know that I'm not alone, even if I feel like I am.

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Offline Bamboo31

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 09:25:19 PM »
I was just thinking about the same thing.  I wanted to tell someone I've been friends with many years about my GAD and SAD.  In my mind, I have come close a few times, but never when a time has actually presented itself.  I don't know what it would accomplish.  I think it would only do one of three things: make me frustrated if she didn't understand, make her feel sorry for me, or change our relationship in some way.  I guess it might be liberating for me, but I think it may shatter the image she has of me that I have it all together.  I don't want to disappoint her in a way.  I've needed to hide for so long; I probably will continue to keep it to myself.  Like you said, you can never take it back.       
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Offline Lily120

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 10:10:57 PM »
Ahh! I kinda have an opportunity to talk to them right now, but I'm just freezing.

I feel the same way about potentially altering my relationship by telling them the truth. If I tell them, whether they are supportive or not, there will definitely be a change in the relationship, for better or worse. And for some reason, even the prospect of the "better" outcome terrifies me.



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Offline kstratton

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 01:55:36 AM »
I think it's really important that you can be open and honest about having GAD. It's such a misunderstood illness, so any time you can educate someone is a great opportunity to dispel some prejudice. I talk to anyone and everyone about my GAD. I find it really cathartic, and most people are just curious to learn more. Sometimes it can change things, but then, so can getting a haircut or tattoo. It's a part of you, and if people can't accept who you are then you shouldn't be worrying about how they will treat you after you tell them.

If you decide to tell people, you don't have to make it a big deal. Like, there's no rule that says you have to sit everyone down together and have a meeting about it. You can just drop it into the conversation if you feel like an opening presents itself. Like, if you are watching tv and someone does something that would make you anxious, you could just comment on how your anxiety would be too strong for you to be able to do that. It could kick of a conversation and you could find out you're not the only one struggling with it. And you need to remember, people will make it as important as you make it. If you are casual and forthright about it, so will they be. If you are stressed and nervous and uncomfortable, they will end up the same and will think it's something to be avoided.

Ultimately, it's probably better that you tell them, even if it's just so that they can understand what is happening if you have a panic attack. Think about how you would feel in their shoes. Wouldn't you prefer to know why someone is panicking if they are around you, or in your house? The more you build it up in your mind, the bigger problem it will be. Relax, take a few deep breaths, and remember that everyone suffers from some sort of stress or anxiety at some point in their lives.
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Offline Lily120

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 05:34:06 PM »
kstratton, that seems much more doable than I had been thinking. Keeping it casual rather than formal, I mean. I think I might just do that. The way you discuss GAD so freely makes me feel like I could, too. Thanks for your help!

Have you ever had to discuss your GAD in a work setting? If so, has that affected your professional life?

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Offline AncientMelody

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 02:10:52 AM »
I've discussed my anxiety in a work setting....though in my case it's a little different as I work in a family practice office and my physician is technically a colleague (I say technically as she is part-time, working only on my day off so I only "work" with her during a few office meetings here and there).

How has it affected work? Well it hasn't too much, though I DO feel a little uncomfortable about say the receptionists seeing "anxiety" scrawled on my diagnosis sheet. And it was a little weird having meds called to the pharmacy next door with whom I have a professional relationship. But that's my own choice, I could have sought out health care further away from my own doorstep. I guess one hard thing is that I somehow feel inferior, that I'm having so much trouble coping with the stress of raising small children and making sure I give good patient care. Problem is I tend to put my physicians up on a pedestal and as a medical practitioner myself I never feel I quite measure up. But she's proved to be caring and sympathetic, and she knows the stress I'm under with the current office dynamics because she deals with them too.

Really though I guess I've disclosed it more as a patient than as a coworker, aside from acute episodes of being stressed per se. Which we have all really been through this year as a result of a buyout of the company. I mean, work wise I guess I don't see it as something I need to or should be talking about all that much (for me personally, not anyone else). I do use the tools I'm learning for my own patients frequently though. And I guess part of it too....I still waffle myself on am I CLINICALLY anxious. Or am I just a worrier who is so damned tired that life just seems overwhelming? Who knows.
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Offline kstratton

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2013, 04:37:12 AM »
Hi Lily, I'm glad you found my advice useful.

I have discussed my GAD with work colleagues,  because I find it easier to be at work with anxiety when they know that's what's going on. I mean,  if I'm having a bad day, and I'm struggling to keep it together, it's better for everyone to know that it's anxiety and not something they need to call a doctor about.  Plus, my bosses have only ever been sympathetic and wanting to know what they can do to help. I think they appreciate the trust I put in them in by telling them about my illness.  It can be a bit hard to say something at first, but it's always made my life easier in the end. I've always been a hard worker, so my boss has always accepted that if I need a time out to deal with an attack, then I will be back making up the time during lunch or whenever.

Ultimately,  it's your choice who you tell, and how you tell them,  but for me, I've never regretted telling someone. The people who don't want to know about it or turn it into a problem, get pushed out of the important parts of my life. I keep myself surrounded by supportive friends and coworkers,  and keep everyone else at arms length. Why stress myself out with people who refuse to try to understand,  you know? Same with your flatmates and coworkers. Tell them so they know what's going on, but only draw the ones who are sympathetic about it closer to you.  You don't have to be close to everyone and not everyone will want to be close to you, and that's ok.

Good luck!
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Offline Spooky

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Re: Talking to people about GAD
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 09:36:40 AM »
I've always been fairly open about my anxiety as I don't see it as something to be ashamed about. Of course there's still the odd person who will make a daft comment through ignorance! The thing to remember is that you are still you at the end of the day and the people around you should see that. I've had wonderful support off my friends over the years.

This is a campaign that runs in Scotland about mental health - perhaps it will be of help http://www.seemescotland.org/
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