1. When I say I’m not okay, that can mean different things.
It can mean physically I’m not okay, like my breathing or heart rate is off, or I feel dizzy. It can mean I’m having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep. It might mean I can’t control my emotions or thoughts, or I feel unsettled.
Or it might mean that I feel like my whole life has gone to shit and I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t expect that you can figure out which one it is. But you shouldn’t always assume that I mean the last one. It’s not always that bad.
2. Sometimes, you can fix it.
There’s times when calling you and hearing your voice grounds me. It calms me and stops my tears and makes it all seem better.
Sometimes, enveloping me in an enormous hug puts all my scared little pieces back together. At times, you telling me that you love me is like an emotional or psychological Band-Aid and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you bring there.
3. But sometimes you can’t fix it.
Just because those things work sometimes, doesn’t mean it always will. And please don’t be offended if you can’t fix it.
It’s not a reflection of your understanding, compassion or ability to comfort me. It’s a reflection of my state of mind and what the issue is.
4. It annoys me too.
When you ask me what’s wrong and I say I don’t know, I’m not trying to trick you, or make you chase me or figure me out. I genuinely don’t know what’s wrong. I wish I did because then I could try and do something about it.
So if it frustrates you that you can’t understand or help me with it, then can you imagine how annoying it is for me that I don’t understand what’s going on in my own head? It’s infuriating and exhausting, and sometimes nauseating.
5. I overthink a lot of things, a lot of the time.
There’s usually at least one decision or incident every day that I’ll stew over for hours. Should I not have said that? What if I had done this instead? Was that person laughing at something on their phone, or at me? Did that person think I’m stupid? Will that have any consequences?
My mind can be like a merry-go round, just without the merry part.
6. Sometimes being alone can be the best thing for me.
There are days where I need to retreat into my own head to deal with things. There are times when I don’t need to talk it over with you. I just need a book or a song or a journal or a movie and my own thoughts. Sometimes I need to stay inside my mind, in order to figure out how to get back out of it.
It’s not that I don’t need you. It’s that I don’t need your help right now.
7. Ask yourself if you’re ready for the fact that this may never go away.
I’m not going to wake up one day and be magically better, and no longer worry excessively, overthink or freak out. Maybe one day with support and strategies I will move past this and it will just be a memory we share. Or…
Maybe even when we’re 72 I’ll still be having panic attacks, freaking out over seemingly small things, having trouble sleeping and crying and thinking and worrying.
Think about whether you’re prepared and willing to deal with that, because if not, you may as well save us both the effort and leave now.
8. Don’t worry about me mentioning you to my psychologist.
It’s not all doom and gloom, I’m not telling her how much I hate you. It means that you’re an important part of my life, and that they need to know about you and how you fit into my mind, emotions and actions. They don’t think you’re a bad person.
I tell them about how much you help and support me, so please don’t fret over that.
9. It’s not your fault.
It’s just my life. Don’t feel like you increase my anxiety levels or that you make it all worse for me. No matter how I may act, you help more than you realize.