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29 Things People With Anxiety Want Their Parents To Know

They really appreciate you being there — but also want you to go away sometimes.

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what misconceptions their parents have about their anxiety. Here's what they wish you knew.

1. First off, it's a real illness and not just run-of-the-mill stress.

Haejin Park for BuzzFeed / Via

"My anxiety is an everyday part of my life that affects the things I do, and telling me that it's just stress makes me so irritated." —ashleyb4e3075338

2. It's not a choice or something we can control. / Via

"It does whatever it wants, whenever it wants. No, I'm not lazy. No, I'm not procrastinating. I'm trying to gather as much strength as I can muster so I can call the dentist because, for some reason, the universe decided to make phone calls and public speaking my kryptonite." —kayleec47d485965

3. And it's not your fault, either.

"I think my parents blamed themselves a lot in the beginning, especially my dad, because we think I inherited it from him. Even if that's true, I really hope they don't blame themselves for my struggles, because if anything, they have helped me a lot." —Maddie Joel, Facebook

4. It can be physically painful and exhausting at times.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed / Via

—Erin Hutchins, Facebook

5. Don't fight with us about our anxiety — fight our anxiety with us.

"Reading up, doing some research to help them (and me) figure out how this thing ONE person in the family has can affect us all, and how to find ways to make things better — yes, that's something I would have loved my parents to have understood when I was a child." —TiggaPlease

6. If we think we could benefit from seeing a professional, please take us. / Via

"I wish I could go to the doctor for my anxiety. My mom doesn't think I need to." —AuntNell2426

7. Being patient when we need time to do something or collect ourselves is one of the most helpful things you can do.

The CW / Via Netflix

"I wish I never had to feel my mum losing patience with me again, because it makes me feel like a child, when all I want to be is a normal, functioning 22-year-old." —Sophie Hadrill, Facebook

8. Listening is almost always more helpful than trying to come up with a solution or offering advice.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed / Via

"I don't even need you to understand what I'm going through, because sometimes I don't understand it myself. I just need you to listen to me when I'm ready to talk and to tell me you've got my back." —Melanie Schneiderman, Facebook

9. We want you to look after and take care of yourself, too.

Pixar / Via

"I wish my mom understood that she probably has anxiety, too. I just want her to experience some of the relief I felt when I started seeing my therapist and learning coping techniques." —m4adc2e061

10. We don't always want to talk about it.

MTV / Via

"Sometimes not talking about my anxiety is the best way to help it. And then when I am finished talking about my anxiety to just let it drop, and not keeping bringing it up, which adds to the anxiety." —Erin Benner Smith, Facebook

11. And sometimes we just need to be left alone completely.

Warner Bros. / Via

"When my anxiety gets a little too high, I need to be basically just left alone until I figure everything out. Sometimes, it's just for a day and sometimes it's longer. But I don't really want to be around people and prefer to talk on the phone rather than going somewhere." —Amanda Morris, Facebook

12. Anxiety manifests in a lot of different ways, so you might not recognize it.

"My stepmother has anxiety. Crowds and noise make her very uncomfortable.

I also have anxiety. I crave noise and lots of distractions. I'm extroverted, but panic when lost, far from familiar things, when my schedule gets messed up, or when I'm in a car. Because I like being around people and don't have trouble running errands doesn't mean my anxiety doesn't exist." —Anna Wegscheid, Facebook

13. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a success.

Disney / Via

"I wish my parents knew that because of my crippling anxiety, sometimes just getting out of bed is a success." —allyd4c4b92706

14. It's more than just ~being worried~.

ABC / Via

"My dad would tell me that there is nothing to worry about. I would tell any parents with children who have anxiety that it's more than just worry, it's all consuming fear. Sometimes over something and sometimes it happens for no reason. You can't control it. All you can do is be there for them." —Marjorie Zarefah, Facebook

15. And it's not just being sensitive.

FOX / Via

"I'm not taking everything personally. I feel things and experience situations on a much higher level than a lot of people, and [my mom's] misunderstanding of my illness sometimes makes it feel like a kick when I'm down." —Angelica Gervais, Facebook

16. Look out for changes in our behavior instead of asking if our medication is working all the time.

"Stop asking if my new medication is working yet. Trust me, you'll know if it starts working." —Eli Russell, Facebook

17. We're not trying to be difficult when we say we can’t do a seemingly small, anxiety-inducing task.

Via Twitter: @girlsbooklet

"I need my parents to understand that just because something is an easy, everyday task for them does not mean that I feel the same way. Things as simple as calling for appointments, anything really involving talking on the phone, walking into a store to buy something, or on bad days even ordering my own food can cause me a lot of anxiety. It freaks me out and I feel extremely uncomfortable and it is NOT as simple as 'just do it.'" —AboveWeird

18. Our anxiety doesn't take a vacation just because good things are happening.

The CW / Via

"Every time I tell [my stepmom] about my anxiety and depression she says, 'Why are you anxious? You have everything in the world going for you.' I wish she understood that your life can be going well and you can have happy days and still struggle with anxiety and depression." —Megan Durham, Facebook

19. And just because we could do something yesterday doesn't mean we can do it today.

Dami Lee / Via

"There are days that my anxiety is minimal and I'm able to do almost anything. And then there are days that just leaving the house is enough to set off a panic attack. Just because I can do something one day doesn't mean I can do it the next." —loranp

20. We don't need a reason to be anxious. Sometimes it just happens.

"I wish my mom would realise that anxiety just doesn't go away whenever she tells me stuff like, 'Oh, don't worry about it!', 'Why are you worrying over something so small? There's other things to worry about,' and the most infamous one, 'There's nothing to be anxious about.'" —Angeles Perez, Facebook

21. And asking why we're anxious can make it worse.

MTV / Via

"My family constantly asks me 'Why?' When I'm stressed out, or when I avoid certain triggering topics, or when I begin to shake, they always ask me, 'Why are you stressed?' or 'What's causing the anxiety now?', which only makes it worse. I don't know why I have anxiety, and having to justify and validate how I feel, without fully understanding it myself, is exhausting." —Bryn Culbert, Facebook

22. It can affect our schoolwork.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed / Via

"I wish they would acknowledge that the reason I don't participate in my classes is not because I don't care about school or because I think I'm 'too good' to contribute in class. It's because I'm terrified of giving a wrong answer, of being laughed at, and of speaking in front of a group." —hannahrosedances

23. Letting us take a mental health day every now and then would be so helpful.

Matthew Wiebe / Via

"If I have to miss a day, it's because it's bad, not because I don't want to go to school." —m45f23fe21

24. Just because we seem like we're functioning doesn't mean we're not anxious or that we're "cured."

Eros International / Via

"My parents think that if they can get me to crack a smile after a panic attack that I'm perfectly fine. Or if I can make a phone call that I really really need to make and sound normal on the phone that I'm fine even though I need about an hour or so after the phone call to calm down. Basically if I can function as a normal human being sometimes then I must not have anxiety." —sierrav441ae790a

25. You might be accidentally putting pressure on us when you want to build us up.

ABC / Via

"Although it sounds ungrateful, I wish my parents would understand that them telling me I'm amazing and smart doesn't always help. It just puts more pressure on me because I feel I have to live up to their expectations. A huge part of my anxiety comes from my inability to be who they think I am." —Emilia Fajardo, Facebook

26. All this said, not everything is because of anxiety, so don't brush off our other emotions as us ~just being anxious~.

27. Anxiety won't stop us from being happy and successful, so try not to worry too much. We'll be OK.

"I can still be accomplished, and yes, even make them proud — I just will go through more obstacles. It isn't a barrier to success, just something I need to work through, and something they can and should support me with." —kennedyk43bf49c50

28. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just ask what we need and how you can help.

Nathan W. Pyle / Via

29. Even if you don't always know the right thing to do — because sometimes there isn't a right thing to do — we truly appreciate you trying.

Parenting Week is a week of content devoted to honoring the hardest job you'll ever love, being a parent. Check out more great Parenting Week content here.

Andrew Richard

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