I often wonder to myself how I would react if I was a parent with a child who suffered from anxiety. Would I be supportive? or would I be exactly as my parents are with me? there is no classes in which others can take to help assist people suffering from anxiety although it would be very useful if there was one.
My parents and I have a very ‘complicated’ relationship, well ‘complicated’ in terms of the fact there are no levels of understanding amongst us. I couldn’t say whom I was more closer to, my mum or my dad, not because I love them both hugely and equally but because I have no real connection with either of them. You’re probably thinking to yourself as you read this ‘oh, another child with mummy and daddy issues’ but I can assure you that’s not it at all. Even though I have known my dad for all 17 years of my existence I have no clue about who he actually is, in fact I only found out his middle name a few years ago! We have a love/hate relationship.. okay mostly hate relationship which predominately shapes our relationship completely as I would never feel able to talk about any issues I have with him. However, my mum is a different story. As a sufferer from panic attacks I thought my mum would be the most helpful comforting person to turn too, but I was wrong in that assumption. I am constantly reminded by her how ‘silly’ I am being in terms of coping with my anxiety, because she was able to overcome panic attacks it should be easily achieved by everyone, which is not true at all.
The difference between my mum and myself is that she suffered more with panic attacks than anxiety so there are definite differences between us that she is yet to realise. In terms of anxiety, it must be noted that it affects people in a variety of different ways and basic human biology tells us that no single person is the same and this must be taken into consideration when receiving treatment. In a way I think there should be more information aimed at parents specifically to help them understand and communicate better with there child, rather than doing what they think they should do. After all, mental illnesses such as anxiety doesn’t just affect the sufferer but it also has an affect on those surrounding the sufferer.
However, the above is just my experience with anxiety and parents and although my parents provided little support and guidance it doesn’t mean all parents are like this! Parents can provide the safety net that one needs when struggling with anxiety, they can be your comfort during the rough times so if you need help don’t hesitate to go to them, just know they are not the only source of help available!
If you’re wondering how to go about telling your parents I have some little tips to make it less daunting for you:
1. plan what you want to say, after all planning is helpful in reducing anxiety
2. sit them down around the kitchen table, it will help centre their focus onto you rather than something else
3. explain how you feel, what happens when you experience anxiety, what are your known triggers
4. let them know why your telling them, you want there support so let them know that
5. tell them the absolute truth, don’t leave any details out no matter how small they are
6. allow them to ask you questions
7. keep an ‘anxiety diary’ and show them a weeks worth, it helps give them an idea of how your experiencing life and how anxiety is impacting you
8. last but not least, keep those communication lines open! don’t close yourself off as soon as you told them, let them be there for you and to support you.
I hope reading my experience gives you some insight and I hope the tips are useful, I’d love to hear your experiences when it comes to anxiety and parents 🙂