How should I tell people about my problems?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    As most of you know, I have severe anxiety problems that I have been going to counselling for for a couple weeks. I haven't noticed a difference.

    However, I have just been asked to the semi-formal dance by a girl that I really like. This is really random because I have become really unpopular since my anxiety problems have occurred. She knows I have anxiety problems, but she doesn't actually know that I have panic attacks. She doesn't understand the severity of it I think.

    Should I tell her beforehand that I have panic attacks so if it occurs maybe I will have to sit out for 10 minutes or so? Should I just ignore it and hopefully it won't happen?

    How should I tell her?
  2. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    Definitely tell her, I don't think it's that big of a deal, I think you might have more of a problem if you were going to tell her that you didn't want to go, but you just have to let her know why you would need to step out, so she isn't caught off guard or confused about what's going on.
  3. jecapaga macrumors 601


    Jul 1, 2007
    Southern California
    Glad to hear you're getting some counseling. A couple weeks obviously is, by far, not a stretch of time to be seeing results at all so don't further worry about that.

    Judging from your concern I think the last thing you should do is not tell her. At least then you may feel some strength that she understands if you're having a moment and need to step out. You should tell her just like you posted here I think.

    If she has any issue or is not supportive, you probably shouldn't be going to this dance with this person in the first place. Good luck!
  4. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I'd say definitely tell her beforehand. If she already knows you have anxiety problems and she wants to go to this dance with you I don't see what could upset her about you having panic attacks. If anything, it shows her you trust her and will quite probably lower you stress, lowering your chances of a panic attack.

    Good luck with your situation, I also had anxiety problems and panic attacks, mind you it didn't last too long and wasn't too severe. I consulted and I only told my friends afterward, in hindsight, it would have been such a relief.
  5. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    Good To here that your getting some help.

    I have recently been talking with a girl, and i told her straight about my problems - anxiety and depression and you no what!! She too has depression. I so felt very relieved to hear that.

    But definitely tell her, she won't think anything different of you for being honest. Don't be embarrassed anxiety is a normal part of life a lot of people have it. Nothing to be ashamed off.
  6. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    Just tell her as much as you feel comfortable, but at a minimum I'd say something like "I get very stressed sometimes at social events etc. and need to take a few minutes out by myself to relax: if I have to do that it doesn't mean I'm upset with you or anything and I'll catch up with you once I'm calmed down". Obviously you might phrase it differently. Most importantly, don't let it stop you going with her if you want to!
  7. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Tell her. It will make you fill more confident. But don't make a big story of this, you know it's not that a big issue seen from outside. ;)

    And if I were you I would ask my best friend some dance training. The more confident you feel the best you will face the situation.
  8. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Before my anxiety problems I was actually a pretty good dancer, so no help needed there. I'll be a little rusty, but I hope to impress her. :cool:

    Thanks guys.
  9. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    It's easy for us to say, but I'd also suggest you tell her. Since she already knows you suffer from anxiety, and still asked you to the dance, she sounds like she's pretty cool and understanding.

    If you can make it funny, rather than scary/worrying for her, it could help. :)

    "Oh, and by the way, if the room gets very crowded, there's a good chance I might need to hide under the cocktail table for a little while, shaking. I just thought you should know, in case you need to find me. Or the punch bowl."
  10. MoleSkine macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009
    New York!
    As a person who aslo suffers from panic attacks, I highly suggest you tell this girl and here's why: If you do not tell her and an attack starts coming along your mind and perhaps bodily symptoms will go into overdrive because you'll get more nervous that she'll be freaked out or whatever scenario your mind will play during the attach. If she knows, you'll feel calmer because you know that she understands what is happening.

    Example; when I get panic attacks and my mother is around I have more uhm
    "strength" to cope with it because I dont have to worry about my mother freaking out and ask what is going on and all these questions, she just knows exactly what is going on. When I know I am going with someone somehwere who doesnt know I suffer from this, this gets my very anxious and constantly monitering my body/mind because I am so afraid that I might get it and this person will just freak.

    Just tell her and tell her what you would like for her to do if an attack will occur.
  11. TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Thanks for all the advice.

    I texted her about 5-10 minutes ago, still no response.

    She is one of my best friend's twin sister, which makes it kinda weird, but we also have talked about personal stuff when I have slept over and she knows I have anxiety but is caring enough to still hang out with me, so I don't think it's going to be much of a problem. Knowing my brother is going to be there with his girlfriend also gives me some peace of mind. I will update you guys on the situation.
  12. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Noooo... don't text. This is important and worth a live chat. Please people stop communicating with texts... You should call her now.
  13. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2005
    I totally agree. Speaking in person will allow you to sound casual and confident. In text, people hear whatever tone they choose to hear in their heads.

    And it's a good habit to start talking to people face to face. It will get you further in life than people who hide behind texting.
  14. iMJustAGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2007
    Beach, FL
    In our REAL WORLD, I would say don't tell her. How old are you? Something like this will not be easy to tell someone esp in this type of situation.
  15. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Tell her in person but play it down/don't make a big deal about it. Panic attacks can be fairly common. Nobody I knew ever mentioned them but when I had one last year they all fessed up with similar stories.
  16. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Hey TSE - I don't have the necessary knowledge to give you any advice, but I thought I'd say that I'm really impressed that you're attacking this head on. Good job, man.
  17. jmann macrumors 604


    Dec 8, 2007
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    I would've just emailed her a link to this thread and be done with it. :p But honestly if she really likes you she will understand and it'll be just fine.
  18. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I know you've probably already communicated your situation with her--but I thought I'd post anyway. I think the best way to tell someone in the future about this problem is to say you're temporarily going through a difficult time and that you might need to step out from time to time if you need to but that its not a big deal. I wouldn't get into *why* you have these anxiety/panic problems on a first date.

    For people you've just met, its no one's business regarding the details of what you're going through. However, your refusal to discuss it right away can give you that tortured, sensitive soul image that some girls just love. :)
  19. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    That would cause some to have attacks!

    Do you mean no sex or starting new relationships which can cause anxiety?

    If the former, I have not heard that. Where did you get this list?
  20. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    I think this is perhaps the most important point in the list.
  21. Gelfin macrumors 68020


    Sep 18, 2001
    Denver, CO
    Been there, OP. I had this problem throughout my early 20s. I was lucky enough to live in a place with 24 hour grocery stores so I could go buy food at three in the morning and not get antsy waiting in a long check line.

    Number one, yes, tell people close to you about the possibility before you have a panic attack. Remember, people are very self-centered. If they don't get what's happening, their first thought will be that your behavior is something to do with them, and many of them will get offended. Once somebody's mad at you, you can try to explain, but it's hard to repair that reaction completely.

    Do say it in person, but don't be too dramatic about it. You don't want to provoke worry or pity, just to get the information out there and get it out of the way. On the scale of things for her to worry about, put this somewhere on the same emotional level as, "hey, my car's been acting up, so we may end up needing to take a cab."

    On the other hand, if you're dramatic enough and pretty enough, maybe she'll think you're a vampire. Instead of "I'm having a panic attack," consider saying, "The hunger, it swells within me! I smell the blood of these mortals, but no, I must resist! I must flee this place before I feed. No! Stay back, it's too dangerous for you now! You know, sexy dangerous, but still pretty dangerous. I'll be back. Twenty minutes of fresh air ought to help. You know. The hunger." Then sweep your cape across your face and dart out of the room. ;)

    Long term, I've got to tell you, I went drugs instead of therapy. I was strongly opposed to them at first, but it reached a point where it was screwing up my life to the point that anything with a chance of working was worth trying. If you're under eighteen nobody's going to write you a prescription for SSRIs these days, and the worse news is the damned things practically annihilated my sex drive, but they worked. In the long run the way they worked was to give me a frame of reference for what "normal" felt like so, knowing the difference, I could learn to stick with that without medication, and I've been off them and fine for very many years now.

    The better news is that studies show drugs and talk therapy have an equal chance of helping, so not only might what you're doing help outright, but later on if you find it doesn't, you get a second chance with a different approach.
  22. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    At least for depression, it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, where medication is used to effectively treat it. You seem to have made up some list. The last item especially makes no sense. Where did you come up with all this and what does "get light" mean (if it means what I think, then that one is also pretty ridiculous)?
  23. leomac08 macrumors 68020


    Jul 12, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    read the comments..

  24. rebeccamartin macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2009
    I feel it will do you good if you tell her about your panic attacks and its severity, by doing so you will boost up your confidence level.
    its good that you taking some care to cure it.

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