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Starting the conversation about anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions and can affect people of all ages. And while it’s natural to feel anxious in unfamiliar or challenging situations, if your anxiety is interfering with your daily life and happiness, it may be a sign of a bigger issue.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your anxiety, now is the time to seek help. Remember, it is possible to feel like yourself again—relaxed and ready for all of the good things in life. Talking to just one trusted person is a simple way to start understanding what you’re going through and getting the help you deserve.

Warning signs of anxiety.

Signs of anxiety may come on suddenly or build gradually over time, and it’s common for those with anxiety to not know what’s causing it. The sooner you recognize the signs of anxiety, the sooner you can get the relief you’re looking for.

Ask yourself the following questions, and check the ones you say “yes” to. If you check even a few of them, then it’s a good idea to talk to someone.

 

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How to find the right person to talk to.

No matter how alone or isolated you feel, there is always someone that is ready and willing to help. If you don’t feel ready to talk to a mental health professional, that’s perfectly fine. Start by telling one trusted person you feel comfortable with and you know will be a good listener.

The right person doesn’t have to have personal experience with depression—he or she just needs to take your thoughts, feelings, and concerns seriously, and help you take the next step.

Your trusted person may be a:

How to start the conversation.

There’s no right or wrong way to tell someone that you feel depressed. But there are steps you can take to make the conversation easier to start and more productive.

FIND A COMFORTABLE PLACE AND TIME. This could be a coffee shop, school, home, or anywhere that you can have some privacy away from distractions.

PLAN WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY. Write down how you’re feeling or practice the conversation in front of a mirror.

BE READY FOR QUESTIONS. The person you’re talking to will probably want more information on your situation. Be honest and share as much as you feel comfortable.

DON’T RUSH THE CONVERSATION. This topic may be challenging for the person you’re talking to, so give them time to listen and process what you’re saying.

DON’T TRY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM ALL AT ONCE. Remember, this is just the start of the process.

BE PROUD. It takes courage to tell someone how you feel.

What you can say:

“I’m struggling to manage my anxiety and don’t know what to do.”

“This is hard for me to talk about, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately.”

“I’m worried that anxiety is affecting my daily life.”

“I’ve been feeling anxious for quite some time. I think I may need help.”

What to do after the conversation.

Hopefully after your first conversation, you’ll feel a sense of relief and hopefulness. Be sure to keep things moving in a positive direction.
big-one Stay in touch with your trusted person and keep him or her updated on how you feel.
big-two If the first conversation didn’t go the way you had hoped, don’t worry or give up. Try finding another trusted person that may be better suited to help.
Make healthy lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and sleep.
If you’re ready to take the next step to receive a diagnosis and treatment, talk to a substance abuse professional or organization.
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