Anxiety and Talking with People

Most everyone engages in conversation daily. From talking to the members of our household, to answering the phone, to ordering our coffees in the morning – talking to those around us occurs often.

One doesn’t need to have an anxiety disorder to know that certain conversations provoke a sense of discomfort or even dread. Arguing with a loved one, consoling someone at a funeral, or even telling someone “no” can cause anyone anxiety.

This, of course, makes us wonder: if it is reasonable that certain conversations or subjects cause most people anxiety, what does it do to a person with an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety or Not, Some Things Need to be Said
As much as I wish that one of the symptoms of generalized anxiety was the ability to avoid certain types of conversations altogether, it isn’t. Anxiety or not, some things need to be said. I can’t avoid a difficult conversation for fear of a panic attack.

Having an anxiety disorder, after all, is just part of who I am. I am also a husband, a business owner, a friend, and a community member. In order to truly avoid all difficult conversations, I would have to cut everyone out of my life. Even ordering a Diet Coke in the morning could potentially lead to a confrontation if I receive bad service or the cashier behaves rudely.

Alleviating Anxiety: the Upside of Just Getting it Over With
Scientifically, medically, and personally, there is no sure-fire way to get through a difficult conversation unscathed. As mentioned above, even the most grounded amongst us has trouble in certain situations.

Many people have anxiety surrounding difficult conversations. How does someone with an anxiety disorder handle the amplified feelings of anxiety.Of course, that is easier said than done – for anyone. Some parts of life are just difficult. Certain conversations, situations, and even people provoke a sense of worry and anxiety. There is value in tackling these events head on. Fully participating in life means participating in the not-so-great parts, too.

For people with an anxiety disorder, there is an upside to “just getting it over with.” Worrying about the conversation is probably causing more difficulties than the actual conversation. Once the difficult conversation is over, we can begin focusing on what actually took place, rather than what we were worried might happen.

by Gabe Howard

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