Blog For Mama Mental Illness Parenting

I Do Not Want Your Sympathy

Several times I’ve posted about my anxiety. I do so in an effort to be open. I do so in an effort to spread awareness. I do so as a way to find connection with others that also have mental illnesses. I do not do so to pull sympathy out of you. I do not do so for kind words. I definitely do not do so to have those who do not understand to tell me…

“I hope your issues get better”

Issues

Honestly, if someone told you “I hope your issues get better” would you take that as a positive sympathetic statement? Probably not.

My Anxiety

My anxiety is not a problem I deal with all day long, everyday. My anxiety is not always debilitating. I actually spend much of my day fighting my anxiety to make sure it isn’t debilitating. I do not want it to stop me. I do not want it to keep me from living. That is why I write about it. I also hope to help others.

I do think too much.

I often say I care too much, but really, I do not want to care less. My caring is apart of who I am. I do, however, need to stop being disappointed in people. I do need to stop being upset by others reactions and I do need to take things lightly.

Remember these words of encouragement.

So for a quick response to anyone with anxiety, depression, or any other chronic mental illness I’d like you to remember this response “You are strong, you are brave for sharing, and you’ve got this.” Because if you don’t understand, positive encouragement is so much better then sympathy.

If you do understand, if you’ve gone through it, if you’re going through it, if you’re in need of help and someone to talk to. Then share that with the writer, whether me or someone else. Share you’re experience, even privately, and gain a new confidante. It can be amazing help.

Sarah

Check out these posts on anxiety…

No, I Cannot Just Relax: Mom Anxiety and Worry

Anxiety Disorders in Kids

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in Kids

Living with Anxiety: Before and After Becoming a Mom

Anxiety in Motherhood: How I learned to Calm and Control my Fears

 

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26 Comments

  1. Great reminder for all of us to be careful of our words when talking to others. Even well-meaning comments can come out sounding negative. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sure it helps so many people!

  2. Krystal says:

    I’m terrible about knowing what to say in these situations. What you suggest makes perfect sense!

  3. No sympathy from me about your anxiety, instead I have empathy. I believe/wish we a need understanding, education, a voice to talk about our pain/fear/success over mental health issues. and Yet, the serious and devastating effects of mental illness, mood disorders and symptoms while may be similar; but the way each of our life’s personal experiences mental health changes in our lives are so different. Yes, experiencing and coping with mental health seem similar but in truth is a different as a snowflake… or as unique as an earlobe (weird fact: image ray transform). Some days I’m on top of the world, and others I can’t find enough rocks to hind under. For me, it’s hiding under the rocks where I feel the safest… but day by day, I work at, and one inch adds each time out the door. Till I have feet then miles behind me…but it all started with those first inches.

  4. robin rue says:

    I totally get it because I have anxiety, too. I struggle with it daily and it’s really helpful to know I am not alone.

  5. I do try to always tell people I am there if they need me. I would never want to risk saying anything insulting.

    I also offer chocolate.

  6. I have suffered in the past as well. Sympathy usually doesn’t help at all. I just need you to listen and maybe do something.

  7. I also tend to worry too much. I guess we should really worry less and live more but I guess sympathy is what makes us human.

  8. I understand exactly what you mean here. Words can just be weak even if they are meant to help! I am always careful what I say to someone going through a hard time!

  9. I am with you on this, I hate it when people have sympathy, I would much rather they tried to understand and work with me, rather than feeling sorry for me.

  10. Emily says:

    This is such a great reminder and very important to know what to say to those struggling with anxiety!

  11. Sympathy is sometimes just a response from someone who doesn’t understand but doesn’t want to offend and I’m sure the intent is not malicious. It could be that person’s way of offering encouragement. I try not to read too much into written, online correspondence as it fails to show the twinkle in a person’s eye or the look of concern and those words are left to stand on their own. Remember ““You are strong, you are brave for sharing, and you’ve got this.”

  12. I love what you’ve suggested and I love that you’re so open about this topic. You’re really helping someone with your posts.

  13. I have horrible anxiety so its great to read blogs like yours. Thank you!!

  14. Anxiety is a subject that used to be ignored or just not talked about much I should say. I’m always looking for posts and ways to handle my anxiety (chronic pain related). We do have to be careful about our words and how they will be perceived.

  15. My mom had anxiety and both of my kids have it. People say well-meaning but totally thoughtless things sometimes.

  16. peter says:

    it’s nice to see some openness and discussion on this topic. i will always try to lend an ear or hand if needed.

  17. I personally know how you feel because I have it too! I can relate. I don’t need or feel the need to have any sympathy. If for anything I just want to be treated normal and be understood.

  18. I never knew what to say to people with anxiety problem because I have never been there. However, sometimes lending an ear to listen is enough for that person.

  19. Jeanine says:

    This actually could have been written by me. I feel the exact same way, and when those are struggling with anxiety instead of saying I hope it gets better, blah blah. I always just let my friends know I’m here if needed.

  20. Bonnie G says:

    I have severe anxiety myself and it affects my day all day. I would like to open up like you do to possibley feel better but I’m always worried about what others will comment.

  21. Most of the time I wait when someone who has a problem will come to me to talk about it because I’m afraid when I will start I will say something inappropriate

  22. Great reminder! Encouragement is SO much better for making people feel heard and understood than sympathy (which is honestly not always REAL sympathy in the first place).

  23. I know other moms with anxiety and they have written a similar post to this one. We really should be so much more supportive of each other with pitty, encourage each other…..mom’s encouraging mom’s. My best friend has severe anxiety and I hate seeing her suffer, it tears me up. I thank her for sharing it with me, it takes courage to do so. I love her for that, I think so highly of her for that. The same for you, you may not see it as brave but for those with anxiety, like my BF she does, because it screams she isn’t alone and it is okay…to her it is a reminder not to be ashamed. Thank You

  24. Catalina says:

    I will remember these words. They are simple, but full of meaning! Thanks!

  25. […] I Don’t Want Your Sympathy: Encouraging Words to Remember […]

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