I am not sure if I am posting in the right area, apologies if not.
I guess I have a question for the community. I have a friend who suffers from anxiety quite severely. The trouble is, he seldom opens up about it. Whenever I try to discuss it, he won't, he tends to clam up and not want to talk about it. I want to reach out, but sometimes it is hard because I get shut down almost immediately. I wish there was something I could do, because I know he is suffering, but he is doing it all alone. Not even his family knows he has anxiety.
He will go through phases where he feels happy and not anxious, and this feels great because we have a fantastic friendship. But naturally, the anxiety comes back, and he becomes reclusive, and can sometimes be quite irritable and nasty, which makes it hard to come near him. I just want to give him a hug but I am scared he will push me away. Sometimes he will hint that he is anxious about something, and I try to talk to him about it, but he immediately 'shuts the door' and clams back up.
There are numerous posts about self-help for anxiety, but I find that there are few posts about helping people to help others cope with anxiety. So my question to the community is- how do I act or behave around someone who has anxiety? How can I make someone with anxiety feel better? Am I ok to bring it up often, so that maybe slowly he will become more accustomed to talking about it, and it won't seem so taboo?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I just want to help. I know I can't cure him, I just want to make his life easier.