I don't know whether or not I ever used the word "anxiety" with my friends. Most of them use the word "anxious" to describe me, but I guess I never really felt like it would be helpful to me to talk about it with them, no particular reason. I did tell friends that I felt deeply betrayed when the whole nightmare gossip-fest began 2 years back. My closest friends know about most of my past & that I have a hard time trusting people. I used to deal with stress by just "running away" when something would go wrong, but now I've learned that I need to at least tell people when they say or do something that upsets me b/c often they don't even realize that I was upset/frightened/etc and once I tell them about it they change what they are doing. It is a give & take and I do need to be willing to take more risks too. I let them know what my goals are & ask them to hold me accountable to reaching them. They don't let me get away with cop-outs, but they do slow down or choose smaller places or such in order to help me get used to the idea of being around new people. I really think that mostly it is something that is just clear to them that I get nervous about things, but it could also be that they think I am just really shy or something so prefer quieter, smaller groups to be around -- there are a lot of people like that. Still, I do occasionally go to larger concerts & such with my friends, but the deal is that we stick together during the concert & then usually I plan for a quiet activity afterward like going to a coffeehouse -- which helps me kinda wind down from all the stress of being in a large, crowded place before I have to try to go to sleep. I don't really tell my friends that, I just suggest that it would be fun to go out for coffee afterward & just hang out together.
I didn't tell most of the guys I was dating about my anxiety. Honestly, I didn't know them that well and didn't trust them. I kinda suspect one guy I dated was even more anxiety-ridden than I was. I went on a couple dates with him & the final one was a disaster so there's no way of knowing for sure, but I'm pretty convinced. The last guy I went with, though, was an old friend that I hadn't seen in years so I did know him better than most. I did let him know pretty early on that I have a neuro condition & need to have surgery often. He was really sweet & came to visit me in the hospital. I really had a hard time saying anything about fears, but after he shared about the rough times he had growing up, I felt it was okay to share a little of my background. I pretty much let him lead. I was also battling severe depression for a while & though I didn't tell him about it while I was going through it, after the fact I wanted to let him know what was going on so I did say a little about that things had really changed for me and that I wanted to really live my life and I wasn't sure how that might affect our relationship. It really wasn't a big deal. He asked if I was okay at the time, and I was, so that was it and he let it go.
With guys especially, I've often been told that if they can't solve it, don't share it. I think that's a pretty safe rule. For example, I could ask him to walk slower to accommodate my pain, but there really wasn't much he could do to keep me from having more surgery. He set a rule early on that he didn't want to hear about anything too sad if there wasn't anything he could do about it & that seemed like a fair rule to me. If there is something that your date can do to help ease your anxiety, I think it would be fair to tell him (with as few details as possible). Otherwise, it will just leave him feeling helpless & uncomfortable and that would probably just make you feel even more anxious.
Well, those are my thoughts anyways. There will always be obstacles out there. The only thing we can do is figure out whether to go over, under or around them. I get pretty overwhelmed too right now & am having a hard time b/c after all I did to get well, I now have lost my job & can't afford my meds, but I try to remember that I have made it through a lot of tough situations that I was sure I would never survive and somehow I will make it through this trial too. :)