8 Things You Need To Know [Comprehension Guide]
Living with anxiety or mental illness daily can be torture for many of us that live with it. And that, with so many mental illnesses that are around today, that there are still so many stigmas, and stereotyping about this and maybe the person living with it. This can also lead to many misunderstandings as well as also lack of awareness around these and that is why I am here to try and share my stories and lived experiences with what I go through on the daily. Heck yes, it is hard and it can be difficult with the ones that are around me.
It may be hard for you to fully understand what it’s like to have anxiety. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel helpless if someone you love is struggling with anxiety. Here’s a list of 8 things to do and consider when you are with someone who goes through anxiety and what you can keep in mind if someone you care about struggles with anxiety:
1) It’s important that YOU remain calm while they aren’t.
The last thing they need is to feel bad for you. What they need is someone that’s calm, relaxed, and physically there for them as they get through it.
2) It doesn’t make sense.
The anxious feelings/thoughts won’t stop just because they’re irrational. If it doesn’t make sense to them, it sure isn’t going to make sense to you. So don’t try to figure out what’s going on. Try not to fix them or if the problem if there is one. Don’t try to not judge the person going through this. Do not even think that it’s all in your head. We are crazy etc. They know it’s irrational and if they could tell themselves to “get over it”, they would!
3) Ask them what they need.
They may appreciate silence. They may not want to talk to you in the midst of the storm. They may appreciate it if you take them to a quiet place and sit in silence by them as they ride it out. Or you may have someone that likes physical contact and validation. Either way, ask them what they would prefer.
4) Don’t continuously ask them if they’re “okay”
If they’re having an anxiety attack, you can ASSUME they are not okay. No need to ask them that. What you could say is: “What do you need from me?”
“Do you want to go to a quiet place?”
“Remember to breathe in expanding your belly.”
“I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
“Take your time.”
“This feeling will pass.”
5) It can be unpredictable.
They may be having a great time one minute in a crowd of people and the next minute they need to “flee”. What triggers their anxiety isn’t always predictable. Be in their shoes while they’re socializing with you and with the crowd that they are with. It is never easy sometimes many of us may also make a reason/excuse for us to leave the party as an example. Feel what we feel. Be as empathetic and patient with us.
6) Do some research.
Do some research about anxiety to better understand what they’re going through physically and mentally. This will mean a lot to many of us that struggle with anxiety that anyone that we hang out with will go out of their way to do this as this will make us feel better knowing that you are doing all you can for us while we struggle with this daily.
7) They are as capable to achieve great things as you are.
Just because they have an anxiety disorder does not make them any different in terms of achieving greatness! This is not a limitation. You are you and you can achieve anything if you put your mind, heart, and soul into what you want or love to do. We all have a purpose in life and it’s up to us to find that purpose.
8) Encourage them to seek help.
A new report, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found negative stereotypes often prevent people with mental health issues from seeking treatment. Remind them that there’s no shame in what they’re going through and to seek professional help. But, don’t push them if they’re not ready, and that doesn’t rush them. Again, be patient with them when you’re trying to encourage them to seek help and to tread carefully as some mental illnesses can still be tricky to tackle.