Do you know what not to tell a person with anxiety? That type of thing doesn’t really cross your mind, right? Well… Imagine waking up every day with something weighing you down and you can’t control it. What about excessively worrying about things that are out of your control?
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How about experiencing shortness of breath whenever you feel uncomfortable? Picture yourself not being able to enjoy everyday life because you’re afraid of triggering something that’s inside of you.
The list goes on. But do you think you could deal with that? I mean seriously, just think about it for a moment.
Related: Anxiety: The Things People Don’t Talk About
Lots of people are naive to what anxiety really is
Let’s just be honest– without knowing the facts, people rather go off of what they hear when it comes down to it, whether it’s true or not. And most of the time, the things that they hear are what have mental illnesses stigmatized as it is.
Anxiety doesn’t have an on or off switch. People with anxiety can’t just cheer up because you believe they should. Believe me, I’m sure they would love to. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Anxiety is a real mental issue that people lack a lot of knowledge about. They just assume it means someone is nervous all of the time. It is so much more to it.
If you have a friend or loved one who has anxiety, support them as much as you can. Doing something as little as reading up on their mental health disorder is showing support. Talking with them and actually listening and hearing them out is showing support also.
Try to refrain from worsening a person’s anxiety by practicing what NOT to tell a person with anxiety
Everyone wants to show comfort to their loved ones who suffer from anxiety. But sometimes, people can forget the tone they are talking in and certain things they say which could make things worse during an episode. In most cases, it’s not intentional, but those are some things that are easily forgotten when trying to comfort someone.
Here’s what NOT to tell a person with anxiety
- “You’re overreacting/It’s not that serious.” Just because something isn’t serious to you doesn’t mean it is not serious to them. Just put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel. Instead, tell them that you know this is serious to them and tell them that you’re there to help make them feel better.
- “I thought you were on medication for that.” Again, with anxiety, there is no on or off switch. Yes, taking a pill can reduce A LOT of anxiety.. but it doesn’t make it go away completely. Sometimes, life gets hard and people go through shit that a pill just can’t fix at the time. Instead, sit them down and just comfort them. Sometimes, your presence and just silence are all that is needed to make someone feel okay.
Sometimes anxiety cannot be controlled
- “You gotta get out of that.” Get out of what? Their self? That’s who they are and they can’t control the fact that their brain has too little or too much of certain neurotransmitters. They didn’t want their brain to be chemically imbalanced. If they could escape it completely while still being alive, I’m sure they would. Instead, try telling them that you all will work together to get them through it or to cope better with it, etc.
- “Calm down.” If they could, they would. They don’t get worked up just for shits and giggles. Instead, try telling them it is okay, and that you are there for them. Calm them down without actually saying it.
- “I can’t deal with that today.” They know you are referring to their mental disorder and the behavior it causes when you say that. But it is apart of them. Remember, anxiety causes people to become irrational. So they take it as you don’t want to be bothered with them.. or you’re not in the mood for them, etc. Instead, just don’t even say that.
- “Stop taking everything so seriously.” Some people with severe anxiety fear getting insulted or laughed at for their mental disorder. Because it happens so much in this world. So even innocent jokes or comments can set them off… which ends up in a verbal attack. I’m somewhat guilty for doing this– but people are shady as f*ck nowadays and you just never know…. but anyway. Instead, try understanding what you did or said that caused them to get upset. Try understanding what triggered them and why.
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