Struggling with anxiety is an everyday battle. From my own experience, I can tell you that having a good support system is crucial. My friends and family have been there to help me through many of the rough times. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, people in your life simply don’t understand what you’re going through.
Understanding anxiety is the best way to help when someone you know is suffering. These are 10 vital things to remember when a loved one has anxiety.
1. They Can’t Just Get Over It
Anxiety isn’t just in their head and they can’t switch it off. It’s a mental illness that millions of people around the world suffer from. There’s no way for someone who has anxiety to just “get over it.”
2. Anxiety is Overwhelming
Living with this illness is a struggle. Some days are much worse than others, and those days can be completely overwhelming. People with anxiety will often feel like the whole world is falling apart around them. They can also become hypersensitive to sound, lights, and touch, and may need some time away from all of it.
3. There Isn’t Always A Reason
Sometimes an anxiety or panic attack can strike out of nowhere. Quite often, there was no reason why and no trigger behind these attacks. It can often be futile to ask your loved one why they’re anxious because there might not always be an answer to that.
4. Sometimes, They Just Need You to be There
They might not need you to speak or try to comfort them. In some situations, having someone talking at them can make them feel worse. All they need is for someone to be close to them. This alone is comfort enough.
5. And Sometimes They’ll Need to be Alone
Even though the last time they had a panic attack they wanted you there, that doesn’t mean that this time will be the same. It could be too stressful to have people near them. If this happens, back off and give them some space.
6. Don’t Belittle Their Feelings
Never tell someone with anxiety that “it’s not that big of a deal,” or that “it could be worse.” This won’t make them feel any better. All it will do is add more stress to the situation because they know that they have no control over their fears.
7. Trying To Change Them Won’t Help
Anxiety cannot be reasoned with. No matter what you do or say, you can’t simply change the mind of someone who has this illness. Recovery takes years of therapy and support, and it won’t happen overnight.
8. It’s Not Always Obvious When They’re Suffering
Many people with anxiety are “high-functioning”, which means they can still carry on with everyday life. It can be impossible to tell when these kinds of people are struggling with anxiety. Remember, you never know who might need your help.
9. They Know That They Can Be Irrational
Just because they’re anxious, doesn’t mean that they’re not self-aware. Most of the time, people with anxiety know that their fears are irrational. Knowing this though does not make the anxiety go away.
10. You Don’t Need to Fix All Their Problems
It’s hard to watch someone you love battling such fierce demons. Although it’s counterintuitive, you do not need to solve everything for them. What they need most from you right now is your support.
Having a loved one struggle with anxiety is tough. Remember that they are not in control of their fears or, sometimes, their behavior. Be there for them and support them by doing your best to understand their illness.
Share this article to help someone you know have a greater understanding of anxiety. You never know who might need it.