Colin Macallister 52 Belfast: Dont Say: Youre Being Ridiculous
Anxiety is like being stretched on a medieval rack with surges of panic being randomly poured on you like buckets of ice-cold water. Or just the simple act of sitting down for a meal with friends. I can feel myself being tortured by thoughts whizzing dangerously close to my head: what if you die? What if you have a heart attack? What if you are sick? What if you cant make it to the toilet and have an accident?
The worst thing to say to someone with anxiety is: What are you worrying about? Youre being ridiculous. You need to get over it. The best thing is: I dont understand why you are feeling this, but what can I do for you?
How Do I Know If My Child Has An Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety-related problems in children share four common features. The anxiety:
- Is typically a fear or fixation that interferes with the ability to enjoy life, get through the day or complete tasks.
- Is puzzling to both the child and parents.
- Does not improve after logical explanations to address the worries.
- Is treatable.
Instead Say: What Can I Do To Help You
If your friend has been dealing with anxiety for a while, chances are they already know what does and doesnt help them feel better. Ask what they need and then do it, even if their request seems silly to you. Showing youre willing to offer assistance helps us anxious folk feel like were being taken seriously.
Read Also: Can A Brain Tumor Cause Anxiety
How To Empathetically Acknowledge Someone Else’s Anxiety
It takes a lot for someone to open up about anxiety, and your job isn’t to be their therapist but rather an empathetic listener. “There’s such a fear of the unknown, and people’s anxieties are shifting not just day-to-day, but throughout the day as well,” says Berman. “Their reasoning for doing one thing or not doing anything may not make sense, so just listen non-judgmentally and treat them with respect and dignity.”
RELATED: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety
The most important thing you can do is validate their feelings, says Newman. That can be as simple as saying something like, “that must be so scary for you,” I’m here for you,” or “how can I help you?” What you don’t want to do when someone is being vulnerable with you is immediately tell them they have nothing to worry about, that they’re wrong, or try to provide a solution. Most people aren’t looking for advice right now, just support.
That can be hard when tensions are high and you feel fundamentally different from whoever you’re talking to . Instead of taking anyone’s stance personally, try to remember that no one is at their best right now, says Newman.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter
Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also offers a hotline that provides confidential assistance and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This hotline is mainly used for treatment referrals in addition to providing information. If you do not have insurance, this is a great way to explore treatment options through state-funded programs or at locations that offer special rates for those without insurance.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Know When You Have An Anxiety Attack
If Someone Has A More Serious Anxiety Problem Avoid Stigmatizing Them
What can we do for folks with more serious issues? People experiencing things like panic disorder, depression mixed with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessional thinking may fear that theyre literally going crazy. Helping them may feel beyond your ability.
You can still be supportive in many ways. When someone is experiencing significant anxiety, its helpful to reassure them that your overall perception of them hasnt changed. Theyre still the same person theyre just suffering a temporary problem situation that has become out of control. Theyre not broken and who they are hasnt changed. To the extent possible, you can help the person stay connected to positive aspects of their identity by participating in or encouraging their interests and hobbies.
Sometimes, individuals who have chronic anxiety problems arent interested in changing. For example, you might be friends with someone who has agoraphobia or an eating disorder, but their condition is long-term and stable. In these cases, you can be accepting of that person so that they dont feel isolated. Being matter-of-fact about their limitations without excessively shaming them or insisting they should pursue becoming normal is often the best strategy.
Salma Begum 18 Cambridge: Its Not That We Dont Think Positively Its Just That Anxiety Overrides It
Let me dispel some myths. Firstly, some assume anxiety is not much of a big deal and can be avoided or just switched off. There is also a general belief that anxiety only happens to people who have had a traumatic life events. Thinking theres nothing they can do to help someone with anxiety or that its best to leave them alone when that person has isolated themselves.
The worst thing to say to someone with anxiety is to calm down or that their thoughts are irrational, telling them to think positively and not to be silly. Its not that we dont think positively. Its just that anxiety overrides it. The best way to handle the situation is to reassure the person that you are there for them, ask them how they are and talk about the problems.
Don’t Miss: What Chemical Imbalance Causes Anxiety
Your Anxiety Is Harming Your Physical Well
Occasional anxious thoughts may cause more mental stress than physical symptoms. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, you will likely experience physical symptoms that sap your energy and interfere with your daily functioning. These signs could include sleeping troubles, unexplained muscle aches and digestive issues.
How Do You Talk To Someone With Depression And Anxiety
6 ways to help a friend with depression or anxiety
What can you do to assist someone who has a depressive disorder?
Heres what you can do to help: Talk to the person about what youve noticed and why youre concerned. Explain that depression is a medical condition, not a personal flaw or weakness and that it usually gets better with treatment.
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Cause Headaches And Dizziness
How Anxiety Can Impact Your Relationship
If you are dating someone with anxiety, it is likely your loved one spends a lot of time worrying and ruminating on everything that could go wrong or already be wrong with the relationship. Here are some examples of negative thoughts and questions that might be running through their brain:
- What if they dont love me as much as I love them?
- What if theyre lying to me?
- What if theyre hiding something from me?
- What if theyre cheating on me?
- What if they want to cheat on me?
- What if they like someone else more?
- What if my anxiety ruins our relationship?
- What if we break up?
- What if they dont text me back?
- What if Im always the first one to reach out?
- What if they ghost on me?
Most people have at least a few of these negative thoughts. They are a normal part of being in a relationship, especially a new one.
People with an anxiety disorder, however, tend to have these anxious thoughts more frequently and more intensely.
We tend to experience more anxiety when we focus on negative thoughts rather than positive ones.
The anxious thoughts cause physiological symptoms, including shortness of breath, insomnia and an anxiety or panic attack. Someone with anxiety can react to relationship stress with a fight-or-flight response as if the stress were a physical attack.
Sometimes anxious thoughts motivate your partner to act in ways that stress you out and strain the relationship.
Causes Of Anxiety Fear And Panic
There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.
When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.
Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.
Read Also: What Anxiety Disorder Do I Have
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.
Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.
How To Productively Express Your Own Anxiety
In an era when nearly every decisionfrom going to the grocery store to reuniting with family for the holidayscarries a certain level of risk, it’s crucial that you’re able to talk about your anxieties with those who matter most to you. Not only will it give you some relief, but it can keep tensions from flaring and help other people understand where you’re at emotionally.
It’s not just enough to say, “I’m nervous about seeing you” or “I’m afraid to travel,” says Berman. “The best way to tell someone you’re anxious about a certain scenario is to explain why.” That “why” goes behind your immediate emotions to shed some light on your thought processesi.e. “I’m nervous about seeing you because you recently traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot” or “I’m afraid to travel because the health officials say airports up the risk of exposure.”
How you explain yourself is crucial, too, Stephanie Newman, PhD, a psychologist based in New York City, tells Health. “I statementsi.e. ‘I feel this’ versus ‘you’re being this’frame your feelings in a way that people are open to hearing,” she explains. Think: “I don’t want to come to Thanksgiving dinner because Dr. Fauci warned against small gatherings” versus “You’re not taking COVID-19 safety precautions seriously because you’re inviting more than 10 people over.”
Recommended Reading: Can I Get Ssi For Bipolar Depression And Anxiety
When Should I Talk To My Doctor About Social Anxiety
First, it’s important to know that you are not abnormal if you have social anxiety. Many people have it. If you have unusually high anxiety and fear about social situations, talk openly with your doctor about treatment. If left untreated, social anxiety disorder may lead to depression, drug or alcohol problems, school or work problems, and a poor quality of life.
Talking To A Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
Communicating well with a health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Find tips to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit at Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider. For additional resources, including questions to ask a provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves,call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Don’t Miss: What To Do When Having An Anxiety Attack
Tip #: Choose A Time Thats Convenient For Them Too
If someone approaches us for help when our own needs are not fully met, we may not have the emotional strength to give them what they are asking for. Remember that your family member has their own responsibilities and needs to attend to as well. It is best, if you can, to approach them when they are calm and collected, not stressed out after work or coping with a crisis of their own. However, keep in mind, too, that no time is going to be the perfect timeyour needs are as important as anyone elses. Its important to recognize the difference between being considerate and simply procrastinating to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation. Give them space and time for now if they need it, but make sure not to put off your conversation indefinitely.
Begin Your Recovery Journey.
Paul Culshaw 32 Liverpool: Dont Say: Oh I Get That Youll Be Fine In A Minute
Anxiety for me manifests in a pressure that I feel in the left side of my chest. All of a sudden I wont be able to breathe and my mind tellsme that I could be about to have a heart attack. I know by now, eight years on, not to believe it, but it tries to communicate that frightening message all the same.When I get like this I find sitting still very difficult and social situations overwhelming. At its most intense, anxiety can make me feel like I want to jump out of the window to escape but I dont even know what I am trying to escape from.
The worst things to hear when I feel like this are statements such as: Snap out of it, or Think positive, or: Oh yeah, I get that. Youll be fine in a minute. If you dont know what to say, sometimes its better to say nothing or keep comments minimal. When friends say: Its all in your head, or tell me to snap out of it, its horrible. Do people really think those with anxiety havent considered this? Its when people say its all in your head that really gets me. Yes, Im sure doctors would agree, it is a mental illness after all, but despite this it still affects us physically, creating sensations such as shallow breathing, hyperventilating, tightness of chest and claustrophobia.
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Cause Urinary Retention
Encouraging Your Partner To Try Individual Or Couples Therapy
When you care for someone, its tempting to support them by trying to act as a surrogate therapist. The problem is youre not a therapist. Trying to play that role will be emotionally draining. It could make you resent your partner.
You are not responsible for providing therapy to your partner. This is why you should gently guide your partner toward professional help. A therapist can help them improve how they deal with anxiety, in and outside a relationship.
If youre in a serious, long-term relationship, consider couples counseling. An anxiety issue might be based on what is going on within your relationship.
Getting professional help by working with a couples counselor can take the pressure off your partner. Rather than encouraging them to do something on their own, you are inviting them to join you in therapy.
What happens in couples counseling?
In couples counseling, you and your partner will gain insight into your relationship, learn how to effectively resolve conflicts, and improve your overall relationship satisfaction through various therapeutic techniques. Therapists will often assign tasks to the couple so that they can apply the skills learned in therapy in their daily interactions. Most couples conclude therapy with a better understanding of their relational patterns and heightened communication skills, allowing them to continue their relationship in a much healthier, more fulfilling way.
Creating A Safe Space To Discuss Anxiety
Whether you ask or deduce it after months of dating, there will be a point when your partner discloses they deal with anxiety. Its a crucial moment in the relationship, so be sensitive, have empathy and do not judge. Thank them for trusting you with this information that they have most likely have not shared with many people. See it as the beginning of a discussion you can resurface occasionally.
Read Also: Why Do I Have Anxiety And Depression
Tip #: Try To Broach The Topic Gently
If youre scared of putting too much of an emotional burden on a family member all at once, try talking to them in stages. You can start by telling them about your anxiety, or about the challenges youre facing in life that make you nervous. Then, on a later occasion, you can come back to that conversation and ask your family member if they will help you seek treatment. This helps your family member adjust to the idea that you are facing problems, and can relieve some of your tension as well.
How Your Doctor Can Help You Manage Anxiety
There are several approaches that can help you cope with anxiety, and you can guide your own treatment plan. One size does not fit all. It is important to remain honest with your provider about how you would like to manage your symptoms.
Medication. Many people fear that they will be advised only to start medications. This may be suggested, as medication can be helpful in some cases. But you can say that you prefer conservative or alternative measures. After all, this is your health were talking about. Before stopping any medication, discuss this with your providerstopping abruptly can worsen symptoms.
Lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and eating healthy can improve your symptoms. We can also incorporate integrative medicine into your plan, which consists of meditation, yoga, emotional support animals, acupuncture and massage therapy to help manage stress.
Overall health. Well also evaluate your overall physical health by ruling out thyroid conditions, sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis that can cause anxiety. Managing vitamin D and iron levels can also help improve your symptoms. By just checking your vitals, we can help get to the root cause of your anxiety.
If you are concerned about your anxiety, reach out to your doctor for guidance. Dont have a primary care physician? Find one near you.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Stress And Anxiety