When Someone You Love Has Anxiety
Anxiety is unpredictable, confusing and intrusive. Its tough. Not just for the people who have it but also for the people who love them. If you are one of those people, you would know too well that the second hand experience of anxiety feels bad enough youd do anything to make it better for the one going through it.
We all have our stuff the things that we struggle with. Ultimately, they are the things that will make us braver, wiser, stronger, more compassionate and better humans. Its just the way it works. The difference with anxiety is that the struggle is more visible.
Whether we struggle with anxiety, confidence, body image whatever there are things that we all need to make the world a little bit safer, a little bit more predictable, a little less scary. We all have our list. When someone you love has anxiety, their list is likely to look at little like this:
Theres a bit to know, so if you can understand everything you can well that makes you kind of awesome.
It makes a difference to be able to talk about anxiety without having to explain it. On the days they dont feel like they have it in them to talk about it, it means a lot that you just get it. If youve tried to understand everything you can about what it means to have anxiety then thats enough. Anxiety is hard to make sense of people with anxiety will be the first to tell you that but it will mean everything that youve tried. Theyll love you for it.
Shifting Your Mental State To Relieve Stress
Anxiety causes stress because we instinctively perceive it as a problem, nothing more. This evokes emotion such as anger and fear.
Talkspace therapist Kate Rosenblatt MA, LPC, LMHC recommended couples try to shift their mindset regarding anxiety. It can be helpful to remember that feelings are not necessarily facts, but they are trying to tell us something. Asking yourself: What is this anxiety trying to say? This can be helpful in understanding what you might be wanting in the moment, and what you can do to best support yourself. Dialectical behavior therapy teaches us about the importance of emotion regulation, and how key it can be to do what works for us to calm our minds and bodies down when we feel anxious, so that we can make the best decisions for ourselves.
Rather than seeing it only as a source of stress, they can develop a curiosity about it. Trying to understand the anxiety makes it more difficult to become angry about it.
How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Children
Its normal for children to feel some amount of anxiety, worry or fear at certain points. For example, a child may feel scared of a thunderstorm or barking dog. A teenager might get anxious about an upcoming test or school dance.
But sometimes, children approach these situations with overwhelming dread or they cant stop thinking about all the fears tied to one of these events. It may seem that none of your comforts help. These children often get stuck on their worries. They have a hard time doing their daily activities, like going to school, playing and falling asleep. Theyre extremely reluctant to try something new.
When thinking about your childs anxiety levels, getting stuck is key. It separates the regular worries of childhood from an anxiety disorder that needs professional help. If the anxiety or worry interferes with your childs ability to function, it may be time to seek help
You May Like: How To Calm A Dog With Separation Anxiety
Gad Symptoms In Children
In children, excessive worrying centers on future events, past behaviors, social acceptance, family matters, personal abilities, and school performance. Unlike adults with GAD, children and teens often dont realize that their anxiety is disproportionate to the situation, so adults need to recognize their symptoms. Along with many of the symptoms that appear in adults, some red flags for GAD in children are:
- What if fears about situations far in the future
- Perfectionism, excessive self-criticism, and fear of making mistakes
- Feeling that theyre to blame for any disaster, and their worry will keep tragedy from occurring
- The conviction that misfortune is contagious and will happen to them
- Need for frequent reassurance and approval
Affordable Online Therapy
Nearly 3 Million people have turned to BetterHelp for professional online therapy. Take the quiz and get matched with a therapist that fits your needs.
Need urgent help? .
Don’t Expect Immediate Change
Recovery is a process. Over time, your loved one will develop strategies and techniques that help them to deal with their anxiety, slowly returning to normal life. Do everything you can to support, and not hinder, this process by gathering as much resolve and patience as you can.
Mental health doesn’t change overnight. The issues that lead to a deterioration in their state of mind are likely complex and will take time to heal. Take this into consideration if you ever feel frustrated at what you perceive as a lack of progress. Give it time and it will come.
If your loved one hasnt considered professional support and treatment, yet their anxiety is having a significant impact on their day-to-day life, it may worth exploring their options. Many effective treatments for anxiety are available today, including therapy and intensive inpatient hospital stays.
Part of these treatments is teaching strategies and methods that allow you to learn how to cope with anxiety., making long-term recovery a possibility. Extend your support by attending a GP appointment or assessment by mental health experts here at Priory, where we provide world-class treatment for anxiety. Join the thousands of people we’ve supported in theirt recovery from mental health difficulties.
In the hands of our expertise, you can receive a diagnosis and effective treatment plan to get your symptoms under control and regain your quality of life. To find out how, call us on 0800 840 3219 or get in touch via email.
Also Check: Can Being Tired Cause Anxiety
Instead Say: Im Always Here For You
You dont have to understand what your friend is going through to be there for them, and you dont have to compare your experiences to theirs to show them that you understand what they feel.
If you dont know what its like to have severe anxiety, be honest about that. But also let them know that you know its real for them and you want to be there to support them however you can.
Showing you care will help if your friend is self-conscious about their anxiety or has a hard time opening up about it. Listen without judgment to what they have to say and what their experiences are like. Being there for someone even when you cant relate is a powerful way of showing support.
How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
Read Also: How To Cure Anxiety Naturally
Refrain From Telling Them What To Do Or How To Think
Although living with someone with anxiety can be challenging, avoid telling them how to think or feel. If they feel scared or worried, telling them they shouldnt feel that way and rationalizing wont make much of a difference.
Using reasoning often will make them feel worse since they have surely tried to do so already.
Studies show guilt and shame play a role in anxiety symptomatology. They probably already feel embarrassed, so dont add to it by sharing what they already know as it can make them feel more ashamed of their condition.
Read Also: Can I Sue My Employer For Stress And Anxiety
Learn About Anxiety Together
Over the years, the more Ive learned about anxiety, the better Ive become at responding to my own challenges . Education and community have a remarkable way of helping people heal.
If your loved one is scared to face their anxiety head on, encourage them to lean in, listen to the anxiety alarms, and pay attention to what theyre trying to say. Dont underestimate the power of walking little by little, day after day, with your loved one on their journey. Read books together. Listen to podcasts. The more information you know , the better decisions you can make.
Also Check: What Does Anxiety Do To Your Body
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.
There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.
How To Help Someone With Depression And Anxiety
Mental health difficulties are extremely common. Many estimates suggest as many as 1 in 4 people suffer from some type of mental health issue at some point in life. Chances are, youve either faced such struggles yourself, or you know someone who has. However, if you love someone, a friend, a partner or a family member, who has anxiety or depression, you may be wondering how you can possibly help. Its common to worry about saying or doing the wrong thing or to withdraw out of concern that youll somehow make things worse for the person.
There are healthy ways to cope with depression, many of which can dramatically boost the likelihood of significant recovery. Plus, you can help your loved ones to cultivate these coping mechanisms. In this guide, well explore the best ways to help someone with depression and offer concrete tips for implementing these methods in your relationships. So, keep reading to find out how to help someone with depression and anxiety today.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Have Anxiety And Depression
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.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind!
However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.
Symptoms Of General Anxiety Disorder
Meanwhile, anxiety can often give rise to these symptoms:
- Obsessive thoughts about specific risks to personal safety
- Digestive disturbances
- Widespread muscle tension
- A sense of impending doom
If you or someone you love experiences these symptoms, its important to see a doctor for a problem evaluation. Never just rely on self-diagnosis.
Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.
Coronavirus is affecting all our lives, and we know that our usual advice may not currently apply. Some ways of looking after yourself or getting support might not be possible or feel realistic during the pandemic.
We hope that you can still find information here that helps. You can visit our coronavirus information hub to find lots of information on coping during the pandemic.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Separation Anxiety In Babies
Do A Daily Or Routine Meditation
While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.
If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga, or walking meditation. There are many free guided meditations on apps like InsightTimer that can help you get started.
Anxiety Definition And Symptoms
According to Anxiety.orgs Sanne van Rooij, Ph.D. and Anaïs Stenson, Ph.D.:
Anxiety disorders are characterized by a general feature of excessive fear and/or anxiety and can have negative behavioral and emotional consequences.
There are different kinds of anxiety, but the most common one is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Here are the symptoms, according to Anxiety.org:
- Excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of events or activities, even when nothing is wrong or when the worry is disproportionate to actual risk.
- The worry is difficult to control
- The worry is associated with at least three or one of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty sleeping
You may also notice signs in how your partner interacts with people.
According to research, people with GAD have 4 interaction styles:
People with GAD manifest these styles in different ways. For someone intrusive, they may have trouble with boundaries and respecting your privacy.
Its important to know your partners interaction style and the underlying issues behind it so you can know how to properly react and handle the situation.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Know If It’s Anxiety Or Something Serious
Types Of Extreme Anxiety
It is also essential to understand that there are many different types of anxiety disorders. Your doctor or therapist can evaluate your symptoms and determine what kind of condition you might have.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Its You And Them Against The Anxiety Not Against Each Other
Dont ever forget that youre a team. Youre fighting against the anxiety, not against each other.
So dont be mad at your partner. Remember that its the anxiety speaking.
Attacking a persons character or personhood can further damage shaky self-esteem. Its natural for you to feel angry or even resentful.
Its even more important to know how to express your frustrations correctly.
The important thing to remember is to express your own feelings as I-statements rather than attributing your feelings to the other persons behavior
Also Check: When Does Zoloft Start Working For Anxiety
Become Knowledgeable About Anxiety
Anxiety is very common in the United States, but it is not one-size fits all and there are many different types. Its important to educate yourself and become familiar with the type of anxiety that your partner is experiencing. Anxiety disorders often develop from a complex set of risk factors including, genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.4
Ask Questions And Listen
Once youve helped your loved one feel safe, you can begin to go deeper in conversation and explore some of the root causes of their anxiety. Dont force a conversation if its not the right time. Let them know that youre available and interested in talking, but let them call the shots about when and where and what.
Remember: The goal here isnt to fix or solve or get rid of the problem. Its to offer support and compassionand one of the best ways to do that is by asking questions and listening intentionally.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask:
- When did you begin to feel this anxiety?
- Was there a specific person or event that triggered it?
- How can I support you today?
- What do you need from me right now?
- Is there anything thats stressing you out that I could help you say no to?
And after you ask these questions, just shut up and listen. Look them in the eye. Nod your head. Validate what they share with simple responses like, Yeah, that sucks. Affirm their vulnerability by saying things like, Wowthank you for sharing that with me, or Im so proud of you for opening up about this.
Most of all, dont give advice unless they specifically ask for it. And even then, check twice before offering your opinions.
Don’t Miss: Why Is Anxiety Worse In The Morning