I have suffered with my different forms of anxiety over the years, and have had lots of different people that have felt frustrated at not knowing how to help me. I thought i would be the best person to tell you parents, friends and partners hot to help who you love when they are going through anxiety and what kind of things you need to know to help them.
- Forget everything you know about anxiety.
May seem like a strange one but forgetting everything you know about anxiety is a good tip. Anxiety probably isn’t what you think it is, it is actually quite a debilitating illness. Anxiety isn’t just an overactive worried mind. The worst symptoms of anxiety actually tend to be the physical ones. People with anxiety can be very achy, can feel sick a lot and can often be very tired. Forgetting what you think you know about anxiety can help you open you’re mind to what anxiety really is, and what your loved one is experiencing. People tend to say that everyone experiences anxiety, but I think its more the case that everyone experiences worry and stress, and anxiety is something different.
2. Listen and don’t judge.
People with anxiety can be very irrational about things and we know that we are being irrational, but just want to talk about it. Try not to get frustrated at them and tell them that their thoughts aren’t silly. Try and remain calm and tell them you’re listening and you know it must be hard having these thoughts. Anxiety sufferers can often repeat themselves and talk about certain problems a lot, but try and remember it is because its usually on their mind so much. Listen and try to understand.
3. Never put pressure on them.
For parents especially, all you want is for your child to be able to do what they want to do and to get rid of this horrible illness, but the way to do this is not by pressure. A lot of the time you may think the right thing to do is to encourage them to do certain things, like socialising or doing something they are scared of. In fact this is probably the worst thing you could do. Letting them no there is no pressure for them to do anything is what will help them to thrive and on their own accord and in their own time. Let them know you will be there for them when they want to face their fears and will help them through them.
4. Don’t make it taboo.
Make it a subject you talk about openly. Don’t be afraid to bring it up, ask them how you can help.They might not know how you can help, but asking them is important. Make sure the topic never becomes taboo, not only between you and them, but between you and other people. Not everyone will understand anxiety but make a point about always being open with people about their anxiety. If they can’t do something because of their anxiety tell people that’s why they’re not there.
5. Try you’re best.
I have been an anxiety sufferer for years but have never had to help someone with a mental health illness, and i imagine it’s really tough. Although you may not always say the right things, we know when you are trying. So just try you’re best and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what to do. You being on this page and reading this shows you care, and I bet you’re doing really great.