Everything in Between

Living With Anxiety |What should you never say to someone with anxiety

Hello again. I want to thank every one who replied to my previous piece on Anxiety. I appreciate you being concerned but I admire the ones that confided, if not all, a few of their concerns to me. That’s the whole purpose of my blog: talking about my experiences whilst learning the whole lot you have to offer.

We’re not alone in this no matter how lonely it appears to be. All we need to do is start talking and not be ashamed anymore.

It’s not uncommon to come across a friend or family friend who might be anxious or feeling overwhelmed with stress. However, do you know the things that you should never say to someone dealing with an anxiety?

Stop Stressing. It’s just in your head.

Something that is probably nothing for you might have significant impact on those with anxiety. Sure, you mean well when you explain us that our problem is not real and that stress is only an outcome of our over-thinking. But don’t forget that whatever thoughts we are struggling with seems extremely factual to us in the moment. It’s the way our minds are wired. Thus, please don’t make us look like a fool for feeling emotional over something you can’t see.
What to say: What’s in your head that’s stressing you? Let’s talk and find the cause.

Get Over it. It’s not that big of a deal.

We know it’s not a big deal and we realize that worrying about somethings might not be justified. But you need to know that it is out of our control. As much it bothers and irritates you to see us behaving irrationally, it frustrates us no less. It hurts to see ourselves failing at taking charge of our own feelings yet, on the spur of the moment, something that’s very small for you might be the worst and most terrifying thing taking over us. Also, we can’t just get over it. We didn’t turn on our anxiety attack intentionally so we can’t turn it off as we please.
What to say: I understand it’s bothering you but it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself for feeling out of control.

You need to calm down. It’s not that hard.

We know you’re trying to be nice and helping us by telling us to relax but trust me nothing could be more offending than this statement. What you need to have in your mind is that we didn’t choose to have a mental health issue so just because you gave a command for us to calm down won’t automatically do it. If we could have a say on the level of anxiousness we feel, we would stop ourselves.
What to say: What can I do to help you relax?

You’re shy and anxious. I understand. I feel it too sometimes.

If you don’t have an anxiety disorder, please spare us your day to day anxiety experiences. We know the difference between sadness and an actual issue. We see that you have no clue how physically painful an anxiety attack is so when you compare your fear of public speeches and family feuds with our intense and unmanageable worries, you are minimizing our sentiments. It’s wonderful that you learned to overcome your shyness at some point and while we are truly happy for you, the same won’t happen to us, by you merely showing us the similarities in our nervous lives.
What to say: I don’t necessarily see why this is hurting you so much but I am here for you.

At least you have a decent life. It could be worse, you know.

We are not oblivious of the fact that people are going through much worse. Needless to say that it could’ve happened to us but we have a home, full functioning body and truly caring people in our lives to be grateful for. Despite that, when you state this obvious fact to our face, it makes us nothing but guilty about not being thankful for everything God and our family has provided us with. It makes us question our own emotions and momentarily all we feel is pathetic for being so shallow. Talk to us about deficiencies but not when we are in the middle of a panic attack.
What to say: Don’t let this worry ruin your quality of life. It only gets better form here.

Don’t be a prick. You can’t hide behind your problems.

We don’t want to act like a**holes but we tend to do and/or say things that make us worthy of being seen as pricks. We don’t know how to talk when we get angry and although, we might love you, we can say extremely horrible things just to avoid an unwanted situation. There’s no excuse for this so if we are coming off as mean and rude, please let us know. But remember, we don’t mean it and we are not trying to hurt you. It’s just that we can’t keep up with everything. It’s tough.
What to say: I don’t know if there’s an alternative. Say whatever you feel. I really struggle with this one.

Everyone has a mental health issue these days.

Press release by World Health Organization states that, “one in four people are affected by mental health or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently  suffer from such conditions.” On Mental Health Day in 2017, Fortune said, “more than 300 million suffer from depression and 260 million suffer with some sort of anxiety disorder.”
No, it’s not a trend and people are not trying to get any sympathies. Mental health problems are real and almost causes $1 trillion worldwide in lost productivity. So, if you are not one of them, don’t pull someone else down. A lot of us are still figuring out and maybe have lived half of our lives unaware of the cause to our problems. If people have finally come up and are motivating each other to speak up and diagnosed, it’s not just jumping on a bandwagon, it’s more and so to recover.

***no fun fact for this one***

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  1. Great post thank you for sharing! I especially love how you have put a ‘what to say instead’ in it. This definitely taught me how to respond properly and I feel like I needed this to become a better friend 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am sure you’re an awesome friend already. Glad, my post could help.
      Love your blog as well. 🙌🏾

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