If you want to help someone who struggles with anxiety, you have to learn patience first. The fears of anxiety are crippling and aren’t so easy to eliminate.
I think one of the worst mental disabilities is the anxiety disorder. Of course, that’s just my opinion, considering I suffer from this disorder every day. My family and friends learned long ago what anxiety is and how to help someone who struggles, but it didn’t happen without learning the hard way, through trial and error. I have lost friends, destroyed relationships, and left jobs, all because of my fears. It’s unfortunate.
Fears are stronger than you think
When you try to help someone with anxiety, you learn things about yourself. I have anxiety, but I also have friends with anxiety as well. On my good days, which are few, I try to help them deal with their fears about life in general. As I’m helping them, it puts my issues into perspective.
So, first off, I want to reach out to those who suffer from anxiety and give them some words of encouragement.
It’s okay that you’re not okay
I want everyone who deals with the fears of anxiety to know that they are worth something. It is okay to be broken, and it is okay to struggle in life with what terrifies you. I know it’s not pleasurable, but some people will try to convince you that you are a bad person or that you worry for no reason.
Listen, they cannot truly understand unless they’ve lived with anxiety and felt the deep dread of fear. I have felt this and I want you to know that it’s okay to be imperfect. For instance, If someone wants to exit your life because of your anxiety, then they aren’t good for you anyway.
Never, and I repeat, never let them tell you that no one else can love you the way they do. Never let them convince you that they are the best you will ever have. What one person cannot handle, another can become your hero.
Your fears aren’t always irrational
Now, I know that the fears associated with anxiety can be pretty irrational at times, but that doesn’t mean that everything is a concoction of your imagination. Be aware of the characters of the people in your life. Not everyone is willing to help you. Some will take advantage of your struggles and use your fears to justify their own bad behavior.
So, before you beat yourself down about your concerns or worries, make sure you give your gut feeling a bit of credit. In a nutshell, pay close attention to the logic of your concerns. Sometimes something is really wrong. It’s okay if you get them mixed up at times too. The universe has an odd way of sorting out truth from paranoia.
It’s okay to seek help
Sometimes you can deal with anxiety on your own. At other times, your anxiety can become so out of control that you will need support.
I understand that these feelings of fear can make you so overwhelmed and even make you want to die, but with help, you can find peace in the turmoil. Talk to others who are familiar with anxiety and don’t be afraid to seek therapy.
Sleep is good
Just like depression, anxiety can be draining. All those runaway imaginations, shaking hands, and racing heart rate: all this can zap your energy quickly. I am aware that all it takes to become upset is one phrase or ultimatum. In my case, I want to continue trying to find a connection between family and friends, but sometimes it’s just emotionally draining for us all. ‘
For those who suffer from anxiety, sleep can help rejuvenate your mind and give you a fresh outlook on the situation. This also gives your loving family and friends time to reenergize as well so they can help you once more. If you feel overwhelmed, take a nap and see if that helps.
For family and friends who want to help their loved ones with anxiety
If you’re becoming frustrated and you want to learn how to help someone with anxiety, then there are a few things you should know.
First, you have to understand that anxiety is a real illness. More than likely, your family member is not being difficult on purpose. They are dealing with a disorder. The good news is, there are things you can do to help.
I know that it’s easier said than done, but patience is a treasure to those who suffer. If you are willing to be patient with them, you will be able to see how the disorder works.
Those with anxiety will show you how it feels to deal with fears if you pay close attention. If you are able to imagine only a portion of what goes on in their minds, it could drastically change the way you deal with them.
Just be present
In many cases, those who suffer from anxiety just need their family and friends to be present. This means spending time with them, talking about good things, and even asking questions. Sometimes this just means being in the same house with them so they know they are not alone with their fears.
Learn about anxiety
One of the worst culprits to anxiety is ignorance. There have been so many relationships destroyed because of failure to understand the mind of the anxious. Yes, it’s almost impossible, but if you ask questions and really listen, you can start to be more empathetic. This is extremely important.
First lesson: Anxiety is not attention seeking. It is not being mean, and it is not jealousy. Anxiety is a real disorder which inflicts incredible fear in the minds of otherwise normal people. Understanding this is the first step in offering help to someone with anxiety.
The fears of anxiety cause avoidance, anger, and even heightened intuitive-driven concerns. Many people who suffer from anxiety have the gift of intuition. Not only do they have fears, but sometimes these fears are logical. This drives them to be predisposed to assume the worst in any given situation.
I’m struggling in this area now with my loved ones. Many times my fears are misunderstood and I seem “mean” or discombobulated. There is a whole list of negative feelings that I could convey, but I’m sure you get the picture. The point is, the failure to acknowledge fears and feelings displayed by the anxious only makes the sufferer worse.
It also discourages them from confiding in you. Communication will stop when the anxious feel like they cannot be understood. Yes, this communication can be difficult too, but at least trying to see things in a different way will help them feel appreciated and loved.
Things not to say:
- “There’s nothing to worry about.”
- “Just stop”
- “Don’t be so negative”
- “You’re pushing everyone away”
Things you should say:
- “You are loved”
- “You are not alone”
- “We can get through this”
- *When small victories occur, tell the anxious, “Good job!” or “I’m impressed by how you handled that.”
There are many ways to help someone with anxiety.
Knowledge most certainly goes a long way. You must first understand the root of these anxious feelings, and that will take ample communication.
Patience will come as you deal with these origins and reward will come by love and connection between the one you love and your ability to enter their world. Just remember to take care of yourself when helping the anxious as not to fall prey to their fears, which is possible.
I hope this helped you or your loved ones. Take time to understand the language to use as well when dealing with anxiety. Never patronize or make your loved one seem like the bad buy. As with depression, anxiety can fuel suicidal attempts, so it’s important to help in love.
Be blessed and don’t give up!
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Have you written anything on “understand the root of these anxious feelings”?
I don’t think patience is enough any more. It tends to make us too passive. I need some direction to try and help solve the anxiety, that a layman can do. I have a few ideas but am not sure. I believe drugs like caffeine can contribute far more than people realise. I believe the main goal must be a constant seeking of “calm” both mind and body. I think facing the truth is another difficult factor to consider, and perhaps cannot be done by the layman. But what if the layman truly believes he is right, in spite of not knowing the dangers?
It seems like I may have written a post a while back on this topic or either touched upon it a bit. Thank you for this suggestion and I will look into developing something in the near future. For now, I will say this: Roots of anxiety are many, and yes, they should have a practical outline of treatment that we can utilize “at home”. For those loved ones that are having patience and feeling as if that patience is wearing thin, a practical idea would help so much.
My family tries to understand my triggers and how they came from the past trauma (the root). When they were able to learn the triggers, then understand when they come, how they come, and how they can be avoided, this helped them strengthen me with their own healing tactics.
I think it has a great deal to do with those triggers. I will tell you why. I can be going along on an ordinary day, spending time with my family , and then BAM! A trigger comes from out of nowhere that blows me away. I don’t have the time to stop my anxious reactions. My family is prepared, having seen these things for manty years. My oldest son, he immediately distracts me from the trigger while talking calming to me the whole time. He does try to keep me away from these things but when it’s impossible, he acts swiftly and calms me down.
When we are alone, he talks to me about the triggers and asks me why…why do I get upset by people who laugh loud and gossip in the booth near ours at a restaurant. Why do certain social scenes bother me? This allows me to explain what im thinking when the random loud giggle makes my hands shake. Being heard makes me want to try harder. Being heard makes me feel like there is hope? Being heard also makes me want to appreciate those who care and their efforts.
Yes, caffeine doesn’t help in some cases. This is for obvious reasons.