Anxiety could be very misunderstood in that people think everyone experiences anxiety once in a while and it is not worth making a big deal out of. The truth is that people with anxiety experience feeling on the edge every day and treating their mental illness lightly is not going to help anyone. By knowing what not to say to someone with anxiety, you will not have to worry about any tension between the two of you and you will be a more understand friend after.
If someone is confiding in you about how scared and stressed they are about events that seem little to you, telling them to calm down is belittling their mental illness. If your friend was able to simply calm down, they would have done it already. No one chooses to have anxiety and we are not able to turn it off. This will only increase the stigma by encouraging those with anxiety not to get help if you are making them feel crazy or feeling like their symptoms are easily fixable. Instead, it is best to encourage your friend to take a deep breath and join them so they are not alone.
You Keep Controlling Everything
Trying to control everything around you can be a coping mechanism for anxiety. You may see them planning hangouts with you, making lists for everything, or making constant phone calls of what the game plan is. When you are yelling at your friend that they are being too controlling, they are not trying to make you mad or be bossy. It is because they feel like everything around them is beyond their control and fighting a constant battle for control. Speak instead about what the root of your friend’s anxiety is and how you can better help.
You Are Being Irrational
Your friend may tell you they do not want to go to college because they fear no one will like them. Accusing someone with anxiety of being irrational is an insult to their symptoms since people with anxiety do tend to have irrational thoughts. They cannot help those thoughts or turn them off. Instead, nicely tell them the reality of the situation that they will meet at least one friend. By watching the way you speak to someone with anxiety, they will feel more comfortable talking to you and you will be a more sympathetic person.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues or addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.