Anxiety is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows: a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Mental health disorders are finally beginning to get the attention that they deserve. There are many times that people do not take these disorders seriously, and that can come off as extremely insensitive and hurtful. No mental health disorder is fun or easy to deal with, and therefore understanding and listening can make a huge difference for someone who is dealing with anxiety.
This is a list of the things you shouldn’t say to someone who is dealing with anxiety, and at the end there is a shorter list of some suggestions of what you can say instead. Love everyone around you; everyone wants to be loved and appreciated.
1. Calm down
If they could, they would, believe me. This is the most pointless thing to say because the whole point of anxiety is that someone is uncontrollably worrying about things that are irrational. Uncontrollably. That means it can’t be controlled… a.k.a they can’t calm down, even if they want to.
2. That's stupid
Yes, they are aware it’s usually something completely irrational. That doesn’t make it any less scary or any easier to deal with.
3. Are you seriously stressed over that?
Well it’s not exactly fun for them to have a panic attack, so yes, they are very serious; having someone downplay their fears doesn’t help anything.
4. Just try to forget about it
Again, if they could just forget about it, then it wouldn’t even be a disorder to begin with.
5. Can't you just enjoy what we are doing and stop talking about it?
No, that’s the only thing on their mind and sometimes talking it out is the only thing that helps.
6. You're crazy
They are aware that they are unreasonable sometimes and that it can be hard to deal with, but they can’t help it. Calling them crazy will only cause damage.
7. You're annoying
I think this is the worst one. No one wants to be annoying, but when someone has anxiety, they can’t help it. If you think its annoying or overwhelming, just try to imagine how annoying and overwhelming it is to the person who has to deal with it 24 hours a day.
Things you can say to someone dealing with anxiety instead:
1. I understand that this is really bothering you, do you want to talk about it?
2. Just remember that everything will work itself out, you don't have to say anything, just remember I am here for you.
3. Do you want to go on a walk and talk about it?
4. You’re not crazy.
5. I love you.