Anxiety is prevalent among not only college students, but most young adults in today's age. As someone who has anxiety, I know just how hard it can be to deal with it. From the constant worry, to the panic attacks, to everything else anxiety-related, it is a lot for one person to deal with. That's why it's so important for someone with anxiety to have a support group who understands them. However, there are many things that you should not say to someone with anxiety because it does not help them. While many of them are not great, there is one thing that people tend to say to anxious people that gets on my nerves.
"You need to calm down."
Now I know what you're thinking, you're asking yourself how could something with innocent meaning not be innocent at all? Well, let me explain this to you because it's some valuable information to know if you ever are dealing with an anxious person.
I will admit, it's definitely easy to think that telling someone to calm down while they are having a panic attack is not bad or harmful. But the truth is, someone who is extremely anxious or panicking cannot just simply "calm down." Anxiety is not something someone can just simply "snap out" of. Anxiety is NOT the same thing as someone who is just simply overreacting to something.
Anxiety is never an overreaction — telling someone to "calm down" implies that it is.
Also, as I said, it is simply not easy for someone who is having a panic attack to simply calm down. As much as we would love to suddenly feel calm, that's just simply impossible with anxiety. In fact, feeling the need to calm down while having a panic attack may make the person feel worse since they may not have any way to fully control their anxiety at the moment. So in the end, telling someone to just calm down mid panic attack is simply pointless.
Truth be told though, I believe that most people don't really mean any harm when they tell an anxious person to calm down. It's most likely that others without anxiety may not realize how unhelpful it can be to tell an anxious person to calm down.
Thankfully, there are other things that you can do or say to help an anxious person out.
You can ask them what they need from you, listen to them if they need to talk, or even just simply sit there and be by their side while they work through their emotions. All you need to do is be an understanding person to them without exhibiting any type of bias or judgment, and you'll be good to go when dealing with an anxious person.