7 Things To Never Say To Someone With Anxiety

7 Things To Never Say To Someone With Anxiety

We can't help that we worry about everything, don't make it worse.


I have struggled with severe anxiety for a little over a year now.

In high school I was somehow able to balance and cope with all of the stress around me -- literally, everything from dual enrolling at a local community college, AP courses, cheerleader, Student Body President, and an active member of several clubs along with countless other tasks and involvements.

However, once college began I just wasn't able to keep everything running smoothly the way I used to. My anxiety became debilitating. It took me hours to even start an assignment because I would have to sit and think about exactly how I was going to prepare everything. I was unable to make a lot of friends because it took at least three times of someone else asking me to hang out for me to even consider going and even then I was unsure if they actually liked me or not. I couldn't function. I felt like I couldn't do anything.

What made it even worse you might ask?

That's an easy answer.

What people said to me to "try and make me cheer up".

1. Can you please stop worrying about everything? 

No, actually, I can't.

When you ask a person with anxiety to stop worrying about everything you truly only make the anxiety worse. Now we're worried that you don't like us or that we're being annoying. Chances are we'll shut down and start internalizing all of our worry and stress and feel even worse.

~friendly alternative~ I noticed you've been worrying about a lot of things lately, is there anything I can do to help?

2. There is no reason to be worrying right now!

Okay, cool?

We already (deep, deep down) know that there is no real reason to be so worried about something, but we are and we seriously CANNOT HELP IT. You commenting like that and invalidating us and our feelings makes us feel unimportant and annoying.

~friendly alternative~ Do you want to talk out what's going on? I'm always here for you.

3. Why do you worry so much?

Idk? When you find out maybe lmk?

We don't know and we can't help it! Please, for the love of all that is good, stop making us feel bad about things that are out of our control.

~friendly alternative~ Hey, I noticed that you've been worrying more lately. Is something going on? Can I help?

4. What is so hard about making a decision?

There are times when there are so many things swirling around in my brain, that the thought of having to decide where I want to eat dinner truly makes me want to vomit. Other times I think too much about each option in order to pick the best one. I can't play my favorite song in the car with my friends because I'm worried they'll hate it and think I'm weird for playing it.

~friendly alternative~ When your friend with anxiety asks you to make a decision for them please just do it. You will be saving them so much stress.

5. Get it together already!

Do you think we want to live with anxiety? Do you think we enjoy it? Spoiler alert: We don't.

We want to be able to "get it together". You telling us that we need to reminds us of how far from the finish line we are and pushes us back even more. There is nothing more degrading or demeaning than a person reminding me of how my anxiety cripples me.

~friendly alternative~ Is there anything I can do to help you today?

6. You're being annoying. 

Yeah? Well, so are you.

Sometimes we need to try on 15 outfits before we leave. Sometimes we need to deep clean our room before watching a movie with you. Sometimes we need extra attention, time or support.

~friendly alternative~ Sit down and wait quietly. Ask "hey, do you need any help?"

7. Can't you take a pill or go to therapy or something? Geez!

Is there really an explanation needed for this one?

This is so insulting and so degrading.

The person that you just said that to probably already takes medication or goes to counseling or practices some alternate form of coping. You just embarrassing them and made them feel that whatever they're doing isn't working. You made them more aware of how other people view their anxiety. You made them uncomfortable.

~friendly alternative~ Hey how are you doing lately? I just want you to know that I'm always here for you if you need to talk. Also, if you think that you need more help that I can give let me know and I'll be happy to go to the doctor with you.

Mental illness is so so real.

The feelings are real and we can't help it.

There are so many nice ways to say the things you're trying to say.

We need you and we love you!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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It's Hard Living With Anxiety In A Culture That Romanticizes It

Struggling with a mental health issue becomes even more challenging when people try to make it charming


If you are someone who knows the struggles of living with anxiety then I'm sure you're not blind to people who are trying to romanticize it. These people are trying to make the anxiety they feel into something cute. The people who are trying to make their anxiety cute most likely do not suffer from an anxiety disorder because if they did, they would understand that there is nothing cute about anxiety. Instead, these people have normal, healthy anxieties that all people get.

The difference between healthy anxiety and anxiety as a mental health problem varies from person to person. Getting a little nervous before a big test is a normal healthy dose of anxiety, but being so upset about the test that you don't sleep the night before and can't stop yourself from shaking as you take the test is not a healthy amount of anxiety and is definitely not cute. Anxiety is something that everyone gets at some points in their life, in small doses it is OK, but when it becomes an everyday struggle, that has crossed over from healthy anxiety to a possible anxiety disorder.

When I was in tenth grade, I was so anxious that I would lash out at people and burst into tears without warning. I stopped doing the things I loved, like playing soccer, because I was too anxious to go to tryouts. I had been playing soccer for as long as I could remember but when I started suffering from anxiety, the thought of going to tryouts was just too much for me. After months of this, I finally went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. What this means is basically that I am constantly anxious about something.

I'm always worrying something bad is going to happen, or about money and other stressors. After my diagnosis, I was given medication to help try and ease my mind and I started seeing a therapist. While all of this was going on in my life, I never once had the thought to try and make my anxiety cute or thought I was so lucky to have it because it wasn't cute. Nothing about me being so afraid to go try out for soccer was cute. Nothing about me staying up all night because of the nightmares I was having night after night made me think that I was lucky to have so much anxiety. Nothing about my anxiety was romantic.

So why do we see people trying to make it cute, or make it romantic? Well, for some, if they really do have an anxiety disorder and they try to cope by making it seem cute or less scary than it is that's okay because that's their coping method. But if you do not have an anxiety disorder, if every day of your life is not riddled with fear and worry, don't try to romanticize my anxiety. Don't try to make me feel lucky for having it. This is something I will struggle with every day of my life. This is not something I wanted. This is not romantic.

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