After Talking to a few people who are in the same boat as me, suffering with anxiety, I created a list of eight things people should not say to those dealing with anxiety.
1. “It is all in your head.”
You’re right. It is all in my head. Literally a chemical in my brain is not producing enough serotonin to manage my nervousness and anxiety. Thanks for remind me.
But in all reality, it isn’t all in our heads. We are not making it up. We are not making it a bigger deal than it is. It is a real struggle that is not our fault.
2. “Don’t be anxious.”
Thank you! I will just do that really quick so it isn’t an inconvenience to you.
No. Trust us. We wish it was that easy. It is a process to over come our anxiety and we are working on it daily. Just be patient with us.
3. “There is nothing to be anxious about.”
That may be the truth and we may know that it is the truth, but that still doesn’t just turn our anxiety off. Anxiety is not like a light switch that can be turned on and off whenever we want. We often feel dumb or stupid for the random things that make us anxious and we don’t need others pointing that out to us constantly.
4. “Just relax.”
Oh you are right. If I just take on deep breath things will be okay.
Sure, that might help with little anxieties, but when we are facing large amounts of anxiety this is not helpful. We want to relax. We are trying. We don’t want to feel this way either, but it is not always that simple. Patience is a virtue my friend.
5. “Others have it a lot worse than you do, so you shouldn’t feel this way.”
Yes, there are starving kids in Africa. Yes, there are people without homes. We know, we know.
We are not saying we have it as bad as some suffering in the world, but at the moment we are having a hard time. We are working through it and will be fine in the end, so just be here for us and don’t make us feel worse by reminding us how irrational you may think we are acting.
6. “Have you tried…(exercise, healthy eating, deep breathing, etc.)”
I haven’t hear that suggestion 93,840,293 times?
Though we are grateful that you want to help, sometimes the relentless suggestions just gets on our nerves. We have tried many things and some work and some don’t. We continue to try new things. Don’t worry we are trying to get healthy too.
7. “Your fears are irrational.”
You don’t say?
Man, again you are right. Though you may be right, that doesn’t fix the situation. People suffering with anxiety often have anxiety about random things. We know the things are irrational too. We often feel silly for feeling the ways that we do, but we can’t help it. By pointing out the obvious you will only make us feel dumb.
8. “Conquering your fears is the only way you’re going to get rid of them.”
You just think this is a fear, don’t cha?
Though it may just seem like a fear to you, it is much more to us. We are dealing with feelings that are more than fear. They are giant. They take over our minds and our bodies. We are trying.
In conclusion, be patient. Be helpful. Be kind. And know that we are doing our best.