How To Support A Friend Struggling With Anxiety

Mental Health Blog

Unfortunately for most of us, we will witness one of our loved ones battle anxiety in our lives. It can be so difficult to watch someone you care about experience anxiety problems. You want nothing more than to help them and cure them but you don't how or where to start. But there are things that you can do to help.

EDUCATE YOURSELF

First and foremost, it's vital that you understand what anxiety is, what it really feels like, and how it affects a person, physically as well as mentally.

In short, Anxiety is general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave. But in reality, it is so much more than that.

If you've never experienced anxiety, it's difficult to understand, because it's different than the normal day to day anxieties people experience. It's not like the anxiety you feel before a meeting, before you make a speech or before starting a new job. It's much more complex than that. And it's something that is extremely hard to control. Because although anxiety is not a physical condition, it's also something that can't be cured easily. Anxiety can't be cured by logic or reasoning. 

As humans we're equipped with a 'fight or flight' reaction, in response to physical danger, e.g. a shark attack. But, unfortunately, for people suffering from panic and anxiety disorders, this 'fight or flight' response occurs when there is no physical danger, e.g. on public transport, in crowded places, talking on the phone, walking down the street and so on. The physical symptoms of a panic attack are so intense that they're almost identical to that of a heart attack.

Before trying to rationalise their feelings or trying to find logic in their anxiety, please find out as much as you can about it. The fact that you're taking time out to understand and help your friend, could help them dramatically. 

BE PATIENT 

When somebody you care deeply about is struggling with anxiety, it's natural and understandable for you to want to help them overcome it and find practical solutions. But what you always have to remember is that they are not choosing how they feel. So although you want them to get better as soon as possible, you have to be patient and careful as you don't want to force them into situations before they're ready. This can create a detrimental set back in their recovery. Just be sure to take things at a pace that is right for them.

In most cases, anxiety causes people to be easily irritated and they become prone to snapping at their loved ones. I know that from experience. As horrible as it is for you to be on the opposite side of it, it is equally upsetting for the sufferer. They don't want to be short tempered with you. They're not in control, the anxiety is and they don't like themselves because they can't stop it from controlling their every feeling and action. I can't stress enough how important it is that you remain patient and understanding.

DON'T JUDGE

This one is pretty simple - don't judge them whilst they feel like everyone else in the world is judging them. Let them know that they can talk to you about their anxiety without the fear of being judged. Make it clear to them that no matter what they say, there's nothing that could change the way you feel about them. Remind them that they're more than their anxiety.

BE THERE

As someone who struggles with anxiety, I know that knowing we have someone who we can depend on, really does make the world of difference. Knowing they have your unconditional support can be the only reassurance they need. 

I'd also just like to say that it takes a lot of strength and courage for them to make even the smallest of improvements, so it would mean the world to them for you to express how proud you are of them.

ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP

The advice you read here and online won't work for everyone, so it's always a good idea to ask how you can help them. They may not know themselves how they can be helped, but asking them could make them feel more in control of themselves. 


With love, Han

xo


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9 comments:

  1. As a mother of a daughter with severe anxiety, I say these are some great tips and really helpful to those looking to help their friends! Thank you for sharing xxx

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    1. Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Love, Han. xo

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  2. Great points! I have a sister who gets this and i listen to her to make sure she’s okay. This is good info to know however

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    1. Thank you! That's a really important thing for you to do with your sister; it's a small act but it truly makes a difference.

      Love, Han. xo

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  3. This is a brilliant post with some really useful advice. I suffer from anxiety and even though my husband has been dealing with it for ten years, he still can get a bit confused about why I find seemingly 'easy' tasks difficult. Hopefully your post will help people who don't have anxiety to understand it a bit more, as it's so important that loved ones are supportive of people who are anxious. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

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    1. I am so glad that you liked this. Thank you so much for commenting Bethany. It took my family a long time to understand it too.

      Love, Han. xo

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  4. Beta-blockers like propranolol, likewise utilized in treating heart infirmities, are frequently endorsed for anxiety in restricted portions to keep the physical instead of passionate side effects related with anxiety.Self Development tools

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  5. Another brilliant post! Thank you for sharing some advice for people who may have anxious friends or relatives & insure of how to respond xxx

    ReplyDelete

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