People who suffer with anxiety are having a constant battle because, for them, anxiety is one of those things that is ever present. We have our good days and we have our bad days. When we have those bad days, we look for comfort from those who are closest to us.
Here are some of the things we want the people we love to say to us when we feel anxious:
1. If you can go, that’s great- but if you can’t, that’s okay too.
We don’t like feeling forced into anything. It makes the anxiety worse. We like having the option to back out if we don’t feel right, which helps us to feel less trapped. It calms us down knowing that we can choose whether or not we want to do something.
2. Take your time.
Our biggest fear is that we are wasting your time. We constantly feel like we are inconveniencing everyone around us by feeling the way we do. When you let us know that time is not an issue, we find it easier to calm down as we don’t have that added worry.
3. We are proud of you for doing this.
Certain things that may seem simple can require a lot of thought and energy for us to accomplish. When we do things that may seem insignificant to you, it might be a big deal for us. We like to hear that you are proud of us when we try our best to do things that we find challenging. It lets us know that you understand how difficult it was for us to persevere.
4. I understand it’s something that you can’t control.
The worst thing we can hear is someone telling us to control ourselves and get over it. We want people around us to acknowledge that we cannot control the anxiety when it shows up, or how intense it gets. It makes us feel at ease knowing that you understand.
5. I know that you are trying.
We like knowing that you understand that we are trying. Sometimes we feel like people think that we are lazy or we aren’t trying. It’s nice to know that people really understand that we are persevering, despite it not being easy for us.
6. What can I do to make you feel better?
When we start feeling anxious, it helps if you ask us what you can do to help. Most of the time we just have to sit there and wait for the anxiety to pass or go get some fresh air. We appreciate it when you ask because it makes us feel like you care about what we are going through.
7. You’re fine, everything’s fine.
We like to be reassured that everything around us isn’t falling apart. When our anxiety comes along, we can’t always pinpoint why it showed up. Sometimes we like being reminded that nothing terrible is going on.
8. Let’s go get some fresh air.
This is the best thing that you can say to us when we are anxious. Nothing helps anxiety more than being in an open area with fresh air. We are able to feel less trapped and we are given space to sort through our emotions.
9. You’re not bothering us at all.
This ties into how we feel like we are wasting people’s time. We hate feeling like a burden when we are out with friends and family. It reassures us when you tell us that we aren’t troubling you when we start to feel anxious.
10. Let’s sort through this together.
Sometimes it feels good to talk through it. It feels reassuring when you sit with us and talk through what is worrying us, potentially allowing us to figure out what prompted the anxiety tocan help to reduce our feelings of fear, apprehension, and panic. It also feels great to let it all out with someone you love.