1. Quit being so dramatic.
Many people think that individuals who suffer from anxiety are being too dramatic and are doing it for attention. I’m sorry to say that we actually aren’t doing it for attention. We can’t help the symptoms that show up out of the blue and we can’t control when or where the symptoms will strike.
2. Why don’t you just pop a valium?
Although many people choose to go on medication for symptoms that make everyday life hard, some medication (like valium) can put us to sleep and slow down our reflexes. We don’t want to just pop pills every time we feel uncomfortable. There are always downsides to ‘easy fixes’.
3. Just think good thoughts!
That’s the thing about anxiety. When someone is plagued down by it, it is nearly impossible to control your own thoughts when it hits you hard. Especially during panic attacks, it’s incredibly hard to ‘think good thoughts’ when you 100% believe you are dying or in danger.
4. Can’t you just get it under control?
That’s like asking someone with cancer to just ‘get rid of it’, or asking an individual who is deaf to get their ears checked.
5. Calm down.
Telling someone who is clearly suffering from an attack or a huge bout of anxiety to ‘calm down’, is completely counteractive and useless. It may even make this person more anxious by you instructing them and demanding them to stay calm when they can’t control their own body.
6. You should learn how to breathe properly.
While breathing techniques and meditation can help people who suffer from this mental illness, it isn’t going to make it go away entirely. Although it can provide some relief, it isn’t a ‘cure’.
7. Don’t be stupid.
If a loved one asks for reassurance and help with a fear that they have, don’t act like their question isn’t important. Please do not undermine the level of severity that anxiety can have on people and don’t treat them like they are children.
8. LOL, why are you freaking out?
Please do not ever laugh at someone when they are in distress. By you making light of the situation, you are not giving this person validity, reassurance, or comfort.
9. Just quit stressing.
Anxiety is often defined as just having stress or worrying too much. This is not the case at all. Individuals with anxiety have a chemical imbalance that changes the levels in their brains. So no, we can’t just ‘quit stressing’. It is part of who we are.
10. You need to chill out.
Ordering someone to relax or chill out while they are under incredible amounts of panic, is ignorant of you to believe that those words could actually help them. By putting pressure on someone to act like they are feeling ok, will ultimately prolong their distress and discomfort. They need someone to trust, and those words are not going to provide them with any relief.