Handling Anxiety

» Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

Handling Anxiety

It is likely that at some point in all of our lives we will have a loved one, friend, or coworker that deals with anxiety, or deal with it ourselves. One of the hardest parts of anxiety is that there is a huge breakdown in communication between the afflicted and those surrounding them. Often the people who are around the person dealing with it try their hardest to “make things better”. They often feel that they must walk on eggshells or change how they act to aovid triggering anxiety. The individual who is afflicted with the anxiety often feels ashamed, in turn, that others around them are changing their behavior or giving them special treatment. Due to this dynamic, anxiety can be a big barrier to successful relationships, even on a professional level.

There are a few things that people who want to help often overlook though. While the most obvious options are often carried out to help someone with anxiety, friends and family often overlook simple but important elements to improving their loved one’s anxiety level.

One of the things that people often don’t understand is that while you may be offering suggestions or asking questions to try to help or better understand another’s anxiety, your words may actually be making them feel worse. A friendly suggestion meant to help, can often leave a person with anxiety feeling pressured or ridiculed. This can be heightened if the suggestion is not something that they feel up to fulfilling. For example, a simple, “maybe working out would help”, can leave them feeling not only judged, but like a failure for not being able to live up to what they view as your idea of what they should do,even when that isn’t what your intention was.

While some find it therapeutic to share with others that they have anxiety and hope that it will aid in others’ understanding of them, doing this can also be very scary for someone who is suffering from the illness. One of the reasons that people with anxiety don’t share their experience is because they don’t want to feel different. Feeling different or not normal, of course, can often heighten someone’s anxiety so this makes sense. It is easy for a concerned friend or well-meaning loved one to want to talk about the anxiety and to understand it completely. While this may initially offer some comfort, always bringing up the fact that someone is dealing with anxiety will only add to their feelings of being different or “damaged”. Try to understand the person as an individual, not a diagnosis, and don’t focus so much on their mental illness. Rather try to focus on their likes, what makes them happy, things that they are passionate about. This will help them feel more valued as an individual.

Lastly it is important that loved ones and friends don’t back off too much or give the person with anxiety too much space. While it is important to respect boundaries, don’t feel like your presence brings up more anxiety than it helps. Most people diagnosed with anxiety want to fit in and feel accepted and loved. If they tend to pull away it is because they are scared of being abandoned or hurt. While it can be frustrating, it’s important to remind them that they have support from you, even if they don’t want it right at that second. Even when they seem inconsolable, or you aren’t quite sure what to say, just having you sit silently with them can help.

If you feel like you or a loved one may be experiencing anxiety, please reach out today. Our trained therapists are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your session.

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