Do you have a loved one living with an anxiety disorder? Without having to live with the symptoms of an anxiety disorder yourself, it can be hard to know what to say to a loved one living with anxiety. Maybe you are afraid to say the wrong thing. Or, you may not understand the best way to bring up a conversation regarding anxiety with a loved one living with an anxiety disorder. Either way, it can be beneficial to learn some tips about approaching the subject of anxiety and what to say to a person who’s living with an anxiety disorder.
Some things you can say to a loved one living with anxiety in order to provide support may include:
You may not know what to do to help a loved one with an anxiety disorder. But, they may know how you can help. So, asking what you can do to help a loved one living with anxiety is a good way to understand what you can do to help. It shows that you care and that you’re someone that may be able to provide some comfort. Remember, when asking a person if you can help, it is best to steer clear from giving advice. This can make a person with anxiety feel that they’re being judged. Rather, listen to your loved one and be a source of judgment-free listening.
Just simply telling your loved one who is struggling with anxiety that you’re there for them can help them feel supported. While you may never fully understand what it may be like to live with an anxiety disorder, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be of help and support to someone who is. But, you have to be open and willing to tell your loved one that you are there for them to offer them this type of support.
People living with mental health issues like anxiety disorders need to know that their feelings are valid. Even though someone with an anxiety disorder may experience higher levels of anxiety or stress, that doesn’t mean that their feelings don’t matter or that they aren’t valid. Everyone has negative thoughts and feelings, and people who are living with debilitating mental health issues are at higher risk for these unwanted feelings and thoughts. So, it can be helpful to a person living with an anxiety disorder to be reminded that it’s ok to have unwanted thoughts and feelings and that they don’t need to feel embarrassed for having them.
Just like there are some things that are helpful to say to a person living with an anxiety disorder, there are also things that are not helpful to say. Saying the wrong thing to a person struggling with a debilitating mental health issue can make them feel judged, misunderstood, and left out. Some of these things to steer clear from saying to a person with an anxiety disorder can include:
Remember, when talking to a loved one who struggles with anxiety, you don’t want to say anything that invalidates his or her feelings of anxiety. This includes anything that may point to the individual having control over their anxiety or symptoms of mental health issues. If you are having trouble having a conversation with someone living with an anxiety disorder, it may be a good idea to reach out for help from mental health specialists at a mental health treatment center, like Delray Center for Healing. Here, we offer help to families of individuals living with mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders.