What to Do If Your Loved One Struggles With Anxiety
Offering support to someone with anxiety can be daunting, especially if you don’t know much about the condition. What if you say the wrong thing? What if you make the person feel worse? What if this person’s anxiety gets in the way of your relationship? It can be especially overwhelming if the person’s experience with anxiety is unpredictable or frequently out of their control.
Watching someone you love go through such a stressful experience isn’t easy. And you may want to jump right in and talk them down. You might try reassuring them in a way that would help you when you’re stressed out. But that might not be your best plan of action.
You may know what it’s like to be stressed, but unless you have a diagnosable form of anxiety you don’t know what it’s like to struggle with an actual anxiety disorder. There’s a big difference between having anxiety and just feeling anxious.
What’s the difference? It’s really quite simple: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an anxiety disorder is not temporary, and it often interferes with the person’s ability to go about daily life. Typical feelings of anxiety usually pass — and they’re not normally intense enough to disrupt normal functioning. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is chronic and can quickly worsen to a point outside of a person’s control.
The good news is that there are some fairly simple tips that can help you to become a better support system for your loved one.