When someone is struggling with anxiety, it can be difficult to know how to help them or what to do. It can also be frustrating because you can see how it is impacting their life and how it is also impacting your life. The key is to understand that true anxiety is a psychological condition and the person can’t just pull themselves together.
Too often, people with anxiety are dismissed as not having a real problem. There is a lot to be anxious about and everyone deals with a certain level of it throughout their lives. If you want to help someone you care about who has real anxiety concerns, there are ways to get involved and show your support.
Express Concern From The Heart
Bringing up the topic of seeking professional help can be a touchy point. Some people view seeing a therapist as a sign of weakness, and others don’t see their condition as being bad enough to want to go. As a concerned loved one, you need to speak up in a way that doesn’t belittle their problem, make them feel ashamed or accuse them of being a problem.
Turn the focus of your conversation into how you have seen their anxiety impact their life. Maybe they are unable to go to many social events or missed out on a promotion at work because of it. Point these moments out in a way that shows you love the person no matter what and you only want them to live their best possible life – and their anxiety is holding them back and changing them.
Let Them Know They Can Trust You
One of the biggest problems anxiety sufferers face is the feeling of being ashamed of their condition or that they are not going to be heard if they speak up. As a friend or family member, you can really help by reminding them that you are there if they ever want to talk about their feelings. You won’t judge or try to fix things; you’ll simply listen and acknowledge.
That is incredibly powerful for someone who feels alone in their anxiety and is struggling to find solid footing with their emotions. Knowing that they have an ally who will always listen to them and acknowledge that what they’re feeling is real will give them strength.
Ask How You Can Help
When someone is in the full throws of an anxiety attack, it can be almost detrimental to ask them “what’s wrong”. Instead, ask them how you can help them. This allows the person to vocalize what they need rather than try to explain what set their anxiety off. It also gives you something proactive to do in the situation, which will probably help you to feel better too.
Sometimes, the person just needs a hug and to hear that everything is going to be all right. Other times, they may need water or a bag to breathe into. Ask how you can help and let them tell you.