There are some things you should not tell someone with anxiety. Sometimes we mean well, but your phrases hurt instead of help. Some people are straight up ignorant when it comes to mental health.
I’ve been dealing with anxiety since the 8th grade. I always felt I need to use the bathroom ‘just in case’ something happens. The teachers just didn’t understand my anxiety and were really quick to speak on what works for them. My mom hopped on the same train. Not understanding different things work for different people. I was going to the bathroom because of anxiety. Something I can’t control. Anxiety is a tough disorder and people act as though it can be cured like a cold.
That Could Happen
I am quite sure they are aware of this, you are going to make things worse. For instance, I am afraid to have my wisdom teeth out because I am afraid I will die since there are stories of people dying/getting sick after visiting the dentist. Like when I was in high school, my guitar teacher was hospitalized after he went to the dentist. The tools probably weren’t properly cleaned. Of course, if you don’t switch out/clean your tools after putting it in someone else’s mouth, you will make them sick. My grandma thought it will be cool to tell me a 5 yr/o died while getting her/his teeth pulled. for the love of God, do not do this if someone with anxiety tells you they’re afraid of something. It makes them anxious for a reason.
Get Over It
This one will make me mad. Anxiety is not a switch that you can flip on and off whenever you want. Anxiety is a chemical imbalance in your brain. You can’t control a chemical imbalance. Would you tell a cancer patient to get over cancer? Would you tell a diabetic to stop taking their meds? Wanting someone to control their anxiety is like telling the weather were to rain. It doesn’t work like that. If mental illnesses were that simple, we would not be struggling. You think with the wave of a wand the anxiety will stop? With this thinking, people seem to believe that.
Lot’s Of People Have It Worse
This is a surefire way to guilt someone. This will make them feel worse that they can’t struggle with a battle in their head because there are people worst off. That’s like someone saying someone graduated from college to become a teacher and you belittle them because you graduated to become a doctor. When I was in the 9th grade, I went to a counselor because the bullying was eating me, emotionally. She invalidated me by going on about a student she knew that was disabled. What kind of ‘counselor’ does that?! You’re supposed to help your students, not make them feel worse. And I did feel worse that I couldn’t struggle with getting bullied because someone was worst off. So what she was saying is my issue with getting bullied almost every day was nothing because someone was worst off than me. There is nothing wrong with brining awareness with other issues people face, but iterating someone can’t have bad days because someone is worst off is a dick move.
Now, telling someone with anxiety to ‘calm down’ is like telling someone having a seizure to stop having a seizure. Do you think with the wave of a wand they can come out of their anxiety episode? My mom says this all the time when she drives me into anxiety when she waits until her blood sugar is extremely low to tell me to bring her something. My mom’s sugar drops like the Titanic. I warn her that I am not capable because of my anxiety and she thinks is soo simple to think straight in a moment of crisis.
You need to push through it
Do you not get that if you force a person into a situation that makes them anxious, it does more harm than good? It’s like someone telling you they are not properly trained to do a flip, you force them to do the flip and they get hurt. Same principles, you might make their anxiety worse than it is.
My anxiety prevents me from working a regular job because I cannot be around a lot of people, I cannot be rushed, I cannot be yelled at, all of those just makes me feel worse and doesn’t help.
There were a few times where I hurt myself being put in a situation that causes me anxiety, and that is being yelled at. Imagine on a job if a customer yells at me and I go in the bathroom and hurt myself. Ask yourself what someone screaming at you help you at all.
You’re Not Trying
Anxiety does not really get better. You can come up with ways to stabilize it. Mental illnesses take time. You can’t expect them to instantly get better. If I broke my leg in a car accident, you wouldn’t expect it to be healed the next day, my brain should have the same respect as my leg.
Remember, it’s a lot harder than you think dealing with anxiety. No mental illness or illness period is easy to deal with. If it were that easy people would not struggle.
Be understanding instead of condescending. Sometimes its hard to tell if they just don’t know better or intentionally being arrogant because there is so much arrogance towards mental health.