Have you ever think about this?
Imagine your loved ones sitting on the sofa with shaking hands and sweating forehead, and you don’t know what to do.
This might not happen to you. But, anxiety is the most common mental disorder in US – with 10% of teens and 40% of adults suffering from anxiety, the possibility is endless.
So, here is your cheat sheet. most important things to remember when you love someone with anxiety:
1. They also think that anxiety is pointless
We think that feeling anxious is irrational and pointless, and we’re trying to tell this to anxious person. The fact is, they knew this already.
Telling this to them only makes thing worse, they will blame themselves. Understand that knowing this doesn’t help them overcome their anxiety.
2. They get tired easily
Although classified as mental disorder, anxiety is physically tiring. Anxious people are always on alert, their mind and body are constantly on hyper tense state. Anxiety symptoms like rapid heartbeat and short breath cause physical tiring too.
Ever had a stressful workweek when you feel “can I take a break?”
That’s how anxious people live their life.
Study found that although resting reduces anxiety, it doesn’t help against stressful event (Smith, 2013). Instead, light, everyday exercise does.
3. Asking “are you okay?” to them is useless
Asking “are you okay?” to a person with shaking hands, sweating body, and rapid heartbeat is useless because you already know the answer: no.
You can instead say this to them:
- “You’ve got past this before, you’ll get past it again.”
- “I’m here for you.”
- “Remember to (do things that has helped them before).”
4. They may never go to psychiatrist
The shocking facts are:
- 2/3 adults don’t treat their anxiety.
- Only 1 of 5 teens treat their anxiety.
So, when you recently married someone with anxiety, you should ask him “have you ever go to psychiatrist before?”.
5. They need to be understood
6 suicide happen in Australia everyday, many victims have anxiety disorder.
Anxious people are different from us. They often (falsely) jump to conclusion when talking (Fraley et al., 2006), having sleep disorder, eat disorder, and hyperactivity. Research even show that anxious people tend to smell everything stink (Krusemark & Li, 2013).
Don’t blame them, they already blamed themselves. They just can’t yet overcome their anxiety.
Instead, understand them, be supportive to them.
6. They love you too
Believe it or not, they love you too. It’s just difficult for them to think about it because they have larger personal space (Sambo & Iannetti, 2013), which means that they are loner. They also have tons of thoughts inside their brain – anxious people tend to overthink.
Deep inside them, they love you.
At the end…
If you can’t love people with anxiety, just let them go. Life is too short, live the life you want.
But, if you can love them, remember what Lao Tzu said years ago:
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”