Anxiety sufferers face a daily battle each and every day with the emotions that make them suffer. Just because you might not see the pain from the outside doesn’t make it any less real.

Think about this if you saw a  person trying to cross the road with a cast on and struggling would you come out with things like that’s fake, it isn’t real, shake it off and all the other useless sentences and phrases people come out with. Just because we don’t see something on the outside doesn’t mean it’s not as debilitating as a broken bone. We all have a level of empathy and care that should allow us to help, assist and direct someone no matter what the pain, either physical or emotional. One of the biggest players in all of this is the words anxiety sufferers use to talk to their self. So your words are just as important.  Here we are going to share the top 10 things that anxiety sufferers really don’t need to hear, they don’t make a difference and if truth be told they can actually do more harm than good. So the message is simple when you are trying to help think before you come out with statements or sentences like this.

  1. Calm down This implicates they have a choice over how they are feeling. If it was as easy as saying something and then doing it no one would suffer anxiety. You are actually making the matter worse because you are telling them to do something they cant, just like they can’t control why they have it and it reinforces they have no control over it at the present moment in time.
  2. Suck it up/man: Ok one of the worst things to do with someone with anxiety is go down the tough love road. They are already feeling like the world is spinning and they can’t control thoughts, feelings or emotions so being abrupt and trying to make them toughen up isn’t going to work it has the very opposite affect each and every time.
  3. Some people have much worse of problems than you, anxiety is nothing: Ok smart arse Anxiety is nothing because you don’t have it. You are not them and guiding and belittling their anxiety and them into the bargain is total nonsense. You have no idea that someone with anxiety doesn’t care about other peoples problems they are far too emotionally distraught to worry about the world and its issues when they can’t seem to get to control their own.
  4. Give yourself a shake it can’t be that bad: Hows about we give you a bloody shake with an attitude like that. Shake what exactly, our mind, our emotions, our thoughts, you asking them to shake off something that simply can’t be shaken anywhere. Again I have to point out how frustrating and truth be told annoying it is when people who have never had it or know what it feels like come out with this and this kind of statement.
  5. Its all in your head theirs nothing wrong with you: Well done genius, of course, it’s in my head. That’s where our thoughts feelings and emotions come from. Saying there is nothing wrong with them again makes everything worse. You must understand words play the biggest part in all of this and if you have followed us and read where and how anxiety happens and why you would know not to come out with blunt force trauma statements like that. its one of the main reasons anxiety sufferers withdraw from everyone.
  6. Dont see what the big deal is we all have anxiety: Yes and you are right we do all have anxiety. What we don’t all have is that one very powerful emotion stuck on loop.  Your anxiety is the normal type we all have. It comes it does what its intended to and it goes. Someone who suffers an anxiety disorder doesn’t have that. Imagine when you have felt a little anxious about something and the stomach felt funny and you got uptight and started to overthink. Imagine back to that moment in left x it by 100 and live with it every second of every day and that’s what someone with an anxiety order is dealing with. Do not say things personal to you or from how you feel. You are not them and it just makes them worry, panic and get even more upset.
  7. Here we go again/this is getting old now: This is one sure fire statement to make sure the person you are talking to never opens up to you again, never seeks help or assistance and when they do finally get it gone and under control don’t be surprised to discover you have now become surplus to requirements in the friend or loved one’s circle. And rightly bloody so. Does the word compassion even register with anyone who comes out with a statement like that? I doubt it.
  8. Have a drink that will help: Erm no it really wont. Alcohol can make you relax slightly but it will only serve to enhance the mood we are already feeling. Its really like pouring petrol on a fire to make it go out. Doesn’t work. People with mood disorders are twice as likely to develop an addiction and use it as a coping mechanism.
  9. You need to try harder: The simple truth of the matter is yes they need to try and that is true but telling them the effort and focus they are putting in right now is not enough or good enough is going to make them feel worse because at the moment any effort or focus they put in to getting better is actually a massive achievement. Again because you don’t see it as big doesn’t mean they don’t.
  10. I know how you feel: I had anxiety once and I just got up and went about things and joined a gym and went out with friends and done stuff and it just disappeared. Well if that’s the case let me assure you that you didn’t have an anxiety disorder. You are telling them that they must do things that really does go against the grain and probably triggers them more than you could ever imagine possible. Remember anxiety disorders can result in things like impending doom, guilt, sorrow, shame, enablement, crying, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and so much more. Are you really telling someone with these symptoms that surrounding their self with the very thing that makes it worse will make it go away? This isn’t regression therapy we are doing, making them face fear until they go away does work, never really has, truth be told and does more damage than good.

So these are some of the things we should really try and avoid at all costs when it comes to conversations, understanding and trying to help out someone with bad anxiety. Instead show some compassion, love, support and offer to help in a way they feel comfortable letting you. Research for them, look at different self-help and therapy options for them. Go shopping for them. Do everything you can to ease the burden and not put pressure on them. That’s what we call helping and not directing.

Anxiety really is one of the most horrid of things to have to live with and you can make a massive difference to someone as long as you don’t come out with blanket statements like the ones above then the person who you are looking to help is going to remember it forever when the finally do defeat this crippling emotion that is doing so much damage now.

Serenity NLP is arguably one of the leading anxiety therapists in central Scotland and all views and opinions stated are our own.