In the UK one in three people have some sort of anxiety disorder. It is still an incredibly difficult thing to understand though. Sometimes the things that you say to a girl with anxiety might just be the thing that triggers her. Anxiety comes in different forms and affects people in different ways. So here are some general comments to avoid if you know a girl has anxiety.
It will be okay
This is one that really bothers me because how does the person know that everything will be okay? I do know deep down that everything will somehow be fine in the end but I don’t know how long it will take to be okay and neither do you.
You are being overdramatic
I have been called overdramatic so many times when I’m having a bit of a meltdown. I’m not being overdramatic- I am finding a way to deal with the situation. I’ve also been called this for walking away from situations, which I consider the right thing to do.
It is in your head
This may be the case but we do not need you to point it out. This actually makes us feel self conscious and makes someone with anxiety want to close up. Instead of identifying it, give them time and just listen to the mountain that they have probably made out of a molehill.
Don’t you meditate?
Yes we probably do meditate and have tried a million different apps but they don’t always work. We have probably researched and participated in lots of different exercise classes too before you question that. Not everyone is able to sit there with their eyes closed and just be. Although if yoga, meditation and a variety of gym classes help you manage your anxiety, keep it up.
Aren’t you just overreacting?
Do people really think those with anxiety haven’t considered this? When someone suffers from anxiety what looks like an overreaction to an outsider is just how a person with anxiety is dealing with something. Maybe avoid using statements that could come off as judgmental and try to be supportive. Make it clear to your friend that you are there for them if they need to talk.
You’ll be fine in a minute
This statement really grates on me. If you don’t know what to say then keep your comments minimal or don’t say anything at all. I have friends that have admitted to not knowing what to say and instead of saying something they think I want to hear they give me a hug or just listen.
Anxiety can completely change every aspect of your daily life and even though you might not have physical symptoms all the time it does not mean that you’re not falling apart on the inside. It can be such a life-changing condition that can’t just be dismissed with a: “Stop worrying.” For me it is like telling someone who has a cold to stop sniffing, it is impossible.
It can be really hard to express anxiety and un-tangle exactly how we are going to react to certain situations. We understand you are just saying the above out of care or naivety. However, the above statements make us feel guilty and misunderstood. Instead, help us with positivity and encourage us to take action.
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Author: Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett is a teacher based in England, she is obsessed with the gym and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On her weekends off though, she can be found exploring and travelling the world.