I would be lying if I said this was not a very personal post for me. I have seen and heard a large amount of things surrounding the stigma of anxiety and a variety of mental health issues…and it hurts. It really bloody hurts.
I am one of thousands of people fighting the stigma that shadows the topic of mental health. However, I am not just doing it from the perspective of a mental health activist. I am also doing it from the perspective of a sufferer myself. I have to deal with generalized anxiety disorder, as well as bouts of depression, on a daily basis. There will definitely be future posts on my blog about mental health and various aspects of it, but today, I shall be raising awareness of anxiety disorders and helping people that do not have the disorder understand what to not say to someone with anxiety. ❤
- ” You’re overreacting”
People who are suffering from an anxiety disorder are aware that they are being irrational, but that does not stop the panic or anxiety that they are experiencing, especially if they are suffering from it on a daily basis. If anything, telling them that they are overreacting will make things even worse because the person will start to panic that they are being irritating or are being a burden. (Guilt is a big part of an anxiety disorder.)
2. ” There are people suffering from larger issues”
Yes, there are people suffering from larger issues, but people forget that having an anxiety disorder, or any mental health disorder for that matter can cause absolute havoc for a person and actually can be really dangerous/ terrifying.
3. “It is just in your head.”.
It may be a mental health disorder, but there are physical symptoms too. I personally suffer from pretty bad physical symptoms, as do a few of my friends who suffer from anxiety. Stomach aches, feeling or being sick, feeling faint and even suffering from IBS are only some of the many physical symptoms that a person with anxiety may have to cope with. It varies with the individual though.
4. “Everyone gets anxiety.”
It is normal for everyone to get anxiety once in a while, but when you are suffering from constant anxiety and fear over the smallest of things, that is when it becomes an issue and can become extremely severe. In a variety of cases, it can lead to other mental health issues.
5. “Just meditate.”
This one especially upsets me. Now, as much as I agree that meditation can be a great way to control anxiety and can work for some people, other people are unable to control their anxiety through just meditation and need more help and support, in order to be able to cope, WHICH IS OKAY!! Anxiety affects individuals in different ways. Some people can keep keep their anxiety under key through self help and care, whilst others have to look to therapy and possibility medication if self care is no longer working.
6. “It will go away.”
That’s the thing. Anxiety and other mental health issues are not the same as physical health issues. With a physical issue, you can usually get rid of it, eventually, as long as it is not too severe. With a mental health issue, it is more complex than just taking a pill or wearing a sling for a couple of weeks. Any underlining mental health issues that you may suffer from will always be there. They may not always be in your face, because you may be controlling it well through self care, therapy and/or medication. However, they will never disappear and can reappear at any point in your life because of the smallest of thing. It is about keeping an eye on your mental health and having the tools to fight through when things are becoming bad. You never stop running a race.
7. “Just get on with it.”
It is never a good idea to say this because not only will this make the person with the anxiety feel even more anxious, it may also lead to a panic attack occurring. Forcing them to do something is going to create more of a negative impact, not a positive one.
If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder or you are someone who wants to know what would be appropriate to say to someone with anxiety, I have attached links below:
I know this would have been quite an intense blog post, but I hope it was of help to both anxiety sufferers and non- anxiety sufferers.