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Tips for Understanding Anxiety

Supporting Someone with Anxiety


What's it like for those living with anxiety?

So they say it is easy to move on, to forgive, and even to love. It seems that by now it should be easier and not so hard to do the simple things that make you feel who you are. It is like you want so hard to breathe but at the same moment, you just can't do that one simple thing you know how to do.

How can this be. or is it even possible? You feel the stares and the forced smiles but how can you put into words on what is raging inside your mind? As the tears began to stream down, you think why can't I just get a break from these four walls in my mind?

Believing in anything that you feel will let you escape and never knowing really how far you have drifted from what you used to think would never be you. It's always on your mind and all you want to do is anything that will help you pass the time and ultimately let you forget that your mind is supposed to be racing.

Some days are better than others but on most days you just wish there was a switch you could just flip to turn it all off. You just want to lift your white flag and give up to the insanity. It's like a catch 22; you either feel everything or not enough and yet still your grasping at the handles just trying to hold on for what comes next.

Then without warning, it comes like a flood and it engulfs you and reminds you to never stop believing in you. You are the key to your own happiness and everything is possible. It reassures that even on your worst days, that your strength is far more than what you think.

This scenario is just a typical moment in the life of a person who deals with anxiety and what seems like a simple task isn't always the easiest thing to do, such as making a decision or letting go of worry. It seems like it should be easier and more manageable, but this is just a glimpse of the unending battle in the life of living with anxiety. 

What can I do to make things easier?

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1. Validate

Validate that their feelings matter. It's not easy to let go of stress and worry. It's challenging and one some days it takes every bit of strength and determination for them to get through a day. Some days may be easier than others while others are much more complicated. The biggest issue is going about your day and feeling like what your feeling doesn't matter or is irrelevant. All anyone wants at the end of the day is to feel valued and understood despite how it seems to the outside world. It's never easy, but something as simple as validating their concern over something their agonizing over can make the difference in them feeling secure enough to slow down the racing thoughts in their mind. 

2. Assuming You Know Everything

Assumptions never end well. It leads to misunderstandings, confusion, and always hurt feelings. No one ever really knows everything about a person. They always leave something unsaid usually out of fear of rejection or just plain insecurity in themselves. Everyone comes with layers to what has made them into who they are and in the midst of the storm sometimes it just seems easier to protect ourselves by not sharing every detail we are feeling. It's really nothing personal its just one of the ways to cope and at the moment the only solution to saving yourself from more heartache and anxiety. We never try to be guarded or bring up our walls, but in some instances, we can't see beyond the walls we have built.

3. Asking and Allowing

It's a breath of fresh air when someone takes time to care enough to ask the tough questions of "How are you really doing?" or "Just tell me what's wrong." Asking and telling is challenging in that half of the time the person asking wants to also tell you their thoughts without really ever listening. If you want to know, then listen; it's very hard to explain and rationalize through the self-doubt racing in their mind. So, if you ask please be patient enough to just simply listen. It really is a challenge opening up to someone. 

4. Reassurance

According to the Oxford Dictionary, reassurance is the action of removing someone's doubts or fears. Reassurance can often mean the difference between giving up or letting go. It takes every bit of strength and confidence to open up and talk with someone about your anxiety or what is adding to your anxiety. Thus, if after everything you have heard from them you don't follow through with reassurance, it really can tear everything apart inside and a lot of times it makes the anxiety even worse than if you had just left them alone. Reassurance seems like it would be difficult to give, but it's really just the act of supporting, encouraging, and even assisting the person who is dealing with anxiety. It means acknowledging their raging thoughts and giving them a safe a place to open up and simply just allowing them to reset. It's obvious that not everything is rational in the midst of the storm, but we don't need reminders of what it isn't but rather a safe haven to weather the storm. It always passes at some point, we like many others just need the encouragement to get to the other side safely. 

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