How do you help someone with severe anxiety?
How do you help someone with severe anxiety but also be able to live around them without going insane?
Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex.
Thank you for reaching out!
You are asking us how to help someone with severe anxiety and how to live around them without losing your mind.
Let’s start by the first bit. Those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people don’t know how to best help someone with anxiety.
It’s distressing to watch a loved one facing anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
What we can do is provide validation, by acknowledging what the person is experiencing is real and need requires sensitivity; expressing concern and asking what they feel or what they need. Grow and cultivate empathy. Remember, what you experience in a situation is not what the person with an anxiety disorder is experiencing. It’s important to be compassionate to the person. One way of doing this is to try thinking of something that does make you anxious and reminding yourself that the person is having the same kinds of feelings you would have in that moment.
We also need to be aware that we cannot be all their support. As a family member, friend or partner, there is only so much we can do. It is highly recommended to seek professional help if the person is experiencing high levels of anxiety. That would help them understanding and managing their anxiety in other ways and eventually decrease it.
About the second part of the question, how to not lose our minds. A good bit of it goes through understanding that the struggle is real, as we have mentioned above, growing and cultivating empathy. The other side of it is to be mindful of our own state of mind when we are trying to help. We cannot pour from an empty glass; it is key to take care of ourselves first before we try and help someone else. If we try to help someone with our own batteries running low, we could indeed “lose our minds” over someone else’s struggles, and that would make the situation even worse. Touching base with ourselves and making sure where we are at is a good practice to keep our minds healthy and ready. If you would like to talk to someone more specifically to support you, you can contact us via phone on 1800 66 66 66 or by webchat at www.childline.ie by clicking on the Orange tab to start a chat. All our services are free, confidential, non-judgemental, and available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
We hope this helps!
Wishing you all the best,