Generalised Anxiety Disorder is exceedingly common these days. You may have a family member or loved one who suffers from it. You may want to show them that you support them or ask them questions about it.
The best intentions though can lead to feelings of anxiety or humiliation when you don’t mean to. It is possible to make anxiety worse when you are only trying to help. Here are some things to say or do that you should avoid when it comes to those you love with anxiety.
1. Do Not Tell Them To “Stop Worrying About It”:
It may seem like the first thing you want to do is reassure your loved one. It may be tempting to tell them “it’s no big deal” or urge them to stop worrying about it. That can be upsetting and seem like your patronising them or belittling their feelings. Most likely they know it’s not a big deal and that just increases their stress.
Having irrational fears is a huge part of having an anxiety disorder, and the worst part is being aware of that. So even if they know their anxiety is misplaced, they can’t stop it.
Instead, you should offer your help or try and empathize with them. That has a better effect than trying to minimize their worries.
2. Don’t Be A Problem Solver:
Trying to solve your loved one’s problem is a typical response to their anxiety. You want to help them, what’s wrong with that? Someone with anxiety disorder is entirely able to solve their own problems.
Trying to solve their problems may only increase anxiety and makes them feel useless in the long run. Emotional support is the best way to be there for them. Being understanding can even help them relax enough to solve their problems.
3. Don’t Overdo It:
If you feel your loved one is really being affected by their anxiety, it can be common to just want to take over and fix it. Don’t do that. It is not your job to take over their life. This can make them dependent on you and even increase anxiety by making them feel like they can’t do things on their own.
Encourage your loved one to get the help they need without trying to be that help for them. Be there to help them when they want you to be, not because you feel you need to be.