How Do You Help Someone With An Anxiety Disorder?

@Jackalyn (6616)
Oxford, England
August 10, 2015 1:10pm CST
Recently, someone I know describe a situation that seemed very minor to me as if it was a major disaster. It had clearly made them very anxious. I had no idea how difficult it is to suffer from an anxiety disorder as I am not particularly anxious myself. I was wondering if anybody has any tips on how to help a person like this as I'd like to learn how best to be sensitive to their needs. What's the best way to help someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder? I don't mean the medical parts. I would just like to know how to make life easier when I'm with them. I am particularly interested in hearing from anyone who suffers from extreme anxiety.
1 person likes this
4 responses
@katsmeow1213 (29016)
• United States
10 Aug 15
Thank you for being understanding!! A few years ago I was making some plans with a friend. I was trying to get all the details of the plans when she said "You worry too much" This past weekend I heard that phrase again, only it was directed at someone else. The woman who organized our Marching Band picnic. She was extremely organized and did fret over some minute details (which I personally appreciated) but I heard a couple people say behind her back "She worries too much!" Those of us with anxiety can't help but worry too much. The more structured our life is, the less we worry or have anxiety problems. We don't tend to like it when things go amiss.. we don't handle change well. We like organization and detailed plans. Anxiety presents itself in different ways and people handle it differently. I personally detest making phone calls, it feels awkward to me. My husband who also has anxiety makes phone calls all day at his job and has no problem with it. Neither of us like large crowds, but I tend to handle them better than him. I prefer to stay busy to keep my mind off of things, he would rather zone out on a video game to keep his mind busy. Your friend will be different than me and my husband. They'll have different triggers, different worries, different ways of handling things. The best thing you can do is be understanding and not belittle their feelings when they are having problems.
1 person likes this
@TLChimes (4842)
• United States
11 Aug 15
Thank you for sharing your experiences. It really does help others understand better.
@dawnald (84133)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Aug 15
It is hard not to think "you worry too much" when you're not a worrier. Maybe that's why I was given a daughter with anxiety (ugh) - to teach me patience...
• United States
12 Aug 15
@dawnald We're all different and handle things differently. Even if you don't have anxiety you have things that are a big deal to you that are nothing to other people. We just need to learn to respect each other's feelings about things no matter how big or small we find them to be.
@TLChimes (4842)
• United States
10 Aug 15
1. Avoid things that set them off too much. For example: if parties are hard for them, I get together with them at a quieter time. Or if they do come to the party I make sure there is a safe place for them if it gets to be too much. Another example is if shopping is hard for them, go with them or offer to do a bit for them when you do your own. 2. Don't make them feel bad. Ask them if they know what about that is bothering them. If they can tell you, talk about that and how best to handle that part of the problem. If they say they don't know, they really don't know. I handle those by letting them know that I will help them if I can. Then I wait, making sure they are safe. 3.There are some fairly simple exercises that may help if they are willing to try them. Look for a few online (or I may make a post on it at some point because it may make a great topic here, don't ya think?) What works for me is different "grounding" exercises while my son likes to listen to music.
@Jackalyn (6616)
• Oxford, England
11 Aug 15
Thanks for this. I would be interested to know what grounding excersises are. I look forward to your post on the excersises.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84133)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Aug 15
My daughter has anxiety. I just try to be patient, encourage her to do things for herself, help her when she can't, and (of course) pay for her counseling. lol Sometimes I feel really helpless when she is anxious about something.
@salonga (28007)
• Philippines
11 Aug 15
I think it is a very hard condition and it will take a lot of patience which I myself can't afford to give.