HOW TO HELP OTHERS WITH ANXIETY!
Here is how to help others with anxiety!
I set my alarm to wake at 10 a.m. most days. Like many people with anxiety I have sleep issues. Sleeping when it is best for me means I go to sleep about 1 a.m. and my sleep doc says no more than 9 hours, hence, the 10 a.m. alarm. If I do not set the alarm, or shut it off and go right back to sleep, then I may sleep until 11 a.m. or noon. Yesterday, this is what happened.
HABITS AND ANXIETY
A common habit of people with anxiety is lying around in bed for a while after they wake up. Why? Cause it is a safe space. I lie around, say good morning to Saffi (my cat companion) and catch up on the day’s news. For me, this includes checking the number of COVID cases in Ontario, a quick glance at CNN and a read through Facebook to see how my family and friends are. Often, it is my bladder that forces me to leave the comfortable space and feeling of my bed!
Yesterday’s sleep in and heightened anxiety brought with it some nausea, dizziness and a general feeling of unwell. Was this a flu-like issue? I spent most of my day in bed not wanting to expose my daughter to anything physical that might have been going on.
Today, I set my alarm for 10, got up within 20 minutes and started my routine for the day. Today’s unexpected pleasure was a great text conversation I had with a very close friend. She accepted my feelings of anxiety today and the idea that it may be causing physical symptoms. We exchanged a lot of long texts about what I was feeling. She asked questions and acknowledged my feelings. Not once did she try to tell me I should be doing something different. She did not ask me to stop feeling, how I was feeling!
She listened, asked questions, acknowledged and understood! WOW!
ACCEPTANCE was the key for me! By accepting how I was feeling she was giving me the love I needed. LISTENING when I started to text gave me the FREEDOM to talk. When I said that I felt physical issues may indeed be the result of anxiety, she texted “Yes, well it certainly could be the case. Stress and anxiety can have a terrible effect on your body!” THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I felt heard, comforted and I felt loved.
ACCEPT … LISTEN … LOVE!!
An individual suffering from anxiety does not need to hear that there is no reason for their anxiety. This is invalidating and upsetting.
An individual suffering from anxiety is not going to be helped by being told everyone feels this way at some time or another and that the events causing anxiety are common or normal.
The very last thing a person with anxiety wants to be told is that they are causing their own anxiety. Most of us know this is at least partially true, but tell us do this … and this … and it will go away, CAUSES SHUT DOWN IN THE PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO HELP!
ANXIETY IS OKAY!
Anxiety is okay. IT IS OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY. By accepting, listening and loving your friend or family member you can help them be less concerned about the stigma, less fearful that they are somehow odd or damaged, and let them deal with what really causes the anxiety. Listening is your most important tool and talking will give them more relief than anything else.
If your friend/family member is not able to talk to you about what they are feeling, ask if you can just be there for them. Ask if your presence would help or is there anything you can do?
There are a lot of variances to anxiety too, so please remember, we are all individuals!
There is an abundance of information online about anxiety, its treatment and how to help someone experiencing chronic anxiety or panic attacks. Remember, there is a difference between chronic anxiety or acute anxiety. Acute anxiety often reveals itself in the form of a panic attack.
Lastly, I will add that so many people are experiencing anxiety now due to COVID. Many people are not okay. They are not having an easy time. People are losing loved ones and grieving. These are tough times. The one thing we can all do to help out is BE KIND! Treating people with the kindness you want to be treated with, will help a lot.
Sharing helps! I would really enjoy starting conversations in an effort to help us all.
Also, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIVEFATANDFIT AND BE WELL!