Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. All levels of intensity. From totally hyperventilating in a crowded room to just getting a little nervous before meeting your in-laws for t he first time. Everyone at some point in their life has experienced some form of anxiety. Most of us can handle it by taking a few deep breaths and shaking it off. The rest of us need some form of medication to control it.
It’s not easy to understand anxiety. We all think it’s just a nervous reaction to the unknown or fear and for the most part, that’s exactly what it is. Unfortunately some of us have an extremely difficult time dealing with that nervousness, that fear, that anxiety. People who do not experience severe anxiety have a hard time coming to grips with those who do. We shrug it off and think they are overreacting or just seeking attention. Such is not the case.
1. Just relax, it’s going to be ok.
Worst thing ever you could say. Ever. I can’t relax. If it was that easy I certainly wouldn’t need medication to handle my anxiety. You say that like it should be common sense.
2. It’s all in your head.
Why yes, yes it is. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I ‘ m glad you confirmed that for me and my doctor. We’ve been trying to figure this out for so long. I know it’s all in my head. That’s the problem.
3. You’re overreacting.
Really? Am I? How the fuck would you even know that? How would you even know what it’s like for me to be going through this right now and most importantly, what makes you the expert on anxiety all of a sudden?
4. Get over it.
Great, thanx, that’s awesome. Sure. I’ll get right on that. How about you find me some water so I can take my anxiety medication so I don’t pass out? Then maybe, I’ll be over it.
5. What are you freaking out about?
If I knew I wouldn’t be freaking out? It’s my brain’s way of telling me I have officially lost control and I’m doomed right now. My brain just flipped a scared shitless switch and there’s not much I can do about it right now. Sorry to upset you. Really.
6. You need to have more faith.
Um ok. In what exactly? Faith in some higher power, faith that this whole ordeal will blow over soon, faith in what? Faith that one day I may not need medication to get through this? Faith isn’t going to help me right now. Did you get that bottle of water for me yet?
7. Oh I know what you’re going through.
Is that a fact? Well how come I don’t see you reaching in your purse frantically for your anxiety pills to get you through this? Do you know what it ‘ s like to have your heart go clear up to your head and pounding so hard you think your head is going to explode and you are ready for a heart attack, both at the same time? Ya, that’s what I thought.
8. It could be worse.
You’re kidding, right? The only thing that would be worse right now i s if my head really did explode and I did actually have that heart attack. Or I could just faint right here in front of all these people in the movie theater line up. You mean that kind of worse? No really tell me, what did you mean by that?
9. Just think happy positive thoughts right now.
Ok that’s fantastic. I’m so happy right now I could just curl up and die. Like that? What would you like me to be positive about exactly? The fact that I’m alive and I’ll get through this? What part of I want to die right now did you not quite understand?
10. You can’t control it so just let it go.
Right! You get it. I can’t control it. That’s why I’m freaking out so much. I have absolutely no control and my heart and brain think we are going to die. I would seriously really love to just let it go. Honestly I would. It’s not that easy. Really.
You sort of get it now? Anxiety is a big deal for those who suffer from severe anxiety. Before you say something that will hurt them even more, educate yourself. That’s all they ask of you.