Either you suffer from anxiety, or someone you know does. That’s because anxiety is incredibly common nowadays.
If it’s you, hopefully this list will help you rest assured that you are not alone. If you know someone with anxiety, perhaps this list will shed some light on the inner demons that are fought, nearly every waking moment.
Regardless of your current situation, there are many comments directed at those who hurt from anxiety, and there are just as many comments made that drive us anxiety sufferers crazy.
What You Should Never Say To An Anxious Person
1. “You need to calm down.”
Every anxiety sufferer out there just said, “Pshhh….really?!” in response to reading those words. You know why? Because we simply can’t. Our brains aren’t wired with a shut off switch, and many times, we don’t have the ability to settle our nerves.
In fact, when someone says this to us, it tends to just make it worse. Again, why? Because we literally can’t—not in that moment, at least.
We know you mean well, but next time you feel tempted to say this to someone, consider asking them what is wrong instead of making them feel as if they were overreacting.
If you are suffering from anxiety yourself, one option is to create yourself a calm box that will help calm you down.
2. “Stop being so sensitive.”
Just because you don’t understand someone’s sensitivity doesn’t mean you can judge it. This statement just makes it obvious that you don’t understand who we are as people. And because you just called us out on our sensitivity, to say anything else in defense of our behavior would just be further justifying your comment, so all we can do is just smile and nod.
Any feedback with a “stop” at the beginning is probably not positive and therefore not good feedback. Encouraging positive behavior goes so much further in life.
3. “I wish you wouldn’t worry so much.”
Yep. We do too. Since, like, the dawn of time. However, this can be seen as a blessing, and not always a curse! Our constant worry allows us to, in a tough situation, singlehandedly go through every possible scenario in our head that could go wrong, and do so within a matter of minutes.
Plus, our keen ability to worry others under the table allows us to multi-task like mo-fo’s! Some of the greatest artists and leaders suffer anxiety, which could make for an interesting study. Does the anxiety keep them on their toes so much that they’re able to be in a million places at once in their careers? If we weren’t worrying all the time, the little things could slip by, and we could get overwhelmed too easily with the thought of multiple tasks at once.
I know that I, myself, have always been a worrier, and though it can be hard to deal with sometimes, I’ll take it any day!
4. “Bless your heart (or something along the lines of sympathy).”
Most anxiety sufferers don’t want sympathy, or be patronized. We don’t need you to feel sorry for us. This is who we are! Every time you act like you feel bad for our situation, you make us feel as if we are sick, and there’s just no hope for us. That’s not the case!
We just happen to process things a little differently than you do. It’s all about perspective and tolerance. After all, if we were all the same, this world would be ridiculously boring.
5. “Get over it.”
“Easier said than done” barely scratches the surface of how an anxiety sufferer feels when they hear this. As we get older, it’s easier to hear people generalize, and try to solve our problems by pulling a Taylor Swift (#shakeitoff), but it isn’t always that easy.
People in all walks of life suffer anxiety, including children. As you grow, your skin gets thicker, and hearing hurtful words such as, “get over it,” seem to roll off. As a child, however, these words can really sting. It downplays an anxiety sufferer’s feelings, and it accomplishes nothing, other than us asking ourselves once again, “What’s wrong with me?”
The answer will always be: nothing.
No matter which side of the fence on which you may be sitting, one thing is very important to keep in mind: anxiety sufferers simply cannot make their nerves go away. The reason anxiety and depression seem to go hand in hand is because as a naturally anxious person, it is very easy to feel inadequate on an almost minute-to-minute basis.
Bottom line? We all need to be careful of hurtful things that we say to one another. If you feel tempted to say any of these things to a loved one, friend, or spouse, consider a different approach. A basic understanding of how your loved one operates will help you to understand their thoughts and reactions, and perhaps you’ll have a better insight into their heart.
Audra Dittlinger is a contributor for Inspiyr.com, as well as a full-time working mom living in rural Indiana. She is an insurance professional with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She writes to create, inspire, and empower.
Photo by BriannaJayde Photography