What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal feeling that we may feel before a frightening stimulus in life such as a test, making an important decision or a problem at school or work. However someone with an anxiety disorder will experience this feeling intensified. The fear and worry can be constant and more overwhelming.
If you have a friend who suffers with anxiety then my advice to you is be patient. This is the golden rule. Even if you think they’re overthinking something that’s silly or unnecessary to them it can be a life or death situation. So by being patient you are relieving them from any more pressure then they’re already going through.
Another tip I’d give to a person trying to help someone with anxiety is to be open-minded and to listen. Sometimes just knowing someone is there to listen and cares enough to help can be enough so that it can ease their mind a bit. Also a productive way to help is making a visual list of things that they’re feeling anxiety over. This way together you can go through that list and check off things once they feel like they’ve been dealt with.
The main thing I’d like to talk about are panic attacks which can be a big part of anxiety disorders and these include symptoms such as: shortness of breath, racing heart, trembling or shaking, crying, fear of dying and feeling dizzy or faint. Some panic attacks may experience all these symptoms and some may only experience one or two depending on the person and the situation. When someone is having a panic attack the worst thing you can tell him or her to do is “Just calm down” it’s really not that simple because if it was then they would have done so already. Another question I’d avoid is asking is “Are you ok?” It’s quite obvious that they aren’t so I wouldn’t bother asking. A tip I’d give when dealing with a panic attack is to just stay calm yourself. It won’t help the person having a panic attack if you’re also panicking, it will just make things worse. The best things you can do are just be there for them, reassure them, make sure that you’re not making them feel uncomfortable by asking them to do things, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help and the most reassuring thing you can tell someone who is having a panic attack is that it can only last twenty minutes. So to summerise the best thing you can do is drop everything to be with that person for twenty minuets to make sure that they’re as comfortable as they can possibly be in the situation.
So to conclude, anxiety disorders are a big part of around 1 in 10 peoples lives and therefore should be taken as seriously as any other disorder, mental or physical. The reassuring thing is that anxiety does get better if you speak out to people and get help. Teaching the sufferer to manage their illness rather then be engulfed by it can do this. To read more about anxiety and how you can help a loved one then this website is a good one to start your research with I’d like to leave you with a quote: “When a person breaks their leg everyone runs to sign the cast, when someone says they have a mental illness everyone looks the other way.” This proves the discrimination in our society and together we can get rid of it by making more people understand these disorders.


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