Anxiety Disorder is a debilitating condition that involves extreme and persistent fear or worry. It comes in many forms. Some may have social anxiety that gets triggered by interacting with people, while others may have generalized anxiety, which makes them distressed about everyday life concerns. Caring for someone with anxiety isn’t easy, but it can be simple.
Regardless of diagnosis, mental health disorder symptoms and their degree varies from person to person. Learn your loved one’s specific case so that you’ll know how to take care of them. Help them in any way you can and encourage them to seek treatment.
The Disorder Doesn’t Define Them
“I didn’t think there’s something wrong with them,” is usually what people say when someone they know gets diagnosed. Emma (not her real name) experienced the same thing. She got frequent panic attacks–sudden paralyzing fear–due to high personal expectations. Her friend thought her good looks and her nice job are enough reasons for her to be alright despite of what she’s going through. It’s hard to understand and accept at first that such a normal-looking person has a condition because we can’t see their mind. A person with anxiety disorder may suffer from a panic attack without showing it. Considering this, you must realize that your loved one is still the same person. They need to feel like they are not too different from everyone else.
Don’t Take it Personally
Anxiety makes someone hyper aware. They notice the smallest of details, magnify trivial issues, and see patterns where there aren’t any. If they lash out at you for missing their call even though you were at work, remember that it’s their fear speaking. Assure them that you’re on their side. Sensitively, help them hold their thoughts against reality. Keep calm. The last thing you’d want to do is give in to your emotions. Set a mental barrier to protect yourself from hurtful words. On more challenging days, allow them space to calm down and wait until they are ready to talk. You’re not their enemy and they are not yours.
Give Infinite Support
Recovery isn’t impossible, but it will take a while. Stay with your loved one in the process. Hold their hand as they make every slow step. Motivate them to keep moving forward, and help them get back on track when they fall behind. Always practice patience. Though you get tired, never yield to doubt. Doubt makes you question the worth of your efforts. Will giving your all amount to anything? Yes. Even if it feels slow, you’re getting close. If you think you’re not appreciated, you are. They are more than grateful to have you.
See the Good in Their Disability
Anxious people think ahead. They make sure everything’s in check not just for themselves, but for those around them. While most of us forget our house keys or forget a friend’s birthday, they don’t. You can count on them. Take time to notice their unique traits. Their disadvantage is a blessing in disguise.
If we all need love, people with anxiety disorder need it more. Sadly, not everyone receives the support they need. Some have to endure life alone while some have been given up on. You are an important part of your loved one’s life. They need you. From your simple smiles and encouraging words to your ever present shoulder to cry on, they need you. The best medicine is not laughter, it’s unconditional love.
Can you relate? Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear them!