Suffering from anxiety means that a lot of small things can escalate into bigger things: it can range from something as minute as a picture you see on Facebook to catching someone’s eye on public transport, and the intensity of the anxiety attack can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s all very well giving advice to those who also suffer from the condition, but today I thought it might be worthwhile giving advice to those who have people in their lives who suffer from it – siblings, boyfriends/girlfriends, parents or even just friends.
Anxiety attacks are usually brought on by a trigger and as mentioned before, it can be a wide range of things. Of course, you’re not expected to analyse every single detail of your life in order to avoid triggering attacks in your loved ones, but sometimes it’s wise to be precautionary:
1. Think – think about what you’re going to say or write or do before you do it. As mentioned before, sometimes things can escalate out of control and the fundamental cause was a simple misunderstanding. It doesn’t hurt anyone to show a little consideration for those who suffer from a destructive illness.
2. Act – Do what you can to support those in need of a little love and care. Go to therapy sessions with them, help them get answers if they’re unable to find them on their own. Acts of kindness do not go amiss.
3. Listen – If it’s a shoulder to cry on, let them tell you their problems. More likely than not, they will resolve the underlying problem if they are able to talk to someone about it aloud to willing listeners. Also, if you notice that a certain thing can upset them, avoid doing it! It sounds so simple, but surprisingly, repeating mistakes is a habit some have trouble breaking out of.
It’s most certainly not easy living with or being close to someone who suffers from anxiety. There’s no forewarning as to when an attack will come on, and it may be over something so frustratingly small that you don’t see the logic in it. But understand that this simply cannot be helped; some have it bad, some have it mild. There’s no cure for it either, just working alongside it and living with it.
Anxiety is like a black cloud looming over one’s shoulders all day every day, so even the smallest act of kindness or consideration will go a very long way.