“Panic disorder is characterized by uncontrollable episodes of fear and its physical manifestations, such as heart palpitations, sweating, and dizziness. Worry about having a panic attack may bring about the additional stress of chronic anxiety.”
If you love someone with anxiety, a child, or parent or friend or spouse or partner, you will have to realize that this person has triggers for their anxiety. People with panic disorder and anxiety have real fears (even if you might think that they are imagined or invalid) and it’s not something that you can talk them out of, it’s a real issue for them. Their anxiety may or may not make sense to you. If you care for this person, understanding and acceptance that it’s a reality for them is the first step in helping them.
Many people with anxiety will cope better if they understand that a key component to their anxiety prevention is awareness. Becoming self-aware of what triggers them (food, an experience they are having that creates fear, for example) can help the person recognize anxious thinking patterns when they come up and they can be managed and even reduced. Does the car drive or daily train ride to work cause anxiety? Heights? Maybe criticism from a co-worker or spouse? It’s recommended for treatment that the person with anxiety help track what triggers them in order to cope more effectively with their anxiety.
The hopeful part is that there are a few steps that you can take to help someone with anxiety. Also, here is a list of things not to do when interacting with someone who gets anxious.
What NOT to say to someone with Anxiety...
Tell this person to ”Just not think about it” and that it will just go away.
Raise your voice or yell at this person and threaten to leave if they don’t calm down, this will not help in fact it will make them more anxious. Threats will not help them improve.
Lecture this person on how to be different than how they are, speeches on growing up or “just change it” will only alienate this person from you. They will feel misunderstood. If you tell them to just “be more like you” believe me, they would love to be, they aren’t capable of it.
Tease this person by engaging in the behavior they are afraid of and saying “look-see, no big deal!”
Gossip about your loved one’s panic, it will hurt them. Anxiety is embarrassing to handle even when people understand.
How to Help Your Loved One with Anxiety
Physical touch is helpful and can assist the person in calming down. Please get your anxious person engaged by touching them, holding a hand or a quick neck rub. This is an area where you can be warmth and refuge – hugging and cuddling is just great.
Grab them and go for a walk or get some physical activity. This has a calming effect, outrun the panic attack!
Watch an episode of a show on Netflix or any other medium, or play some music, focus their attention elsewhere, this will help!
Just get your loved on to turn on their taste buds as a distraction, Chewing gum, or tasting candy or having a meal, engage that sensory system to focus on something else besides the fear that they feel. This is a proven and successful method to help them.
“If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.”
If you love someone with panic/anxiety you must try to accept them without judgment. If someone suffers from anxiety, they don’t want their life to be this way. It’s a “thing”. Remember what Mother Teresa says: “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.”
Be a refuge and please let this person know that you love them and that you get it (even if you really don’t). Building trust with this person will help alleviate panic. Nobody wants to feel singled out over their anxiety. This is really important for long term relationships and families.
Some people with anxiety can work around a panicky situation and some cannot. Get a game plan in order and please support your “anxiety” and also encourage them to do what they can if they are scared but don’t take it too far. Workarounds are needed sometimes in order to have a better outcome.
Encourage your “anxious person” to get some therapy, there are many resources available to them if they choose to talk about it, this can be a great long term help and they might see some success combating their anxiety disorder.
A weighted blanket is something that you can keep in your home to alleviate anxiety symptoms and help with anxiety. Many testimonials show that weighted blankets feel like a hug or swaddling (like you wrap a baby). It can even stop a panic attack. Weighted blankets create better sleep and an increase in serotonin which turns into melatonin in our brain. It also lowers cortisol, the hormone that stresses us out. Everyone deals with the world better when they are well-rested and can grab a weighted blanket as a refuge to calm down.