We all know how it feels to be scared but some people are constantly living in survival mode. Living with anxiety is quite challenging and it’s a great help when someone you love can help you cope during an attack.
Anxiety attacks aren’t textbook for everyone; people go through intense emotions and can feel like the world is caving in. It can be reassuring to have someone who understands what you’re feeling and help you through these intense emotions.
It’s easy to lend a helping hand when someone is in need, and you can see the wound and attend to it; it’s a little different when the wound is on the inside. So how can you help?
Keep yourself calm
If you notice that your loved one is going through a particularly difficult time and can see that they’re uneasy or even going through an anxiety attack, you should stay calm. If you freak out, you might add to their stress and make their feelings worse!
Channel your most calm tone and use it! Give them some reassuring words and let them know that this panic will pass, it’s temporary and intense at the moment, but it will end soon!
Their thoughts are likely negative and focused on the worst outcomes. Hearing you be the voice of reason can help calm them especially if your voice is calming!
Don’t surprise them
If your actions are unpredictable, you might even send them into further panic, making the situation worse. Try to remain as predictable as possible and not scare them!
Ask them what they need.
As much as we love the people around us, we don’t always know what’s best for them. The only way you can be really helpful if you’re providing them with the help they need in the way they need it!
They might be a little snappy or even confused; try not to get offended because stress is even confusing for the people experiencing it! If you can see that they’re not in danger and that they need some space, then you can give it to them!
If you don’t feel comfortable leaving them alone, stick close by; just leave them room to calm down, especially if that’s what they ask for. And you can explain to them that you don’t feel comfortable leaving them alone, so you’re choosing to hang around.
In order to keep the lines of communication open, try not to judge or criticize them. Don’t try to make their issues seem smaller either; try to be as understanding as possible and listen to their needs.
Look for the warning signs.
You can try and learn the signs that indicate they’re going through a rough time. Sometimes it’s easier to stop the attack from getting really bad if you know how to pick it up.
Ask them to seek professional help.
If you notice that their situation is becoming quite severe or that their stress seems to be getting progressively worse, you can ask them to seek help! That way, you can get guided help through their bad days as well, and you won’t feel so alone!
It’s okay to feel stressed out
It’s completely natural to feel a bit panicked yourself; it’s just worrying about the person you care about. Feel your emotions and process them, take care of yourself, and reassure yourself that this super anxious state your loved one is in is only temporary!
Even when you feel like you’re not doing enough, just know that your presence is all that matters, and your help is appreciated! They may not say much, but when they’re calm, they’ll probably be thanking you in bucket loads for just sticking around!
Dr Saadiqah Hajat