Psyche logo

It's All in Your Head

Dealing with Anxiety with Friends and Family

By Vanessa Cherron RiserPublished 7 years ago 4 min read
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

You’re worthless. No one cares about you. Why do you bother? You should just leave. They only tolerate you for the rest of your family. You are never going to be good enough.

These are all things that have floated around in my head time and time again. It is one of the many symptoms of anxiety and depression, and one which likes to stick around. Many people talk about an inability to sleep at night because of racing thoughts. Often time, these thoughts are negative and a result of too much stress in life. For most, time, relaxation, or getting rid of stressors can make all the difference in the world. However, for people with chronic anxiety, these thoughts can linger even in the best of times.

One of the issues I have with my personal anxiety is this feeling that I am making everyone else angry, upset, or displeased. I live in a near constant state of worry that I am going to end up in an argument or lose someone close to me because of something I did, even if I haven’t done anything to warrant such a reaction. Even something as simple as asking a housemate to do a chore can wreak havoc in my mind and send me into a panic attack.

Another problem I seem to have is a strange insensitivity toward other people. This is a trait which bothers me a lot, and one I am curious to know more about. For me, I work extremely hard not to let my insecurity, depression, and anxiety show outwardly. I keep it in, which is not a good thing to do, but as stated above I don’t want to upset anyone. Because of this, when I see other people actively moping, stressed out, or showing signs of depression and anxiety, I get an almost uncontrolled sense of anger from it. If I can keep it in, why can’t they? Certainly, my thoughts are not fair, as everyone deals with emotions differently. However, it is one I have become more and more aware of over the last few months, and one I actively try to remedy in my life every day.

All of this personal self-discovery has led me to want to write about dealing with other family members who are going through anxiety. After all, we are not alone, and even if you, yourself, have these feelings of dread, it is important to stay mindful of others in your life who may share them with you. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but one I am slowly working on improving in my own life.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a person who suffers from chronic anxiety may not have any idea what triggers it. They can literally go from feeling fine to feeling like their world is crashing down on them in a matter of seconds without anything around them changing. Most of this is because anxiety is very internal. It is a process of thoughts which can come about during moments of calm and quiet. One of the best things you can do for someone in your life who suffers from this is to encourage them to talk about the things in their life they are stressed out about. Even if those things may seem silly or unfounded, sometimes just getting them out of our head and talking them out can lessen the load.

Another way to help someone in your life with anxiety is work with them on self-calming techniques. One of the first things I learned in counseling was how to breathe through a panic attack and how to meditate. People with anxiety often have issues sleeping and resting, because, as said before, this quiet time is when their thoughts are at the worst. When you notice your friend or family member falling into a panic attack, get their attention, have them breathe slowly in through their nose, hold for five seconds, and then exhale through their mouth. Before bed, take time to meditate with them. Play calming music, incorporate lavender incense, and maybe hot tea. Make the area peaceful and relaxed, then help them clear their mind.

You may also want to aid them in putting work to bed when they go to bed. People with very active work lives often fret over their jobs and will spend hours on their phones at night which only add to them getting less sleep and more anxious. When it is time for bed, suggest they read a book for fun or play a silly game, anything to take their mind off of the stress of the day and into something more pleasant. Some people (I know I am one) have to do something until they fall asleep to keep their mind at peace. If your friend or family member is like that, encourage them to choose something that will relax them not excite them. My husband often tells me to read a boring book on my e-reader.

Lastly, don’t linger on their bad moments. If you have a friend or family member who is in the midst of a panic attack, it can pull you to want to help them. However, sometimes focusing on it can cause the attack to last longer. Let the person know you are there for them, help them breathe if they need it, or hug and hold them if it will help. However, don’t constantly ask them if they are okay or what you can do to help. Focusing on the panic attack will only make them panic more. Oh no! Now everyone is mad at me because I am upset for no good reason.

Panic and anxiety are not rational. Many people who suffer from it have no idea how to make it go away. Over time, we learn our own techniques to get through the worst of times more easily, but that doesn’t take the worst of the thoughts out of our mind for good. Being there for someone you love with anxiety can be one of the best things you can do for them. Remind them they are loved, supported, and important. It will go a long way in the healing process.


About the Creator

Vanessa Cherron Riser

Vanessa is a wife and mother who loves games, books, movies and more. In 2015 she made a commitment to health and fitness which she wishes to share with others.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    Vanessa Cherron RiserWritten by Vanessa Cherron Riser

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.