Friday, 14 July 2017

What not to say to someone with anxiety

1. Just Snap out of it
This for me is probably the worst thing you could ever say to me. Anyone with a mental health illness wishes everyday that they could just 'snap out of it'. If we could then why on earth wouldn't we? For most people once you have been diagnosed with a mental health illness it is with you for life. It's important to me that the people around me know this. This is me, I will have good days and bad days but I definitely cannot 'snap out of it'. 

2. Just relax  
Relaxing for me is just impossible, it's the same as when someone tells you to calm down when your having a panic attack. My mind is in overdrive constantly and I find it so hard to switch off. I have to be busy all the time otherwise my anxiety takes over completely. When someone tells me to relax or calm down when my anxiety is bad it almost feels like there playing the whole thing down. Until you have anxiety or a panic attack you have no idea how horrendous it truly is. To tell me to relax, like what I'm going through is nothing, is actually really hurtful. 

3. Did I do something to upset you?
My anxiety has caused me to lose friends in the past because some people just don't understand it. But that's ok, I don't expect you to. The best thing you can do around me is just be normal. If I ever come across as rude or quiet it's because inside I am battling my anxiety and sometimes it's so bad that it takes up every part of me. Just being able to open up and talk to some who wont judge is all I need sometimes. Believe me I just want to be myself but at times this is incredibly hard. Unfortunately I cannot control my anxiety, I just do my best to cope with it. 

4. Everything will be fine 
This should be a comforting thing to say to someone but for me it's really not. I have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) so I don't worry about a few things, I worry about EVERYTHING. Telling me everything will be fine really doesn't even begin to touch the surface of what I deal with on a day to day basis. I know I have no control over 99% of the things that cause me to worry but try telling my anxiety that. When your in the depths of anxiety hearing everything will be fine makes it even worse in a way. It makes me feel even further away from reality.

5. There are people worse off than you
Yes thank you I am aware of this. Hearing this makes me feel even more guilty for feeling the way that I already do. Guilt goes hand in hand with anxiety. Every day I feel bad for wasting precious moments of my life focused on the way I feel. I have met others who have anxiety so much worse than me and this in turn makes me think why can't I just got on with things if they manage to cope? 

6. Why do you feel like that ?
If only I could answer that question. I would be able to cure myself just like that. I have had anxiety since I was 12 and to this day I still have trouble fully understanding why I feel like this. It's frustrating not to be able to fully explain how I feel and sometimes when I try to I know it sounds like I'm talking gibberish. When someone who doesn't have anxiety or a mental health illness says to me ' I know how you feel' it actually completely trivialises what I go through everyday. That's not me saying please feel sorry for me, it's me saying please don't think that anxiety is just being a little over worried or nervous. It is so much more than that. 


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I've also been diagnosed with GAD along with Panic Disorder and a lovely long list of other fun stuff. I cannot stand it when people who don't have a mental illness trivialise them by using them as adjectives and/or throw out the "I know how you feel" card.Actually no! No you don't! Being a bit worried about going somewhere new or going out on a date with someone for the first time is 1000% NOT the same as having panic attacks over and over and over again or constantly dealing with adrenaline surges over everything and suffering from anxiety in general. Anxiety is exhausting and you can't just switch it on and off when it suits you!! I hate when people presume you can just switch it off to go on holiday or go and meet friends or whatever. It doesn't work like that! I could moan all day about how completely ignorant people are when it comes to mental illnesses! I genuinely don't think people realise how insulting it is to those who have been diagnosed with x y or z when they spit the words out left right and centre as sentence enhancers.

  2. I think sometimes it's hard to know what to say and although it may be meant in kindness, it isn't always as helpful as they might hope it to be.

  3. Totally agree. I don't suffer with anxiety but have had several bouts of severe depression and people telling me to 'cheer up and snap out of it' is not helpful. If only it were that simple!

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

  4. I've had some ridiculous comments in the past and it makes me feel so stupid at times xx

  5. Anxiety is such a hard one. My OH suffers from anxiety, depression, OCD and is autistic as well so not a fun mix. I'm sometimes guilty of these but I don't mean it, it's more out of frustration as it can be hard on the partner as well. We can only try our best though and some days we just need to be alone x

  6. 100% agree to all these, I am undiagnosed, and it really pisses me off when people say because I haven't seen a doctor about it that I am making it up or that its not real, I am sorry but I don't need to see a bloody doctor and get it on paper to show that I suffer with some form of anxiety, the sheer thought of going to see a doctor about it terrifies me because it means having to go speak to someone I don't know about a problem i've dealt with for a long time, ive had my own mum tell me not to worry...

    great post xx

  7. These are all things I'd never say to someone else - but all things I say to myself! xo

  8. As someone who has previously battled panic disorder this is spot on! It can be a very lonely time for people and well-meaning, throwaway comments can be so damaging.

  9. I've spoken to people that have anxiety, I'm not going to make out that I understand what it is like or what it even really is but I do know that saying comments like you have mentioned never helps. In these situations I listen and if I have anything to say it is normally saying that I don't know what to say. I am sure however, that as more people are being open about anxiety other people may become more accepting of it.

  10. I often guilty of saying them to myself but that's just my own personal dialogue and I know what works for me but I would never dream of uttering them to others regardless as you never know what's going on in another person's life unless they choose to share.
    There are several people in my life who suffer with anxiety and other related issues and I know first hand how damaging these comments can be.

  11. Yes, spot on. I think sometimes though people just don't know what to say, especially if they don't have (or know anyone with) these issues themselves.