Anxiety is something that is common, but knowledge about it among people who don’t suffer from it is sorely lacking, since it is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about because of the stigma it carries. This is actually very unfortunate, as the prevalence of anxiety will not get any lower, seeing how the world is today.
Today’s article is aimed at people who do not know much about anxiety, but wish to learn more about it, or have to deal with people with anxiety. Because the reality is that people with anxiety goes through a world of struggle that non-sufferers are clueless about, and this can and often does influence their actions, which then paint an even more negative picture of them. Here goes:
One: Anxiety Causes People To Be Irrational
We have to deal with this one straight-up, because it underpins most other points in this post. People with anxiety can be irrational sometimes, and they are well aware of it. In fact, anxiety “eggs on” the irrational thoughts when a person is having an attack. It’s not as simple as being able to snap out of it. So adjust your expectation. So instead of telling an anxious person about how irrational their thoughts are, why not show some understanding instead?
Two: Anxiety Is Very Overwhelming
If you are a person who suffers from anxiety, this is bleedingly obvious. However, everyone else might not be aware of it. You see, when one has anxiety, they are acutely aware of every single detail and minor thing around them. That means that they have an almost supernatural sense of sensitivity. Before declaring your jealousy about this, know that it is not enjoyable at all, which leads me to my next point.
Three: Anxiety Is Extremely Tiring
Because of the heightened state of alertness, anxiety sufferers often feel drained and lacking energy. After all, being alert to every detail is very resource draining. Think of your CPU and graphics card working on overdrive when you have many programs running at the same time while rendering videos. That’s an almost exact analogy for the condition of anxiety.
Four: You Don’t Have To Check Up On Them All The Time
If someone is suffering from an anxiety attack, you should not ask if they are okay, duh! Imagine if you just got shot and someone asks if you are okay; what would you say? When an anxiety attack occurs, the victim is panicking, their heart is racing and their whole system is on overdrive from the adrenaline rush, so of course they are not okay. According to anxiety sufferers, the best thing to do is encourage them, show that you are around, and then leave them the heck alone.
Five: Anxiety-sufferers Appreciate Supportive People
This might be difficult to believe sometimes, but the reality is that sufferers of anxiety do appreciate the support of understanding people. They know that sometimes their condition causes them to do things that might cause inconvenience or annoyance to you, and they will feel bad about it. Anxiety does cause overthinking, so they might sometimes be on eggshells wondering what you think about them. But one thing for sure is that they do appreciate your support, so keep on being supportive of them!
Six: Anxiety-sufferers Are Not Being A Snob When They Go Silent
As mentioned in the previous point, one of the features of anxiety is the tendency to overthink scenarios. That means that conversations in the brain can override and trump over real life conversations between people. What that also means is that you might be talking to them while their brain is in overdrive, resulting in them unintentionally tuning out. So if you ever encounter that, don’t be judgmental about it because it will make them feel bad. Instead, just show some understanding about it, and things will progress well.
Seven: Any Change To The Routine Is Tough
People with anxiety have to find ways to cope with it. Unlike non-sufferers, this involves a lot of extra effort, and once a sufferer finds a certain way to deal with it, he or she would not want anything to be adjusted, as even subtle changes can throw the whole system out of balance. So before you push someone with anxiety out of their comfort zone, just be aware of this fact, and don’t ever think of them as lazy slackers who are unable to progress.
Eight: It’s Not Easy To Let Go Of Things
Can you imagine being haunted by the ghost of a relative? For anxiety sufferers, things are a bit like that at times. When a person with anxiety goes through a difficult event, the memory of the event will linger in their minds. This is actually a protective mechanism, but unfortunately also means that it is harder to move on. One of the things the brain does is to associate that memory with the present moment. So, once again, be aware of this when dealing with a sufferer of the condition.
Nine: Anxiety-sufferers Do Not Like To Be Defined By Their Anxiety
While sufferers generally appreciate that you know about their condition and the difficulties it poses, they also want you to know that they are still a whole person with other aspects to their personality. Imagine how you would feel if someone defines you by your race, political leaning, religious belief or sexuality and refuses to recognise the other elements of your personhood. You’d feel incomplete in their eyes, right? It’s the same for people suffering from anxiety.
So at the end of the day, a good awareness of what anxiety is, the potential issues it may pose, and what you can do to support a sufferer would do you a world of good. Do not ever think less of or belittle someone with anxiety, because the condition might be more common than you think. And if you do suffer from anxiety, feel free to share this article around.
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