Anxiety – the word now used more commonly than before, strikes a feeling of sympathy, generally aimed towards the one suffering from it. But what about the one who’s living with a person suffering from anxiety?
One can safely say, they fight their own battles too. While it’s near impossible to empathize and understand what a person with anxiety goes through, it’s important to get into the field, do your own research and be well-equipped to handle your partner, friend of family member dealing with anxiety. Not doing your background research is like going on a mission without a map. Not knowing what route to take and how to broach the subject might often lead to making the already anxious person feel worse about it.
However hard it is for people to comprehend, the fact remains that people suffering with anxiety have no control over their emotions and when they have an anxiety attack, it’s not something they predicted, or something they could have stopped. It usually is triggered by a stressor, and in most cases, there isn’t just one stressor.
They could wake up one morning feeling as fit as a fiddle and mid-day could have the worst anxiety attack and you, as an observer, may just not be able to get why. But it’s ok; the goal is not to reason out the attack, but to handle the situation well and comfort the person. Easier said then done; is what people who have tried doing so in the past may say. Well, yes. But there are certain tips to tackle such situations.
Firstly, understand what anxiety is. Without knowing the magnitude and intensity of anxiety, it’ll be challenging to try and help your partner/friend. And who better than them to explain the same to you? Sit down and aim for a heart to heart chat about the subject while keeping an open mind. It also helps them feel acknowledged.
Then, while you have gained some insights about their situation, try and identify out the triggers or stressors in their life and help them steer away from it. Of course, that’s not always going to be possible and that’s when you might have to keep calm even when you don’t feel it. Because the last thing they need is another anxious person at that point.
However, when you do live with a person suffering form anxiety, you anticipate certain situations and in case of one, always be prepared with a possible solution. It could be their favorite food, music or just giving them their space that might help a person during an anxiety attack. Trying to keep your own set of emotions aside while dealing with an anxious person is advised, as that makes getting out of such a situation easier for them and for you.
Lastly, but most importantly, push your friend/partner/relative to see a therapist. However close you may be to him/her, however cooperative you may be and however comfortable he/she is with you, you might not be able to help them overcome anxiety. Help them see the benefits of therapy and if need be, offer your assistance in any possible way. Showing them you understand, not treating them like there is something wrong and helping them see that it can all be dealt with – are actions that will lead them to a secure, happy place.