Advanced modern research in the recent years have shown vast progress in terms of mental disorders awareness. Its immense impact contributes very much on how more people are more informed about certain mental conditions which also brings more positivity and harmony upon interacting with people who suffer from the mentioned disorder. The possibility of encountering people with General Anxiety Disorder, also known as GAD is quite steep. It is more common than we think, in fact, chronic anxiety affects millions of Americans and millions more around the world. This is a serious matter since it is characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear. These feelings tremendously hinder a person to attain a good quality of life.
Since it is quite common to have acquaintances and loved ones affected by GAD, it is indeed important to give help. However, sometimes even our greatest interests can be taken the wrong way. So it will mean a lot to them if you educate your self on what are the worst things you can possibly say to a person with GAD. Here are some of the statements that might actually sound helpful but are not.
“There Are People With Much Bigger Problems”
Sure. War, world hunger, homelessness, abuse and the list goes on. These are for sure bigger matters and much more mentally and emotionally disparaging to a person. However, downplaying somebody’s weakness would not seem to help. Every individual has their own way of responding to different things may be small or big. No matter how familiar you think you are to that person, you can never know what is going through their minds. So it’s unwise to compare problems that doesn’t have anything to do with their own fault or doesn’t directly associate with them.
You can try, “I’m really sorry to hear that. Do you wanna talk?” They might then just reveal how their issues and anxiety are valid. You can make them feel better by helping them share their distress with you. Let’s not aim to fix them and hope that you can easily get them out of their struggle in an instant cause surely they have tried a couple of times already and there is a greater reason why it’s hard for them to be successful at it.
“There’s So Much To Be Grateful For!”
They actually are aware that everyone wants them to simply look at the brighter side however it might come to them as “I’m not doing enough to appreciate the good things in my life.” They are usually already dealing with guilt and shame for not being good enough. They think they’re a burden to people.
Instead, it will be better to say “I appreciate you.” Appreciation is better than gratitude, and everyone, especially them, need to know that they are appreciated for being strong and dealing with their troubles.
“Just Be happy”
Let’s all be honest here for a moment. Even a person who doesn’t suffer from GAD cannot just be happy like it’s something they can turn on with a switch. Everyone knows that being happy takes effort and being consistenly happy is a lot of hard work, even impossible at times. Imagine how many times you get upset over the little mishaps in a day. These little things can actually affect them in a greater degree.
Don’t try to dismiss them trying to actually be happy. But they might have experiences that are difficult for them to overcome, leaving them with sleepless nights and anxieties.
Instead, you can ask “What Can I Do To Make You Feel Better?” They will greatly appreciate you giving them the option to pour their hearts out to you. Let them open up about what worries them and how you can help them.
” What’s There To be Anxious About?”
Well, what is there not to be anxious about, honestly? People have different degrees of being able to cope, and fortunate for you, you are able to stay optimistic over little issues. However, this might sound to them as if their troubles are being belittled.
It’s best to let them do a little soul searching and understand what could actually work to make them feel better. You can also ask them “How can I make you feel less stressed?”
“It’s All In Your Head!”
It might be a psychological issue but saying it without empathy is certainly rude. Remember that they have less control over their own emotions. This statement is far from helping and can actually make them feel helpless and crippling.
Opt for a friendlier approach “Let’s go have some fun.” Planning a day to hang out to a brighter atmosphere like a park or a pet shop is a great way to Engage them in fun activities.
“Maybe you should…”
“Maybe you SHOULD see someone”, “maybe you should stop overthinking”, ” maybe you should try meditating” or “maybe you should see someone” … err honestly maybe it’s worse that you keep on stressing on how much they need to fix themselves. “Should” is a word that most certainly NOT be used with them if you really want someone to overcome their anxiety.
It’s also a herculean task for them once you demand things for them to try or do. Let them come to their own terms and when they do, the best thing to do is not to get overly excited. Showing how happy you are gives them more pressure just be calm with them. You can be subtle about their condition if you treat them the way you treat other people. They will surely know if you are trying to interact with them with so much precaution.
“Everything Will Be okay”
This is actually the most harmless you might think. You are trying to assure them that things will turn out for the better, and they try to say the same thing to themselves but end up asking, how? How are things going to get better?
It is vague for everyone.
Instead it’s better to give them more reassuring statements that you are in control of like; “Don’t worry, I am here for you. “Anxiety makes them feel isolated and lonely. You will not forsee what’s going to happen in the future but you can definitely promise them your presence and company.
So, next time you start struggling what are the right things to say to a person with GAD, remember this list and you might just make them feel better. Always remember that the most important thing is that you are sincere on your hopes for them to feel better and that you do not judge them by their condition.