How to be someone's best friend when anxiety hits?
What triggers Anxiety?
Anxiety Disorder has its roots deep down someone’s soul. You can do nothing about it, because the person should learn to fight it by him/herself. However one may work on realizing the other outside triggers that may give the person severe anxiety. These triggers from the outside world may be little things that do not have any effect at you, but they do affect a lot someone with anxiety. By understanding what is causing anxiety you can help the other one feel at ease.
1. The need for perfection - someone with anxiety may also need to make everything perfect in his/her life, even regarding relationships, family relations, or friendships. Your job is to show them that nothing is perfect, and nothing will ever be. The beauty of it lies in the imperfection.
2. Family problems - the fear that something may happen to her/his family, even though they may be healthy and fine, triggers anxiety to someone with anxiety disorder. It may not happen all the time, but it does happen when they think a lot about it.
3. Sirens - this happens when they have overcome a difficult time. The siren may make the memories come back.
4. Loud music - as much as they have the tendency to turn the volume up because they do not want to hear their thoughts, they also do become anxious when the music is so loud that they cannot perceive what is going on around them, or the music blocks their thoughts completely.
5. Dead ends in life - knowing that a relationship, friendship, or any other relation in their life is going nowhere triggers anxiety as well. Of course they have the power to end things, or make changes, but they can not, because they suffer from anxiety: this means they are afraid: to hurt people, to say no, to miss opportunities, to regret decisions.
6. Being around people for too long - this does not turn them into introverts, but being around people for too long may trigger anxiety as well. Why? Because they can not think peacefully without somebody else disturbing them. They need their time to process all they have learned that particular day.
7. Complete darkness - it triggers the fear that they may be hurt because they can not see what is going on around. Even though they may be completely safe and no harm at all can come to them, it does not matter. Someone with disorder anxiety knows that he/she is safe, but still they will fear the unknown in the darkness.
8. Temperature - if they get too cold their body will become tense enough to strain their back and shoulders causing the person to feel stressed. Even when the body heats up in a minute, they will experience a little anxiety, because hot body temperatures are linked with the severe anxiety they may feel in some cases.
9. Time passing - New Year, anniversaries, birthdays, events they all trigger anxiety. They may be cheerful at these days, but once these days pass they will become anxious because they think too much of what is coming up next.
Never try to tell them to calm down, or to feed them herbal remedies, or green tea, or whatever. They know what helps and what not, so do not yell at them for being childish. If you want to be helpful, ask what can you do. If they want you to keep talking about anything, do that. If they want you to not spell another word, do that. Do not push someone with anxiety, as you may risk to get their twisted minds and sharp tongues running, which you will regret.
Be a friend when Anxiety hits!
All it takes is a little understanding, that Anxiety Disorder is a real mental issue, which can not be cured, it can somehow be controlled (not always) and those suffering from it, at a given moment can not help to put their minds and hearts at peace. So, you should know not to take it personally, at least, if it is not your wrong doing which drove them wild:
1. It is not your job to 'fix' it or them - you will instead cause more anxiety to them by trying to fix everything. You are not the therapist, you are their friend. Try to understand them and bathe them in love. Anxiety comes from inside, so the only person who can truly cure them it's themselves.
2. Remind them, they are not alone - an anxious person has the tendency to push everyone away, no matter how much he/she regrets it later. They know they are doing wrong to you, but they cannot control themselves, their anxiety demons are much stronger and manipulative. So all you can do in this case is to stay by their side, like a stone, and remind them they are loved and never alone.
3. Do not judge, just listen - you do not know what is going on with them, or in their head. Sometimes, they do not know either. They just want to say their extreme thoughts out loud. The minute they express something they have already debated it with themselves for so long, somehow, no matter how dark or evil it may be, or how good it sounded to them, that thought loses a little of its dark power. It is a release for them. Do not tell them they are ridiculous, or childish, or whatever.
4. There are times when anxiety may turn them into another person - this is the most terrifying part of it. Even those who suffer with anxiety disorder are terrified of themselves. It is not in their control. It is just that the feelings become too much to bear that the person can't help but explode in manners that he/she would have never thought of.
5. Patience is key - it takes time to overcome a disorder like this. Patience when they through things to you, patience when they misbehave, patience when they shut the door in your face, because they will open it again, but you have to understand and know this.
6. Watch what comes out of your mouth - your friend who suffers from anxiety is very sensitive when it comes to being judged or criticized. You have to work on your patience, as I mentioned before, do not let the words slip of your mouth, words that maybe you do not even mean. You may break their heart, you may awaken more fears than they already have and they will close into themselves.
© 2017 Enchel