People with anxiety do not need to “calm down”, they need understanding

Anxiety is usually one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses of all. Although it is also one of the most common, it is often confused and ignored. And it is not just about “feeling nervous” or “biting your nails” .. We have all felt nervous about something we do not know, in a new or challenging situation, whether it is work or school, romantic dates or social meetings However, it is a situation that we overcome. When a person suffers from anxiety, that is not so simple.

In fact, things that can be as banal as walking home or going outside at certain times, becomes a martyrdom where you lack air, there is an excess of sweating, you feel tingling in the body and you get blocked.

Those who are close to someone suffering from anxiety assume that their crises are a passing lapse and that all they need is to calm down. Yes, it is important to regain calm but a “calm down” does not improve the situation. 

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Telling someone with anxiety to calm down is like telling someone with a cold to stop sneezing. Anxiety implies being in a state of constant or near constant stress. It is a deeply unpleasant and frustrating feeling. If someone with anxiety were able to calm down with an order, they would do so without hesitation.

No one with anxiety wants to go through a crisis but it is not so easy to control. In addition, some people find that the fact that they are told to calm down as something that increases their anxiety, because they feel frustrated or guilty for not being able to do so.

So no, those who suffer from anxiety do not need to “calm down”, they need understanding. 

They need space, they need to know that they are for them, that they are loved and that they are not a burden.

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Although it is important to show support, “beautiful words” are not the best option but rather that they feel that you are present and that you understand what they are going through, even if it is not. Offering someone some space if you really need it can be very helpful.

Knowing that there is someone there can be a great comfort to those who suffer from anxiety. And although many times they refuse to ask for help, since they don’t want to bother others with their problems, expressing to a loved one that you are there is a good start to open communication and heal. There are many ways to provide help and the first is to inform yourself to try to understand what anxiety is about and not fall into myths and stigmas.

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