Everyone feels anxious every once in a while. Some feel anxious when in certain situations such as job interviews, first dates, and public speaking. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) worry constantly and excessively. They experience extreme anxiety for a long time and at many everyday events. Some with GAD also claim that they experience anxiety their entire lives, making it hard for them to cope with everyday stress.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with GAD, know that your support is the best thing you can offer to help. If they live in Florida, you can help them find one of the top anxiety disorder treatment programs so that they can start managing their GAD better. But what you say can also affect their recovery. You may think that you’re being a shoulder they can lean on. But if you’re not careful with your words, then you’re not offering your best support. Know the things you should never tell people with GAD.
“You worry too much about everything.”
People with GAD cannot control their anxiety. Telling them that they worry over everything will only make them feel worse about themselves. This will not help them cope or stop their anxiety attacks. What you can do is to validate their feelings and show them that you will always be there to support them.
“I know what you feel.”
Unless you have GAD yourself, stop telling them you know what they feel. People without GAD feel anxiety at a whole different level. Take note that feeling anxious is normal. But for individuals with GAD, they feel anxious over the smallest of things. They cannot find the reason they feel anxious about those things. Instead, ask them if they are willing to help you understand what they are feeling.
“You need to calm down.”
Telling a friend with GAD that they need to calm down is a no-no. Remember that people with GAD cannot simply stop their emotions just because you say so. What you can do is to stay by their side and ask them if there is anything they need you to do. Offering your help or being just there by their side is often more than good enough.
“Try different wellness trends.”
It is true that many wellness trends such as deep breathing exercises can help ease anxiety. But if you are not a professional, then save such advice for people who are not diagnosed with GAD. Individuals with GAD will vary in relaxation techniques that can help them manage their anxiety attacks. Some will need to try to relax, while others find other activities to be helpful in relieving their stress. Unless you are a doctor who specializes in treating anxiety disorder, then refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Just ask your friend what typically helps them ease their anxiety.
Living with GAD is never easy. Without a good support system, your loved one can end up living with this disease their whole life with no one they can lean on. Your support matters, so always be there for them. Always talk to them but avoid saying things that won’t help manage their anxiety attacks.