I know that a list such as this is going to be different for just about every person who makes one. But that doesn’t mean that what works for me wont resonate with anyone else. In fact, I have connected with so many bits and pieces of others’ posts that I was inspired enough to want to write my own. So whether one person connects with one thing I wrote or no one does, it’s out there working to help break the stigma around anxiety and every other mental illness.
1. Reassurance – I doubt myself. The simple act of someone telling me it’s going to be okay goes a long way. Also, sometimes it’s my physical health that’s scaring me and again, hearing that makes a big difference.
2. Hold Me – My first/highest love language is physical touch. In other words, I love hugs. And sometimes I just need someone to wrap their arms around me and not let go until I pull away. It makes me feel safe and calms my mind down. Also, science has proven that it helps, so … science. Yep.
3. Understanding/Patience – Sometimes all I need is to know you’re in this for the long haul and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I know that my fears are irrational and what feels like a crisis to me may seem trivial to you, but please understand that I’m not in control of my mind and I care so deeply about you even if I can’t show it.
4. Honesty – Tell me the truth. If I am being unreasonable or expecting too much, not seeing the whole picture or not getting social cues, just tell me. It makes things worse when I know you’re lying to protect my feelings.
5. Presence – Most times I do want to talk, but not always. Sometimes I don’t need or want to talk, but if you just put on some music or a movie and sit with me, the act of you simply being there is helping.
6. Questions – If you don’t know how/if theres anything you can do to help, ask me! I want you to speak up and feel comfortable enough asking me anything! I’m very gentle and I promise I wont bite! In some cases, this is the best thing you can do. Just be prepared for me to say I don’t know, because I might not have an answer for you and thats okay!
Anxiety looks different for everyone who has it. When my mind gets racing, I often wish my friends or loved ones just knew what I need or how to help. And although I never expect that, this was the list I put together for myself to have when someone asks me “What can I do to help?” Before I wrote this, I never knew what to say. Its not perfect by any means, and its not a solution or cure, but my hope is that this resonates with someone in one way or another.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,