Just Chill: 7 Things Not To Say to Someone With Anxiety

by Lauren Rae

Anxiety can often feel like a black hole, hidden bear trap and as if no one understands you all at the same time. Everyone with anxiety feels it in different ways but inevitably, we’re all struggling through the same awful penance.  

For me, anxiety is like Kryptonite and when I get too close to, let’s say rejection, I succumb to a tumbling bout of depressive feels. Pow, right in the kisser. Admittedly, it’s not easy to get out of an anxiety or panic attack and we applaud those who try - even if they do tend to worsen the symptoms.

In the past year of learning and growing with anxiety, I now understand just some of the things you’re not supposed to say to those with the disorder.

Are you ready kids? (Here’s where you all excitedly shout, “Aye aye, Captain”, you know how it goes…)

“Calm Down”

First off, never ever ever EVER tell someone with anxiety to calm down. Not only does it make the person freak out even more, but it’s also incredibly patronising. Like ok mate, if I could calm down I would.

“It’s all in your head”

We’re grossly aware it’s in our head, and that is uh... kind of the problem. The issue with anxiety is that even the smallest thing can set you off, and it’s beyond your control. Telling someone that it’s all in their head is only worsening things.

“Don’t stress about it”

Oh really? Haven’t tried that yet.

“Have you tried not to think about it?”

Did you have a glass of ‘good question juice’ this morning? Because honestly, we’d never thought about that either. To put it to you lightly, it’s far easier said than done.

“There are people in the world far worse off than you"

Ok, just stop. People with anxiety are well aware of others suffering in perverse conditions, but it isn’t the least bit helpful to their own situation. In some cases, it makes them feel even worse about feeling so terrible, over the things they’re upset over, in the first place!

“Have I done something?”

Sure it may feel like you’re the reason for this sudden burst of uncontrollable self-loathing and self-doubt, but you must be reminded that saying these words only adds to a person’s panic and makes them feel heaps of guilt, at the very hands of your question.

“Be positive”

It’s not all about being negative, for many people anxiety plays on past fears or traumas. Saying ‘be positive’ to someone with anxiety isn’t as easy as walking into a room and switching on a light. It takes time and effort to train your mind into optimistic thoughts. So maybe steer clear of that one.

GIF source: Giphy