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How to help someone with Anxiety

I read this great article recently called ‘The difference between a disorder and a feeling’. The author talked about how anxiety is within the range of the human experience. We all experience anxiety many times in different situations. But how do we know when we’re stressed about a presentation at work or an actual disorder?

Well, living with an anxiety condition makes people feel overwhelming fear and distress all the time, even is everyday situations. A comparison was made to a four-burner stove that has a pot on the back burner that is constantly boiling over – sounds exhausting doesn’t it? It’s that feeling of ‘what have I done with my car keys?!’ which then spirals out to another and then another concern. At times, it can lead to a panic attack that feels like everything is out of control and induce that ‘Fight or Flight’ feeling. People feel nauseous, dizzy and trapped.

There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, but they all share similar symptoms that can manifest emotionally and physically.

If you have a friend or family member who suffers from panic attacks or anxiety the best advice we have found is to be understanding and supportive in a way that’s specific to the situation. This may be something as simple as sitting with them until the feeling passes or you can acknowledge the way they are feeling and say something soothing and calming while still recognising the way they feel.

It can make such a difference to just have someone else tell people that they way they feel is valid, whether you understand what they’re going through or not.

Article written by Luna Greenstein, April 2017

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