For mental health awareness week, I thought it might be nice to write a few blogs based around anxiety. I’ve said on my blog before that I suffer from anxiety and it was around a few years ago that it grew so overwhelming to me that it was very difficult to carry out daily activities. I couldn’t do simple things like pop to the shops or cook a meal without it being hard. For those helping people through severe anxiety, it can be daunting knowing how to act and what to do. I thought it would be nicer, from my perspective, what I appreciated (and what I didn’t) at the time I was struggling. There aren’t many things out there for the ones supporting, so I hope this will be useful!
Don’t Push Them Too Far
Don’t push them too far. Take small steps. Mental health recovery takes time. Just be there for them and try to understand their point of view.
Involve Them In Decisions
Don’t talk about them behind their back. It is SO important not to make decisions for them. I felt betrayed when this happened to me and I know that the people involved were only trying to help but I felt even more out of control of my life. Anxiety is all about control and when you take that control even more away from someone, it can be even more detrimental. Instead, involving them in decisions is the way to go. Make them decide what they do, suggest things but don’t be pushy.
Be There To Listen And See Their Point Of View
I found it hard when people said I was being “silly” or they couldn’t see my opinion. Luckily, most people were supportive, but it can be hard when people are not compassionate. Don’t tell them they are silly. Instead, see their point of view. Always think what might be good for you, might not be good for them.
Find A Solution That Suits Them
My boyfriend was amazing at making me decide the correct method of initial recovery. After visiting the GP (I would always recommend this), they listed various forms of support. I wanted to use practical approaches to help, and so CBT suited me. Because I live in London, getting to the nearest place was a bit of a challenge due to public transport, and I didn’t feel comfortable in the area. I therefore negotiated with the people to have phone call sessions and that eliminated the stress of having to visit the Centre. Always find a solution and don’t give up.
Set Small Goals
What I found really useful is setting small goals to help me achieve mini “challenges” of things I was frightened of. Be involved in the process with them as this makes them feel they are not alone. This process was extremely overwhelming to begin with, but I found by breaking down the tasks into manageable chunks helped. For instance, if someone doesn’t want to go on a tube, they could start by visiting the tube platform. Then, when they had done this a few times, they could get on for one stop, then two and so on.
It’s been obvious to me who has reached out to help when I needed it. I felt some people cut me off a little but maybe this is because they didn’t know how to respond or act. Try and be there, listen, suggest things to help but let the person decide the best method. Just messages saying what you have been doing in your day and asking how they are can make a massive difference, even if you can’t meet up with them all the time. It’s important they feel “normal” and not an outsider.
Patience is the key to anxiety. It will take time to manage it, but it will never go away. It’s important to take your time and not rush their recovery. Just keep persisting and record their progress, so you can see how far they have come already.
I really hoped this helped from an outside perspective of anxiety. Let me know what other tips you have in the comments below. There will be a new blog on Thursday which I’m so excited for too, so I hope you enjoy that!