According to the Times of India Article, every fifth Indian suffers from an anxiety disorder. Out of which, 25% of the population is possible having the first stage that can lead to the serious stage, known as depression, if not treated. Depression and anxiety disorders are the commonest mental disorders and their prevalence is increasing across India and is relatively higher in the southern states and in women. The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden has doubled from 1990 to 2017, indicating the need for implementing effective strategies to control this increasing burden.
A human body is made up of many emotions and different systems that work together so that a human can work in a manner. The most complex organ of the human body is the mind. Even though there are many types of research that have been done, there is still a lot that we don’t know. Anxiety is a normal human emotion and one can experience this in a stressful condition or any challenging event.
When this emotion of anxiety exaggerates in a person without any apparent reason, then there could be some underline pathology associated with it. Moreover, a person should seek help from a psychologist. As there is a different form of disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and another phobia. After consulting with a psychologist, one can know the pathology behind the unknown exaggerated anxiety or panic attacks and can work towards the betterment of his health.
When your partner, your friend, or your family member has an anxiety disorder, it becomes difficult to understand them sometimes. So, here are some dos and don’ts that you can note and can be there for your loved ones in their hard times.
1. BE NON-JUDGEMENTAL
You may have listened to this numerous times and have thought, “ Hey, I don’t judge my loved ones, please.” Well, we understand that you are trying your best to be there for someone. But, for a person with an anxiety disorder, even a minor comment can stop them from sharing their feelings. When your friend is telling you something, try to listen until they stop. Ask your questions or comfort them at the end of the conversation. Don’t judge them if they are having panic attacks over the minor inconveniences or maybe over nothing. As once they notice even a small change, they will be distant.
2. BE FORGIVING
It may happen sometimes that your friend may irritate you. Often, people who are suffering from anxiety are unable to cope and occasionally, they can be irritable. But, in those times, be forgiving. Even, if they irritate you, try to understand them as they may have been feeling guilty about that. They are not in control of their emotions. So, don’t end the friendship because of it.
3. BE PROUD OF THEM WHEN THEY IMPROVE
Every day becomes challenging when a person is suffering from a mental health disorder. Be proud of your loved ones when they improve. Mean it and the proud should be shown on your face. Anxiety makes the person more negative and they doubt often. So, if you will not show it on your face, they are not going to believe. Give them small compliments or express them why you are proud. This will make them feel better, for sure.
4. KEEP YOUR ANXIETY IN CHECK TOO
If you are dating the person who has an anxiety disorder, it may possible that their anxiety will trigger you out. Try to involve in healthy routines. You can be there for them only when you are healthy. Avoid being stressed and stop being reactive. Try Yoga or meditation so that you can be more relax. You both can try yoga together. This will help you in understanding her/him better.
5. BE YOURSELF
Anxiety can be tricky and you may try to change yourself for the sake of your best friend/partner. The thing is that your best friend, your family member, or your lover wants the real you. They can even notice these small changes and they can blame themselves for it. Changing yourself will lead to unfavorable conditions and that will be bad for you as well as your partner/friend.
1. DON’T FOCUS ON THE ANXIETY
It becomes difficult when you are dealing with a friend who has an anxiety disorder. But, don’t lose your friendship or fun because of the same. It is not important to have all the conversation around anxiety or about it. Do something fun together. That’s all that they want.
2. DON’T EXPECT CHANGES OVERNIGHT
It may be possible that your friend’s health deteriorates even after he/she made the recovery. It is also possible that they come back to the same. In those times, don’t expect or comment on that. Everyone has their own personal journey. The least you can do is to be there for them and encourage them to do better.
3. DON’T GIVE UP
As you know, anxiety is an everyday struggle. One’s life can be filled with more downs than ups. They may lose hope and be distant and cold. In those times, as a friend or a loved one, don’t give up. Sometimes, all that matters is to be there, to follow the normal routine, and hope for the best.
4. DON’T GET FRUSTRATED
Your friend’s alternate moods can trigger you. It can frustrate you or it may possible that you are not having your best day and even, the small things of them irritate you. Don’t get frustrated. You can take your time and then, you can help them. Keeping yourself sane is important as well. As you know, people suffering from an anxiety disorder already think more negatively. They think that they shouldn’t bother you. So, the best you can do is to take your time and be there for them.
So, these are the small steps that you can do and don’t respectively to be more supportive. These will help you in being there for your friend.
By Amisha Rajput