Witnessing suffering (especially in a person you care about) can be frightening and upsetting—especially if it's something you aren't used to seeing. However, for the roughly 40 million adults who struggle with an anxiety disorder here in the United States, nerves, discomfort, worry—and yes, sometimes even panic—are a very real part of life. Like life, one’s experience with anxiety is entirely individual, and what works for some simply does not work for all.
For me, generalized anxiety has been a part of my journey for as long as I can remember. And while I have experienced both ups and downs along the way, each has provided me with a better understanding of myself and my needs.
Of all the lessons I've learned from living with anxiety, the most significant is this: We alone are responsible for managing our personal well-being. Whether it’s therapy or yoga, meditation or medicine (or maybe a combination of them all), perfecting the recipe for your healthiest self is key.
But that doesn't mean it's all on you all the time. Everyone needs a supportive, loving community. Misconceptions about mental illness strike us hard at every corner. It's important to remember that compassion breeds truth and common ground.
So, whether you are a friend, partner, or family member, here are five things to avoid saying to someone you love who's dealing with anxiety.