If you’re having an anxiety attack, everything is clouded. Fear intoxicates you as a catastrophic collision impedes all rationale in your mind. While for some it might be a build up over a few days before you reach a peak, for others it’ll just happen without rhyme or reason.
Someone plagued with anxiety is in constant fear of betrayal and the notion that ‘people always leave’ has entwined itself deep in their bones. It’s an eternal battle they can’t control however much they try. Anxiety attacks usually stem from having gone through something traumatic in the near past that’s sparked this inner demon.
There are ways to soothe this fleeting feeling, though. There are ways you can really be there for someone who feels like the world around them is crumbling.
1. Listen to them.
Let them vent and let them express themselves while they’re having the attack. They’ll say the most irrational things, but you have to understand that it isn’t them. They aren’t defined by their attacks. Hear them out even if you don’t know a solution at that moment.
2. And once you’ve heard what they have to say, be stern.
Someone in an anxiety attack can’t really see right from wrong. It’s important to be blunt and tell them to calm down after a while. Tell them they can control it. If they aren’t being rational then it’s your job to be just that.
3. Hug them tightly.
Tight hugs calm them down. You don’t even have to say anything, just simple, quiet hugs are medicinal in themselves.
4. If you’re not with them physically, call them or answer their texts.
Silence destroys someone suffering from anxiety attack because it fabricates problems that aren’t even there. Always communicate. And don’t be upset if they start illogically pound you with endless texts – this behaviour isn’t them. It’s the anxiety – all you need to do is respond.
Of course, there will be times when you’re not immediately available, but try to return their messages as you are available.
5. Rub their arms and warm them up, and hold their hands.
They’ll be feeling a little cold and shaken at the peak of their attack.
6. Talk to them about some good memories to distract their mind.
Memories are always a good start. Reminisce with them about new beginnings you both experienced together.
7. Tell them everything will be fine and be patient with them.
Anxiety attacks aren’t permanent. They can be tackled and they can be extinguished internally, and all it takes is time and patience.
8. Accept their overly zealous apologies even if it’s frustrating.
You need a lot of patience with them. They might be apologizing for the silliest, most insignificant of things that you might not even understand.
9. It is important to help them when you know you can.
Opening up is hard for them because they think they can handle anxiety on their own. They won’t want to turn to anyone for help. They aren’t inclined to ask for any form of help and they like dealing with things on their own accord. Sometimes you might not get through to them, but don’t give up.
10. Reassurance is key.
All they’ll do is worry and worry to the point where they’ll become emotionally drained. Reassure them that you aren’t going anywhere.
11. It’s important to take care of YOURSELF through their anxiety attacks.
Taking care of someone with anxiety can be exhausting in the times when they’re having an attack. It’s important you take care of yourself, and know what you can and can’t handle. Take some space away on the more savage days, but make sure you tell them. Tell them space is temporary, but it’s important for you. They’ll understand because they prioritise you over everything else.
12. Be their strength, because Lord knows they want to be yours.
They’re prone to crawling back into their shells now and again. You need to reel them back out and reignite the fading confidence within them. They trust so few, and if you’re one of them, then know that they will want to be your strength; but they won’t be able to be on the darker days.
13. Forgive them in their weak moments.
Forgive them in their attacks. If you love them through this, they will love you a thousand times more.
Anxiety is an actual mental health concern. One that should not be taken lightly. Be there for your loved ones.
Cover image via: dawn.com