If you suffer with anxiety at all, I'm sure you'll recognise something similar to these phrases:
'why are you so anxious, it will be fine!'
'please, just relax'
'it'll be okay, there's no need to be nervous'
'what are you so worried about? you're just being silly'
And you'll probably know how helpful they are... not.
I mean I know there's (probably) good intention behind these phrases but I do find them quite insulting also. Like, d'you really think I don't know that it will truly be okay? If I could just relax believe me I would, so please stop belittling my struggle as it's very real in my mind and I'm very scared.
More helpful phrases you could try are:
'It's okay, I'm here'
'We'll get through this together'
'I'll be there for you the whole way'
The trouble is, and it's something I've discussed with my hypnotherapist, you can't reason with your subconscious and there's where anxiety comes from. So, to those who think you simply CAN just relax by telling yourself to, I'll bet your bottom dollar the majority of those suffering are as dumbfounded and frustrated as you are about why they feel the way they do.
The amount of times I've answered the question 'why are you so anxious?' with 'I don't know' must be into the hundreds, because I truly don't know. Like for example today I was anxious to go into work because I'm covering a shift and I don't work Thursdays. So, purely because it's out of my routine and I'm anxious as f*ck, even though I work 2-3 times per week and find nothing about my job intimidating.
Make sense to you? No, me either. Why am I like this? Who knows.
I mean there are certain aspects of people's lives that lead them to have an anxious mind, but most of these reasons are irrational and whilst your mind is trying to protect you - it's doing a lot more damage than help for sure. I will flit from a fully functioning (ish) human being to hiding in my bedroom and not wanting to leave my house multiple times per year and it's completely exhausting.
But when you can only compare these frightening, anxiety riddled scenarios to being suspended 10,000 ft in the air just waiting to fall but it never happening, it becomes a very real and exhausting circle to live.
It's very important to understand that there is a massive lack of control with anxiety and that it truly is very hard to comprehend and deal with, especially when you suffer with panic attacks as well, as I do. So making somebody think that their anxiety is as little as a few nerves that can be settled with a little bit of reasoning, is hurtful and shows lack of knowledge & sympathy.
If you are close with an anxiety sufferer it's very important to read up on this to better understand what they are going through. It's also important to speak with them to find out what they might find helpful, as it differs for everybody. But the most important thing is to just be there for them. During these episodes of panic and anxiety it can be very terrifying (often people feel like they're truly dying) so it's important that they know they're not alone and have your support.
Trust me, it'll mean a LOT to them.