Get over it
Ah, if it were only that simple. There are some things that people living with anxiety would like you to know, beginning with the fact that it’s impossible to just get over it. “Anxiety, like all mental health states, is personal and subjective,” says licensed psychotherapist Amy Axtell, MA, of Tuscon, Arizona. How we react to anxious friends, family, and acquaintances should be equally personal and subjective. But that reaction should never be dismissive. “Not only does saying get over it dismiss the sufferer’s experience, but it also ignores what may be the actual degree of severity,” says Axtell.
Instead, Axtell suggests leading with a sense of sincere interest. “Ask your friend or family member what they’re feeling. What’s triggering them? What do they normally do to find comfort?”
You’re going to make yourself sick
Many people who suffer from anxiety disorder also suffer from some level of hypochondria or are prone to worrying about their health. Suggesting that someone’s anxiety might make him sick is only going to increase his anxiety, says Axtell.
Living with an anxiety sufferer can be challenging, but often distraction can help. Offer to take a walk with the person for a change of scenery, which is known to defuse anxiety.