Have you ever been with a loved one that is freaking out due to anxiety and you don't know what to do or how to help?
Have you said things like:
"It will all work out."
"Nothing bad is going to happen."
I have spent the vast majority of my time as a wife (24 yrs) and mother (18 yrs) invalidating my husband and children. In efforts to calm their anxieties I would say things like this ALL. THE. TIME. I didn't know. You may not know. That is why this information is so dang important!
We are hurting others by washing away their feelings and trying to throw a blanket over their reactions. When you see your loved one in distress they are feeling something BIG. It is REAL to them. And they need your help and support.
The best way to help is to VALIDATE their feelings. Even if you think it seems stupid, trivial, or made up. It is REAL to them. By validating, we are showing them that we see them, hear them, and care.
Trying to make it better or go away only makes it worse and teaches your loved one that they can't come to you for help. You can make it (kind of) better by acknowledging it and talking about it. Sit with them. Empathize. It might be uncomfortable, but as you sit, empathize, and listen you may find that your loved one relaxes a bit...simply because they feel your support.
Depending on the severity of the anxiety, you may or may not be qualified to truly, deeply (professionally) help in every way. But, I promise that you are helping in ways you can by VALIDATING their feelings
Lmk your questions or thoughts. This is a tricky topic (I promise, I know! I still have to walk myself through this sometimes) I am no expert...but I've had a lot of practice in failing and some practice in succeeding ❤
Stay tuned for parts 2&3 of Supporting Someone with Anxiety.