17 Things Significant Others Can Say to Someone With Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates around 18 percent of the population is affected by them. Odds are you know at least a few people living with anxiety, and you’ve probably dated someone affected by it, too. But do you know how to help them, and more importantly, what to say or do when they need your support most?
We asked our mental health community what they’d like to hear from their significant other when dealing with anxiety.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “I love you. It’s all going to be OK.” — Aunt Sam
2. “How can I help?” — Gladys Ramos Diaz
3. “Your illness doesn’t affect how I feel about you.” — Erica Enos
4. “I wish I could do something to help.” — Berdie Howell Muirhead
5. “You are safe.” — Rosanna Lewandowski
6. “Don’t worry, I got this…” — Donna B Primeaux
7. “I understand you’re not ‘crazy!’” — Debra Klimowich Buffi
8. “’I’m here.’ Not much has to be said. Knowing someone has your back is priceless.” — Cailea Hiller
9. “My husband ignores my unfounded, fearful worries, says something funny, and suggests we go out and do something fun. Works for us.” — Elise Burnham
10. “Keep it simple… Anxiety is overwhelming enough.” — Lee Lewis
11. “C’mon grab my hand, we got this together.” — Amanda Camara
12. “I may not always understand what you’re feeling or why, but I am here if you need me.” — Amanda Antonini
13. “Just let me know what you want to do and we’ll do it.” — Candace Seekford
14. “Say nothing. Get comfortable cuddling, relaxing, rubbing the temples or whatever. When you have anxiety, you need to feel safe, protected and loved through presence.” — Traci Chandler
15. “This isn’t something you have to endure alone. Your chaos is my chaos and together we can ride it out.” — Asia Brito
16. “‘It’s OK, take some time to yourself, I got the kids’ is sometimes the best thing he can say.” — Shannon Trevino
17. “’Breathe. It’s OK. I’m here. Take deep breaths.’ It helps when he plays with my hair or rubs my back.” — Brittany Thornton Ferrell
Editor’s note: Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way. These answers are based on individuals’ experiences.
*Some answers have been edited for brevity and clarity
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