When You Tell a Person With Anxiety to 'Stop Worrying So Much'


Webster’s defines worry as: “to think about problems or fears.”

Stop worrying so much. Don’t worry. Calm down. It’s fine.

This is what I hear on a daily basis. When my fingers start running up and down my arms, when my eyes get wide, when my breathing gets heavy. This is what I am told… don’t worry.

If my anxiety took the dictionary form of worrying, this would be understandable to me. But my anxiety is not simply “worrying.”

First, my brain starts going faster and faster. It’s like a train without the brakes, constantly moving at a faster pace until the only solution is a collision. The negative and paranoid thoughts start slamming into me, and there isn’t an off switch. They don’t go away.

Then, my chest tightens. Every breath feels like someone is waterboarding me. My stomach starts to turn and twist. I lose control of my senses, and I can’t tell where reality ends and my mind begins.

Finally, I shut down. I disassociate, and I just can’t process anymore. I throw my phone at the wall, or I sink to the ground and put my head on my knees. If I can, I leave. I lock myself in my car and I drive until I can draw breath without a struggle.

This happens, in some capacity, 10 to 25 times a day. On bad days, it is constant. There is no relief; there are no breaks from the chaos.

Next time you want to tell me to “stop worrying,” take a pause. Grab my hand, don’t say a word and just stay with me until my brain calms down. It’s the best thing you could possibly do for me.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Anxiety

Loving couple sitting on mountain meadow and enjoying view of nature at sunny day in summer

A Guide for Anyone Who Needs to Support Someone With a Chronic Disease

Bringing awareness to this guide is very important to me. I found myself feeling all alone after my diagnosis. My whole world changed and I felt that no one understood what I was going through. My friends and coworkers had a hard time understanding the pain I was in. I didn’t look “sick” so I should [...]
cartoon girl with paper airplane

The Moment I Realized My Anxiety Was Getting Better

Something important has happened. My boyfriend is out of town this week, and I went to work every day he was gone. I know this seems like duh, why wouldn’t you go to work? But in case you haven’t been following my story for very long, I have a history of having to take a day off while he’s [...]
abstract portrait of man with chaos in his head

I'm Not Anxious. I Have Anxiety.

Thanks for asking, but I am not anxious about any specific thing. I don’t have anything specific that is worrying me. There is no real and pressing immanent doom. Not really. I am not anxious. I have anxiety. Instead, I have a liar that lives in my head. The liar was planted in my head [...]
woman with hair blowing in her face

So, You Think Anxiety Isn't Real

The picture is my psychiatric service dog with me during an anxiety attack. After a year and a half of hospitalizations, misdiagnoses, countless medication changes and many unanswered questions, I was fortunate enough to get an evaluation appointment with one of the best mental health specialists in the country. My parents and I drove six hours south to meet [...]