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"Harmless" Comments That Actually Hurt People With Anxiety

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Living with anxiety, there are many seemingly “harmless” but hurtful things people often say. It’s important to remember what may seem “harmless” to one person may actually be hurtful to another.


“Harmless” Comments That Actually Hurt People With Anxiety

If you live with anxiety, you might be familiar with some of the seemingly “harmless” but hurtful things people often say to those struggling.

Give and get support when you are struggling:

Here’s what The Mighty’s community shared about what hurt them:

1. Other people have it worse than you do.

“We should remember we all have the right to feel how we feel.”

2. Have you been praying enough?

“I was often told I didn’t have enough faith, implying my anxiety was my fault and a punishment. Definitely didn’t make the anxiety any better.”

3. Everybody feels stressed sometimes.

“Making it about everyone else doesn’t help and just makes me feel like I am not valid.”

4. Just calm down.

“This is one of the most detrimental things you can say to someone with anxiety. 

We don’t wake up wanting to stress and worry and overall exhaust ourselves.”

5. Stop freaking out.

“Anxiety doesn’t care if it’s actually a big deal or not.”

6. Again?

“I can experience breaks, but it never goes away.”

7. You need to change your mindset.

“I wish for one day, even one minute, I can feel like I’m ‘normal.’ They don’t understand the weight and hardship my anxiety has put on me and my day-to-day life.”

8. I think you’re just looking for reasons to be upset.

“I told my parents I felt shoved aside and this is what they said.”

9. Smile.

’”They said, ‘Smile. It will help” 

10. You’re a hypochondriac.

“It makes me feel like I am more ill than I am. I feel upset and angry because it’s basically just ignoring me and telling me to shut up.”

11. You’re overreacting.

“I am constantly told I’m overreacting to everything. It feels so condescending.”

12. Get over yourself.

“When I hear this, I shut down. I make it so I am not bothersome to others. I disappear altogether.” 

13. You don’t seem like someone who would have anxiety.

“It is because I’m not walking around breathing into a paper bag 24/7? Made me feel completely invalid.”

14. You were fine a minute ago.

The smallest things that happen to me can cause a panic attack. If I could stop these, I would, but I don’t have any control of them. 

15. Just breathe.

 “It feels like there is an elephant on my chest and fire in my veins, so in this moment, I can’t breathe and am not fine.”

When someone with anxiety opens up about their struggles, oftentimes they aren’t looking for your “solution,” “advice,” opinions, DIY anxiety healing guide, etc. 

They may just be looking for someone to listen and be there.

It’s important to remember what may seem “harmless” to one person may actually be hurtful to another. No matter what anyone says, your feelings are valid, and you deserve support.

Originally published: September 24, 2019
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