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Topic: Helping Someone with Anxiety

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. MindCroquet
    MindCroquet avatar
    3 posts
    9 May 2018

    Hello Everyone,

    I am not sure if I am posting in the right area, apologies if not.

    I guess I have a question for the community. I have a friend who suffers from anxiety quite severely. The trouble is, he seldom opens up about it. Whenever I try to discuss it, he won't, he tends to clam up and not want to talk about it. I want to reach out, but sometimes it is hard because I get shut down almost immediately. I wish there was something I could do, because I know he is suffering, but he is doing it all alone. Not even his family knows he has anxiety.

    He will go through phases where he feels happy and not anxious, and this feels great because we have a fantastic friendship. But naturally, the anxiety comes back, and he becomes reclusive, and can sometimes be quite irritable and nasty, which makes it hard to come near him. I just want to give him a hug but I am scared he will push me away. Sometimes he will hint that he is anxious about something, and I try to talk to him about it, but he immediately 'shuts the door' and clams back up.

    There are numerous posts about self-help for anxiety, but I find that there are few posts about helping people to help others cope with anxiety. So my question to the community is- how do I act or behave around someone who has anxiety? How can I make someone with anxiety feel better? Am I ok to bring it up often, so that maybe slowly he will become more accustomed to talking about it, and it won't seem so taboo?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I just want to help. I know I can't cure him, I just want to make his life easier.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    6176 posts
    9 May 2018 in reply to MindCroquet

    Welcome to beyond blue. It is nice that you want to help your friend, as not everyone understands or cares.

    The best place to start would be...

    Friends and Family support guides

    On the màin web site. These documents should give you some ideas?

    There is also a thread somewhere here on the forum for support. When I find it I will let you know.

    Tim

    1 person found this helpful
  3. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    blondguy avatar
    11362 posts
    9 May 2018 in reply to MindCroquet

    Hello MindCroquet

    Welcome and thankyou for posting with us!

    I understand what your friend is going through.....when I was in my 20's....I was exactly the same

    I used to have anxiety disorder for a long time until my GP's (yes 2 of them) read me the riot act and mentioned that sometimes anxiety (mine) can exacerbate into depression which it did (my fault for not having frequent counseling)

    Anxiety is similar to depression when it comes to behavior....Having anxiety and the mood swings is no excuse for being disrespectful or nasty. You mentioned that he can be this way. Its time for some counseling starting with his GP. Your friend will have to 'own' his anxiety and seek the help he needs. GP's have much better training re mental health now than when I used to have this awful disorder/illness in the 80's

    May I ask if your friend suffers from panic attacks at all?

    Scroll down the page below to the blue section and you will see a subject heading 'Supporting Someone' and click on 'Supporting someone with anxiety or depression'

    I understand that you have your friends best interests at heart which is very kind. Its really up to your friend to make his life easier for himself. Your own mental health may suffer if he doesnt acknowledge his anxiety as a health issue

    I can mention being patient and understanding (as you have been) yet its only a short term fix

    Would your friend be okay with talking to a GP...to start with?

    Your health is paramount....

    I hope you can post back when convenient...there are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you:-)

    My kind thoughts for you and your friend

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  4. MindCroquet
    MindCroquet avatar
    3 posts
    10 May 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hello Paul,

    Thank you so much for your response.

    He was diagnosed with GAD a few years ago, and did about a year on medication. But he never went through counselling. I totally agree with you, I think counselling would be hugely beneficial. I guess it's like if you have a broken leg, you'd go through physio etc, and not just pills.

    He does suffer from panic attacks sometimes, yes. He mentioned a few scenarios to me where he had it quite bad and had to leave work early in order to get home and deal with it. I guess his brain always looks for something to worry about, and doesn't allow him to have a worry-free life for very long.

    Thank you for recommending the page about supporting someone with anxiety, I will definitely read it.

    You mentioned that you were somewhat similar in your 20's. I guess, if it's not too personal, can you share how you got it more under control (not sure if that's the right phrase to use)?

    Thanks again, I really appreciate all of this.

    Y.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. NicolaC
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    NicolaC avatar
    4 posts
    10 May 2018 in reply to MindCroquet

    Hi MindCroquet,

    I think you're a wonderful friend for what you're doing.

    It can be so hard to understand Anxiety if you haven't gone through it, and it's a great thing that you want to learn.

    Speaking to you about what's causing it may be overwhelming, and may be triggering the Anxiety which is why he closes up. He may not understand what he's feeling or it may be embarrassing and frustrate him because he understands he shouldn't feel that way despite not being able to help it. A lot of people, including myself, get upset at myself and don't share a lot of what I feel because I know it's silly and theres no reason for me to feel it.

    You're doing the right thing being available for them if they need help, and if he does open up even slightly, that is the chance to share with him what you've learned and the benefits of seeking help, as he may not already know.

    Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself. And if you need to, talk to someone yourself. It can make you feel really helpless when you see someone suffering I know.

    Best of luck :-)

    Nicola

     

    1 person found this helpful
  6. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11362 posts
    11 May 2018 in reply to MindCroquet

    Hello MindCroquet

    Thankyou for the post back :-)

    No worries at all about asking MC...I was 23 when the anxiety disorder set in. I wasnt very pro-active with my health as I was in denial and thought I could self heal...and I was so wrong

    My anxiety morphed into agoraphobia and I called my local council and they sent a mental health care worker out to help me as I was riddled with anxiety. He visited once and said that he could help me get better if I agreed to weekly therapy at the community center...I was reluctant at first (denial) but did the weekly therapy for 7 months and this psychiatric nurse gave me my life back MC

    I wasted 13 years avoiding therapy and meds. The meds they prescribed were low dose SSRI's and worked well reducing my anxiety by approx 80% My job performance improved and my social anxiety also reduced too

    Thankyou for posting with us and thus help stopping the stigma associated with mental health :-)

    My kind thoughts

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  7. MindCroquet
    MindCroquet avatar
    3 posts
    18 May 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hello Paul,
    Thank you for talking about it, it's really helped to hear someone else's story. It's been really illuminating, honestly.
    I have shown these posts to my friend, in the hopes that it helps him too, and helps to maybe provide inspiration/motivation for a way forward.
    Thanks again for all your help and advice. Truly helpful.

    Y.

  8. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11362 posts
    18 May 2018 in reply to MindCroquet

    Hi Y

    Thankyou so much for the heartfelt & complimentary post :-)

    I am over the moon that you have shown your friend the posts on your thread....that is a great as hopefully he will know he is not alone in his pain

    I hope you can post back when its convenient if you have any questions about whats on your mind Y. I am a volunteer on the forums and there is no such thing as a dumb question on the forums

    My kind thoughts always

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful

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