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Advices to family, partners and friends of anxiety sufferers

Sometimes family, friends or partners can have problems if a person who suffers from anxiety disorder or some form of phobia lives in their vicinity. It can be very hard for a family to understand why one of their members will not or cannot do a certain easy undertaking like going to the shop, drive a car and similar. Things can get worse if or when partners or family members find out that their close ones don't want to go to vacation with them.

It is not at all unusual that the family "accuses" anxious person of being total egoist and that he thinks only of himself and his condition. When I say anxious person I mean generally every person that has anxious problems, panic attacks, depression or obsessions. Many family members start to doubt anxious people, sometimes they think that there is nothing wrong with them really, that they are just lazy, that they only pretend and such. It is also common for family members to say: "Come on, get a grip will you!?", "You are fine", "You are just making it up", "Cut it out" etc...

If there is a person in your family who suffers from anxiety problems, panic attacks, depression and such it is first of all important that you understand all these disorders. People who suffer from these disorders are very likely to become withdrawn, they seek solitude, start to think too much about how they feel etc... They don't do it because they want to, but because disorders themselves have made them too. It is also important to understand that people who suffer from these disorders would get themselves together if they would be able to do so. They are trying to do so all the time.

The easiest way to help an anxious person in your vicinity is by giving him or her sense of compassion and showing your effort to understand the condition a person is in. Anxious person will feel relief of certain tension when he realizes someone is trying to understand his condition after all. However, don't overreact with compassion, do it reasonably. Don't encourage him to self pity! You have to find a middle way between warm compassion and firm reminding of the person that he needs to change himself, his habits and thinking in order to succeed. This is a winning combination. If you practice this every day you will help the person indeed. If you really care about this person, than you will work and practice with these methods each day.

You have to explain to anxious person that his excessive worrying and long term thinking about himself is exactly the reason he is so emotionally drained. If you can't find a good solution for the problems together, at least try to show the person an easier or more bearable outlook of the problem. You'll maybe have to speak with the person about this new outlook for several times before he conquers it. Be patient; try not to lose patience when those you care about are in question.

Make sure anxious person in your vicinity is occupied with something all the time. I am not saying you should push the person in some activity all the time. Instead, it is necessary for you to organize some light program of activity for such a person, so that he is always ready to participate. At first a person may perform his duties with some difficulty. His performance is not as important as the fact that he has a certain occupation and that he is not sitting with his arms crossed all day.

It is very important that the anxious person in your vicinity has a certain occupation each day! You have to think of an activity for this person to perform or to work on. You can give him a task to take the garbage out each day, or to go shopping, or to pick up a child from kindergarten every day. Let him know it is his duty. It would also be good if you and anxious person would perform some activity together as to accompany him. You can go visit some friends together, take a walk together every day for half an hour...or even better - go jogging!

It is of great importance not to allow an anxious person to be alone for a whole day. Instead you should encourage him to go out as much as possible and mingle with people. You will be of great help to him because he will have you encouraging him.
Believe me, this is the right way to handle a situation like this and help a person you care about to the maximum.

Never say to an anxious person that he has to fight his problems alone. It is important to explain the opposite to him: there is no need to fight, instead there only has to be acceptance of all his strange thoughts and sensations. He needs to practice technique of floating alongside his fear and strange sensations he feels in his body.

If you advise an anxious person to get a hold of himself, you are actually indicating that he has to heal in this instance. This is a very bad tactic. Why? Because this kind of advice has a very depressive effect on an anxious person and is making his condition worse. You see, an anxious person is doing just that all the time - trying to get out of his current situation, he doesn't need to be reminded about it again.

Don't think you will solve all the problems by saying to the anxious person: "Stop all this nonsense and get back to work, to normal". Try to understand that anxious person is trying to get back to normal all the time and that this person would be the most happy one in the world if he would succeed in such a feat. His greatest problem is finding the way out of the current situation. Therefore if you advise something like that, than it is best if you help him stop this "nonsense" yourself by showing him techniques described in this text and work with him each day.

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