1. "Stop stressing!"
Stress and anxiety are different. Everyone stresses at one point or another, but not everyone is anxious. Stress is frustration and nerves. Anxiety is amplified. There's an underlying sense of panic and unease. I stress when I have a lot of work to do. I get anxious when I know I've fucked up at work and it was something I could've prevented in the first place. Oh, and I'm also not sleeping at night and want to vomit a lot of the time, and I run the entire situation over and over and over again in my head. Yay.
2. "It's all in your head."
RIGHT! Anxiety is a part of the way my brain is wired. It is quite literally in my head and, hence, it is beyond my control! You have "irrational" things in your head, too. You know you're not fat, but you complain about it anyway. Is that something you'd like me to remind you of the next time you feel self-conscious about something?
3. "Why don't you just pop a pill?"
Don't get me wrong, anti-depressants can be a beautiful thing (when used as prescribed by your doctor). But anxiety is not something that can be permanently cured by popping a pill. It oftentimes takes medication and a major pause to grasp what I'm panicking about. I have no problem being reliant on medication, but I am very well aware that it is not magic. It's just not that simple.
4. "What do you have to be anxious about?"
This is condescending. Everyone has insecurities and problems, this is mine. A lot of the time, my anxiety makes me anxious! You might not be able to tell by looking at me (or anyone!), but not everything is as put-together as it seems.
5. "Have you tried yoga?"
I appreciate that you're trying to help me find a solution, but deep-breathing, exercise, and meditation don't work for everyone. For me, a candid conversation with someone I trust helps me pinpoint the source of the anxiety. From there, I can get a better handle on what's making me internally panic.
6. "You're making me anxious."
Unintentionally, I promise!
7. "Will you just relax?"
Telling a panicking person to just relax is like screaming fire in a crowded theater. It is literally the least helpful thing you could do in that moment. I want to chill the eff out, but again, it ain't easy.
8. "There are people who have real problems."
I did not claim to be starving or dying or anything like that. You are (1) dismissing a very "real" issue and (2) making me feel bad about it at the same time. When I'm in the moment, and I need to cry or curl up or be alone in my head, it all feels very real.
9. "You're a control freak!"
Well, maybe! Being able to control situations that you know will make you anxious definitely helps. But control issues are not the gateway to anxiety, if that's what you're saying.
10. "Plane crashes don't happen all the time, you know. This is just turbulence."
Hahaha, DON'T EVEN.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor changes have been implemented by Cosmo.ph editors.