Anxiety is one of many mental health disorders that are often invalidated because it is not something easily seen through the naked eye. Despite not being widely recognized by society, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Just because you cannot see my heart in my chest beating a mile a minute, my racing thoughts, or my stomach turning in circles doesn’t mean I'm “making it up. The only thing worse than the side effects of anxiety is feeling like you have to suffer in silence because you're afraid no one will understand or take you seriously.
Here are five things to avoid saying to your child who suffers from anxiety:
“You’re just overreacting”
“You're making your own self sick”
“You’re just being dramatic”
“It’s all in your head”
“Quit worrying all the time”
Instead try this:
Would you like me to sit here with you?
Would you like to talk about it?
What do you think you are worried about the most?
What can I do to help you ease your worries?
How you feel is okay.
The difference between the top five statements and the bottom five statements is that the bottom statements seeks to validate, acknowledge, and provide a safe space to process.
Could you or your child use some help managing their anxiety? Schedule your free intake appointment. I currently have evenings and Saturdays open, with a sliding scale upon request.