How to deal with someone else’s anxiety when you have anxiety yourself

Anxiety, if you’ve ever experienced it yourself, isn’t exactly a joyful thing. It absolutely fucking sucks, and as anyone who has anxiety will tell you, it can be quite difficult to cope with it individually, let alone if you’re dealing with it yourself but are also dealing with someone in your life who is attempting to grapple with it.

It can be a dangerous thing to simultaneously tackle and handle your own anxiety along with someone else’s, but it isn’t impossible. I won’t sugarcoat it; it is damn hard, and in assisting someone else with anxiety when you have it yourself, there is the possibility that in helping another you yourself fall backward in regards to any progress you have made individually.

I don’t advise aiding someone else with their anxiety struggle if you yourself haven’t come to the greatest terms with it. I’ve been dealing with my anxiety for over ten years now, and while I’ve been able to successfully designate coping mechanisms and self-help strategies to allow me to keep my anxiety under control (most of the time), I still have my share of bad days in which I am completely useless to anyone else seeking help. It is so important to recognize where you are at individually with your own anxiety before you even attempt to help someone else, despite how good your intentions may be.

One key piece of advice I can share for anyone trying to assist someone with anxiety while dealing with it individually is to, in a way, remove yourself from the situation. Do not allow this person’s anxiety to interfere, heighten, or intensify your own, and further, you cannot allow their own anxieties to develop into your own. It is crucial to disassociate yourself with the other person’s anxiety, and while this may mean the matter can become impersonal, you aren’t any help to someone if their own worries become your own.

Always approach the matter of mental health with care, and never overstep your boundaries. Know your limits, know the limits of the person you’re potentially helping, and focus on staying in your own lane.

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