Words have a lot of meaning when you are talking to someone with a mental illness like an anxiety disorder about their mental illness. Most often, unnecessary comments on someone else’s mental illness is a projection of your own insecurities about the way someone else feels or behaves. These are some of the most important statements to avoid using when talking to someone with an anxiety disorder.

“Stop thinking about It”

Nobody can just stop thinking- it isn’t realistic. People who do not have anxiety disorders have an easier time of letting go of their obsessions. It’s easy for them to drop something they are obsessing over and move on. For those with anxiety disorders, overthinking is part of the problem. The brain gets carried away with analyzing, obsessing, ruminating, fearing, planning, and creating imaginary situations. Anxiety is not a choice. With recovery, someone with anxiety disorder can choose many different tools and techniques to manage their anxiety more effectively.

“You worry too much”

Erroneous worry is a hallmark of anxiety. Many people go years without treatment for anxiety because they write off their ruminating thoughts as being “worrying”, describing themselves as “worrisome” people. There is a normal amount of worry, about things which should be worried about, and then there is an abnormal amount of worry about everything, many things which don’t need to be worried about. Someone with anxiety is aware they are worrying too much. However, their anxiety convinces them that the worrying is necessary.

“You’re not normal”

Is there such a thing as normal? People who live with mental illness face an undue amount of shame and stigma. Being outcast and marginalized due to their mental illness, they can struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and low confidence because of a diagnosis. Mental illness is quite normal and common- anxiety disorders is the leading mental illness in US adults.

“You just need to calm down”

Hyperactivity and anxiety often go hand in hand. Feeling gurgling bursts of unmanageable emotions is part of living with any kind of mental illness. If it were easy for someone with anxiety to just calm down, they might not meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. Being in recovery for anxiety includes learning different stress management techniques to create a state of calm.


Anxiety disorders are commonly co-occurring with drug and alcohol addiction. Hired Power is here to help you find your way to recovery. Our dynamic family of recovery professionals will guide and support you every step of the way, focusing on what you need to recover so you can focus on recovering. For information, call us today at 800-910-9299.

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