A lot of people still don’t completely understand how anxiety ruins the mind with a pile of negative thoughts. Yes, worrying won’t be able to solve anything, but it’s not like the person wanted to worry. Anxious thoughts are so difficult to get rid off — even though you distract yourself, they can still intrude into your brain. The more you dismiss those voices inside your head, the more they persist in wanting attention. The human brain is meant to worry about survival, which makes a person panic about the future, fret over past mistakes, and expect mishaps in the present day. It’s literally a battle between you and yourself.
For this reason, hearing advice and suggestions from people who think it’s just a “thought” won’t be helpful. Yes, it’s all in the head, but anxious people don’t want to hear that. It’s truly dismissive and insensitive since it’s advice that completely invalidates what they feel at the moment. All they need is a listener to get all those thoughts out. If you are used to sharing a piece of your mind, it’s better to let them talk first, and be as supportive as you can be. Hearing them out takes patience, but it provides relief since they aren’t left alone with their overthinking brain.
Friends and family are expected to be understanding when a person goes through a dilemma with themselves. The problem is that they don’t all have the same capacity to be emphatic, so some people end up saying the wrong words. Parents usually make this kind of mistake because of the generation gap, and they handle problems way differently than before. Mental health was of little priority and a topic rarely opened in daily conversations.
Consequently, it causes misunderstandings and troubles inside the family when kids are scolded for worrying too much. A mother from Reddit had this experience with her daughter and sought the opinions of other Redditors. She, throwawaysoon127492, is a mother of three children, and her problem has something to do with her daughter, Eden. OP is extremely proud of Eden because she thrives well and has been building a record at school that a parent wishes for their child. Eden is a part of the honor society with a 3.8 GPA, a candidate for early graduation, and will return for a Master’s or another Bachelor’s degree.
Things were going well with their relationship until Eden had health issues. “Starting in June, she ended up in and out of the ER a few times. Her last visit there was in August. She was having some abdominal pain, she could barely keep anything down, and she would faint too,” OP shared. Her 21-year-old daughter underwent various tests to determine her condition. Although she’s in severe pain, the test results showed nothing. Perhaps it might have something to do with her lifestyle since she’s been busy with schoolwork.
After that, Eden was given extensive tests to identify the root cause of her physical pain. They found that Eden’s body was under so much stress that it started showing reactions that caused her pain. OP is aware of how much Eden overthinks about her life which sometimes leads to panic. However, throwawaysoon12792’s attempt to give her daughter advice only made her sound uncaring. “So I told her that if she didn’t like feeling so awful all of the time, she needed to get out of her own head and try not to worry 24/7,” she wrote. Eden felt so bad after hearing those words from her mother, then lectured her about how “trying not to worry” won’t fix the problem.
But OP still explained her side, saying, “I said that if being anxious was making her have fainting episodes, bouts of exhaustion, and nausea, then it really was something that was in her head and the way to solve it would be to stop overthinking all the time.” The conversation got cut off when Eden decided to go home and rest. But she still sent her mother a message telling how upset she was and then didn’t respond anymore after receiving a reply from OP. Since throwawaysoon12792 asked Redditors for their opinion, she was given explanations and honest insights about her story.
“Oh wow! You told her not to worry! What excellent advice – I’m sure she never thought to do that before. She’s probably anxious all the time because of her childhood. Stop minimizing her and be supportive,” NoHURY21 wrote. Indeed, telling herself not to worry was tried before, but it clearly did not work. Moreover, trying not to worry can only frustrate a person even more when amidst controlling their thoughts. Aside from sarcastic remarks, many Redditors also shared their experience about their mental health. You can find lengthy comments below OP’s post from people with similar problems to Eden.
Others also mentioned medical explanations about the clinical anxiety that OP’s daughter might have. “It sounds like your daughter has clinical anxiety, which is a legitimate medical issue. Your comments equate to telling someone with depression ‘cheer up’ with the expectation that a) Goodness, they never thought of that, b) it’s a matter of applied willpower rather than abnormal neurochemistry, c) Your advice matters more than your support,” HighlandHiker commented. If OP wanted to help, she might want to encourage her daughter to go through therapy, which is advice that actually helps.
You could join the discussion if you had the same experience with a family member. Join the conversation or share the post with those in the same situation as Eden. Your story or thoughts about the matter can help spread awareness of an issue that has been neglected for a long time. Be someone’s support and friend today — everyone’s mental health is not something to be brushed off.