Site icon Sarah Marandi-Steeves, LCSW, PLLC

How To Cope When Your Loved One Suffers From Anxiety

We’ve all heard it and we’ve all said it at one point or another: “Just get over it.” Whether it’s our friends complaining about the same old drama or our family members carrying on about something we feel is insignificant, sometimes that phrase just seems to be the most fitting. Maybe not the most empathetic or warm, but the most fitting. As with anything, there is a time and a place to use this phrase and when you’re talking to someone who suffers from anxiety, the time and place is never. Why? Because it doesn’t work in regards to reducing their anxiety. If you’re reading this, it’s very likely you have someone in your life who suffers from anxiety. It’s also very likely you yourself have said this phrase, or something similar to your loved one. Before we jump into how you yourself can cope, it’s important to understand a bit more about anxiety and how it impacts your loved ones.

Anxiety is a mental health diagnosis with symptoms which can be debilitating and overwhelming for the person experiencing those symptoms. Those who suffer may experience a variety of symptoms and there is no “one size fits all” way that anxiety presents itself. Two people may have the same exact anxiety diagnosis, but experience their symptoms completely differently, which is why it can be difficult for loved ones to fully understand the diagnosis and symptoms.

People who suffer from anxiety hear phrases such as, “Just get over it”, “calm down”, or “relax” all of the time, as if those words are magically going to cure their symptoms and make them feel better instantaneously. Now, I know that the majority of the time these phrases are said in a true effort to help the person, but what ends up happening is quite the opposite. With mental health symptoms, we can’t physically see them like we may be able to see a medical health symptom. So, when we see a loved one worked up or upset, it seems logical that they can just calm down and feel better, right? Since those who don’t suffer from anxiety usually can calm themselves down easily, it’s a logical thought that your loved one can too. Think about it this way though, if your loved one was asthmatic and was having an asthma attack, saying “just get over it” or “calm down” isn’t going to help them and you’d know that. It’s the same with anxiety.

Just because we can’t always physically see anxiety doesn’t mean it’s not there. 

By telling a loved one to “get over it”, you are basically telling them their symptoms don’t matter, whether that is your intent or not. What they hear is that you feel their symptoms aren’t real. What they hear is that you believe they have control and can make it stop and are choosing to feel badly in that moment. What they get out of that phrase is that you are invalidating their feelings, emotions, and symptoms. Anddddddd cue the conflict. Is there a certain level of control when it comes to managing anxiety? Absolutely. However, this is not something someone with anxiety can just magically learn and usually requires additional support through therapeutic interventions. Often times, these types of phrases are said out of anger or frustration, and the person saying it usually knows that it’s not going to actually calm their loved one down, they really just don’t know what else to say in that moment and their own frustration takes over. 

For all of you loved ones of someone suffering from anxiety, your feelings are valid too.

It is incredibly difficult to support and help someone in your life who is experiencing anxiety. It’s upsetting. You feel helpless. It can interfere with relationships. It can interfere with day-to-day tasks. It requires time, patience, flexibility, and energy. It can be frustrating. It can be stressful. And you’re allowed to feel ALL OF THOSE EMOTIONS. What I am trying to highlight here is that there are more effective and helpful ways to support your loved one suffering from anxiety than simply telling them to get over it as well as more effective ways you yourself can cope with your own feelings of frustration around this. 

So, what do you do? How do you make it better? How can you be a support to your loved one, while still managing your own emotions around their diagnosis!?

Below are some helpful, simple, yet effective tips:

Anxiety sucks. Plain and simple. But no one is perfect and we all struggle with something. Remember that it’s ok to be frustrated at times when someone you care about is going through a difficult time, but don’t let those moments of frustration begin to define your relationship. With love, support, and therapeutic interventions, these symptoms can improve, you just need to be patient in the process and take care of yourself, too. 

I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!

If you are interested in learning more about my therapy services, check out my website HERE. Seeking mental health services can be daunting and if you are finding my posts resonate with you, it is likely you are feeling ready to take that next step to work on leading a happier, healthier life! I would LOVE to support you in starting this journey and welcome you to send me an email at

ALSO! Check out my FREE “How Do I know If Therapy Is Right For Me” printable to start the process of deciding whether or not taking this next step is right for YOU! Just add your name + email address below and you will receive an email with a link to your FREEBIE!

Send me the FREE printable!

* indicates required



Be Well,


Exit mobile version