More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
At the Receiving End of an Anxiety Disorder

It?s always been the person afflicted with the panic disorder who is talked about. But now I want to talk to you?the person at the receiving end, the caregiver perhaps. How do you cope with someone you care for living every day in fear and anxiety? How do you refrain from being affected by their mood swings and depression, with their inability to socialize or step out for a simple walk in a park?

You first try to understand their situation. Don?t analyze it?just listen when they tell you how they feel. And realize also that while they need your help, support, and understanding you can?t fix their disorder. They are going to a professional for therapy and guidance. What they need you for are the simple things?someone who will listen, someone who will get them their groceries on the day they can?t venture out, someone who will see to it that they take their medications on time.

It can be frustrating to see someone in the throes of a panic attack and be unable to help them. No matter how hard you tell them to concentrate on breathing or urge them to take a walk in the fresh air, nothing seems to work. This will make you feel helpless. I want to tell you to let it go. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to make the sufferer feel better except be there. Your presence may be enough to calm them down so that they then can put the therapist?s solutions into practice and reduce the intensity of the panic attack.

Be cheerful around the patient; offer suggestions but don?t be upset if they are unable to take you up on them. Attend their sessions with the therapist or a support group so you have a deeper understanding of what they are going through. And then ask the doctor what you yourself should be doing either to help them or not to hinder them, and how to maintain your own normal lifestyle.

To protect yourself from falling a prey to depression yourself you must have your own routine and follow your own goals. Go about doing your everyday things. Keep yourself active and spend time away from home doing the shopping or exercising in the gym. Don?t tie yourself to the sufferer physically or emotionally. Try and be detached with regard to the panic disorder?that will be of more help than trying to empathize every time they have an attack.

This doesn?t make you hardhearted?it?s just being sensible in the face of an ailment that you can?t possibly wholly comprehend. If they fling accusations about your non-understanding take it calmly?they are suffering tremendously and are looking for a solution. You just happen to be there for them to take it out on.

It?s a tremendous strain being the caregiver or partner of a person suffering from a panic disorder. You must not allow it to affect your own life. The healthier you are in mind and spirit the more help you are to the patient as they will get better and will be grateful to you for your support, normalcy, and cheerfulness.
 
This is a good article.

I try really hard to not cause other people stress, but I guess I do at times. It's eye-opening realizing what it must be like for the people around me.
 

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