25 shocking things that have been said to people suffering from anxiety

Anxiety sufferers in the UK are still being stigmatised as ‘lazy’, self-indulgent and ‘ridiculous’, new research has shown.

This Mental Health Awareness Week (12th — 18th May), The Priory Group has given anxiety sufferers a chance to share their experiences by asking them “What is the worst thing that has been said to you about your anxiety?”

Some of the responses were shockingly insensitive, ranging from “At least it’s not cancer” to “Don’t be so soft”.

This year, anxiety is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Alarmed by the lack of empathy, the Priory Group has created a series of images that highlight the insensitivity they as face on day-to-day basis, as they try to cope with their own personal struggles.

By creating these images The Priory Group hopes to change the attitude anxiety sufferers experience from their peers.

Dr Paul McLaren, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, said: “Despite there being as many as one in four suffers of anxiety there is still a stigma attached to mental health. “We need to work on educating people to help them understand that anxiety is a normal part of human experience and that it is nothing to be ashamed off.”

Dr McLaren also explained that sufferers also tend to feel guilty about their anxiety. He added: “I think there is a lot of shame about anxiety and depression. We are more used to thinking of shame with depression but it does certainly happen with anxiety as well.

“I think people think, well what on earth have I got to be worrying about? My circumstances are good, I’ve got a good life, a home, I’m safe so why am I so frightened and that’s the point that’s what makes it an illness — you’re frightened when there isn’t anything to justify it. It is something that is not easy to switch off.”

The stigma surrounding people with anxiety is something Jonathan, 18, a long term sufferer of GAD (generalised-anxiety-disorder) has experienced.

He explained: “I found it [my anxiety] really difficult to tell anyone about. Even to this day I still it a really awkward topic to speak to someone about face to face.

“Throughout my whole life it’s sort of been brushed off, because I never really understood it. I always have that fear in the back of my mind that they probably won’t understand or think I’m making it up or something like that.”

He added: “Saying phases such as “snap out of it” or “there’s nothing wrong with you” are hugely detrimental because what that person doesn’t realise, is that they are embedding those thoughts into the anxiety suffers mind which is ultimately making it worse.”

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week please visit the Mental Health Foundation here. http://www.priorygroup.com/