It can be difficult to respond when a friend or loved one reaches out to you during an anxiety attack, especially if you are not in the same room. However, extending emotional support via texting can still be an effective way to provide help and comfort someone in times of need. Here are some suggestions on how you can use texting to comfort someone while they are experiencing an anxiety attack:
Ask them if they are physically safe
Anxiety attacks can lead to feelings of uncertainty and a lack of safety. Thus, it is important to ensure that your friend or loved one is in a safe place, as being in a stressful place like a crowd might make them even more anxious. Ask them to get to a safer, quieter place if possible. You can also ensure that they feel emotionally safe and comfortable with you by saying something like, ‘You are safe; I am here for you’.or ‘I am glad you reached out; we can get through this’.
Offer to listen to them
When our friends or loved ones are in distress, we often want to help them right away. However, experiencing an anxiety attack can be overwhelming and exhausting. Instead of attempting to solve everything, it may be better to simply be present for them and allow them to express their feelings. Sometimes they just need someone to listen and are not looking for a solution right away.
Validate their emotions.
Validating is when you accept someone’s thoughts and feelings as they are without making any judgments. Validating a person’s feelings makes them feel accepted and understood, which can be beneficial during an anxiety attack.”it’s fine to feel scared’, ‘I know it is scary for you right now, but I am here for you,’ for example, could be very helpful.
Help them feel Grounded
When someone goes through an anxiety attack, they often feel disconnected from their surroundings. Encouraging your loved one to take a few deep breaths can be helpful in this situation. You can also encourage them to talk about the things that they find calming or just breathe with them.
Wait for them to respond
Once you have offered to listen to your loved one, give them some space to decide if they want to talk about the issue. It can be overwhelming if you keep checking in on them repeatedly. Let them take the lead, and reassure them that you are available whenever they are ready to talk.
Keep reassuring them that you will be with them until they are feeling better. A good way to reassure is to say something like, ‘We will get through this’. Using ‘we’ conveys to them that they are not alone.
What to avoid while supporting someone through an anxiety attack over text?
- Avoid trivializing the feelings of the person you are texting, as it might make the situation worse for them.
- Avoid telling them to ‘’just be positive’’ or to ‘’snap out of it’’
Supporting someone experiencing an anxiety attack over text requires empathy, patience, and a non-judgmental approach. Through listening, validation, and reassurance, you can be really helpful to the person in distress. Also, remember to stay calm and take care of yourself while supporting your loved one through their stressful time. At the end of the day, you also have to remember that you can not be their therapist. Your help will have limitations. Hence, after you have offered primary support, ask them to seek professional help or accompany them to a therapist’s office.
- How to Help Someone Having a Panic Attack Over Text? (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2023, from https://www.abundancenolimits.com/how-to-help-someone-having-a-panic-attack-over-text/
- How To Help Someone With Anxiety Over Text—(8 Comforting Text Messages). (2023, March 17). Https://Therapistpages.Com/. https://therapistpages.com/how-to-help-someone-with-anxiety-over-text/
- January 6, S. H. 3 min read, & 2021 – 3:26pm. (2021, January 6). What to never, ever text a loved one with anxiety. Bodyandsoul. https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/mind-body/wellbeing/what-to-text-and-not-to-text-to-a-loved-one-with-anxiety/news-story/d4281effc171355d42800e0326b1bca7