Monday, December 21, 2015


On behalf of those of us who suffer with ANXIETY, do you know what is worse to us than the anxiety?—Being told to “calm down”, “relax” or, my all time favorite, “Take a deep breath”.

I think this woman sums it up quite well in her blog post here least in terms of how it effects her when people want to quash her excitability.

My own Thoughts....


 if you’re interested in trolling someone who has anxiety, or, you simply get your spikes of dopamine via sociopathic maneuvers, by all means, go ahead and tell an already-anxious individual to simply “Take a deep breath”.  Problem solved. People with anxiety have never once thought of these suggestions on their own and I’m sure they would appreciate hearing your clever advice.

When interacting with someone who appears funny, “off”, nervous or jittery—or any behavior that isn’t an exact representation of your own behavior, it is always a good idea to point this out to said individual in a public setting and start lecturing. This will put your anxious friend at ease. Make certain that everyone else is aware of this person’s deviant behavior. The person who suffers with anxiety will no doubt feel reassured by your caring, public gesture. Now that more people are glaring at this person, more people can offer their assistance and proceed to tell this person to “relax” or “take a deep breath”. It always helps when more than 2-3 people tell the anxious person the same thing. The more times they hear it, the more likely it will work, right?

You could even step it up a notch and tell your anxious friend, “Go find a corner, count to ten, and then take a deep breath.” People with anxiety always appreciate knowing that you really care. And, even if you were being intentionally patronizing, they would not be able to tell anyways. Never.

I’m only kidding, of course. People who suffer with anxiety are not actually trying to bother you. I know it may seem like it, but they’re not. We do know, however, that our behavior is deeply infuriating to you.  It isn’t, you say? Then why must you keep on commanding us to “Take a deep breath”? It certainly isn’t solving our anxiety. Let me tell you something—your antics are worsening our anxiety, not helping it. We get that you’re a control freak and haven’t expanded your social encounters to approve of those of us who violate what is normal in even the slightest degree. We get it that you’re a Type A, standing for Asshole-Type-Person.

We fully understand that we have our own idiosyncratic personalities. Furthermore, many of us have done everything in our powers to develop mindfulness; a self-aware stance so that we can behave in a manner that puts others at ease. But apparently, after all of these years of self-monitoring…of constant efforts to stay within the straight jacked of normalcy, we have failed.

I’m here to finally say “Knock it Off”. If our composure, mannerisms or the intensity in how we act or express ourselves makes you uncomfortable, then that is your problem, not ours.

I have never once corrected anyone for how they “should” compose themselves—in my entire life. I might argue with ideas or words that are said, but I don’t make commentary on body language. I realize that how people act and compose themselves is largely a product of their brains chemistry and structure. While innate patterns of behavior can be altered and improved upon, many of the individuals who have these patterns are already fully aware that they have them and are making strenuous efforts to overcome them or act in ways that fall within the normal range of acceptable behavior (whatever that is).

The next time someone tells me to “Take a deep breath”, I’m going to tell them “Why don’t you take a deep breath? Why don’t you go to the corner and count to ten?” After all, you’re the one who appears to be affected by me enough to want to manage my behavior and assert your control over me. Next time I won’t even allow your dictates to enter my consciousness and I will ask you “Is everything okay with you? You don’t seem to have any kind of authority on “balance” or “mindfulness” either.

 Commanding someone to “Take a Deep Breath” isn’t helpful. It is equivalent to telling someone to “Calm Down!” or “Lower your Blood Pressure!” Telling someone to calm down has never once helped someone calm down but has instead served to increase their level of agitation. In fact, if you really want to stir up someone’s wrath, just tell them to “Calm down” or “relax” when they are already in a vexed state. Just see what happens…


  1. I agree with the overall message here. But one has to ask why someone wants to tell some to calm down in the first place. Let's face it, many of us don't want to be in uncomfortable situations. Especially among friends and family. So when we come across someone who is (to the mind of the observer) becoming anxious, loud, or angry, we want to stop this from possibly escalating into something problematic like physical fighting, or verbal abuse. Also, such activity may lead to actual health problems like high blood pressure and such. So yeah, people want to calm down those that appear to be "getting angry or anxious". Another facet is that nobody wants to be in a "scene" of people going "out of control" (sorry for to many quotes).

    That being said, the problem occurs is when the people trying to tell those to take a deep breath and such, think they have develop a detector that allows them spot those they think need to calm down. The problem is that this detector is built up subjectively. It's
    built up from limited experiences of actual problems they think they understand, some of it they could even get from T.V. dramas and not real life, word of mouth from other people on what these thing look like and sum it all up into a personal meter they use to gauge such "problems".

    And this detector is practically useless when it can't judge someone being excited, angry, anxious, or whatever. Some things they end up lumping together as an overall thing so they end up misjudging the problem at the expense of the person they are trying to calm down (hence they get irritated and rightfully so). Even if they pin pointed the problem anyway, it becomes the "Don't look down" to someone who is afraid of heights, it does not help.

    My family has a tendency to get loud during gatherings. One of my cousins thought my brothers were actually arguing to the point of anger only to be told "this is how we are" when she tried to stop it so I get it. People try to be the peacemaker in situations when they are not needed. Some people get excited when they are into something, just naturally load, or any other state of personality that some people are not into. So the results are people trying to help ends up making a fool of themselves trying to solve a problem they don't fully understand. I'm sure there are other facets I'm missing here.

  2. I couldn't agree more Renee ... Thanks for sharing.