Conversations about mental health have become more and more frequent, especially in the media, but sometimes explaining it to those you love, or even colleagues, can still feel like a minefield we've got to navigate.
The idea of communicating our complex feelings can be daunting but also cause tension if we feel we aren't being understood.
Which is why when BuzzFeed performer Kelsey Darragh, who suffers from panic and anxiety disorder, took to Twitter to share a solution that works for her we were really grateful.
I have panic & anxiety disorder. My boyfriend does not... but wants to understand it so he can help me. SO I made him this list! Feel free to share w ur loved ones that need guidance! pic.twitter.com/k8pcCfzMcj
- kelsey darragh (@kelseydarragh) May 11, 2018
It's simple, it's practical and it means that the people you're around have something to refer to when they want to help you but you aren't in the position to explain how.
We think it's genius, and Twitter did too. Lots of people jumped on the bandwagon to offer up their advice on how to cope:
'I suggest grounding techniques. Try counting things of a certain colour, things you can smell, touch etc. Doing logic puzzles or simple math can help with emotional responses,' wrote one user, while another replied, 'using a gentle voice is key for me, and to make sure I’m not near anything loud. also it helps if the person gives me a calming/happy scene that I can picture in my head'
Don't worry if you can't read the list, we've written it out here. We'll be printing it and giving a copy to our nearest and dearest.
1. "Know that I am scared and won't be able to explain why, so please don't freak out of be annoyed with me."
2. "Find my meds if they're nearby and make sure I take it."
3. "Breathing exercises are going to frustrate me but they are vital. Try and get me to sync my breathing with yours."
4. "Make gentle suggestions of things we could do together to distract my panic. (Don't tell me what I need/should do - and listen when I say no to something)."
5. "For dissociative panic, remind me that this has happened before and this too shall pass! It always does, but it's scary when it's happening so maybe tell me some fun facts about me or our life together that will make me smile or laugh."
6. "Sips of water can be helpful but don't tell me I need to eat or drink because trust me like I'm going to vomit."
7. "Keep breathing with me!"
8. "If we can leave where we are - take me home!"
9. "Please be really really nice to me. I'm not feeling like myself and I'm embarrassed. Feeling guilty already for putting you through this so please don't get frustrated with me."
10. "Sometimes a really long big, loose, long hug will make me feel safe."
11. "Helping me breathe will be hard but so key!"
12. "If it's really bad - call my mum or sister or best friend on the phone for me!"
13. "Tell me not to fight it - rather, let it pass through me. The more I try to control it, or for you to try and control it, the worse it will be."
14. "Empathise with me! You may not get it, but you get me!"
15. "Once it passes (like hours later), open up a dialogue with me about it. How'd you do? What can we do next time?"
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