Anxiety is tough. Whether you are the one who suffers from chronic fear and worry or if your significant other suffers from it, the effects can be devastating. Anxiety is emotionally draining for both of you. Sometimes accommodations and sacrifices must be made in order for them to adjust to certain circumstances, their emotional needs can quickly shift from day to day, and all in all, sometimes it is just hard to fully understand anxiety if you are not the one suffering from it.
You are not alone in your struggle to understand the confusing, yet taxing, symptoms of anxiety, but you undoubtedly do your very best to keep your significant other free of concerns and worries. If you ever feel doubtful about your efforts in your relationship, this article can act as your anxiety GPS, and will be your guide when times get tough.
Here are 10 things to remember when you love someone with anxiety:
1. They are more than their anxiety
Those who struggle with any mental illness are much more than their anxiety. They do not let it define them, and therefore, they should not have a label across their forehead that says such. Love and recognize the beautiful person behind the anxiety. It is a part of them, but it does not rule their entire being. Be sure to remind them how much you love and appreciate them. You should treat someone with anxiety the same way you would treat someone with diabetes: No different than anyone else.
2. Stress is second nature to them
One brutal part of anxiety is how easily stress can be brought about. Those with anxiety can be overwhelmed very easily, because they are constantly aware of everything going on around them. Throughout the day, they notice everything, and constantly overthink everything. Their minds tries to wrap itself around so many subjects and people and emotions that their heads are almost always spinning.
3. Sometimes they need space
The phrase: "It's not you. It's me" is actually incredibly relevant to someone who suffers from anxiety. When they need space, do not fret. It is likely that their need for space is not because of something you have done. Sometimes when so many thoughts are spiraling around in their mind, they just need a moment alone to get their thoughts together. They just need time to think and recharge themselves.
4. They are often aware of their irrational thoughts
Of course, the many irrational concerns and thoughts that rush in and out of their head throughout the day still task their mind. They are completely aware of their irrational beliefs and thoughts, but that doesn't necessarily mean their worries will cease entirely. Be patient and show them compassion during their times of unexplainable fear.
5. They often struggle with change
Change is hard enough to adjust to without anxiety, but for those who suffer from unceasing worry, change is terrifying. Even if the change is completely planned out and expected. The comfort zone is the anxious person's sanctuary. Allow them to adjust to change in their own time and in their own way.
6. They can get tired quickly
Constant fear and worry is exhausting. Many people who do not deal with anxiety do not fully realize how tiresome your mind can be. Since those with anxiety are often on high alert and stressed out, their body is working overtime in fight or flight mode, and at the end of the day, they can be completely worn out. Let them take a well-deserved rest without accusing them of being lazy.
7. Even if their body is present, their mind may not be
Anxiety comes hand in hand with overthinking. Those with anxiety are usually very adapted to listening and enjoying conversation, but at times they may seem to be ignoring you or invested in their own thoughts. Don't be offended by this. Be sure to give them time to gather their thoughts.
8. They are immensely grateful for you
Anxiety can be tough on both of you, from bouts of anxiety and panic to sleepless nights. They will fully appreciate and love you for continuing to stand by them. All they truly ask of you is to be there for them when they need you. They will never be able to express how much you truly mean to them.
9. Be patient with them
Though their thoughts may be entirely uncanny and irrational, remember to be patient with them. Do not try to fix their anxiety. Chances are they have been suffering from it for a very long time. Simply ask what you can do to ease their mind and let them know you are there for them. Offer your help and be aware of their emotions and feelings. Let them feel secure and safe. Ask them questions and be a great listener. They will appreciate your patience.
10. They are amazing people
Just like everyone else you have ever met in your entire life, people with anxiety are amazing. No wonder you love them so much. It is easy to let their constant worrying get in the way of their amazing qualities, but don't let it blind you from why you are in love with them in the first place. Their anxiety is not a limitation. Sticking by one another and overcoming mental health issues will strengthen your relationship ten fold. Every day they choose to take on the world despite everything their mind tells them. When you think about it that way, they are pretty extraordinary. No matter what the issue is, there is hardly any problem that compassion, love and patience can't help. Love them for their interests, their personality, their laugh, their smile and who they are as a person, and they will love you unconditionally as well.