Dealing with an anxiety disorder is hard. A friend of mine recently said, "the problem with anxiety is that you're constantly looking toward the future." That constant fixation on what's going to happen next can definitely take a toll on a relationship.
While having someone who supports you (and is there by your side) is a huge help, maintaining a relationship while struggling with anxiety can sometimes feel impossible. Here are eight things your spouse struggling with anxiety wants you to know:
1. I know you love me ... but I still need reminders
I over-analyze and exaggerate everything; I am aware of that. But every once in a while, I need you to remind me that you love me and you're not going to stop loving me. I need some reassurance that the negative thoughts running through my head aren't true - it's just my anxiety speaking.
2. When I turn down an invite to a party, it's not because I don't want to go
I wish I could be the kind of person who goes to big social events with you. And sometimes, on my good days, I can be that kind of person. Know that I feel terrible when I turn down an invitation because my anxiety tells me I can't go out.
3. I try to tough it out most of the time
I know my anxiety is exhausting. Most of the time when I'm struggling, I don't talk to you about it. Sometimes, I open up, but I don't give you all the details. I'm trying to be strong on my own because I want to be able to take care of my problems by myself.
It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I don't want you to worry.
4. Sometimes all I need is a hug
I hope you know what power you have over me; How much your voice can calm me down on my bad days. Sometimes all I need is for you to hold me and tell me you're here for me.
5. It's not your fault
You help more than you realize. Sometimes I stress out about our relationship, but it's because I'm afraid I'm going to lose you. I'm terrified you'll fall out of love with me or you'll decide I'm more work than I'm worth.
But I don't blame you when I feel this way. This is something I am learning to deal with more and more every day. Please don't blame yourself. I love you and hope you realize how much you have helped me.
6. Sometimes I just need to be alone
Occasionally, my anxiety and I need some time to be alone so I can sort out my thoughts. It doesn't mean that I'm upset with you or anything, I just need to unwind on my own.
7. I can't always explain why I feel the way I do
I know it makes more sense if I'm upset after an argument with my sister but sometimes, I don't know why I'm having a bad day. My anxiety just acts up sometimes with no warning or explanation.
When this happens, I know how silly it seems. But even when I don't have a reason to feel panicked, I want you to know my terror and anxiety are still real to me.
8. I love you
I hope I can take care of you as well as you take care of me, and I hope you know how grateful I am for all that you do. I don't know what I would do without you, which is why I am sometimes so afraid that you will leave. I'm sorry if I don't say it enough, but please know that I really do love you.
Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve you, but I'm glad you chose me anyway.