It is common for anyone to experience a form of anxiety at some point in their life. There are some people who experience anxiety in a more intense way.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 40 million adults are affected with anxiety disorders. Of that 40 million only 36% are getting the proper treatment they may need.
Anxiety Disorders have an intense, overwhelming way of making someone preoccupied and fearful of future events and ruminating on past events. It is the sensation that everything is spinning out of your hands and you have no control.
Being in a relationship with someone who has anxiety disorder can be challenging. Especially if your disposition in life is of a cheerful, carefree nature. It may feel like you never know what to say or do to make it better.
Here are some tips to help you start understanding your role:
If you are serious about the person you are dating then you should treat anxiety disorder as you would any medical illness.
Research as much as you can to try and understand what your partner experiences. This research is just for you to acknowledge and know what is going on, not for you to play doctor.
Most of the information you gather should be from your partner. A lot of people with anxiety have determined what some of their triggers are, or warning signs for when a panic attack is coming, so it is best that you acknowledge what they are sharing.
You can visit the website: https://adaa.org/ for more details about specific anxiety disorders.
Most of the time people with anxiety disorders can identify what is happening even if they can’t explain why (at least not at the moment).
The act of listening does not always necessitate your input, your problem-solving skills or even your reasoning. People who experience anxieties tend to like to talk through what they are experiencing as a way to make sense of what is going on.
The best thing you can do is JUST LISTEN. The worst thing you can do is interrupt to give advice. Even if the advice is sound, good advice, during a panic the senses are usually heightened and they may iterpret the advice as an attack.
Do not make it about you
One of the easiest habits to fall into is placing blame on yourself by your action or inaction. Saying things like “I trying to make you understand” or “I don’t know what else to do to make you happy” is not helpful.
It can be a trigger for the person experiencing anxieties. esist the urge to say, “everything will be ok”, it can come off as dismissive. It will not help anything, and it may intensify your partners mood.
Keep in mind that your significant other more than likely had this anxiety disorder before meeting you. They may have already placed a lot of guilt on themselves for making you feel a certain way.
The bottom line is: it’s not about you.
Helpful things to do:
Ask, Is there anything I can do? You will more than likely get a no, and that’s ok. As concerned as you are it is best that you respect their answer.
Make and keep concrete plans: this will show your partner that you are reliable and have their best interest at heart.
Respond to calls and texts as soon as possible: this may seem small, but people who have anxiety disorders have the tendency to overthink and overanalyze all interactions. The longer you take to respond the further in their head they will retreat.
Take some time to just do nothing with your partner. Having anxiety disorders can be all consuming and exhausting. The act of staying home, doing nothing, creates the space to recharge.
Finally, always remember that you must be in a good space yourself to be a reliable person for your significant other.
If you recognize that you start to feel anxious yourself it is ok to take some alone time. If it becomes too overwhelming seek professional help.
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