Anxiety is difficult and loving someone with this condition is even more difficult. It can be confusing and emotionally, mentally, and physically demanding for both of you.
Loving someone with anxiety requires a lot of patience and understanding. An anxious person tends to doubt everything and everyone including their own abilities and decisions. They overanalyze everything and often experience mood swings.
You have to know that you’ll often have to change plans because you never know when their anxious thoughts can intensify. But, most importantly, you have to be careful about the way you respond to their anxiety.
So, if you truly want to be a caring and supportive partner, you need to be well aware of everything they go through on a daily basis and make sure you’re always patient with them and have an understanding of their condition.
Here are the 12 things you need to remember when loving someone with anxiety:
1. They can easily get tired.
For people who suffer from this awful condition, every single day is a constant battle against their never-ending, confusing, irrational, and often negative thoughts. Having a racing mind can be pretty overwhelming and mentally and physically exhausting, which is why these people often get tired.
2. They know their anxious thoughts are often irrational.
They already know that most of their worries, doubts, and fears are irrational, but this doesn’t prevent their anxious thoughts from racing. This doesn’t prevent these people from creating thousands of scenarios in their mind.
So, telling them that what’s going on in their mind defies any logic will certainly not help. It can only make things worse. What they actually need and want from you is to treat them with patience, compassion, and understanding. You need to remember that it’s not always your advice or opinion that they need from you.
3. There’s more to them than just their anxiety.
If there’s one thing that an anxious person hates the most, that is to be defined by their condition. They’re not just their anxiety. If you really want to be supportive and caring, you need to remind them that you love and appreciate them for the person they are and all the qualities they possess.
4. They’re able to express how they feel.
An anxious person is perfectly capable of showing how they feel and what’s going on in their mind. And if they’re sometimes hesitant or appear afraid to do so, that’s because they worry you might not be able to understand them. After all, they’re aware that only a person who suffers from this horrible condition can truly understand what anxiety feels like.
However, you can disperse their doubt about this by showing them that you’re willing to listen, understand, and help them get through it all.
5. They don’t need you to constantly ask them if they’re okay when they’re in panic.
Anxious people often have panic attacks. So, when you see that they’re breathing rapidly or that their hands get sweaty and their legs start trembling, asking them something like: “Are you okay?” is completely unnecessary since you already know the answer. It’s not like their condition lasts for only a couple of days and then just goes away. Anxiety is a problem they have to face every single day.
So, instead of asking them such boring and annoying questions, tell them that they can count on your help for whatever they need and you can also suggest doing something or going to a place that will make them feel calmer and safer.
6. They appreciate your support.
Nothing matters more to a person suffering from this condition than having your unswerving support. They know that their battle against their never-ending anxious thoughts has become your battle too. They’re aware of all the things you wanted and planned to do, but you didn’t because of them.
They’re not ignorant of your sacrifice for them and of all the things you’re doing for them. Instead, they appreciate this a lot and they’ll always be grateful to you for that.
7. It can be hard for them to let go of their anxious thoughts.
When a person is faced with a traumatic experience in their life, which is often the case with people who suffer from anxiety, the memory of it can be stored in the brain.
Since this memory is stored in different parts of the brain compared to the memory our brain stores every day, the brain tries to make a connection between the traumatic memory and the situation it is in in the present.
Being caught in this cycle of recurring thoughts makes it hard for the person struggling with anxiety to let go of them. Their anxiety is simply a part of them. It’s the only way of thinking they know.
8. They’re not ignoring you on purpose.
You may often think they’re intentionally ignoring you, but it’s only their condition that’s making them appear that way. The thing is that their mind is always busy overthinking things and this sometimes consumes their attention.
When they suddenly leave a conversation, you probably think they’re not interested in the topic or that they’re trying to avoid taking responsibility for something they did, or that they’re just ignoring you.
But, in most cases, the reason for their drifting out of the conversation is that they’re overanalyzing something you’ve just said or they’re simply trying to disperse their anxious thoughts and calm down.
So, if you have something important to tell them, do that when they appear calmer and more concentrated, and make sure they’ve understood you. And remember the last thing they’d like to do is to ignore you and make themselves appear rude.
9. They can have a hard time accepting change.
Leaving the comfort zone can be hard even for the most adaptable people. And for someone with anxiety, this is even tougher. Whether they’ll have to move house, change job, or make any other important change, it can be quite hard for them to bring themselves to do so.
Even when they make a change, they find it difficult to create their comfort zone again. So, remember to be patient and show understanding when they’re hesitant or reluctant to make a change.
10. They’re not always present.
They’ll be physically present, look into your eyes while you’re talking to them, but their mind will be somewhere else. This is not surprising considering the fact that they’re in a contemplative mood most of the time.
11. They don’t see their condition as a limitation.
For sure, anxiety is a struggle they have to face every day, but this doesn’t mean they’re less smart, capable, or important than those who don’t suffer from this condition.
They can even benefit from it. For example, their tendency to overthink often makes them feel frustrated, but it also enables them to see the world in a different and better way from others.
12. They can be pretty awesome.
Again, this has to do with the fact that their personality is one thing and their condition is completely another one. These people can be as fun as any other person. In fact, they can have a number of positive personal and professional traits. You just have to be willing to see that.