I was scrolling through Facebook the other morning and saw this article shared and it hit me straight in the heart. It’s a casually written guide on how to love someone with anxiety, and I know from personal experiences that it’s hard.
We (people living with anxiety) are inclined to think everyone is going to leave, we see ourselves as difficult, emotional and sensitive and instead of communicating our feelings we push people away.
I’m going to copy a few sections from the guide because I think it explains it very well:
Remember they are worth fighting for:
It might be hard sometimes. There might be stupid fights of scenarios they’ve created in their own head. But more than anything, they’re worth fighting for. The toughest people usually are. And if you can fight with them through this, it’ll come back to you ten folds.
Whenever people have said that I am brave for sharing my experiences when it comes to depression or anxiety I think of the above. The people who are with me during my lowest moments and are still there to see the amazing ones, are good people.
The phrase, ‘It’s okay,’ can never be used enough:
It’s two words. Two words that stop every thought running through their head. And honestly, you can never say it enough.
Sometimes you just have to listen:
They’re going to play out these situations in their mind. They’re going to jump from point A to point B and sometimes you’re not even going to know how they got there. The best thing you can do is let them go off on their tangent. Even if there’s no solution or a fear they worry about in the future, the act of listening will help.
This is super important. Sometimes shut your mouth and just listen. My partner and best friends are good at this, haha. They let me rant and rant and I might not make sense, but it helps clear my mind.
Remember it’s not that they don’t trust you. They’re scared:
You say it’s an ex and in their mind, they jump to cheating. You say it’s a friend and in their mind, it’s someone trying to break you two up. It’s not you and your relationship that isn’t trusted, it’s every worse case scenario automatically playing out in their head and they hate themselves for it.
This I can relate to as well. If you have a partner who does this, she hates herself for it. It’s an awful feeling and it’s hard trying to convince someone that it isn’t about trust, it’s anxiety. Also, this applies to every kind of relationship you have – friends, family and colleagues.
Answering texts timely does help more than you know:
You’ve probably noticed they answer embarrassingly fast and they know not everyone is like them but it helps when people understand it. It helps when you say ‘I can’t talk now this is why I’ll text you later.’ Silence kills anyone with anxiety. It creates problems in their mind that aren’t even there. It ends in apologies that aren’t even needed. And it adds a layer of stress to their life they wish they could control.
Again, I can relate to this. If my partner or close friend don’t reply I imagine I’ve done or said something wrong or worse that something has happened to them. Just a quick “I’ll message you later” or “I’m busy” helps loads.
Accept their apologies even if you don’t understand:
Whether it’s a night out gone wrong, a triple text, saying or doing the wrong thing, they are so observant. They will pick up on the slightest shift in you and before you even realize you might be upset and they will apologize for it.
Once trust is gained they’ll love you unbelievably hard.
While uncompleted to lists, plans getting messed up, texts going answered, might overwhelm someone with anxiety, if there is something they are good at it’s love. If there’s something they’re strong in, it’s their ability to show you how much they adore and appreciate you. It might take them a while to trust you but once they do their capacity to love you will fill you in ways, you didn’t know you were empty or even missing something.
I think I’m ok at this and I don’t really think it’s about gaining trust as much as getting reassurance that you matter in a persons life.
Absolutely loved this quote. I need you to love me a little louder today. Sometimes everyone needs an extra cuddle, an extra kiss or an extra emoji.
How do you deal with anxiety? Do you talk to anyone about it? Please comment as I really like discussing this with others.
More blog posts about mental health:
Ushaïa ants and anxiety
Let’s talk about anxiety via buzzfeed..
The worst feeling in the world is trying to hold back a panic attack in public
I have no idea how to not think
Update: My good friend Albi just messaged me and shared this website called Time To Change. It is a great campaign funded by the department of health and their slogan is “let’s end mental health discrimination”.
They want everyone with a mental health problem to feel like they can talk about it without fear and to have equal opportunities in life. The website has lots of good articles and also a “share” page where you can share your own story. What an amazing initiative!