4 Things No One Tells You About Loving Someone With Anxiety
Do you remember feeling sick right before your exam? Do you remember how your stomach would hurt, toes would tingle, the heart would beat out of the chest, and head would feel like it was about to explode? That’s what living with anxiety disorder feels like- 24*7.“You are a sore loser.”
“You are an embarrassment to everyone.”
“You are simply not good enough, no matter how hard you try. You will never succeed in life.”
These are words I hear every day. The worst part is that the person saying it is also me, technically. That’s what generalised anxiety disorder does to you. Anxiety makes you question everything. It eats you up from the inside. But if you’ve met me, you’d never have guessed that I was struggling with anxiety every single day. That’s because I am high-functioning despite my little “quirks”, and it has taken me almost a decade to get here. So, if you or someone you love is struggling to cope with anxiety disorder, then this article is for you.
Here are 5 things no one tells you about loving someone with anxiety:
1. It can be frustrating:
Progress, for anxiety patients, is never linear. I’ve gone months without a single panic attack, and then suddenly, had 3 of them in a single day for no reason. While we anxious souls make peace with it eventually, for those who are dating someone with anxiety and watch them struggle, the experience can be even more traumatic because it makes them feel helpless. When you have influenza, you get it treated at the hospital, and it’s gone. But with anxiety, even with treatment, the battle is ongoing…and that can sometimes be very frustrating for you if you are dating someone with anxiety since as it is, you might be grappling to balance your relationship.
Give it time. I promise you that it gets easier.
2. It can be exhausting:
Here’s another thing about loving someone with anxiety-
People experience anxiety in different intensities. Therefore, their experiences vary drastically. Some experience acute episodes of anxiety and then nothing for weeks, while others live perpetually in a state of anxiety. But the one thing that unites them all is exhaustion. Imagine battling anxiety on a daily basis, over seemingly trivial things…so much so that even managing to have a normal, uneventful day seems like a victory. That’s how it is – a constant battle with yourself.
Now, for people who share spaces with anxiety patients (if you’re friends or family), the task isn’t any simpler. Anxiety patients sometimes need a lot of hugs, compliments, check-ins, reassurances and encouragement. It is no easy job to do this day after day.
As someone with anxiety with a partner who also struggles with the same condition, we’ve constructed ourselves a neat arrangement, wherein we become each other’s unwavering support system for everything. This is because I know that he understands what I’m going through better than anyone else and vice versa.
Is it tiring? Yes. But is it worth it? Hell, yes!
3. It can be confusing:
An anxious person may switch from positive to negative emotions in a matter of seconds. Naturally, this can be confusing for those around them. But what you must remember is that, despite their emotions and struggles, they still are the people you fell in love with in the first place. Anxiety is a small part of them, but it doesn’t define them, even if some days it may get the best of them. Trust me; it gets better with a little effort, love, and support. Remember: Your partner loves you and gathered the courage to share their bare, unfiltered vulnerabilities with you. Can you imagine how much heroism that must’ve taken? Could love be any purer?!
PS: Did you know that scientists recently found that people with anxiety have better memories than the rest of the population? Click here to know why.
4. It can be unsettling:
Ironically enough, dealing with individuals with generalised anxiety disorder can be anxiety-inducing too. Let me clarify:
Imagine looking forward to the barbeque at your best friend’s house all week. But on the day of the barbeque, soon after entering, your partner begins to feel anxious because of the crowd. What do you do?
- Both of you excuse yourselves from the party.
- Your partner leaves while you stay.
Therefore, it is difficult for individuals with mental illnesses to cope up in settings where there isn’t enough support and understanding…and if you love them, then you will have to be there with love and support, day in day out. This takes a lot more patience, strength and resilience than you imagine.
It is easy to be with someone when the fortunes are in your favour. But can you love and support a person even on days when you don’t feel like it? Can you hold your judgement and just listen to their worries, then however irrational they may seem to you? Do you promise to never dismiss their concerns are silly? Do you promise to take care of yourself too, so you are in a position to take care of them?
Are you willing to sing them lullabies when they cannot sleep for several nights in a row? Are you willing to watch them try essential oils, scented candles, CBD oil, over-the-head pillow, gravity blanket, and pretty much every other magic remedy for anxiety out there, even if they horribly fail? (By the way, you can click here to find out the 5 diet tweaks that are scientifically proven to help alleviate anxiety and depression.)
Most importantly, will you never, ever give up?