Dealing with someone who has anxiety is always a very difficult journey. The tears stream down their face one minute as their despair overwhelms them and the next they might be exploding with anger because something has happened that has overwhelmed them. They probably don’t know themselves where such rage has come from…it just bubbles up and explodes out of them sometimes. It isn’t consistent and it isn’t easy to spot. You might think your loved one just snapped at you but it’s their anxiety that got annoyed. You might think they’re often angry but again it isn’t that, it’s that they’re anxious.
You might be under the impression that they don’t like going out with you…that you bore or somehow annoy them…that everything is always your fault. It’s not. It’s their anxiety. People who suffer with anxiety have no idea what it is like to have nothing going through their heads because there is not a moment in time when they aren’t thinking. Their thoughts steam through their minds like a train over and over again…it’s tiring. There’s not a moment when they’re not thinking. They think about everything and usually from a negative perspective…worst possible scenario. Some days it’s debilitating and they just can’t leave the house, though they’ll send you a hundred messages telling you all about it because they need to share it with you. Otherwise their heads might explode with the stress of it all.
If you’re their significant other, they’ll often spend time wondering what the hell it is you see in them. Do you regret being with them? Do you wish that you were with someone else who wasn’t so moody and changeable? Sigh… They know how tough their moods and moments are on you and they worry about it. They know you just want to help them…to fix them. But you can’t fix them because they aren’t broken. All you can do is help loosen the vice.
Hold their hand…tell them you’re with them….take over the job or chore, or do it with them…share the load. Let them breathe. Reschedule Appts for them if they’re too overwhelming. Encourage them to take things slowly rather than overloading themselves. Don’t make them feel bad for missing an outing. They wanted to go but they couldn’t. They do feel bad but there is nothing they can do about it. They can’t help it. Encourage them to take time out for themselves when they need to. Give them that space and they’ll love you for it.
Sometimes the answer is not quite so obvious. Sometimes they don’t even know what they need and when this happens all you can do is be patient and let them feel the warmth of your love. No one will win if you get frustrated. It will just escalate things making both of you miserable. No one wants their anxiety to define their relationships. It’s heartbreaking for the sufferer to be a prisoner to this ugly illness when all they really want is to be carefree.
Not every day is bad and the good ones should be celebrated but on the bad days, still celebrate because this is when they need it the most. They do appreciate and love you but at the same time they are vulnerable and scared so this can see them acting as though the opposite is true.
My answer to the people who suffer with this horrible affliction is that I am with you. You matter. You are important and you are worthy, so don’t give up! Go and see your psychologist, psychiatrist, medical professional. Take medication if it helps you and when triggered or overwhelmed by things, contact an organisation like lifeline to talk it out.
Youve got this!