Anxiety is hard. Loving someone with an anxiety disorder can seem impossible. It can be a confusing situation. Here are 5 things you need to think about when your loved one suffers from anxiety.
1- It’s not about you
Try not to take their anxiety personally. It’s easy to see their panic and worry as reflective of fear around your relationship, but it probably has nothing to do with you. If your partner is making you feel like the enemy during their anxious moments, have a conversation about how you can keep that from happening. Don’t just assume what their feeling. Ask.
2- Don’t ever say “just calm down”
Your intentions may be pure, but there are certain things you should never say to an anxious person. “Calm down” is at the top of that list. Calming down is the goal and if the person suffering through an anxiety attack could just simply calm down, they would. Anxiety is often accompanied by physical symptoms that may feel life threatening to the anxious person. Making light of the situation will only make things worse.
3- The best thing you can do is to listen
You don’t have to have any answers. Nothing can be fixed, even though you might want to. The best way to help an anxious person is to just be there. Even if you’re tired and you feel like you’ve heard it all before, just listen. It will make your loved one know you care.
4- Know what you are dealing with
You will have difficulty communicating with your anxious loved one if you don’t know what anxiety is or what it feels like. Luckily, there are many online sources to help you educate yourself. It will also help you to be better prepared to deal with anything you may face.
5- You are not the therapist
It may feel like you are educating yourself to be their caregiver. You are not. Your job is to be as supportive as possible. Suggest that they seek professional help. They will need the assistance of an experienced third party who can give them the coping mechanisms they need.
Lastly, know that you are important to them. Not everyone can cope with the situation. Be the one who refuses to let anxiety suck the life out of you. And know that your loved one appreciates you sticking with them.