Anxiety is a funny thing, although far from comical. One day, you’re just sitting in your room, and suddenly your mind starts storming up trouble. These intrusive thoughts come almost out of no where, and a lot of situations can be extremely triggering for people with anxiety. Learning to love someone who has anxiety, or any mental health issues, is a slow process, but ultimately rewarding. Your significant other may suffer from problems with mental health, and you may feel like it’s up to you to be their helping hand, shoulder to lean on, and warm hug on the days that just don’t feel so great. It helps to picture yourself in the shoes of your significant other; what would make you feel better? It’s important to act in kindness and gentleness, especially with your partner’s heart and mind. Handling your significant other’s anxiety can be tricky, at first, but they’ll appreciate how much you care and love them despite their anxiety.
The easiest way to handle your significant other’s anxiety is to talk. Whether they’re struggling, or you’re curious as to what they’re feeling, there is no harm in asking questions. A simple “how do you feel?” each time you see them or “do you want to talk about it?” can really make a difference. Don’t just assume that because they’re happy and content in the moment that their minds still aren’t causing a great deal of trouble for them. Even just talking about their feelings can really release some tension they might be feeling.
A lot of times, people who deal with anxiety don’t want to talk about it, or simply just can’t put their feelings and thoughts into words. When it comes to anxiety, your mind is often moving at a hundred miles per minute, and expressing those kind of feelings into words is challenging, to say the least. Having patience with your significant other will allow them to feel comfortable when opening up, because they know you’ll be there waiting to hear whatever it is they want or need to say. They won’t feel like a bother, but more so a priority when they know you have patience with them.
The idea of empathy is very general, but it’s better to think of it in terms of understanding. With anxiety, it’s very hard to make social interactions or attend any type of events or outings, no matter how small they may be. Often times, you want to be left alone. Having empathy for your significant other is understanding that they’ve had a long work day full of interactions with people, and they most likely want to spend a night in, on the couch, watching movies, instead of hitting the town with your friends. Understanding these feelings and stress on the mind an body will make it easier for you to say OK to chilling on the couch on a Friday night. If it makes them comfortable and content, it also should help you feel the same way.
Affection is not limited to physicality. Sometimes, when anxious, being touched adds to the anxiety brewing inside. However, saying kind words of affirmation or encouragement may really help your significant other. Reminding them they’re doing great or that you’re proud of them will decrease the chances of anxiety-fueled panic and allow them feel more at ease, and ultimately loved. Feeling cared about is a great feeling to anyone, not just those dealing with anxiety.
Sometimes anxiety makes zero sense, not only to those who deal with it, but especially to those around you. If your significant other is feeling anxious, being accepting of those thoughts and allowing conversation to open up about it will truly make your significant other feel like his/her anxiety isn’t foolish, and is completely valid. Making sure your significant other knows he/she is supported and cared about does wonders for reducing anxiety, especially in the midst of heightened anxious thoughts. Accepting someone for and with their anxiety is a great sign of love that they will ultimately appreciate.
It may be aggravating if your significant other replies, “I don’t know”, when you ask what’s wrong. Anxiety is very complex, and often times leaves the brain exhausted and drained. Showing kindness to these anxious phases is truly needed for your significant other. Resorting to anger and attitude because they can communicate an effective thought will ultimately lead to more anxiety. At the end of the day, being kind to your partner who is struggling is really all they need. It also takes very little time, effort, energy, and money to simple be kind and share a smile with your significant other, making it one of the most important and easiest ways you can handle your significant other’s anxiety.