Anxiety can be debilitating.
Often times, those who suffer from the disorder are wrought with worry, have irrational thoughts, and live in constant fear.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Fear of leaving the house. Fear of being left behind at home.
These fears are commonly unfounded, or greatly exasperated, and can take a serious toll on personal relationships.
The truth is that those affected battle something they can’t control. An intense sense of insecurity within themselves when it comes to relationships. They know it’s difficult and they don’t want to burden you with their irrational thoughts and worries. So instead, they push you away before you get the chance to leave.
But, as much as you want to turn away, perhaps learning how to love someone with anxiety might make you stay?
This is how you love someone with anxiety:
Remember They’re 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 tenfold.
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.
Don’t Tell Them They’re Overreacting
To you, it might seem irrational. But to them whatever they open up to you about, it’s something that actually keeps them up at night. So just take it as best you can.
Remember That They Trust You, But 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.
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.
They Might Text More Than Once, Don’t Get Mad
You might turn your phone to four texts. If you can remember it’s not that they’re trying to be annoying. They care. They care too much and they know it makes them look bad.
It’s OK If They Want To Stay In
They might cancel last minute or freeze in the middle of a night out and just not be able to do it. If they tell you they have to leave don’t feel a sense of guilt or obligation to go with them. Just know they tried and for whatever reason, they couldn’t handle it. What sets people with anxiety off can be many things but for a lot of people, parties in which they don’t know someone ends in two ways, they’ll either be quiet and awkward or you’ll be carrying them out as they chose vodka to ease their worries.
Accept Their Apology
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.
Help When You Can, Know When You Can’t
They would rather have ten meltdowns, biting off more than they can chew and they will never admit they can’t handle something. They’ll always say yes. They’ll never turn anyone away. And in those moments where it seems like they are going to fall apart and break just hold them. Help them if you can but know they’re inclined to not ask for help. They’re used to dealing with things on their own.
They Love Hard, And You Might Just Need It
While uncompleted 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 missing something.
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Don Patrick is an amateur writer and sports enthusiast. He loves reading books, listening to the Huberman Lab Podcast, and spending time with his family and friends. Don is also a personal trainer and youth hockey coach.