Tuesday, September 15, 2015

6 Things to Know When Dating Someone Who Suffers From Anxiety

As someone who suffers from anxiety and is currently in a long term relationship, I can tell you that it can be difficult at times. We have good days and bad days, our bad days just tend to be a bit worse than others'. I'm incredibly fortunate to have someone who is so supportive and makes me feel safe and loved in times when I feel anything but that. I also know what it's like to be on the other end of this dynamic; how to be there and support someone who is feeling anxious and vulnerable. So if you're dating someone who is dealing with anxiety, here are a few tips that I've found really important to remember and will ultimately bring your relationship closer.

1) Reassurance
I often worry that my anxiety will become a hindrance to my relationship, and may become a source of resentment. But a little reassurance can go a long way. "I'm here for you", "I love you no matter what", "I care about you and want to help you feel better. You're not annoying me". Little things like these can help put nagging worries at rest. And no, it doesn't need to be constant reassurance, but it does feel really great to hear that once in a while.

 2) Know when to be there and when to step back
At times when someone is feeling particularly anxious they may want to be alone. I tend to isolate myself in times like these. Know that we are not ignoring you or are upset with you. Sometimes we just need to try and quiet the panic in our mind alone or just do not want to be around people. On the contrary, sometimes when I'm feeling scared and anxious, I want to be held and supported by someone I love and I know loves me back. If you're not sure, just ask, "I'm here for you. Do you want me here right now or would you rather be alone for a little while?" Of course, don't start asking questions if we're in a full blown panic. You won't get much of an answer.

3) Be a positive influence
There's can be a lot of negativity going on in an anxious persons mind. And while no one can expect you to be a ray of sunshine 24/7, having a positive attitude around your significant other can really affect them positively. If you can take anything from this tip, just avoid being negative towards them about their anxiety. They already know it's not fun for you to deal with, and believe me, it's even less fun to have to deal with yourself, but telling them to "get over it" or to "calm down" or that you wish they would stop being so anxious will only make them worry that you resent them for something beyond their control.

4) They will overthink
This one, for me, is huge. Know that your significant other with probably be overthinking things. Things that might even seem silly to you, but to them it's not. Because there is always a nagging worry, that "what if?" that never seems to go away. Needless to say, telling them to "get over it" will not help. This is why communication and reassurance is SO important. Make sure they know that they can talk to you about anything and share anything they might be overthinking. And even after you've discussed it, be sure to check up on it every once in a while, because it might still be worrying them. Because from my experience, it will consume them, and  they might be embarrassed to bring it up to you, in fear that you might think its stupid.

 5) Be understanding
You might not truly understand their anxiety or what its like to have to deal with it. Some days will be good days and some days will not. The greatest thing you can do for your significant other is to be understanding of this and promise to be there for them when they need you.

6) Know you are appreciated
You are appreciated so much more than you know.