Maintaining a healthy loving relationship with someone who suffers from anxiety can be challenging. Anxiety is one of those conditions that can show up unexpectedly and affect your life in ways you did not anticipate. Loving someone with anxiety means there are a lot of inconsistencies in your life. You may not feel that you can fully count on your partner to be there and fulfill the daily responsibilities of life. When you love someone with anxiety, you often end up taking on more and allowing your partner to opt out of activities that may cause them anxiety.
People with anxiety may face challenges with the following:
- Employment and finances - Anxiety can make it difficult to work and keep a job. People with anxiety may struggle with interactions with bosses and co-workers, or the physical work environment may be too taxing for them. Large spaces, loud noises or crowds could trigger anxiety attacks, making it impossible to work consistently. Without a steady job, someone with anxiety cannot meet financial obligations or participate as an equal partner, financially, in a relationship.
- Social life - Social activities can be difficult for people with anxiety. They may avoid social gatherings, or schedule them and then have to back out at the last minute.
- Family activities - It can be difficult for someone with anxiety to participate in certain activities, depending on what triggers their anxiety. They cannot always be responsible for certain family activities because their anxiety may prevent them from being able to follow through or participate in certain activities.
- Emotional well-being - Anxiety can lead to feelings of guilt or depression. These emotional issues compound the anxiety and can also be accompanied by reduced self-esteem and a poor self-image.
When you love someone with anxiety, you may sometimes find yourself carrying more responsibility. Anxiety can be debilitating and can make it hard for people who suffer from it to participate in certain activities, no matter how much they may want to.
How to Love Someone Who Suffers From an Anxiety Disorder
What can you do when you love someone who suffers from anxiety?
- Stay supportive - Being supportive of someone with an anxiety disorder means not trying to rationalize what appear to be irrational fears. If your partner could see the situation differently, without fear, they would. No amount of explaining is going to change that. Instead, try asking them what they need to feel comfortable or reduce their anxiety. It is okay to acknowledge that you do not understand what they’re feeling and ask for guidance to help them deal with an anxiety attack.
- Learn about anxiety - Taking an interest in what your partner is going through will help them feel supported. Learn about anxiety and how your partner’s anxiety works. When you know their triggers, you can better help your partner cope with them. You will also be more sensitive to suggestions that force them to face those anxieties. Anxiety is a complex issue that can have different causes and triggers. In its extreme, it can be debilitating and lead to even more serious issues like depression. Learning about anxiety will help you remember that it is a disorder, not a choice.
- Take care of yourself - Mental disorders are exhausting for everyone, be sure you take the time to take care of your own mental and physical well-being. Continue to participate in social activities you enjoy, even when your partner needs to opt out. Schedule activities for yourself, either solo or with friends. Create a support system for yourself of friends or family you can talk to when you are feeling overwhelmed. Set boundaries and stick to them, so you do not become over-extended physically, mentally, or emotionally
Seeking Treatment for Anxiety
Treatment options are available for anxiety, both in the form of inpatient and outpatient treatment. Don’t assume your loved one’s anxiety will go away on its own. More often, when left untreated, anxiety increases and develops into other issues. Anxiety and depression are closely associated.
When your loved one’s anxiety becomes debilitating and has an impact on their daily life, it may be time to seek treatment. Outpatient counseling can be useful and provide relief from anxiety. Your loved one would meet with a mental health professional on a regular basis to work on the anxiety. This process can take time, but as long as there is consistent counseling, progress can be made. The counselor will continually assess the situation and provide guidance for continued treatment or other therapy options.
Another option for anxiety treatment is inpatient therapy. In a residential setting, treatment and becoming well is a primary focus, and in many cases can be more effective. At Brookhaven Retreat, the setting for residential treatment is part of the therapy. The beautiful, private, comforting surroundings at this women only mental health retreat help calm the nerves and heal the mind. Experienced mental health professionals guide the individualized program for anxiety treatment and administer therapy with compassion and expertise. Contact Brookhaven Retreat today to learn more about how we can help your loved one resolve an anxiety disorder.