Being a woman with anxiety comes with its own unique challenges, but for our partners, being in a relationship with us is challenging, too. Some people will run because they can’t cope, but for those strong enough to stand by us, we thank you for loving us through the struggle. This is how to love a woman with anxiety:
Appreciate us for more than our condition. We know we’re not what society considers normal and we’re also used to the negative stigma that still surrounds mental illnesses. Our anxiety is just a small part of who we are. Outside of the moments of intense worry and fear is a woman capable of joy, love, and laughter just like everyone else. We’re more than just the anxiety that cripples us at times.
Understand the anxiety is only temporary. Anxiety is ugly when it rears its head, but it doesn’t last forever. Anxiety might be a lifelong battle but it’s a battle that comes in waves. There will be times where it strikes us at inconvenient moments, and times when you might think it’s defeated us for good, but we always find a way to escape it. The more we learn about it ourselves, the easier the escape becomes, so help us along the way.
Comfort us when we’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we’ll feel completely overwhelmed by something that seems minor because for us, everything and anything that comes with worry is amplified x 1000. All we really need is someone who can comfort us in the moments and understand our panic isn’t intentionally dramatic; it’s just that we’re going through a tough spell.
Ease our worries with support. We’ll worry about nearly everything and play out every possible variable in our minds of the things we fear most. Don’t just tell us everything is going to be OK, tell us that even if it isn’t, you’ll be there to hold our hands if our fears become reality.
Accept that we will worry a lot, but we’re working towards calmness. It might be hard to deal with at times, but we’re trying. Anxiety isn’t something we enjoy, but it’s something we’ve gotten to know quite well in our journeys of getting through it. We’re working towards handling ourselves better when the panic overtakes us, but having you there to guide us along helps to get to that calmness faster than you think.
Assure us that you’re there for us. We fear you’ll leave us because we’ve had many people turn their backs to our illnesses before. If you love us, please make sure to tell us that you care and you plan to stick around to help us through this unwanted journey. We don’t want to be going through it any more than you do, and we appreciate knowing that you love us anyways and despite it.
Let us communicate when we’re ready. Sometimes we’ll close off and not want to talk at all, especially in the beginning. There will be times we’re afraid to tell you how we’re genuinely feeling because it sounds absurd, even in our own minds. But eventually when we’re ready, we’ll come around, and when we do, know that it’s because we really do trust you and that coming out about our illness takes a lot of courage.
Never call us crazy. Crazy is the word that sends us into an emotional frenzy, because our reactions aren’t crazy or irrational, they’re uncontrollable monsters that we never asked for, and we’d eliminate them if we could.
Let us cry if we need to. Anxiety comes in all forms. If you’re supportive and understanding to these eruptions of emotions we can’t control, we’ll be forever grateful. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to just put your arms around us and not say a single word while we go through it. Knowing you’re there is usually enough.
Don’t take it personally. Sometimes we might say things that don’t make sense or are unintentionally rude. Unfortunately, anxiety has a voice of its own. It’s not you, it’s us, and we’re so sorry if it ever hurts you in the process. We’re trying to be better.
Be patient. It’s not something that will ever permanently go away, but with care, love, and support, it is something that will diminish dramatically. We’ll never truly escape it, but in having the right person by our side, we can certainly lessen the ferocity that often comes with battling this demon. And if you stand by us in these ways forever, we thank you for making our lives the best it could possibly be.
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