What This 4-Word Text Can Teach Us About Helping a Significant Other With Anxiety
It can be hard to know what to say when someone you love is dealing with anxiety. Part of the problem is there’s no magic combination of words guaranteed to make anxiety go away — and how you support someone who’s anxious depends on who they are and what they need.
But when Callie Theodore told her boyfriend she was feeling insecure about their relationship, his answer was pretty much as perfect as you can get.
Callie posted a screenshot of their conversation on Facebook, and his response — and her message — has been shared over 130,000. Her post also appeared on Love What Matters.
“Someone with anxiety is inclined to assume everyone is going to leave. The truth is they battle something they can’t control,” she wrote. “Find yourself someone who doesn’t make you feel like loving you is a job.”
Callie said she decided to share this conversation on Facebook because she wanted others who are in a dark place to know they aren’t alone.
“This post was never meant to go viral, but I am so blessed in did. People from all other world are telling me my post saved their life and that it gives them hope,” she told The Mighty.
Her entire post read:
Someone with anxiety is inclined to assume everyone is going to leave. The truth is they battle something they can’t control and there is a sense of insecurity within themselves when it comes to relationships and simply, just life. They know it’s difficult and they don’t want to burden you with their irrational thoughts and worries. So instead, they try to push you away before you get the chance to leave yourself. That’s the reality.
It’s hard loving someone who suffers from anxiety. They will be over sensitive, they will make up scenarios in their head causing an argument, and constant reassurance is needed.
Find yourself someone who doesn’t make you feel like loving you is a job. Someone who will assure of you the little things. Someone who doesn’t tell you that you’re overreacting. Someone that will rock you on the floor in the dead middle of an anxiety attack. Find someone that no matter how hard you push them- they do not leave.
There are people out there like that. People that calm you and bring you a sense of security- that will be stronger than any dose of medication that can be prescribed. ❤
You may have anxiety, but anxiety doesn’t have you.
Inspired by her sweet post, we wanted to know what other people needed to hear from their significant other when a rough moment with anxiety. So, we asked our mental health community.
Here’s what they told us:
“‘You are not your anxiety.’ He reminds me of this all the time. He reminds me how much fun he has with me, how he loves me unconditionally and how he would be so unhappy without me. He has to do this so often thank God I have such a patient and supportive husband.” — Megan R.
“I used to be in a relationship with a person who didn’t understand my anxiety, so when we had fights he would tell me, ‘Why do cry so much?’ ‘Why do you overreact about a single discussion.’ So if I had a mental breakdown in front of him I had to hide it because he would tell me, ‘Why are with me if you’re going to end up crying and shaking like that’… eventually I’d hide from him if I felt anxious and made me feel ashamed of my illness… it’s hard to feel judge from the person you love… I guess the best thing to hear is I don’t really understand what is going on you but I support you… and be there in the mental crisis, just holding my hands can make a difference.” — Daniel S.
“‘We’ve got this! This isn’t my life or your life. It’s our life. We are in this together today, tomorrow and forever.’ I cried like a baby when he said this to me.” — Tracy K.
“When I get lost in doubt, he reminds me that he loves me and if he didn’t still love me more than anything in the world, he wouldn’t still be here. The evidence is important to me. When my fiancé proposed, the first thing I said was, ‘Are you sure?’ Anxiety likes to be a doubting jerk, but my fiancé is pretty awesome and smacks it out of the way real fast.” — Erin W.
“I am humble enough to admit I don’t understand what you’re going through, not a slightest clue, but let me assure you I will be by your side no matter what happens. I love you and it is important for me that you feel that and see that from me. Help me help you get through this. We are in this together.” — Mark T.
“‘I am so proud of you. After everything this life has thrown at you, you’re still here. You have fought like hell to be the woman you are today and nothing can take that from you… not even your anxiety. I’m right here and always will be.‘ I’m so blessed.” — Mary C.
“No matter what, I will always be here for you. If you need a shoulder to rest on, I’m here. If you need someone to talk to, I will listen, I will understand and I will hug you until your anxieties go away. No matter what, I loved you..” — Azis N.
“My husband usually tells me, ‘You’ve been my Crazy Lady from the beginning and it’s never bothered me before, it’s not about to start bothering me now.’ Then he kisses me on the forehead and runs me a bath.” — Amanda K.
“I’ll always love you for who you are.” — Erik H.
“Ask me if there’s something they can do, and be content if I say there’s nothing. Sometimes all I need is a hug for something small… just being there without making me feel bad for getting anxious is the most important.” — Maddy F.
“They aren’t going anywhere. My boyfriend (now husband) would tell me, ‘I don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety but I’m not going anywhere.’ He would do this while holding my hand. He instantly calms me with his touch. I do the same for him when he’s stressed. Just his acknowledgment of my ‘freak out; in such a calming and understanding way meant a lot. He just listens and doesn’t have to say much.” — Kylie A.
“He always helps me determine if it’s my anxiety or something else. No matter what I say he knows just by the look on my face when I’m anxious. He’s very in tune with me and my emotional needs. He always tells me he loves me and how I feel isn’t wrong, even if it sometimes is lol.” — Juli K.
“‘I love you babe’ the most powerful thing she says to me. It makes us seem more real and a certain thing rather than what my anxiety wants me to believe.” — Ethan H.
“I feel like sometimes I don’t want to hear anything from my significant other when I am doubting our relationship. All I really ever want is to just be held. When he’s calm and he hugs me, I begin to feel calm too…” — Alex T.
“‘I understand’ would be greatly appreciated and not being told to ‘calm down’ or start pointing out all the embarrassing things I am doing…. That’d be grand. — Jenny W.
“I remember once I was driving home from a date with my boyfriend, and I had a huge anxiety attack. I felt convinced that he was over me and the relationship was over. I cried and cried and we had a long talk about it all. The one thing I remember him saying to me was, ‘Your anxiety tells you that you’re this awful person that doesn’t deserve to be loved, but maybe it’s what makes you the most beautiful woman I know.‘ It really resonated with me, and it helped me a lot that day.” — Carolyn A.
“Even though I’m married, I’m always ashamed of how I have breakdowns over the most littlest things. I automatically feel like, who would want to be with me, willingly? Thankfully, he’s always there to remind me that I’m perfect in his eyes and I’ve conquered a lot in my life.” — Leeann L.
“‘I love you and we can get through anything together!’ He doesn’t always understand my anxiety or why I doubt myself or us, but he reminds me that he loves me and I’m not alone in my struggle.” — Bree C.
“My husbands magical weapon for me is laughter! Make me laugh and all my anxiety goes away, instantly. I pretty much just drop whatever was getting me riled up. Great life hack.” — Christa C.