9 Things to Know About Loving Someone With Anxiety
This piece was written by Kirsten Corley, a Thought Catalog contributor.
1. You might have to accept this without understanding it.
Please understand it’s not always going to be obvious when something is bothering me. A lot of people with anxiety try and hide the fact they have it. You won’t see how tired I am because I won’t tell you I only slept for three hours that night. I won’t tell you a fight with someone completely ruined my day. You won’t see my heart racing or my palms sweating when something isn’t going according to plan. And the thing that is bothering me most, might not be talked about because it’s a ‘sometimes scenario’ in my mind.
You won’t hear the stream of questions on repeat in my head, but for me, it’s an everyday thing.
2. You’ll have to listen, knowing sometimes there isn’t a solution.
When most situations and problems are things made up in the mind, that only sometimes come to life, you’re going to have to do a lot of listening (if I trust you enough to tell you). Listening as situations go from bad to catastrophic is the reality for me. Sometimes there is comfort in someone just being beside me as I play the waiting game of, Will this happen?
3. You may have to give your opinion when the ‘What Ifs’ creep into my mind.
It’s the overanalyzing of every look, every text, every word and every situation. Because all of these things keep me up at night. It’ll be conversations full of screenshots and reading between the lines because to me, nothing is as it seems. I’m always overthinking things.
4. You’ll have to reassure me sometimes and counter my doubts.
I will worry to a point where it will tire you out. The phrase, ‘It’ll be OK,’ can never be used enough.
Because in my mind, there’s this voice that tells me every worst case scenario is coming true. It’s inaccurate conclusions that lead to utter destruction. It’s phrases on repeat like, ‘That person isn’t answering because they don’t like you,’ or ‘You’re going to fail or get fired for this.’
It’s being hyper aware of everyone and everything to a point when I’m overcome with insecurity. It’s being emotionally exhausted. A lot of people might not understand that phrase, but for people with anxiety it’s a part of everyday life.
5. You’ll have to love me in the moments I don’t love myself.
It’s the moments I excuse myself from something because there is another thing I need to take care of and if I don’t, it’ll be on my mind until I fix it.
It’s the moments at 3 a.m. when if you called me, I’d be awake just laying there, staring at the ceiling. My brain doesn’t shut off.
It’s in the moments I completely break down because something didn’t go as planned and you may have to be the one keeping it together.
It’s the self-criticism and overcompensating and trying too hard. It’s loving you in a way I should love myself, but I’m still learning how to.
6. You may have to be my strength sometimes.
In the moments I fall flat on my face, I’ll pick myself apart and judge myself with a ruthless lack of forgiveness. You’ll have to be the one telling me it’s OK. No matter how big of a mistake I made, please tell me we’ll get through it.
Tell me it’s OK to fail. It’s OK to not have gotten everything done. It’s OK something didn’t go according to plan. And I do hear you, but sometimes, I don’t believe it. Moments of failure or letting someone down completely turn me into someone I’m not.
In those weak moments, forgive me for this too. I don’t like people seeing me vulnerable. I don’t like feeling like some burden.
I am my own worst enemy and forgiving myself for things takes a lot of time.
7. You’ll need to tell me when something is wrong.
If something is wrong, tell me. Don’t give me time to think about it. I’ll “lose my mind” doing so, then create 10 more problems. I’m programmed to overthink everything and in doing so, sometimes I create solutions to things that aren’t even problems to begin with. The truth is I just want to make things right.
8. You may have to accept apologies even if it’s for something silly.
An unanswered text might lead to three others, then me running over details of something I might have missed. All the while, you simply took a shower and didn’t bring your phone with you.
It’s apologizing for things that haven’t even crossed your mind when our reality, I’m simply hoping I didn’t do something wrong or hurt you in some way.
9. If you love me the way I am, I’ll love you even more.
People with anxiety care. I care more than I want to sometimes. I’m more sensitive than I’d like to be. But the root of my anxiety is a heart that genuinely means well and never wants to intentionally hurt someone.
Through acceptance and love, it might not make this thing go away ,but you’ll have someone who is loyal and treats you better than anyone in your life. While the fear of people leaving dictates my life, if you stay with me, I’ll return the favor and there won’t be a person who loves you more.
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Thinkstock photo via oneinchpunch.