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What a 'Comfort Person' Means to Someone With Anxiety

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There’s been a lot of discussion about coping toolboxes for anxiety lately. People are coming forward and sharing the “little tricks” and tools they use when they are feeling anxious. I like the imagery associated with this. When you consider the idea of a toolbox, it brings your focus to the idea of a solution and things getting repaired. I’ve always had my tools, but thinking about them collectively as a healing force all packed up in a ready-to-go kit gives them so much more power. In the case of an emergency, what would you rather have on hand: a Band-Aid or a first aid kit? In my case, however, my most powerful tool cannot fit in my toolbox and isn’t a tool at all.

Most of us turn to our loved ones when life gets tough. We get upset or anxious about things and some people in our lives are better than others at being a comfort to us. Some friends will always know the right things to say, some always have the answers, some will just always show up and be there with your favorite comfort food in hand — but sometimes this isn’t enough even though it should be.

Once in a while, a special type of person will come into your life — a comfort person. Somehow this person is able to stop even the worst anxiety right in its tracks. Hearing their voice or even reading a text from them is like being wrapped in the warmest, softest blanket. You immediately feel the relief. Being around them is so peaceful, you almost never feel that anxious, on-edge feeling and if you do, a simple touch of your hand or a hug makes it disappear like magic. The strangest part is these people don’t say or do anything different than any of your other loved ones, but for some reason, their words will soothe your soul.

Some people might say that you should never give this much power to another person, but I still believe the strongest medicine we have as humans for mental health is each other. To me, a loving touch, whether a physical expression or a comforting statement of unity will always be more effective than reading a thousand self-help books or trying dozens of pharmaceuticals. Life, the universe, is about balance. When the balance is disrupted and there is a problem, the planet will do whatever it needs to restore the balance, it only makes sense that the solution for restoring your balance is right there.

Just to be clear, I still have my toolbox full of things I can use to soothe my soul all on my own and I don’t ever expect it to be this person’s job to handle my anxiety. If they were to disappear from my life tomorrow, I would still have plenty of coping tools and resources.

The purpose of this story is to show the deep appreciation I have for these comfort people when they enter my life, for the tiny break they give me from my own thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy to describe how they can take the biggest inferno and instantly stop it all with one gesture. It’s going from trauma to tranquil in one flick of a switch. I believe we all yearn for that, “Please just make it stop” and will all beg for it at one time or another. In my experience, a “comfort person” is the answer to that plea.

So to my comfort person now and ones of the past, thank you for being an invaluable part of my life. To the Universe, thank you for always trying to create that balance. I’m so grateful for those moments of peace. Finally, to anyone reading this if you have a comfort person I hope you realize what a blessing they are to your life and if you don’t have a comfort person I hope you find one because love truly is the best medicine.

Getty Images photo via AntonioGuillem

Originally published: April 6, 2018
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