I took a little inspiration from InTheFrow’s post 3 Ways To Live With A Workaholic (By A Workaholic) but I wanted to tweak it slightly into ways of living with someone who has anxiety written by someone who themselves suffers from anxiety and it’s not always necessarily if you live with a person but if you a close to them as well maybe you are dating or their best friend etc. It’s not the greatest thing in the world to live with and can almost feel like a burden and that you are trapped from doing things you want to do, it literally gets in the way of everything you want to do and makes you feel limited and not good enough. I have come across plenty of people where I have had to explain what anxiety is and what they need to do when they are around me so we both feel comfortable and as I am getting back into the dating scene I wanted to put this up for my future boyfriend where ever he may be and if he sees this, or for anyone else that lives with someone who has anxiety I really hope it helps them understand and that they know how I really feel and I’m not trying to be awkward or trying to push them away.
Patience and understanding are key to living with someone who has anxiety. It may not be easy but someone who suffers from anxiety really needs the stability and consistency to help keep their mind at ease. It may also be a little frustrating for the person living with the sufferer but once you establish the stability, things will work out a lot better for the both of you. The person living with the sufferer needs to be understanding and to know that sometimes the anxious person doesn’t always mean the things they say and are just saying it out of frustration but they also need to be supportive and to let the sufferer know they aren’t alone and than they always have you by their side. Hold them and tell them everything will be ok, because it will and their mind just wanders and takes them into horrible situations that makes them worry about nothing. Understand and learn what sets them off it could be when you take ages to reply but you are shown as online or you are even active online but not messaging them, never make them feel unloved or unwanted and never poke fun at their illness or pressure them into doing something they don’t feel comfortable with until they are ready. Being at work I have to answer the phones and put messages through to consultants and speak to clients and having been in my job for 3 years it has taken a long time and a lot of confidence for me to feel remotely comfortable when answering the phones without freaking out and having a breakdown, still to this day I may have my bad day when it hits me out of no where and sometimes I get made fun of by some of my colleagues which doesn’t help the situation because they just don’t understand what it’s like and sometimes I just run out of the office crying and then trying to calm myself down because it’s just horrible. Learn their different coping methods and how they calm themselves down and help them along the way. I quite often listen to music and lay on the bed until I feel better, occupy my mind by either reading or watching a nice movie that either makes me laugh or smile or doing something crafty often helps and I’m quite often colouring in my Mindfulness Colouring Book.
As much as I love spending time with my loved ones and friends I also need some time to myself to help calm myself down and reflect on what’s really making me anxious. I need time to myself to ultimately tell myself there is nothing to be anxious of and eventually calm myself down but at the same time – I will need to be reassured by someone that everything will be ok and for someone to just hug me and hold me for a little while so I know I have someone by my side to help me along when things get tough. It’s about a 50/50 split between wanting time to myself and wanting to be with someone for a while.
DON’T LAUGH AT THEM.
Someone with anxiety is fully aware that they may sound crazy but anxiety is a mental illness/disorder and so you need to treat it with respect and fully support the sufferer. Don’t laugh at them or take the piss of them when they are suffering. It’s not a nice thing to live with. It truly does affect your everyday life from socialising with other people to being at work everyday.
Don’t constantly go on about the anxiety, even if the sufferer goes on about it don’t keep going on about it. Make sure they know that they can call you anytime anywhere and that they have your full support. Let them know they can talk to you openly and fully without being judged and the fear of judgement.
DON’T TRY TO CHANGE THEM.
Just because they don’t deal with things the same way you do doesn’t mean you can try to change them as a person and mould them into how you’d like them to be to suit you. Let them know that you are absolutely fine with the way they are and that their anxiety doesn’t bother you. Don’t pressure them into doing something they aren’t comfortable with, support them until they are ready to do it in their own time no matter how badly you want it to happen.
Do you have any experience being with someone with anxiety? How did you cope?
image by wonderfelle.com