I've always had anxiety, but it started to get especially bad during high school. I was constantly worried about hurting people's feelings, I felt the need to say 'yes' to every single favor that was asked of me and I would get sick every time someone texted me, "can I ask you a question?"
I had an immense amount of stress when it came to school work and I cried when I got my first A- in Math class. I took the ACT standardized test 10 times because I didn't get a perfect score and my anxiety told me I needed to do better.
This continued throughout college, and when I met my husband I was worried he wouldn't be able to handle my random meltdowns and irrational fears. But, he was able to learn what he needed to do for me when my anxiety got bad.
Loving someone with anxiety can be a struggle, but here are 10 things you need to remember when you're in that situation:
Things like large crowds and loud sounds can overwhelm a person with anxiety. If I'm talking to my husband and the TV is on in the background, I get anxious and have to turn it off. When I'm watching a movie or listening to music and the volume is too loud, I panic because I can't hear myself think. Little, unexpected things like this can be overwhelming, so understand your loved one's needs and triggers.
Even if they need to be alone for a minute, know that your support means the world to them. Just being there when they need you is the most important thing you can do.
People with anxiety don't love change, and they need to know you'll be there for them no matter what. I know I'm a disaster to put up with when my anxiety hits, but knowing my husband and family will always be there for me makes it so much more bearable.
People with anxiety worry about the strangest things, and they know their worries are irrational most of the time. They honestly can't help it, and they don't expect you to understand it. They just expect you to be there.
The last thing they want to hear in the middle of a panic attack are the words "calm down." When the anxiety hits and they don't want to be alone, hold them and tell them it will all be OK. Just having that physical touch can do wonders when it comes to calming them down.
You have no idea how much you mean to your loved one who has anxiety. You're a rock for them- a light in the midst of darkness. They truly appreciate your presence in their life.
They might be worrying about something totally irrational, but their panic is so real. Understand that their worries are just as real as anyone else's, and validate their feelings.
Depending on the person, coping mechanisms can vary. Sometimes, I can't calm down until my kitchen is sparkling clean. Other times, dishes will be piled in the sink and I go to bed at 7 pm because I'm emotionally and physically exhausted. Whatever it might be, just roll with it and let them do their thing.
If my phone starts ringing with an unknown number and I'm not expecting a phone call, my heart rate skyrockets and I seriously have a little panic in my brain. Let your loved one know when you're going to call, if you're going to have friends over or if you've planned a night out with friends. Giving them time to prepare will help a lot.
If you love someone with anxiety, you can be sure they love you too. They worry about you, they will never take you for granted and they truly appreciate everything you do for them.
The best thing you can do for your loved one with anxiety is to love them and let them know you have their back no matter what.