If this is the first time you’ve come across my blog, I’d want to extend my thankfulness towards you. I’m positive that it won’t be your first and the only time here. If you’ve been here before then I’d like to welcome you heartily, yet again!
I relentlessly write about things based on my own perceptions. I refuse to adhere to the mainstream topics of discussions and generally express my rationale centering my focus on the things that are dealt with at an individual level. With the same objective, I shall here make an endeavor to pen down my thoughts on this rather critical subject of anxiety.
“How the hell would she know what it feels like?” is the question that might be popping in your head. But just before you pass any other judgment or negative presumptions, let me inform you something. Well, being a “non-sufferer” is a much of a wishful thinking.
Tragically, I’m well aware of the “If only I didn’t feel like my chest was about to explode”, “What-if-this?” and “What-if-that” questions and the rest of the similar kinds. I am a sufferer, just like you or your partner and I will be writing will be a viewpoint or more so, confessions of a person with anxiety.
I would prefer not to generalize since each person suffers differently and has different symptoms that the rest might not have come across with. But I can relate to everyone who compulsively deals with it on a regular basis, day in, day out.
Anxiety is a mental condition which is said to be an outcome of excessive worrying and a prolonged period of stress. There are several forms of anxiety- be it Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety and so on, the severity of which differs from person to person.
Anxiety makes your heart cripple and your stomach churn with dread. Each and every day, I feel as if I’m constantly on the edge. It just takes one negative thought to drive me insane. My heart races, my hands tremble. My mind tells me to lay motionless in bed but to keep up with this dog-eats-dog world, I have to put on a fake smile and get going. Sometimes, I hope and pray for time to freeze so that I could relax and unwind but that’s that. The clock keeps ticking, and so do the heart and mind.
I wish I could sleep one night and wake up the following morning feeling safe and sound, but God knows that’s not how it works. Some days, I have disturbing thoughts right from the onset of dawn through to dusk. My heart aches, it literally does. Some other days, it gets difficult to put up with life. There’s a limit to the intensity and extent of suffering which one could endure. And the rest of the days, I wish to end it, end everything and settle in peace, once and for all. But as they say, the show must go on.
Trust me when I say this and don’t question any further, please just nod your head in agreement upon hearing these words- “DEALING WITH ANXIETY IS A GREAT DEAL OF BUSINESS.” There are some annoying things which I frequently hear people say, the like of which being- “Oh yes, I suffer from anxiety too. I had difficulty breathing once whilst I faced an interview.” Oh, sorry to say, but if you were to say the exact same thing, I’d take you as an imbecile.
Also, whilst there’s so much going on in my mind in an endless loop, keeping up with people becomes a tiresome job. People judge. They criticise without knowing what someone must be going through. But hey, as Bob Dylan said, “ Don’t criticise what you don’t understand.” My mind is already doing the work of telling me things that I don’t want to hear. You adding up to it will only alleviate the situation. So please, either hold up and help me calm the raging storm in my soul or simply, kindly, move on.
To broaden the horizon of your understanding on this subject even further, I have compiled a list of points about the know-hows of dating and dealing with someone with anxiety. Dear fellow sufferers, the only objective of this article is to add some ease in your life because I know how often times, we wish if someone else would understand us. I do and every fiber of my being, hoping that someone who reads this will get a better grip on the state of your heart and mind.
How to help your partner with anxiety?
Here’s the list of 5 struggles one is likely to go through whilst dating someone with anxiety.
Table of Contents (Quick Navigation)
1. The To-Do list is compulsory
How to explain anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it? Well, here, I shall try my best to help you get a clear picture of the things that goes on in the mind of someone with anxiety.
To tell you the truth, I can’t go on with the day without following a specific morning ritual. I wake up, meditate, workout like an athlete, write a journal, update my To-Do list for the day and only then I can move on to doing whatever needs to be done.
I will feel like a failure and will start questioning the purpose of my existence if I fail to hit check even on one of the tasks on the list. It’s that complicated.
So please, let me do the things that need to be done. That’s what any other person with anxiety might be wanting to scream off the rooftop and make it clear to you.
Once a while, it might come off as if I’m ignoring you or not prioritizing you enough, but it would be the least of my intentions to hurt you. I just need my personal space in abundance. That’s all I seek for.
My life gets difficult if I don’t do something so simple like ticking off the items on my To-Do list. I would want you to respect that without doubting on my love for you.
2. Don’t interrupt when we’re in the middle of something
Anxiety steals away the power of concentration from one’s mind. If I’m fixating my focus on a task, then could you please care to not interrupt?
It might be easy as ABC for you to put your focus on a task but to me, it takes a series of self-talk to be able to concentrate. With that being the case, if however, I get interrupted, then I’d lose my calm and might end up giving you a piece of mind.
So, please, could you read the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on my door from next time onwards? I’ve put it up there not as some fancy decor but because I truly mean it. Thank you!
3. Telling us to “calm-down” isn’t going to work
Once the loop of anxious thoughts starts, it takes forever for it to subside.
How to live with someone with anxiety and panic attacks?
When I’m panic-stricken, either say nothing at all or just stay out of my sight, at least for a while. It’s likely that I’m about to have a full blown panic attack and you suggesting me to “calm down” is only going to make me lose my mind yet again.
Since I am a female, people often blame it to be “the case of the hormones” but – oh, you doltish stranger, you! Don’t speak what you know nothing of.
I wish I could control it but I simply can’t. It comes, it goes. I feel miserable and fragile for a while but eventually, I’ll cry a little and move on. I’m used to it. And so will I expect you to be.
Please don’t feel bad if I don’t let you into my anxious world. Whilst I am having enough of it, I’d keep you even from taking a glimpse of it because all the goodness in the world is stored in the outer world and not in the mind of a person who suffers from an anxiety disorder.
4. Let us vent it all out
Dating someone with anxiety is difficult, I get it.
Almost everyone faces struggles in their way of life but since I have enough of the reasons to feel anxious already, listening to someone else’s woes will only aid in torturing my mind.
One worrisome thought would send me off-guard and I’d end up having a panic-attack yet again. I often have the nocturnal panic attacks and it’s like living through hell.
I can’t listen to your or anyone else’s worries and woes, and neither will my mental ability allow me to watch the crime-based thriller that you’d want me to watch with you. All I can do is vent it all out and that too, on my own accord.
I’d expect you to be a good listener. And again, please don’t interrupt whilst I’m letting out every bit of the emotion that has consumed the wholeness of my heart. Just let me talk incessantly. And when I’m done, assure me that I’ll be fine. That’d be my elixir for surviving yet another day.
5. Don’t talk down to us
Not long ago, I shared my experience with anxiety with someone. All I got in return was “ You’re so strong. How can you have anxiety?”, which was followed by an expression that read, “ You disgust me.”
Well, first off, thank you for admiring my strength. Yes, I’m strong and I can knock-off anyone who comes along my way or that of my loved ones and tries to do the either of us any harm. Katy Perry’s Roar is my strength anthem and you’ll hear me roar for sure if you hit a nerve or two.
Oh well, and by showing the expression of abhorrence upon hearing a little backstory about my struggle with anxiety, all I can say is you disgust me even more. If there’s one mistake that you should never make, it’s the act of belittling someone with anxiety. It would not only aggravate the situation but would also make me burn with fury and rage, and it’s you who will have the bear the consequences.
If I may speak on behalf of my fellow sufferers then I’d like to tell all the boyfriends holding up to their anxious girlfriends and vice versa that we highly appreciate your empathy and your love. You’ve been with us through the thick and thin, and we apologize if our condition has ever left you feeling tormented. But hey, despite the drama, you chose to stick with us without ever despising us.
If we could, we would give you a proof of our love. But I guess the fact that we chose to be in a relationship despite having quite enough on our plates already would suffice to declare our love for you.
Keep loving us wholeheartedly for love will keep us alive.