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How to be a Supportive Partner to Someone Suffering from Anxiety

August 7,2018 By: Mansi poddar

We all know how it feels to worry about something – that gnawing feeling of unease that occasionally takes root in the mind and spreads through our body. Reasons could be something as trivial as running out of milk in the middle of the day or having to address a gathering of 10 strangers or a loved one’s deteriorating health. Feeling anxious about an uncertain outcome is our natural response, which subsides within time usually once the stressors are resolved. But when you are constantly perched on the edge of fear – looking over your shoulder, just in case – your anxiety is at a level of concern that needs to be addressed.

Anxiety related disorders can be extremely debilitating but sadly, they often go unrecognized and is usually swept aside as a general feeling of anxiousness that plagues people from time to time. Sleeplessness, lack of concentration, anticipating the worst, being unable to let go, and being plagued constantly with unrealistic worries are classic signs exhibited by those suffering from anxiety.

Basic Things you should know about Anxiety Disorders

  •  It’s persistent, tends to be out of proportion and difficult to control.
  • Hampers everyday life and significantly interferes with the individual’s functioning.
  • The accompanying physical symptoms of anxiety disorders can be disabling.

Ways to support your partner suffering from Anxiety

Living with a partner who worries constantly and always anticipates the worst can be a landmine you are desperately seeking to side-step on an everyday basis. Here are a few ways to help your partner manage better.

  • Educate yourself about Anxiety

This cannot be reiterated enough – Knowledge is Power and in this case, absolutely essential. So, do your research. Consult an expert or two. Better yet, talk to people who are in a similar situation as you. Collecting handy hints aside, it truly does help to know you are not the only one in a stormy boat and that you can reach out to others when it gets overwhelming for you.

  •  Encourage your partner to get adequate treatment

GAD 2

Expert guidance and counselling for those suffering from anxiety is of utmost importance. With a few encouraging and kind words, you can nudge your partner towards appropriate treatment required. Treatments are varied depending on the severity of the anxiety experienced by the patient – medication and talk therapy are two such. Whatever the treatment may be, letting your partner know that you are right beside them makes the recovery process so much faster.

 

  • Don’t pressurize your partner to get/be better

Telling them what to do and not do is not going to be of any help. Instead, it may backfire and up the anxiety levels. You cannot rush recovery. Allow them the space and acceptance needed to find their way to an anxiety-free life. It would take effort and immense patience on your part to help that happen.

  • Know your partner’s pressure points

Not an easy task since people suffering from anxiety often blow off steam for no apparent reason. Their worries most often would seem unrealistic and unfounded. Observing their actions and reactions can help you understand the trigger points that set them off.

  •  Help Identify Anxiety Provoking Thoughts

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Their behaviour or reactions are usually a result of the negative thoughts that invade their minds.  Those afflicted with anxiety are perpetually on a disaster alert mode.

What’s going to happen? How is this going to go wrong? What will I do if something terrible happens? I won’t be able to deal with it. These questions steeped with self-doubt and uncertainty about the future is running through their minds on an extended loop. Assist your partner through anxiety-producing situations by applying some anxiety-reduction techniques.

  • Be positive and encourage positive attitude

Surround them with positive energy by being positive yourself. Meditation, practising mindfulness, and regular exercises are a few activities that would help create a happy space for both you and partner. Try and shift their focus from negative thoughts to positive feelings and behaviour. Those often repeated and encouraged become a habit.

  •  Take Good Care of Yourself

One awful habit you can unknowingly slip into when focusing on your loved one’s mental health is neglecting your own. Remember, self care takes precedence over anything. Take that crucial time away from the hustle-bustle of life, however impossible or selfish it may seem, to recuperate and rejuvenate. It’s important to stay healthy both in mind and body to be in a position to nurture others. Ample rest coupled with adequate food and exercise is the right way to be.

Providing the right kind of support to someone who is fearful and anxious about everything around them can be the lifeline they need to overcome something as debilitating as Anxiety.