Dating someone who has anxiety.
As someone who has anxiety, I know that I am a handful. I totally feel bad about it as well. It is that reason that when I started dating my husband over 8 years ago I hid a lot of stuff from him. I didn’t want to scare him off by being too much. Or over reacting as some people believe. As I was scrolling through my social media this morning, I found this picture. I thought what an amazing idea. So I thought I would share it and break it down from my experience or what I’ve put my husband through in the past 8 years.
1.) Reassure them constantly
I am constantly thinking that I am over bearing or too clingy. Then there are times that I feel that he isn’t loving enough. Has he stopped loving me? Is he getting ready to bolt? Have I done something wrong? The thoughts have gotten less frequent lately. However, they have happened. I know that I have been quite annoying by asking the same questions like ‘how much do you love me?’ etc.. By being reassuring and talking to your significant other it will greatly help these thoughts become less frequent. Now, its not the same as never happening. I cannot turn my brain off or stop that bad little voice that says I’m being too much. But it is a good feeling that my husband understands where I am coming from instead of launching into an argument.
2.) Keep them in the loop of your life.
To me this is a big thing. I like to plan everything out. I like to have set times and things that are going to get done. I like to know what my husband has planned as well. I am constantly worried about his driving (riding with him scares me) so if he makes an unplanned trip to the game store instead of heading straight home it worries me. We know how long it takes to get from our house to his work and back. He also has to drive pass this intersection that has been known to have really bad wrecks. So being even just a little late scares me. There was also a time before we got married and weren’t living together that he decided he wanted to get a new car. But he didn’t share this tidbit with me. So as I was heading to work, I passed his house. There was a car there that I have never seen before. Although it wasn’t always my business what happened at his house, I didn’t know who was there. If our daughter was going to be there, I needed to know who was going to be around her. There are certain people who don’t respect my decision to not have smoking or drinking or drugs around my children so I don’t allow them around. Essentially, it is reassuring to your significant other if you fill them in on what you are doing. Not like the small stuff. I don’t need to know that he’s heading to the bathroom at work. That’s a little too much information.
3.) Text them when you are on your way and/or when you get home
This is very important for people with anxiety. If you’re getting home late or leaving late and don’t text your significant other who suffers with anxiety bad thoughts will be sure to happen. Like I have already stated, I worry about my husbands driving. So if he doesn’t text me to tell me he’s going to be late or he’s making a pit stop, I have the worst imagination for bad things happening. It is like constantly being a pessimist. Its awful. I’m pretty sure I am not the only one either. I also don’t condone texting while driving. I do, however, suggest sending a quick text message before leaving. We know how long it takes to get home. Add 5 to 10 minutes depending on traffic and let your boyfriend/girlfriend know. It will mean more than you realize.
Have you ever seen that episode of Grey’s Anatomy where the heart doctor was autistic? Change made her freak out and to suppress her nervous system and calm her down she needed to be hugged tight. That works for people with anxiety as well. Hugs are always appreciated and hardly ever turned away.
5.) Triggers. Identify them.
This is not an easy task since anxiety manifest in people in different ways. It is hard to describe how my anxiety manifests because it has to do with a lot of things. Childhood memories, bad experiences, etc. Therefore, my triggers for certain things vary. Like today I had to get my brakes changed. They were so bad, it was almost to the point of having no brakes at all. That scares me dearly. I have been talking about getting my brakes changed for the past couple days. However, actually going to a shop to get them done is very hard for me. Talking to people face to face by myself makes me very anxious. My husband tried to take the car last night to get it done but they had already closed. He had planned on getting off early to get it done so that I wouldn’t have to possibly face an anxiety attack to get my car taken care of. However, this morning the brakes were so loud I sucked it up and went. I was very anxious standing in the shop with 4 guys asking to get my brakes fixed but I cannot even imagine the idea of no brakes with my kids in the car. (So that’s a win for me!!!) I had a mechanic shop that I was comfortable with. I knew them. I had used them for a while. Unfortunately, they went out of business. So finding a new business that would be patient with me and not try to overcharge me is not something I have been looking for.
6.) No Surprises. Unless you are certain it will make them happy.
I am not a surprise person. I like to know what is going to happen and when. That is why my husband has not tried to do a surprise birthday or anything like that. He doesn’t even try to sneak up on me. You know that cute thing where the guy goes behind the girl and covers her eyes and says ‘guess who?’ Yeah that’s not for me. I do believe I have elbowed him pretty hard before. I do not like surprises. I am pretty certain that anyone who suffers from anxiety is not a fan of surprises.
7.) Change is hard.
If that is not the truth. I do not like change. I do the same routine every morning. I get up, get lunches prepared. Wake my girls up. Get my oldest daughter ready for school. Pick my nephews up and then drop them off at school. My youngest daughter has a nap by 9 am. After that is a little more lenient. However, if we wake up late or something happens to throw off our morning it makes the rest of the day a little hard.
8.) Be there. Just be there.
This is so important. I think that it is very important to be with your significant other when they’re dealing with things. Also, don’t judge. We have a real disease. There is such a stigma around anxiety that it already makes it hard for us to talk about it. I have become such an introvert because people tend to throw my anxiety in my face like I am just making up an excuse. I love that my husband never judges me when I say I am feeling anxious or I am scared. I love how he tries to change his habits to make me a little less angry. Like when I am in the car with him, he increases his breaking distance because I am afraid his brakes will fail or he won’t stop in time and I’ll be in another wreck. It is so important to be with you significant other no matter what.
If you’re planning on spending your life with your significant other, it is important that you come to understand their anxiety. I think it is time we break the barrier and stop the stigma against mental illness. Speak up and speak out. We are not alone. We are one. If you have any other tips on how to date someone with anxiety, leave a comment. If your significant other does something that helps you through your anxious times, let me know. I would love to hear from you.