Having a significant other who suffers from anxiety is a tricky situation. You see that they are hurting, but you feel powerless, unable to do anything to alleviate their pain. You may feel helpless, but there are ways you can be there for your partner. How? Read on for tips for helping a significant other deal with anxiety.
Don’t Try to Fix Them
The first thing to remember: You are not your SO’s therapist or a medical professional giving them solicited advice or prescribing medication. Trying to “fix” your partner’s anxiety when you are not qualified is a bad idea. Instead, you are the person they should want to confide in, so simply being there to listen when asked and show words of encouragement can go a long way.
Don’t Minimize Their Feelings
One of the most confusing parts about someone else’s anxiety is that their worries and fears may not always make sense to you. Why are they freaking out about a to-do list not getting done on time? Is their heart really beating out of their chest? Shouldn’t their overthinking stop when it’s time for sleep? These are all questions your anxious partner may be unable to answer. Anxiety often defies logic. Instead of minimizing their feelings or trying to convince them that their thoughts are irrational, be patient and show empathy.
Learn the Warning Signs
Believe it or not, internal anxiety can manifest itself in physical symptoms. Common examples include insomnia, stomachaches, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, and headaches. If you pay attention and learn your partner’s warning signs, you’ll be better suited to provide effective support.
Make Them Feel Safe
Safety is very important to anxious people, and they may even experience heightened anxiety if they feel unloved during their spells or panic attacks. So don’t become weird, distant, or unattached. The best thing you can do is remind your partner that you two are a team and you’re not going anywhere.
Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help
While you cannot force someone with anxiety to seek professional care, you can encourage them to do so without judgment. Remind your partner that there is no shame in seeking a path to get mental health help, like going to therapy, possibly taking prescribed medications and more. Your support may help push them to take the next step in treating their anxiety.
Do you have any tips for how to help a significant other deal with anxiety? Share them with us in the comments below!