Because they're more than their mental illness.
Anxiety is tough, isn't it? Not just for those who have it, but also for the people who stick with them while they're going through it. It's emotionally taxing for both people, physically demanding at times and mentally demanding most of the time.
Anxiety is hard on you and the people who love you. It's debilitating and affects everyone differently, so it's understandably confusing if you've never experienced it before.
Here are seven things to keep in mind if you're dating someone with anxiety.
They are more than their anxiety
No one wants to be defined by just one attribute of their personality so if you want to be supportive of someone with anxiety, remind them that you appreciate the individual behind their anxiety.
It sounds like common sense, but when it comes to mental health issues, people tend to become blind-sighted. Remember they're still a normal human being with all the complexities everyone else has.
They are well aware their anxiety is often irrational
While we know most of the things we worry about are completely irrational, it doesn't stop the thoughts from racing. It doesn't stop us from thinking about all the possible worst case scenarios. One of the worst things about living with anxiety is how aware we are of the irrationality of our thoughts, but being unable to let go of our worries anyway. So please don't point out that our anxieties are irrational - we know. We need compassion, understanding and support.
Doing normal things like shopping for groceries or getting a haircut don't come easily to people with anxiety. Its normal for us to suddenly be overcome with self-consciousness while out in public and spend the whole time worrying that people are looking at us and judging us. Living with anxiety can be relentless and debilitating and the last thing we need is for you to tell us to just "get over it".
They can get tired and overwhelmed easily
Anxiety is exhausting. Anxiety causes people to live in hyper-tense states - we're always on alert, our minds are rarely settled and our body is often in fight or flight mode. And with that hypertension comes fatigue.
Change is difficult
Everyone has a comfort zone and when you live with anxiety, pushing outside of that is challenging, to say the least. This isn't to say we dislike change or getting outside of our comfort zones - we just find it more difficult to bring ourselves to do so.
The one relief we get from our anxiety is when we're allowed to be in our place of comfort with nothing major changing. When we're faced with big changes, it takes us a lot longer to settle down and establish our comfort zone again.
Anxious people aren't negative
It might seem like we're always pessimistic or a Debbie downer because we're always thinking about the worst outcome of a situation, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're negative people. We don't mean to focus on the bad, it's just part of our anxiety.
They appreciate you sticking by them
Anxiety is hard on everyone involved, including the people who support us. We understand that and we're definitely not oblivious as to what it takes to support us sometimes. If there's one thing you'll find in common across the board for people with anxiety is that they over think - they over think a lot. And part of this over thinking comes back to people who have supported us. Your support never goes unmissed, no matter how subtle you may think it's been.
Emma is just your average book loving, tea drinking, story writing, narcissistic millennial on an eternal quest for the perfect t-shirt. Ever since she picked up her first copy of Dolly when she was twelve, she always knew she wanted to work in magazines. She would describe herself as a bit of a hopeless romantic with an obsession for true crime and horror and a love for red wine, whiskey or a stiff gin and tonic. When she's not binge watching Netflix or buying things she can't afford online, she spends her weekends trawling through bookstores and eating her way through Brisbane.