Dating anyone is a challenge. Relationships aren't easy and take a lot of work -- we all know this. But there is a special kind of challenge involved when it comes to dating someone with anxiety.
When an anxiety spell is coming on, there is no reason to siphon; there is no way to calm down until you just do calm down. It's something that can't be controlled and it can be very overwhelming for both parties.
As someone who has been dealing with an anxiety disorder for most of my life, I can understand the baggage that my boyfriends are taking on as a result.
I've come to terms with what I have on my plate, but I never stop to take a moment to appreciate and comprehend the struggles involved with making a relationship work from the other person's perspective.
All that you can do is muster up every last drop of empathy you can and accept the person you love for the way he or she is because, regardless of his or her challenges with anxiety, he or she's still really great.
Here are 20 very real struggles of dating someone with anxiety:
1. A to-do list is never optional.
And nothing on the list can go undone. If you want to have a rewarding partnership with someone who is dealing with regular anxiety, it's important to understand that this person's day-to-day life comes with a set list of tasks that need to be completed.
Freaking out that you aren't getting enough attention, or that your partner is taking his or her responsibilities too seriously will only frustrate the both of you and lead to resentment.
The only way there will be peace is if your partner has completed everything he or she needs to do.
2. You need to learn to read a room like a pro.
It's essential that you know when your partner's freaking out and needs to be left alone and when he or she needs to be held and comforted.
These moods will vary and the only way to ensure you two are happy is knowing when you're needed and when you aren't.
3. You never judge when it comes to self-medication.
Anxiety comes with a host of anti-anxiety medication. You're not the one inside of your partner's head so you can't dictate how much or how little medication he or she needs.
Sure, your partner won't always get the amount right, but it's not for you to judge, only to be supportive.
4. Everything is the end of the world.
Even the smallest of things can stress people with anxiety out and override their nerves. Whether it's picking up their dry cleaning, finishing a project for work or making a call to their doctor, just the thought of having to deal with it makes their hearts race.
While you might be tempted to give the world's biggest eye-roll, you refrain.
5. You will always have a drinking buddy, but hangovers are 10x worse.
But you dread the next day because it's never a good one for anxiety. Alcohol provokes the symptoms of anxiety.
While your partner might feel better during said night out, the next day is sure to be a trip for his or her nerves. Herbal tea and long walks can be lifesavers on these hectic days.
6. There is no such thing as relaxing.
Relaxing feels like a waste of time. Being lazy wastes valuable hours that could be devoted to creating or working.
7. This person can be really manic and overwhelming.
Living with people with anxiety isn't easy. Sometimes when they're feeling especially anxious, they can be exhausting, talk extremely fast and have scattered thoughts. It's best if you just try and listen as best you can to remain calm until this bout passes.
8. If he or she's in the middle of something, you know not to speak.
When mid-task, people with anxiety are not to be interrupted. Their train of thought is set on something and it needs to be finished before they can pay attention to you.
9. You're used to waking up before your alarm.
People with anxiety rarely can calm themselves down enough to sleep through the night. Knowing that they have to be up at a certain time will already have them on edge.
They can anticipate the blaring sound of your cell phone and their body will wake them up before it does. You know that when they begin to become restless in the morning, that your alarm is going to go off very soon.
10. You can't act like you pity him or her.
People with anxiety never want to feel like they're being pitied. It's already easy for them to feel like there's something wrong with them, like they have a flaw in the very foundation of their character that they can't change. It's important to treat them as normally as possible.
11. There's no talking this person out of a freak-out.
There isn't rhyme or reason involved in an anxiety disorder. When a panic attack comes on, no amount of saying, “Everything is okay” or “Calm down” is going to make it stop.
Accusing this person of being dramatic or irrational will only make things worse.
12. You have to be available 24/7.
If this person needs you, you know you need to be there. Even if it's just a text back, this person needs to know you're around to talk him or her down.
13. You need to learn to embrace it.
Don't hate or perpetuate! The only way to have a successful relationship with a person who struggles with anxiety is to try to love him or her regardless of his or her condition.
In fact, you'll have to learn to love him or her because of it. If you can embrace this part of his or her personality as a quirk, you'll be better off.
14. You have to ride it out because there's no cure.
When anxiety sets in, the only thing to do is wait for this person's heart rates to come down and to be at ease. There is no cure for anxiety, so there is no way to make it stop without medication. You have to remember that this state is temporary.
15. You want to give advice, but you have to just listen.
As much as you want to rationalize this person's fears and thoughts, nothing you say will make him or her feel any better.
You want to coach and help because you love him or her, but you don't know what anxiety feels like, how crippling it can be. So, instead you just listen and try to be sensitive.
16. It's not intentional, so you can't even get mad.
You need patience you don't have. He or she is the crazy to your logic. It's important to try to be as empathetic as possible because this person can't help that his or her brain is spinning out of control.
17. You can't talk down to this person.
You will be sorry. Belittling people who are already inundated by feelings of anxiousness will only result in anger.
They aren't acting this way to be childish or to get attention, they just have a condition and they need to deal with it so they can move on with their days.
18. You always have to make the plans.
People with anxiety do not want to make the plans. They are very indecisive and the smallest of choices, such as which restaurant, could put them off their appetite and even their entire upswing for the day.
You need to defuse the situation and just let them know (calmly) what it is the two of you are doing that evening.
19. Doing the smallest things will always be appreciated.
People with anxiety will adore even the tiniest of favors because they tend to become overwhelmed so easily.
When you know they're freaking out, even making them a cup of tea comes with the highest of thanks. It's one of the nicest things about them, they never take you for granted.
20. You know to steer clear of weed and cocaine.
These two substances are triggers and it won't take you long to realize that they should be off the table at all costs.
Weed makes them paranoid and coming down from cocaine leaves their serotonin and dopamine shot and vulnerable to an episode, which is nothing you want to deal with.