How to be a partner to someone with anxiety

Anxiety is something that can be unbelievably hard to deal with, yet millions of Americans suffer with this disorder each and every day. Those people that have never suffered from anxiety may not be able to fully understand what it is like to have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is actually a response of fear in the human body, often times coming from something that is irrational. Ironically, one of the things that kept human beings surviving since the beginning of time is anxiety. Normal anxiety is something that the brain uses to alert a threat of some kind, which in turn causes people to react in a fearful way. For example, a caveman may have experienced anxiety when entering areas where that are roaming predators. This would have been an appropriate response, based on the fact that the anxiety the caveman was experiencing was based on a real threat.
Anxiety in today’s world is something that is incredibly complex. Anxiety disorders have increased dramatically over the last decade, with a huge amount of prescription drugs being handed out to those suffering. Anxiety is a peculiar thing to approach, as the person that is experiencing the anxiety typically feels like they are locked in chains. There are certain things that may make a person feel anxiety in their day to day routines. A person may feel social anxiety when forced into situations that make them uncomfortable. Certain things that a person without anxiety may consider bland and mundane may be incredibly hard for someone suffering with anxiety. Making small talk with a stranger, standing in an elevator, and meeting new people are all things that may give a person anxiety. An individual may be fearful of certain things, such as getting into an auto crash, or they may be under the impression that something bad is about to happen to them at any moment. The list goes on and on. Anxiety is extremely specific to the individual.
It can be extremely difficult to try to help a partner that is dealing with anxiety. One of the biggest things that should be considered, if you do have a partner that deals with anxiety, is simply being open and understanding to the things that cause them anxiety. The reality is, anxiety is something that has to be overcome by the person experiencing the anxiety. No single person can eliminate another person’s anxiety, which is why it is so important to be understanding. Letting your partner know that it is okay that something causes them anxiety may in fact lessen the extent of their anxiousness. Another major thing you may want to consider when in this situation, is simply helping provide a means out of certain situations.
Anyone that has dealt with anxiety, who has been forced to endure a situation that makes them anxious, especially if it is caused by another person’s misunderstanding of their condition, knows how excruciating it can be. Panic attacks can be so severe that a person literally feels like they are about to die. Because of this, it is incredibly beneficial to sit down and really think about what the actually triggers of your partner are. You and your significant other can identify situations where there may be increased anxiety and create a strategy to deal with the anxiety if it does come up. The great thing about setting up a plan like this, is the fact that this act actually decreases anxiety. The person suffering with the anxiety will know that they have a game plan if a situation turns into a lot of anxiety, which may be just what they need to not experience anxiety in the first place. On the other hand, if they do start to get very anxious, you will have already worked out a plan to deal with the situation.
Communication and planning are massive, but making these types of situations better really starts with understanding. Anxiety typically arises when a person feels backed into a corner. This is why it is such a good idea to know ahead of time what the protocol is going to be during any given situation, such as a panic attack. The perception of fear is going to be automatically reduced in most cases by doing this, as there is an escape route. It may take some practice, but one of the best things that a person with anxiety can do is slowly do the things that are causing them anxiety.
Based on the fact that anxiety is a fearful response to something, where a person feels like they are in danger, experiencing the activity and realizing that a person is okay is huge. Anxiety is absolutely something that can be overcome, but it is something that should be taken very slowly. You can think of this as dipping your feet in a pool and slowly getting in, rather than making the jump. However, if you do decide to try to eliminate the anxiety altogether, having a clear channel of communication and being understanding is key. Working with a doctor that is experienced in exposure therapy is another great way to make things easier along the way to a life without anxiety.