“Chronic anxiety is a state more undesirable than any other, and we will try almost any maneuver to eliminate it,” wrote Robert E. Neale in The Art of Dying. Anxiety is, indeed, a miserable affliction. However, it also lives in some of the most wonderful people in our world.
Anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with a high IQ, a sensitive soul, a creative nature, a drive for achievement, and the simple inclination to care too much.
It’s no wonder people often find themselves falling for the anxious.
So – what happens when you do?
Here are 16 things you should expect when your loved one has anxiety:
1. Expect firm boundaries.
Sometimes anxious people – and especially anxious introverts – simply need to be alone.
2. Expect to be appreciated for the little things.
We notice everything, and we are grateful for even the smallest of gestures.
3. Expect our bond to run deep and grow quickly.
Once you are in our inner circle, you are in for life.
4. Expect to be the one responsible for making plans.
Having too many choices can stress us out.
5. Expect to learn to listen, rather than give advice.
When we are anxious, we need to let it out. It’s therapeutic.
6. Expect to endure hundreds of new attempts at anxiety management techniques.
Essential oils, adult coloring books, acupuncture…we’ll try it all.
7. Expect to give reassurance more than you’d like to.
Tell us we’re safe. Tell us we’re loved. Tell us it’ll all be okay.
8. Expect reason to be powerless against anxiety.
This is true for even the most logical of anxious people.
9. Expect to learn some deep breathing exercises.
Walk your partner through them in times of trouble. These are amazingly effective.
10. Expect to communicate honestly.
Your partner will sense if you are holding back. This will add to their anxiety.
11. Expect some weird sleep patterns.
Anxiety often goes hand in hand with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
12. Expect lots of lists and itineraries.
Preparation helps to soothe us. Please don’t try to stray from the plan.
13. Expect to provide stability rather than drama.
We don’t like to do the on-and-off thing. We need a partner we can depend on. We thrive on this.
14. Expect to encounter problems that you can’t solve for us.
Learn to be okay with that.
15. Expect to encourage your partner to engage in self-care.
Explain that it’s not the same thing as being lazy or self-indulgent. Health is just as important as accomplishments.
16. Expect to make your own self-care a priority.
Your well-being is important, too.
“Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. You are crazy. You have that kind of intoxicating insanity that lets other people dream outside of the lines and become who they’re destined to be,” wrote Jennifer Elisabeth. Your partner’s anxiety may seem insane to you at times. However, this is only one part of their being. If the rest of them is worth it, learn to love your partner as a whole. Get lost in their madness. Learn to love one another completely, strengths, afflictions, and all.
BY ROBYN REISCH for IHeartIntelligence