The Struggle With Anxiety

Relationships are hard, and they can become even harder when trying to navigate anxiety. If you’ve experienced an anxiety attack, remember, you’re not alone. You’ve come through each anxiety attack victorious no matter how long it took. However, you might feel as though your significant other does not understand the depth of your anxiety and find yourself struggling to explain to them how you’re feeling, especially during an anxiety or panic attack, when it’s difficult to put those feelings into words. I hoped that by writing this post, I could give you an inside look into my life and perhaps help someone who is struggling to share with their loved ones what they wish they could say, but just couldn’t.

When I have anxious thoughts and tell you about them, please don’t act like it’s annoying to you or roll your eyes. Please don’t act like “oh great, here we go again”. To me, my anxiety is all too real and I don’t need someone just brushing me off and telling me it’ll just go away. I don’t need someone telling me “to just stop worrying!”
Don’t you realize that if it were that simple, I wouldn’t even have the anxiety in the first place? I do my best to control my inner thoughts so that they don’t send me into an anxiety attack. But the fears that I have are real, so please don’t take away from that or make me feel like an inconvenience by brushing my feelings and fears off and telling me that, “everything will be better tomorrow” or that “you need to calm down”, or that “you need to relax.”

You say those phrases with the best of intentions, but really, they only make me shut down and feel stupid for having anxiety. Those comments make me withdraw from you, pushing me further and preventing me from wanting to tell you when or if I’m having a rough day. Those “innocent” words lead me to overthinking things and worrying that you’ll just blow me off the next time I am struggling to face my anxiety. Instead of feeling supported and like I can turn to you, I find myself questioning what’s the point in even saying anything because you will just think I’m overreacting. You may not understand it and perhaps it doesn’t seem like such a big deal but to me, it is something that impacts my life every day, more than anyone could ever possibly understand.

People who don’t have anxiety will never truly know what it feels like. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to worry and be anxious over the tiniest details in life. I wish for a second, you’d know what it feels like to feel the sudden loss of control, as the panic creeps in and for no reason at all, my world stops turning as I try desperately to gather my thoughts and remind myself of the things that ground me, all while trying hard not to be an inconvenience to you and your day! If only I could share a real glimpse into what it’s like, maybe then you’d understand.

I need you to just be there for me. I don’t expect you to have the right words or to tell me that things are going to be ok, because in my mind, at that moment, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Saying that things are going to be ok only makes it worse for me because it makes me feel like I’m crazy for having anxiety in the first place. You don’t have to say anything to make me feel better – you don’t need to try to fix me, the situation or how I am feeling. Just hug me and be there for me. I need you to understand that this is my mind that I am struggling with. It might sound crazy to you, and perhaps sometimes the symptoms of anxiety might even look irrational to you, but for me, they are all too real.

I need you to understand my triggers. Sometimes, my anxiety looks a lot like me being reserved because I don’t feel like talking and don’t have any interest in doing the things that I usually enjoy. Other times, my anxiety looks a lot like me looking and acting nervous, so when I say I have an upset stomach, understand that I could be in the middle of an anxiety attack. If I say I’m tired, then let me close my eyes for a bit. If I don’t want to be cuddled don’t get defensive about it and don’t get mad at me. If I say I need to be left alone, be fair and let me be alone for a bit. Sometimes I just need space and it’s important to understand that the way I feel is not something I make up to attract attention or gain sympathy from anyone.

Yes, there have been many great days of feeling free from my anxiety. For that, I give God all the glory and praise because He is with me every step of the way. I know He hears my silent cries and knows my anxiety even better than I do. He is helping me through it day by day. Some days are difficult but thanks to Him there are fewer and fewer days of stress and more days of motivation and peace. I’m grateful for both His help and your help during my anxiety.

Understand that some days it’s a fight for me to feel ok, while on other days I feel completely calm. Sometimes my mind overpowers my reality. No matter how many times you might tell me that things will be ok, my mind makes me believe otherwise.

This might come across as harsh, but sometimes, I just really want you to understand my anxiety.

To the significant others of all the ones who suffer from anxiety, thank you for your unwavering devotional, loyalty and support. Thank you for never fully leaving our side. Thank you for trying your best to understand where we are coming from. To those struggling with anxiety- never ever give up the fight. You will be victorious.

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