Loving a Woman with Anxiety

It has been one of those whirlwind months where I looked around and went, what happened to March? I love having plans and I had some fun one’s but damn do I forget how much I need down time.

This weekend was a throw on shorts and go outside to garden kind of weekend. I weed eated till my weed eater decided to stop working, weeded the flower beds, and planted some baby’s breath in the front beds, all while the animals sunbathed around me. It was honestly perfect. I also mapped out where I want the vegetable garden to go next weekend as well. I am looking forward to having some homegrown vegetables this year hopefully.

With being so busy lately I noticed that my anxiety was starting to rear its ugly head a little bit more than usual. I feel like anxiety is not something people talk about a lot. It is something we hide like we are ashamed of it. I understand. It can be embarrassing and hard to explain and completely frustrating. I am a rational and intelligent person whose body decides to freak out periodically over what feels like simple things. It sucks. Like really sucks. Some people think my higher levels of anxiety are linked to my PCOS but I tend to think it is more of a genetic thing.

I have been fighting bits of anxiety most of my life but I didn’t truly get diagnosed with it till about three years ago. I was stressed out constantly and I had made a lot of changes that were freaking me out. One night I woke up out of a dead sleep convinced I couldn’t breath. This started happening so often that I was barely getting three hours of sleep a night. My solution was to crawl into the bottom of the shower each time and sing to myself because if I could sing I could breath. What didn’t help was the person I was with would act horribly during my anxious moments. He would get irritated at me or snap at me or be impatient with me or even do certain behaviors he knew would encourage the anxiety. He never wanted to help or talk to me about it or start working on ways we could ease it together. He lied to me constantly while doing things behind my back. Once you break the trust of someone with anxiety, you won’t earn it back easily.

Eventually, on my own, I found other ways to cope with my anxious moments, knitting, painting, going for a walk, cleaning the house, turning some music on, dancing, laughing and writing. I have worked hard over the last three years to overcome my anxiety and find a way to live as comfortably as possible with it. When I started getting healthier, I started realizing that my environment plays such a huge role in my anxiety and that being in a chaotic toxic relationship was basically taking over my life. That is no way to live.

Eventually I made even bigger changes in order to better fight my anxiety because in order to live with anxiety sometimes you have to do what is best for yourself. I started trying to understand my anxiety. I left my toxic relationship. I surrounded myself with positive people who truly loved me and wanted what was best for me. I just worked hard each day to make the choices that encouraged me to be healthy.

So one of my biggest concerns with being in a new relationship when R and I started to get serious was how he was going to handle my anxiety and how much should I share with him? These are hard questions to answer in a new relationship. They might not understand the mood switches or snapping spells or why certain situations make me nervous or even the moments when I am curled up in the bottom of the shower singing songs to myself. I didn’t know if he would understand my past relationship and how hard it was on me or if he would just think I was crazy. I mean, not only did I have to explain my PCOS to him but now I would need to explain my anxiety too. Not to mention, I worked so hard to find my balance after I left my last relationship I was petrified of anyone knocking me off balance again.

I lucked out though. I got a really good guy who instantly got it and was more than willing to talk to me about it in detail. He is my rock on the really bad days. He will sit on the bathroom floor and hold my hand while I sing to myself, patiently waiting for me to be ready to talk.  He understands what I am doing when I grab my set of paints and start painting one of my projects, he just grabs one of his models and starts working on that right next to me. He talks to me. He holds me. He takes my hand when a new situation is freaking me out. He keeps his word. He is honest. He helps finds solutions to stressful situations. It truly makes a difference to have someone healthy on your side.

So last week I was sitting in the shower thinking about how much my life has changed in this past year and how much happier I am. Which led me to think about my anxiety/panic attacks and I started listing off the things that will need to happen when you love a girl who has anxiety (or person with anxiety in general). Here is what I came up with…

When you love a girl with anxiety you will…

  • Have to be patient and kind
  • Be the rational one at times
  • Ignore the fact that she is singing show tunes to herself in the shower and just hang out with her
  • Hold her hand when it gets to be too much
  • Understand that she trusts you not to put her in a bad situation and if you lose that trust you won’t get it back in the near future
  • Love her even when you think she is crazy
  • Try to understand her anxieties and help her face them each day
  • Repeat yourself several times when she asks about doors being locked and the details of a situation
  • Ask the right questions when you are making plans and understand she will have a ton of questions as well
  • Talk situations out endlessly so she feels more comfortable walking into them
  • Keep your word
  • Be honest
  • At times protect her

So what do you think should be added to my list?

If you have anxiety, you are not alone. There are a lot of us out here and we can manage each day with normal lives. I work, I run my home, I have a healthy relationship, I face things each day I don’t want to, I laugh a lot, I enjoy life for the most part. I have a great team of people standing behind me and that is my biggest weapon. Between my family and R, I have a lot of love and support.

So tell me, what is your biggest weapon against anxiety????

 

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