Want to know how to deal with relationship anxiety?
Honestly, me too.
So I thought I’d write about it. I’m no expert but having a few years of therapy under my belt and a good theoretical understanding, I thought I’d build upon my knowledge of anxiety.
Let’s learn together!
I’m going to let you in on a secret… I may have been known, from time to time to be a little anxious.
So given my past and present vested interested in mental health and *especially* anxiety, I thought I’d do a little two part series on anxiety and relationships , how it can manifest and what you can do about it.
Anxiety is more than my ~brand~. It’s very real and affects my life every day and has done since I was a little kid. I’m glad to be able to reach others who let me know that you too do some “crazy shit” under the control of the anxious monkeys in your brain.
I know, you’d never be able to tell. Not by my url or annything like that, or my previous posts. Nothing gives it away, nada.
Lets get into the list.
Validation seeking and reassurance
How to deal with relationship anxiety is difficult for both parties. Both the anxious and non-anxious person will have their share of troubles. Anxiety can exhibit itself as repeating questions, asking for reassurance or validation seeking.
“That looks good”
“Are you sure? Are you sure it doesn’t look like I haven’t washed it and I smell and should I go home and change?” “Does everyone here think I look stupid?” “Do you think I look stupid?”
“No, it looks good”
“Are you sure”
As you can see, it’s tedious, it’s repetitive, and for those with anxiety, it can feel like they have no choice but to ask.
Well if I don’t keep asking for reassurance, how will I know that …?
^ A common thought I have had and have heard when in group therapy.
The simple answer?
Instead of bombarding your loved ones with the same question, trust that they are being honest with you.
FYI The Anxious Lass wrote an AMAZING post on supporting a loved one with social anxiety. Click the link above to read.
No fairytale ending?
Being this anxious for the majority of my life has meant that historically, I haven’t had the best track record with relationships. Due to a combination of self-defeating behaviours that are both on and off this list, I’d come to think of happy endings as a fairytale.
This reluctance to entertain the notion of anything other than darkness and panic in my life made the beginning of my relationship with my husband pretty turbulent.
I figured it didn’t matter how I acted! It’d end badly anyway, that’s just how things go..
An important point here if you notice yourself having the same self-defeating thoughts is realising you are living in the past. You are limiting your future based on your past. Be kind to yourself.
There’s a radio advertisement that airs occasionally in Australia for Beyond Blue. It is a layered audio of a males voice that (in my opinion) pretty accurately depicts what it’s like having the constant stream of anxious thoughts in your mind.
I hate that ad.
Something I realised though about it is how much stuff the guy manages to say in the space of about 30 seconds. Then I remembered what it’s like when my brain feels like it’s kicked into overdrive and I have an opportunity to talk it out.
The issue here is I tend to do this at 11pm, when I’m winding down to go to bed, and my anxious mind thinks it’s the perfect time to offload all of my worries onto my unsuspecting spouse.
If there’s one way of how to deal with relationship anxiety, it’s probably not to transfer it to your partner like it’s unused mobile data. Although that’s very generous, you sweet thing.
It’s all about me
I’m not about to shame anyone for having a mental illness. I will say, that loving someone with a mental illness can at times, be emotionally tiring. It can be difficult, knowing what to do, educating yourself or being educated on what to do and say. Possibly being medication savvy and mindful of any routines and appointments.
Having a mental illness is incredibly tiring. Physically, emotionally. In the height of anxiety and panic, just getting through the day is exhausting.
Mental illness can make us seem self-interested, which is incredibly hard on relationships. Partners can help by:
– holding a non-judgemental space
– being patient
-setting small goals
To go more in depth into how you can help anxiety see the below post.
This Anxious Mum