This is a topic I have spoken about before, but a topic that gained traction amongst my readers and one I feel so strongly about reinforcing on a regular basis. As I have said before, succeeding your relationship whilst managing any kind of mental health issue is one of life’s most difficult tasks. Relationships, like mirrors, reflect the best and the worst of all of us. They can ignite or extinguish our struggles and when they’re right, they can feel like absolute magic. That said, even when they’re completely perfect, anxiety can steal that magic and sever the connection between two people who belong together. All relationships require trust, patience and vulnerability and people with anxiety often have these x 1,000,000. They will give each generously to the relationship, the problem being that anxiety can sometimes just as quickly steal or destroy them altogether.
Anxiety and depression is tough, not just for the person who suffers with it, but for the people who love them – Today, I want to share some of the things we must all keep so close to mind:
They really do love you
When someone suffers with anxiety or depression, it can cause fear or worry that makes them less aware of their surroundings, this unfortunately can include you, the loved ones. It makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep, emotional level, even the people they love the most. All you have to know is just how important you are to them. If you can stick around through the midst of their hard times, you’re a keeper and deep down they will know this. Sometimes they worry that they cannot consciously show this. Speaking from experience, when Scott has been there for me through my struggles, it has only ended up bringing us closer in the long run. Being there for someone during their struggles will only strengthen and solidify your connection with that person and the relationship as a whole.
Just being there is a help to them
That brings me to my next point… when somebody with depression or anxiety is having a bad day, it will seem as though they feel that their world is falling apart. Just know that although they are feeling completely awful, they will get through it and the emotion will pass with the right support. Identifying when your partner is struggling and having the ability to remove them from that situation is key. It’s equally important that you identify when they are happy, comfortable and enjoying their surroundings and that you encourage that quietly and to the best of your ability. You don’t have to be seen to be trying to fix or change anything for them, just look to be the one who can identify and support through the good and the bad – This helps more than you can imagine. We all appreciate it when someone is there for us, a little ‘are you okay?’ is often enough.
Fight together, not each other
Loving someone who suffers can be exhausting and most of all, lonely. Getting frustrated at times is completely normal and your loved one will surely understand that. To make sure this battle does not get in the way of your relationship, you need to remember that you’re not fighting against each other, you are together fighting anxiety/depression. Try and make sure that you still see the person you know, because they’re in there.
Make sure they know you love every version of them
For me, I know sometimes when I am down and I don’t have the words to explain how I am feeling, I feel like a burden on Scott, I’m so conscious of destroying his mood on my bad days. I think this is consistant for anyone who suffers with anxiety or depression and they will say it a lot. Let them know that you love that version of them too. Even if they don’t want to talk, let them know you are right there with them. Scott has always enforced that he loves every side to me and my battles only make him love me more as he sees my most vulnerable side. Remind your loved one that you love this part of them too.
Don’t give advice, just listen
I know you want to help because you love that person and you want to try and give the best advice about staying positive. The reality is, you don’t know what anxiety or depression feels like and how bad it can be. As much as you want to rationalise and make sense of your loved ones thoughts and worries, instead it sometimes is better just to listen and support, however it is they feel they need in that moment.
Accept negative chats, but not TOO much
It’s important to let someone talk about how they are feeling and what they are going through, this is all part of their healing process. However, if it carries on too much, it’s not good for anyone, especially them! Letting them talk too much can make it harder for them to recover, it reinforces the negativity and if you say something enough you will eventually begin to believe it. Talk about it with them for a little while, but after a while try to move the conversation in a different, more positive direction and carry on reinforcing all the good things in life.
Anxiety and depression doesn’t just affect that one person, it intrudes into the lives of those who love them. It can at times be exhausting for all those involved. It will be a long, difficult road full of battles, large and small. It is going to be hard at times but if you do it together, you’re twice as strong and you will eventually succeed. The toughest people are worth fighting for and people who suffer with any kind of mental health issue are the strongest people I know. You won’t always know what to do or the right things to say but that is ok and they do not expect you to understand. Be the one who refuses to let anxiety and depression suck the life of out everything you have together. Remember that they are forever grateful for everything you do for them and how much you stick by them.