Oh hey there gorgeous one.
By the time you read this I will have celebrated my 7 year wedding anniversary.
It’s been a time of some amazing (and challenging) adventures (like travelling to Italy and walking inside the Florence Duomo even though I have a fear of heights).
It’s also had some low moments. The time my husband and I battled infertility and felt like we were on a roller coaster of emotions. The highs where we thought I might be pregnant and then the fast descent where you start to plummet to the bottom of the ride where seeing pregnant people was enough to make me cry and statements like ‘just relax’ were enough to make me claw peoples’ eyes out.
I even remember coming home from school one day (I teach high schoolers as well) and just plonking myself on the couch and just staring.
I remember feeling numb.
I felt flat as a crepe. Except it didn’t feel sweet.
Walking into the gynaecologist’s office and admitting I was feeling depressed was supposed to be a freeing one. Instead I was met with a phrase ‘Don’t worry. Girls like you always find it easy to fall pregnant.’
With snot dripping out of my nose and no offers of tissues, a script for a fertility medication to help me ovulate was given. No compassion. No listening ear.
I remember walking out of that office and saying to myself ‘I’m going to focus on my own wellness.’
I booked myself into a naturopath and 28 days later I had my first proper period ever! And a year and a half after that with a lot of soul work I fell pregnant.
Living with a person with anxiety must not be fun some days.
It can require a lot of compassion.
Here are my go to tips for ‘Living with a person who has anxiety.’
Wine I meant…
In all seriousness plan some fun in your week. What do they like to do? How could you plan to incorporate that into your week? They shouldn’t have to ask you for it. How could you be more mindful and organise it? Just be conscious that they may not be of the ‘surprise’ type so be mindful yes, and have fun.
Know their love language.
If you haven’t come across this concept before it comes from a book called ‘The 5 love languages’ By Gary Chapman. It’s all about how we each have a unique love language and when you speak the right love language into that person’s life, it makes them feel loved. Mine is quality time. I love to spend time with my husband. If you look at my Instagram feed HERE you’ll notice a heck of a lot of coffees. It’s never about the coffee (ok maybe a little). It’s about sitting together over coffee and that makes me feel bliss. My husband on the other hands is a ‘Words of Affirmation’ person and thrives on being encouraged. Notice how when you do something for your partner and you’re like ‘they haven’t even noticed?’ Try speaking their love language and see if their response changes. You can read more about love languages HERE.
Give them space
A lot of people with anxiety tend to internalise what they are feeling. The million questions that pepper their mind daily is as exhausting as watching the women in the pentathalon at the Olympics try to use the pistol at the target after running a ridiculous amount of metres .
I hate running and I hate overthinking.
Sometimes you just need your space as an anxious person to process it all. You might need some quiet time when you get home from work, you might need some time alone at the gym in the morning or to even start a journaling practice to help you to process those million questions. If you live with a person with anxiety (or are one) make sure you communicate what giving you space looks like.
Their anxiety is not a reflection of you
They are not anxious because of you, it’s because they can interpret visual and audial communications in incorrect ways.
Sometimes you might say something in a particular tone and the anxious person take offence. It’s not necessarily that you even said it in a particular way, it’s that it triggered a particular, and already existing feeling in them. Give them space. And use your fighting fair words with them. ‘I feel (list emotion).’ Accusing them or getting angry at them only makes them melt down further.
If they are going to counselling don’t say ‘What’s wrong with you this time?’ Tell them ‘You rock! Go you. I’m thankful for your commitment to your well-being.’ Sometimes just listen and don’t provide any advice is another really awesome and often over looked way to help your anxious partner.
What we all want our partners to know:
Thank you for loving us in all our failings, our meltdowns and our fast talk. Thank you for comforting us when something feels bad or uncomfortable for us. Thank you for allowing us space to process our emotions. Sometimes we don’t need advice. We just want you to listen. And sometimes we just want to go away for a few days in Melbourne to just sleep.
Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary David. I love you.
If you’d like help communicating your anxiety needs with your family and friends get on a call with me: firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s make your 2017 amazing with strategies to help you dial down your anxiety and dial up the fun so that you can say ‘yes’ more to the things you want to in life.