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The Transition House, Inc.

How to be a partner to someone with a severe anxiety disorder

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Chances are someone you love suffers from anxiety. Whether that anxiety is crippling or minor, anxiety disorders can wreak havoc on the lives of those who are affected by them. Often times, that includes family members or loved ones. The best way to break the cycle of severe anxiety is be supportive of your loved one and listen to his/her needs. We’ve put together a few tips on being a partner to someone who is suffering from severe anxiety.

Don’t make it about yourself. Try phrases like, “I’m here for you,” or, “Let me know the best way I can support you.” Avoid phrases like, “You don’t think about how it hurts me,” or, "You're so selfish." It’s easy to get caught up in how you are affected by your loved one's anxiety, but taking a step back and remembering that anxiety is not a choice – it is a disorder – can do wonders for your relationship.

Forget everything you think you know about anxiety. It’s difficult to empathize with your loved one when you haven't experienced anxiety. Do your own research about the disorder. Most people don’t know that you can experience physical symptoms of anxiety, too. The more you understand, the more you will be able to sympathize with your loved one's symptoms.

Practice patience and don’t give up hope. It is possible to live a fulfilling life with a severe anxiety disorder. At times it can seem like your loved one's anxiety will never end or get better, but it's important to remain positive. If your loved one feels encouraged, he/she will be more likely to take positive steps in coping with the disorder. A positive attitude can go a long way.

Lastly, remember to be yourself. It’s not uncommon for individuals surrounding someone with a severe anxiety disorder to also develop anxiety. Be positive, have fun, and remember why you and your loved one got along in the first place. You can’t be a cure to someone with severe anxiety, but you can be supportive. Take time for yourself and reflect on how your loved one's severe anxiety affects you.

Are you eager for more information on anxiety? Be sure that you and your partner read our eBook on anxiety. It’s chock-full of helpful articles and tips and tricks that can help you understand anxiety disorders and communicate with your loved one in an effective way.

If you’re looking for counseling for anxiety in Orlando, learn more about our TTHI Counseling Center and our offerings here.

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