Recognize Depression Isnt Everything
When youre dating someone with depression, remember the illness doesnt define them. Your partner will have many feelings and thoughts that are unrelated to their depression. As a result, they may feel discontented with the relationship. Dont attribute everything they say to their depression. For example, if your partner says theyre feeling ignored, dont immediately jump to the conclusion its just the depression talking.
The thing about depression and relationships is youll have to learn to separate mood changes related to depression from legitimate grievances. The best way to do this is to have frank, honest conversations with your partner and forge an emotional connection with them.
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Anxiety Is The Opposite Of Acceptance
A healthy form of worry will tell you something isnt right it comes via that quick pull at your heart or that tight feeling in your stomach. This signal helps you act, such as when you speak up for someone who is being treated poorly.
Unhealthy levels of anxiety make you feel as though an emotional rock is in your stomach almost all the time. Anxiety causes you to reject things that are not dangerous and avoid things that might benefit you. It also can stop you from taking healthy action to change things in your life that are hurting you because it makes you feel hopeless or stuck.
so practice being uncomfortable. You dont need to either ignore or obsess over an uncomfortable thought. Take constructive action if you can. Sometimes your partner just needs you to be present with his or her feelings, and sometimes you need to offer that same gift to yourself. You can show your presence to your partner with soft eyes or a soft touch, and be present for yourself with a calming breath.
Learning How To Better Communicate About The Anxiety
Anxiety can be scary. It can make you want to avoid talking about it.
Nonetheless, one of the most effective ways to cope with anxiety in a relationship is to talk about it openly, honestly and directly with your partner.
Having candid talks together on what they are feeling and validating those feelings is paramount, said therapist Daryl Cioffi.
To show your partner you accept their anxiety, you need to encourage them to open up about it. Try to listen without judging, becoming defensive or taking their anxiety personally. Provide reassurance and have empathy towards the situation.
If you start to observe that your partner seems more anxious you should address this with them. This might allow them to share with you why they feel anxious. said Bisma Anwar, LMHC
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Anxiety Causes You To Behave Selfishly
Because anxiety is an overactive fear response, someone experiencing it may at times focus too much on his or her own concerns or problems.
Your worries and fears may be putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship. You may feel like you need to worry in order to protect yourself in your relationship, but it might be keeping you from being compassionate and vulnerable with your partner.
If your partner experiences anxiety, you may build up resentment and react in selfish ways as well. The attitudes and perspectives that we have are contagious. Keeping your stress levels under control is especially hard when your partner is feeling anxious, upset, or defensive.
so attendto your needs, not your fears. When you notice yourself becoming fearful or defensive, take a moment to consider the compassion that you have for yourself and your partner. Clearly ask for the support you need to feel loved and understood. Apologize for letting anxiety make you self-absorbed.
Youre Putting In More Effort To The Relationship Than Your Partner Is
If you feel like youre the only one in the relationship putting in effort all the time, this can create a feeling of elevated anxiety.
Are youre the one whos always setting up plans, making attempts to compromise, or putting out extra effort to listen to your partners needs? This pattern in actions and behaviors from your partner will have you feeling anxious and even potentially worried about your relationship.
If you feel like youre not able to connect to your partner in a way that meets your personal needs as well, its a sign that the relationship isnt a good fit for your anxiety. You shouldnt feel stressed out all the time in your relationship.
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About the Author:Dr. Donna Novak is a licensed clinical psychologist in Simi Valley, Ca. She is a part of Simi Psychological Group, offering child therapy, teen therapy, anxiety treatment,depression therapy, , and neuropsychological testing. Her website is .
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
Get The Help You And Your Partner Need
Panic attacks and overall high anxiety can feel overwhelming for all involved. Sometimes the best course of action is to get professional help. Therapy for anxiety and marriage counseling are ways to help you both ease anxiety and work together as a team to live a more present and happier life.
Seeing your partner go through a panic attack can feel overwhelming and confusing on how to be of support. Allowing yourself to just be there, speaking to him or her slowly in short sentences, breathing slowly and counting to 10, staying predictable, and getting help are all ways to help support your partner .
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Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
Notice The Good In Your Partner
When interacting with a partner with anxiety, its easy to only recognize the tough moments. The times of heightened anxiety, the tension, and conflict. To build and strengthen your relationship, try forming the habit of seeing and affirming the good in your partner. The first step in affirming is noticing. Catch them doing something well and then genuinely give an affirmation. This is a habit of caring and will help to change the dynamic in a relationship, but especially during times of heightened stress.3
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Dont Mistake Anxious Behavior As Directed Towards You
You meet your partner at a restaurant for dinner, and while you’re waiting for your table, they’re half-answering your questions about their day and typing frantically on their phone. When you’re finally seated at your table, rather than perking up, your partner seems distracted and quiet.
As easy as it is to rush to judgment about your partner’s “ignoring” you or get annoyed with them for not being fully present, try to take a step back and question whether anxiety is at play. These physical signs may be indicative of stressful events causing an emotional response to feel anxious and play out in your interaction.
Is it possible they were fielding a stressful email, and they’re nervous about performing well at work? Or maybe they received a text message from a family member that made them uneasy, and now they’re ruminating about its repercussions.
While its easy to personalize your partners behavior in such a situation, try instead to remind yourself that the intense anxiety probably isnt about you. Rather than get offended by their difficulty concentrating, overwhelming worry or panic symptoms, ask if there’s anything you can do to help. For some people, airing out the issue can even help alleviate the accompanying anxiety.
Dont Say: Have You Tried Meditation/yoga/cutting Caffeine/exercising More
Meditation and yoga and deep breathing and all of the other anti-anxiety trends that have taken pop culture by storm might be helpful for some people, maybe even your ultra-anxious friend. But they also might not.
Extreme anxiety can feel consuming, which means that small things like taking a few deep breaths might not be enough to counter panic in the moment. Anxiety can also make someone feel so restless that sitting quietly and letting their thoughts float away is pretty much impossible.
Everyone with anxiety has different relaxation techniques that work for them and some people need to do something active, like go for a run, instead of sitting and breathing calmly. Others may need to work with a therapist. Dont offer unsolicited advice unless youve been trained to treat people with anxiety disorders or you have one yourself and want to share your experience.
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How To Help Someone Breathe During A Panic Attack
When a person is experiencing a panic attack, it is important that they get their breathing under control. Someone trying to help should not give them a paper bag to inhale and exhale from, as this could make them pass out.
Instead, it is better not to bring attention to their breathing and to keep calm and breath normally so that they can mirror this pattern. This method should hopefully get their breathing back under control.
Helping someone who is having a panic attack can be very stressful, so it is important that a person is mindful of what actions could make a panic attack worse.
Actions that could make a panic attack worse include:
- Saying âcalm downâ: While getting a person to talk is vital, phrases such as âcalm down,â âdonât worry,â and âtry to relaxâ could make the symptoms worse.
- Becoming irritated: Remain patient to help a person deal with a panic attack and do not belittle their experience. The focus should be on them, for however long it takes the symptoms to pass.
- Making assumptions: Always ask a person what help they need, rather than assuming or guessing the correct advice.
While a panic attack can happen very suddenly, the person will often experience warning signs. These may include:
- shortness of breath
- feelings of terror or dread
- shaking and dizziness
Just Make Sure She Knows Youre There Because You Want To Be
I was in her shoes for quite a while. Depression takes its ups and downs, but it always helped when my S.O. would be there with me, and for me, without prompt or pressure to do anything. For months, I didnt want to leave the house, but he would make sure that I was comfortable and that I knew he loved me. Sometimes it was even hard to show affection toward him.
Acknowledge her problems and empathize with her.
Depression is like a constant battle in your headalways telling you that you arent good enough. I know that being the S.O. in this situation is hard and discouraging at times. I found a job that I enjoyed and that really helped me begin to see the light, although it was about two years before I could say I wasnt depressed. It took a ton of love and support from my S.O. as well as help from a doctor. Just make sure she knows youre there because YOU want to be. Little things that show that you care are helpful tooflowers, fave food, a movie night in, breakfast in bed, or even to just hold her hand.blahblah1327
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Why Does Separation Anxiety Disorder Occur
It is normal for young children to sometimes feel worried or upset when faced with routine separations from their parents or other important caregivers, and for older children and adolescents to experience mild anxiety when away from their families such as on school trips or when leaving home for the first time to attend college, university, or a job. Although less common, some adults also may have mild anxiety or fear when a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/parent goes away for a period of time such as on a vacation or business trip. This response is part of the fight-flight-freeze system designed to protect us from threat and danger, and in small doses is useful. However, we expect that as these situations unfold, continue, and repeat, that the individual gets used to these separations. As a result, s/he discovers there is no danger, and becomes less and less anxious and learns to cope successfully. Yet, for some adults their response to actual or anticipated separations becomes far more extreme than would be expected, and continues each and every time a separation happens. In essence, they fail to adapt and appear unable to cope. For these adults, it is possible that they may have separation anxiety disorder.
Anxiety Breaks Down Trust And Connection
Anxiety causes fear or worry that can make you less aware of your true needs in a given moment. It can also make you less attuned to the needs of your partner. If youre worried about what could be happening, its difficult to pay attention to what is happening. When you feel overwhelmed, your partner may feel as though you arent present.
so train your brain to live in the moment. If you notice a fear or concern that causes your thoughts to stray from the facts or the present moment, pause and think about what you know . Calm down before you act. You can make purposeful steps to build trust in your partner. Share openly when youre feeling worried, and consciously reach out to your partner when you might normally withdraw or attack in fear.
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Quick Tips For Helping Your Boyfriend With Anxiety
Here are a few ideas that may help
- Enlist the help of someone he respects and admires a brother, uncle, father, friend, pastor, ex-coworker, etc. Ask that man to invite your boyfriend for coffee.
- Get a volunteer job, and invite your boyfriend to join you .
- Take a class together yoga, ballroom dance, kayaking.
- Get a life and enjoy it! Dont dwell in his misery, anxiety, and panic. Detach from his depression, and free yourself. He may find the motivation he needs in your happiness and fulfillment.
What will motivate your boyfriend to get help with anxiety and panic attacks depends on his personality, lifestyle, perspective, and journey. There are no pat answers that help everyone. For instance, one guy might find that dog walking is exactly what he needs, while another might need a week-long camping trip with his buddies.
The trick is encouraging him to try different things until he finds what works. One of my favorite books ever is Kitchen Table Wisdom Stories That Heal. It contains stories about being knocked down by physical and emotional health problems, and offers amazing advice for healing and becoming stronger and healthier because of the illness.
If you have any tips or thoughts on helping a boyfriend or loved one overcome anxiety and panic attacks, please comment below.
Help Them To Help Themselves
Anxiety is very treatable, both with medication and talking therapies. Having someone along on the journey to help makes it easier. Your partner might find it difficult to go and see the GP or a therapist about how they are feeling, so it can be a help to offer to go along with them. It may be helpful to practice things like relaxation and mindfulness with them to help them normalise the experience, especially in the early practices. Ultimately the decision to seek help will be your partners, and some people choose to deal with their anxiety themselves. Whatever they decide, be supportive of your partners decision.
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How Anxiety Can Impact Your Relationship
If you are dating someone with anxiety, it is likely your loved one spends a lot of time worrying and ruminating on everything that could go wrong or already be wrong with the relationship. Here are some examples of negative thoughts and questions that might be running through their brain:
- What if they dont love me as much as I love them?
- What if theyre lying to me?
- What if theyre hiding something from me?
- What if theyre cheating on me?
- What if they want to cheat on me?
- What if they like someone else more?
- What if my anxiety ruins our relationship?
- What if we break up?
- What if they dont text me back?
- What if Im always the first one to reach out?
- What if they ghost on me?
Most people have at least a few of these negative thoughts. They are a normal part of being in a relationship, especially a new one.
People with an anxiety disorder, however, tend to have these anxious thoughts more frequently and more intensely.
We tend to experience more anxiety when we focus on negative thoughts rather than positive ones.
The anxious thoughts cause physiological symptoms, including shortness of breath, insomnia and an anxiety or panic attack. Someone with anxiety can react to relationship stress with a fight-or-flight response as if the stress were a physical attack.
Sometimes anxious thoughts motivate your partner to act in ways that stress you out and strain the relationship.