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“I’ve spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won’t leave, and fearing that it’s a matter of time before they figure me out and go.”~ Shauna Niequist
It’s that time again – the holiday season! You’re surrounded by love, laughter, and really good moods. And, although being supportive of your partner is paramount throughout the year, it can be especially important during holidays, special occasions, and nerve-wracking family gatherings. These events may be a source of happiness, joy, and excitement for some, but for others, it can spark a whole new wave of anxiety.
Where does it come from?
Where does this anxiety come from? Well, a number of things (both during holidays and in everyday life) can trigger anxiety or make you feel “anxious.” Maybe you recently moved to a new state and are desperately missing your loved ones. Maybe your relationship is going through a rough patch, or perhaps, you don’t feel you are where you should be in your life.
What should you do when anxiety (holiday-related or not) starts to creep up on you? Talk to your significant other. Anxiety has a way of making you feel alone and scared, but, the truth is you’re not really alone – you have a partner who loves you and would want to help if he or she knew what you were grappling with. But, you keep your crippling fears, worries, and concerns to yourself.
Talking to your significant other
If a partner has a good idea of what you’re experiencing, he or she will be in a better position to help you cope and conquer your anxiety.
How can you tell your significant other that you’re grappling with unrelenting anxiety? Will he or she understand or flee from you in a hurry? The mere thought of sharing this info with your partner scares you even more.
Conveying to a significant other how it feels to be constantly “anxious,” worried, nervous, concerned, and apprehensive (to the point where it makes you physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually ill) can be hard – really hard.
Well, worry no more, because this article will walk you through some pointers on how to talk to your significant other about your anxiety.
Read the longer version
You can learn more about talking to your significant other about your anxiety by reading the following articles: Is Your Significant Other Dealing with Anxiety? Here’s How You Can Help by Entity Mag, To the Significant Other of Someone with Anxiety by The Odyssey Online, and How to Help a Partner with Anxiety, Because Your Support Means Everything by Bustle.
Write down what you want to say
If talking to your significant other about your anxiety makes you feel even more anxious, scared, and worried, write down what you want to say. Make an outline to help you remember what you want to talk about. It can be detailed or brief, it just depends on what you need to stay focused during your talk.
You can also write down your thoughts using a letter format. Don’t forget to document your symptoms, any triggers, how you cope with the anxiety, how these situations make you feel, and how he or she can help you during these stressful times. Be honest. Your significant other can’t help or support you if you keep things from him or her.
Being prepared for the conversation will take the edge off your anxiety so you’re able to articulate your message to your loved one in a confident and more assured way.
Share your anxiety symptoms with your partner
If your significant other does not suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder, it may be hard for him or her to fully understand the emotional, mental, sexual, social, psychological, and spiritual impact it has on your life.
Do yourself and your partner a favor and talk about it; share your anxiety symptoms with him or her. How can you show this to your significant other? By being as descriptive and detailed as possible.
More specifically, provide your loved one with actually times, locations, situations, experiences, etc. when the anxiety occurred. Also, provide actual or possible anxiety-driven scenarios, so he or she can see the effect it could have on you. An “aware” significant other can help you de-stress when your anxiety pops up.
Make a list of how your significant other can help you
You can ease your anxiety by making a list of ways your significant other can help you when you become “anxious.” One of the closest people to you is most likely your partner, so it just makes sense that you work together to deal with your anxiety issues or disorder.
Remember, your partner loves you, so he or she is naturally going to want to help you. So, make a list for him or her that offers suggestions on how to help you when anxiety creeps up on you.
Working together is a win-win situation for both you and your significant other – (1) it makes your partner feel valued and helpful, and (2) it provides you with support and solutions – things you need the most. A partner can also help you better manage your anxiety symptoms, so recovery is swifter and more effective.
“This ‘Help List’ should include ways your significant other can help you practice self-care, avoid triggers, and rely on helpful techniques, when anxiety threatens to take over your life.”
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
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