When Worry Wins

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? I’m definitely no expert in mental health, but I do have several people in my life with anxiety, and it directly affects me, so I wanted to write a little bit about how I handle it this morning.

Living with someone who suffers from anxiety can be an emotionally taxing experience, I know firsthand. It’s difficult to know how to help, especially if you don’t have anxiety yourself and don’t fully understand what they’re going through (me). And since anxiety can manifest itself in so many ways, from panic attacks to social anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder to endless worrying, it’s impossible to know when and how it will strike.

While it’s natural to want to try to help, it’s important to remember that you can’t fix your loved one’s anxiety. This is something that they will need to work on themselves, but your role is still an important one – doing what you can, and providing encouragement, support, and love.

One of the most helpful things you can do to be supportive is to educate yourself. I like to read books, articles, and even other blogs to expand my knowledge. As they say, knowledge is power, and having a better understanding of anxiety and what your loved one is going through can help you help them. By taking a few extra minutes to learn more about anxiety and its impact, you can become a more effective support system and even help your loved one manage their anxiety (which is huge). It’s a very worthwhile investment, if you ask me.

Another way to support your anxious loved one is to create a safe and comfortable home for them. People with anxiety need a safe place to land (this is a big one at our house). It can include simple things like keeping the house tidy and organized (and free from clutter), creating a quiet atmosphere without excess noise and disruption, and giving them some space to decompress after a long day.

Communication is also key. Getting things out in the open can be beneficial for everyone. Discuss feelings, thoughts, and fears, and be a good listener. If needed, you can validate your loved ones feelings and let them know you understand, and support them; and that you’re here for them.

But don’t forget, you need to take care of yourself too (this is crucial). Living with someone who suffers from anxiety can be emotionally and physically draining. It’s exhausting to be constantly thinking ahead while being concerned for someone you love. It’s not uncommon to experience feelings of stress, overwhelm, and even burnout, so make sure to practice self-care activities that are fun and help you detach, such as exercise (hey CrossFit) or your favorite hobby (also CrossFit, haha).

Living with an anxious person can be a tough and lonely road at times, but it’s also an opportunity to deepen your relationship and show your love and support (just one of the small things we can do for someone we love). By putting in a little thoughtful effort, you can create a positive and nurturing environment that supports both you and your loved one’s mental health and wellbeing. A total win.

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