Living with an anxiety disorder is incredibly daunting, often overstimulating, and sometimes incapacitating. Living with a partner or spouse who has an anxiety disorder can also be very difficult. When someone you love struggles with elevated levels of stress and anxiety on a daily basis, it can often feel like you bear twice the burden of the average significant other.
Though life with an anxiety disorder can seem like cause for despair, don’t lose hope. There are ways you can reduce stress and anxiety in your relationship and support your partner through their struggle.
Support in the Day to Day
There are many aspects of life affected by anxiety. What most people view as mundane and routine practices often feel overwhelming and even threatening to people suffering from an anxiety disorder. While they may seem small, the daily problems your spouse faces give you an opportunity to consistently show them love through support and help.
- Financial Planning – Finances cause stress in the minds of many people. To reduce your spouse’s stress, there will be times when you need to take charge of the financial responsibilities, like budgeting and paying bills.
- Social Interactions – Sometimes your partner will need to step away from social situations when they feel overstimulated or threatened. You can protect them by helping them remove themselves and bringing them to a more comfortable environment. There may also be events you attend alone so they don’t experience unnecessary overstimulation.
- Thought Patterns – Anxiety often makes it hard for a person to believe they are loved and valued, even if it is true. Your spouse likely needs verbal affirmation, displays of affection, and reminders of your love far more than you require from them.
- Rest – Many who suffer from any mental illness reach exhaustion more quickly than the average person would and require extra time to rest. Scheduling time to rest and recuperate together will allow you both to avoid a build up of stress, them from their anxiety, and you from giving them care regularly on top of other responsibilities.
- Successes – When your partner succeeds in accomplishing a task, enduring a difficult situation, or fighting an unhealthy thought, encourage and praise them. In helping them focus on what they do well, their confidence in their ability to overcome stress and anxiety grows.
While these examples are helpful for many couples, every situation is unique. Every individual has different needs and requires different priorities. In caring for your spouse, it is critical that you communicate with them and try to understand what they experience and need.
Support in Seeking Professional Treatment
As important as day to day support, love, and care are for your spouse, they may need professional treatment through therapy or medication. It is common for people to fear professional treatment because of social stigma or an idea that professional help is for those who have lost all hope. As their partner, you have a unique position of influence. Your encouragement can help them feel confident that help from a professional is an avenue towards building a stable, happy, and fulfilled life.
High Focus Centers offers programs for outpatient care which vary based on individual need. With multiple treatment centers across New Jersey, High Focus Centers has resources to guide you and your partner through the struggle of an anxiety disorder and reduce the stress and anxiety in your relationship.