10 Things Anyone Who Loves A Woman With Anxiety Should Know
When a woman experiences a physical injury, her treatment and recovery can be understood by the injury’s physical characteristics over time and usually her needs can be easily identified and met. For example, if she has a broken leg she may not be able to move and must require assistance bathing, driving, cooking, etc. An x-ray and physical exams by a doctor can help track healing of the leg. When a woman is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, treatment and recovery can be more complicated. Anxiety is an “injury” that requires a strong commitment from a woman who is living with the disorder as well as from loved ones providing support. It is understood due to modern advances in the field of psychology. The following is a list intended for individuals who love a woman with anxiety.
1. She is not alone with her diagnosis.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association for Americans, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men. Millions of women are living with the condition annually.
2. She is no less a woman for having anxiety.
Women from various backgrounds who are diagnosed with this mental health disorder lead successful, productive lives. They have proven to be functioning mothers, daughters, wives, and professionals in our society.
3. Anxiety is best dealt with when understood.
Books, movies and support groups can help loved ones understand anxiety from a medical and social perspective. Utilizing resources can empower everyone.
4. She has personal limitations that must be respected.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety can present itself in several different ways. Her diagnosis will determine what her limits are. For example, if she has social anxiety, loved ones must acknowledge that she may not be comfortable attending all social gatherings. She should not be mocked or criticized if she cannot attend. During the summer months, if she’s been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), she may prefer to stay indoors most of the time. Researchers have discovered that high temperatures and changes in a woman’s brain chemistry during the summer months increase anxiety. Understand her triggers and respect her limits regardless of the type of anxiety she lives with.
5. Her symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions.
According to the NIMH, some of the symptoms of anxiety include irritability, sweating, sleep disturbances and difficulty concentrating. One must learn how to differentiate these symptoms from those associated with menstruation and other issues women experience.
6. You may lose sleep.
A woman with anxiety may spend many nights wide awake. A partner sharing the same bed can find this challenging particularly if they work the next day. Communicate and make adjustments in the bedroom when necessary.
7. The couple that can relax together tends to stay together.
According to medical experts, exercise and massage can alleviate anxiety. Loved ones can help rid their relationship of stress due to anxiety by exercising and getting a couples’ massage. A woman with anxiety will appreciate efforts to help keep her calm.
8. Tough love doesn’t work.
Avoid putting pressure on your loved one to change quickly. Avoid acting like her therapist. She does not need negative comments made about her condition; nor does she need advice. She needs someone who is patient, forgiving, and flexible; she needs to always feel loved.
9. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
A woman with anxiety needs to feel secure but if she is constantly making requests to do this and if the requests begin to affect your relationship, according to the Anxiety and Depression Organization of America, boundaries must be set. Catering to each and every request in order to ease her anxiety can actually have the reverse effect; it can increase.
10. The relationship will get better with time.
Loving a woman with anxiety can be challenging. With the above recommendations, one’s experience can be a healthy one and the love between both partners can become stronger.
The woman you love can heal from her “injury” just as if she had a broken leg. She may experience a lot of pain along the way. With acceptance of the disorder and with focus on recovery, much can be gained.