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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO


That anxious, sick, sinking feeling that you get every time you start to overthink something. Can drive you insane can't it? When you're living with anxiety, it can be so difficult to put into words how you're feeling, and you often end up isolated with the nobody understands this mantra. One thing I've come to realise recently is, no, nobody does understand it. We're all on a personal journey, my anxiety and how I handle it, is completely different to the girl next door. That doesn't make it any worse, easier, or less important. But recently, it got me thinking, what is it like to love someone with anxiety. What is it like for the other person to accommodate the anxiety disorder into the relationship, without the whole "three's a crowd" situation. I recently had a scenario that felt like someone was holding a mirror up to me, showing me how demanding anxiety can actually be. Here's some food for thought when loving someone with anxiety issues...

1. Tiredness is a killer. I've only recently learnt how much I complain about being tired, but it was certainly more than expected. But on one of my not so good days, that tiredness is taken to a whole new level. Extreme overthinking, emotional rollercoasters, and hyper-tense states can leave you physically exhausted. This then causes problems when trying to be "productive" because more often than not you don't have the energy or can't be bothered (*cough* Aoife for the past 3 weeks *cough*). Non-productivity makes you more worried and anxious as you slowly feel like you're drowning in responsibility and work that won't do itself, and so the cycle begins...

2. Feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic becomes all too natural. I've said it before, some days I wake up ready to release my inner Beyonce and conquer the world, other days getting on a tube freaks me the f*ck out; it doesn't mean I'm any less capable of handling day to day life, just means I'm slightly more overwhelmed. This makes commitment and being locked into a situation a little bit daunting. So please don't hate us if we need to take a step back and a deep breath for two seconds, reassurance that you support this goes a long way. 

3. Letting go is tough. Overthinking will probably be the death of me. Any time someone with anxiety over thinks a situation, it generally means there's a part of them feeling uneasy or at risk. This is often because there's a stimuli attached, perhaps a traumatic event, or an emotion related to a memory. Either way, when someone has anxiety, their brain chooses to make a link between that memory and their present situation. Hence the overthinking. So just forgetting things and letting go becomes very difficult, and no singing Frozen's "Let it go" to me, will NOT make it any easier. 

Despite how emotionally demanding and confusing it can be to love someone with anxiety, it is also invaluable. The tendency to try and push people away becomes the norm. Embarrassed by how we can act or how silly we feel. So knowing that someone is there, supporting you, and sees beyond that, is more than you could ever ask for. Whilst people don't always show their appreciation, it's important to know it's there and it exists - even when communication isn't at its strongest. Keeping in mind that that person isn't defined by their anxiety is key.
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