do you have a friend or significant other struggling with anxiety/depression?

5 Things You Need To Know When Pursuing Any Relationship With A Person With Severe Anxiety And Depression

Have patience and be kind.

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I'm sure there's been a time in your life when you've come across someone you thought had a whole other side to them. In this case, you'd be right.

Anxiety and depression are no joke. Your writer herself has both and battles them on a daily basis.

It's as if I wake up and have a mental battle alongside my daily physical battles with people, things, events, and happenings.

While living with depression and anxiety is treatable, it still takes an immense amount of different traits and skills to be with someone who struggles with them.

This is what I'm here to share with you: 5 different things that a person needs to know in order to be with someone - as a friend or a lover - that has anxiety and depression.

1. A lot of understanding is appreciated.

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash

When we complain about stuff, of course, we want to be agreed with and understood on a personal level. But sometimes the stuff we're trying to tell you about makes us upset to the point where we don't want to go out, go to work, talk to anyone, send any text messages back or communicate in any way.

This is a common occurrence. When something is bothering us, we'll do one of 2 things: spill the entire story to you or none of it. All that we ask is that either way, you're complacent about it even if you disagree with something or want to give us advice.

2. We need a judgment-free zone.

Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

At all times, judgment is what makes us feel targeted or like we're outsiders. For some reason, I can't recall a time when I've gone out into public and not had someone randomly look me up and down. I think it's because I will commonly go out and be seen in sweats and a sweatshirt for my own comfort.

But this is something that people do anyway, so why are we being judged for it? I already didn't wanna go to the store or go out and get gas - but it's simple: I needed to. I just appreciate when I'm not silently judged when I already have a lot on my plate mentally. Please and thanks.

3. If you're my friend, you're stuck with me.

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

In case this wasn't clear, our friendships and relationships are so serious. If you're a part of our small circle of people that we care enough to put into our lives, then that means you're really a piece of work - and not in an offensive way.

If we want you to be in our lives, be able to talk to you all of the time even when we're not feeling well, or want to see you when we're upset, please take that and understand that we mean it.

Not just anyone is special enough for us to place almost all of our trust into, to vent to and to tell all of our problems too. You are one of a kind. Please don't leave.

4. Trying to get us to go out doesn't always work.

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I'm a good example of someone whose feelings aren't spared by going out. I'm a hermit and like to keep to myself indoors in the comfort of my apartment home, my cat, and my mounds of blankets.

Offering to go out and get food, ice cream, or coffee? That's a bit of a different story. I might be up for that because it doesn't involve me completely transforming myself into looking like a person who has their life together. I don't want to put all of my makeup on and get a cute outfit on to go out and party. It's not my forte. I cope in many different ways, but that's not one.

Everyone is different, but not all of us are cured with a night out.

5. We're all different types of people.

Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

By this, I mean that all people with anxiety and/or depression have different ways of coping, different ways of either masking or revealing their troubles, etc. Not all of us are going to completely spill our hearts out to you each time we have something on our mind. Some of us would rather not talk about it because we don't want to bother you with our problems.

If you ask us what's wrong and we say nothing, it either means: there really is nothing wrong, or there is, but we'd like to keep to ourselves for the time being.

Either way, please don't become offended. All people are different. Just because we're quiet about it now doesn't mean we'll never open up to you. We all deal with this stuff differently.

Hopefully, you have a little insight into our lives. We don't do the things we do to hurt you. If you're one of our closest things that we have, then we aren't going to let you go anywhere anytime soon. Please just value us in the makeup that we are and always have patience and be kind.

We're not normal humans, but we strive to be.

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Understanding What It's Like To Live With An Anxiety Disorder

Having no control over your own mind is scary.
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Anxiety disorders are no fun for anyone. Most people don't understand what it's like to be someone who suffers from one. They come without warning and without reason. As I am writing this, I am awake at an ungodly hour due to this stupid battle my mind is having with itself.

Let me help those of you who do not understand what this illness is like.

At random moments, I will get this building worry and fear that something isn't right. Everything could be just perfectly fine, but my mind will trick itself into believing that something is wrong.

It will convince itself that my life is falling apart. I will worry about one thing one minute and talk 90 to nothing then start to worry about another thing. My mind constantly switches back and forth and will convince itself that things are worse than what they really are.

All the while, I'm trying so hard to calm myself down... but it is impossible.

It will send me into a depression. A depression that causes me to hate myself for being so crazy and irrational at times. This depression is the worst part. It causes me to want to space myself from the world and everyone around me. It causes me to feel alone with my illness, and it will cause me to be too terrified to talk those that are closest to me about what it is that I need from them.

I feel needy, and I'm repulsed. But I can't help it.

The hardest thing is for me to find peace with myself during the depression stage. Most times, it switches back to worry and will keep me up all night. Staying up all night causes me to feel irritable the next day, which in turn causes those around me to steer clear. Which in turn causes me to go right back into depression and battle myself for being mentally ill.

You see, there's something those of you who don't suffer from anxiety need to understand: WE CAN'T CONTROL IT.

No, it doesn't make us crazy. We don't need you to tell us that we are acting crazy. We are already well aware of this and telling us that will only make our condition worse.

It will come at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, just please be patient and understanding with us. The attack will eventually pass, and when it does, we'll be back to normal. The worst thing you could do is bring up anything we were previously worried about.

Doing so will only trigger another attack. Understand that it's you and us vs. the illness. We hate it, you hate it, we're on the same team here. The best thing you can do during an attack is to just listen, and know that there are times we need you to hold us, and times we need you to leave us alone. Know that sometimes you'll be the trigger for the attack.

Don't take it personally. And please, for the sake of humanity, don't tell us that we're overreacting, that we need to calm down, or that worrying isn't going to make anything any better. If we could stop worrying, don't you think we would have already?

Dating someone with an anxiety disorder isn't easy, at all. It requires giving that person a lot of attention that you normally wouldn't have to do. That doesn't mean the sufferer constantly needs you to be stuck up his or her butt 24/7, but it does mean that when he or she is under attack you need to be there.

If someone you love is having an anxiety attack, ask them what they need. Most of the time they know what they need from you to help make it better, but they're too scared to tell you. Let them know that you genuinely want to help in any way that you can, and be okay with it if they tell you nothing and to just listen. Get to know their illness better.

Everyone's anxiety disorder is different.

Try to understand what it's like to have absolutely no control over your mind, and be there for that person. They need you most when they feel as though they have turned on themselves.


If you or someone you know is battling an anxiety disorder, seek help.

Cover Image Credit: ankor2 / Flickr

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Living With Anxiety In A World That Romanticizes Mental Illness

Being stuck inside your own head is actually a disease and not something to romanticize.

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The older I get, the more anxiety takes a huge toll on my life. I worry about time, I worry about money, I worry about becoming sick; there is not a moment where I am not worried about something. Lately, it seems as though everyone in college has "anxiety." But, in reality, this is not the case.

Yes, you can be anxious about something. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but becoming anxious over a test or a first date is not the same thing as being chronically anxious. Twitter nowadays is filled with people saying something is "giving them anxiety." I can't speak for everyone, but I am tired of hearing people complain about anxiety when the actual illness is debilitating and horrifying to live with.

I have a hard time explaining what anxiety actually feels like to people that don't experience it. It's hard to describe. Just imagine going anywhere and having terrible thoughts consuming your mind to the point where you start shaking, your heart rate is through the roof, and you just want to go cry.

There are certain things that I get more anxious about than others. For example, I am an extreme hypochondriac, so I get overly anxious about sicknesses, heart problems, and everything under the sun related to health. It becomes a very hard obstacle to overcome during a time in my life where stress is already built up from school-related things, work, and relationships.

I think people have a misunderstanding about what anxiety actually is. It's not just a mental health issue, it's a physical one, too. Anxiety can start in the mind, but then create symptoms in your respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and every other system you have in your body. It's not something that people should take lightly; it actually affects a person's well-being to the extreme.

I hate speaking on a topic that is so misunderstood, but as I have gotten older, this has gotten much worse. I can't go a single day without feeling uncomfortable and never content with my life, and more people need to learn about what anxiety actually is. It should not be joked about, should not be romanticized, and should not be shamed. I don't wish this mental illness upon anyone, and anyone that is going through this themselves, please seek help. I know from personal experience it is not easy.

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