I wrote a myTake on tips for dating people with anxiety on my old account. Here is an update with more tips, information and pictures.
Anxiety is not beautiful or poetic. Don't say you have it because you think it is. Here, fucking have it, take mine. I don't fucking want it.
- Tell them when you get home, get to the store etc. This may be annoying but it will help calm their nerves since they worry.
- Don't blame them for having anxiety. It isn't their fault they have it. Try to understand it is a mental illness. They're not going to be perfect, no one is.
- Stick with them through anxiety attacks. These are caused for different reasons to every individual and they have different symptoms. Don't leave them or ignore them when they're having an attack. Rub their back, hold them, just all in all, stay solid for them.
- Admit to them your feelings on everything, in complete honesty. The truth is ugly sometimes. They would love the honesty that way they won't break down about any lies.
- Find out what triggers their attacks. Once you do this, you can help make sure they don't have any more. It may take a while and be difficult but it is worth it.
- Stick up for them if someone says it's for attention. There are people who pretend to have OCD, depression, anxiety so they can excuse something off they did bad or so they get attention in general. Don't let them keep it a secret someone is giving them a hard time about their anxiety.
- It's all in the little things. Say Be safe, buckle up, did you eat?, how was your day?, I miss you, Can I see you?, can I come over?, how're you feeling? are all great examples to say "I love you" in different words. Trust me, this will calm their nerves, make them feel wanted/loved/important and they will definetly notice this.
Reassure them everything is okay if they're upset. It won't be easy to but it always helps if they have reassurance from someone they trust.
Here are some tips to do when they are having an anxiety attack:
- Remind them that although it feels like they're going to die, they won't.
- Tell them to practice the Belly Breath and don't hyperventilate.
- Get them to step outside if they're in or inside if they're out.
- Talk them through it.
- Get them to visualize a calm and safe enviroment they enjoyed in the past.
- Get them to find 5 things they can see, 4 they can touch, 3 they can hear, 2 they can smell and 1 they can taste.
The Belly Breath is breath in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale breath for 8 seconds. It causes an autonomic nervous system shift from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic response. It helps if you/they do this when they feel a panic/anxiety attack coming.
Remember, they are who they are. They cannot help it. Love them fully and strongly, if it is your significant other, family member or if it is yourself.