When you’re dating someone who deals with anxiety the last thing you want to do is stress them out or trigger a panic attack. It makes their life more difficult and it could put a strain on the relationship. Different things will affect different people but there are some things you should never do.
1) Ignore what they’re telling you
People with anxiety know what sets them off and they’ll tell you what they’re okay with and what they’re not. Try and remember what they tell you and take it seriously because if you don’t then you could end up doing something that upsets them. Learn what their triggers are and listen when something’s upsetting them so you can help them.
2) Accuse them of being difficult
They know that at times their anxiety can make them difficult to deal with and they don’t want you reminding them of that. Telling them to deal with it or to stop being so difficult makes them feel bad and it’ll put a strain on the relationship because they feel like you don’t understand what they’re going through. Instead keep things positive by saying that everything’s going to be okay and that you know they’re having a tough moment..
3) Change plans suddenly
A sudden change in plans can increase the amount of anxiety someone’s feeling because they don’t know what to expect. Their routine has changed and that makes them uneasy. When making plans tell them what’s going to happen and give them plenty of warning if things change so they can mentally prepare themselves. Learn their routine and adapt to it instead of expecting them to adapt to what you want.
4) Give them coping suggestions
If you’ve never dealt with anxiety then you don’t know what it’s like and suggesting things that you think might be helpful could make the situation worse. They know what helps them so talk to them about it and see things from their point of view. This way you can be supportive without making them feel like you know better than they do.
5) Take them somewhere crowded
A crowded place like a club or concert can be overwhelming because of the visual and verbal stimulation. Find out what places they feel comfortable going to and plan date nights around these so you lower the chance of them feeling anxious.
6) Ask them what’s wrong
It can be difficult to explain what anxiety feels like and what they’re going through, especially if they don’t know what set off an attack. Asking them what’s wrong is asking them to define an issue they might not understand fully and that puts pressure on them to defend themselves because they think you’re judging them. Accept them for the way they are and go with the flow.
7) Be too smothering during a panic episode
During a panic episode a person isn’t in the right frame of mind and their senses are going into overdrive. If you act too smothering when they’re in the middle of this it can make it worse for them so avoid doing things like holding them to try and calm them down or constantly asking what you should do. Give them their space and only do what they ask you to do.
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