Supporting those we love who suffer from anxiety can make all the difference
For many moms, anxiety is a constant. It manifests itself in a variety of ways for everyone; sometimes in full-blown panic attacks, and sometimes it’s that tight ball that lives in the pit of your stomach everyday. Regardless of how it affects each of us, one thing is for sure: having a supportive partner can make a huge difference in how we manage it.
“To the man whose wife or partner has anxiety,
“You might have heard that she has anxiety from sitting by her side in a doctors office, holding her hands while the tears steam down her face. You might have seen her get angry and explode because she’s overwhelmed. Wondering where this rage has come from. You might have seen her sit quietly staring into the distance with a panic in her eye.”
Mazza perfectly captures the many ways anxiety presents itself on any given day. It’s not always something that’s triggered by one specific event. It’s not just someone being a “worry wart.” It can look like anger, fear, nervousness, or exhaustion.
“Anxiety isn’t a one size fits all, it isn’t consistent and it isn’t always easy to tell,” Mazza writes.
“You might think she’s just snapped at you, but it was anxiety that did it, you might think she’s angry, but it’s the anxiety that’s got a choke hold, you might think she’s not enjoying herself when you go out and it’s your fault, but it’s not. It’s anxiety.”
I speak from experience when I say my anxiety — which presented itself immediately after my daughter was born, and looks like it’s here to stay — bewilders my husband on a constant basis. He’s even asked me why I “hate” him at times, and not in that slightly-joking-but-totally-serious way he asks me when he knows I’m PMSing. It breaks my heart that he feels this way sometimes, because I love him and our life together as a family more than anything. But sometimes my anxiety is in the driver’s seat, and I’m just helplessly along for the ride.
Mazza continues, “Anxiety is heartbreaking for her. Really it is. She wishes she could just feel free. The free feeling of just being carefree and not a prisoner to this ugly illness. Free of the voice that follows her listing all her insecurities.”
There are days when all we want is to be able to breathe, you know?
It’s tough on those who love us. They feel helpless, frustrated, and don’t quite understand. But having a partner who’s patient, empathetic, and supportive truly helps in those dark moments when anxiety plagues us the most.
Mazza sends out a final reminder to all the partners who love us no matter what:
“She appreciates you, she loves you. She’s vulnerable and scared. Forever and ever, you just to need take her hand and tell her, ‘I am with you.'”
If nothing else, loving someone with anxiety or other mental health conditions teaches us compassion. Nurturing someone through it can make a world of difference.