If you’ve ever had a friend, loved one, or significant other who suffers from anxiety, then you’ve probably wondered: what do I do? Do I comfort them? Distract them? Suggest therapy? Supporting someone who is struggling with a severe mental health disorder is difficult and frustrating—there is no road map for how to help, and sometimes the fact that our loved ones seem disinterested in helping themselves is even more maddening! Putting ourselves in the shoes of the person suffering is impossible when we know nothing about the disorder…

While, again, there is no hard and fast rule for supporting a partner who suffers from clinical anxiety, here are 5 tips to help you help your partner feel better when the going gets tough:

  1. Don’t try to explain away their fears. Your partner knows that his/her fears and anxieties are not rational, and that these circumstances probably won’t manifest in their lives. You don’t need to explain why it won’t happen. Instead, ask them why they are worried or anxious. Sometimes, having them talk about their fears out loud will make them feel better.
  2. Don’t try to fix their problems. You aren’t their therapist, so you are not responsible for fixing their issues. They have to want to get healthy on their own, rather than try to fix their problems just for your sake. Just be there for them, and let them know you want them to feel better because you love them. Ask questions, and listen with an open, non-judgmental ear.
  3. Learn that happiness looks different for everyone. For some people, spending the day at the beach is happiness; for others, posting a good picture to Instagram may make them happy. But, for anxious people, just having a day without a panic attack could be enough to trigger a smile. Try to understand that your partner’s happiness may be very different than your own.
  4. Set expectations. Having good communication is key, so that your anxious partner doesn’t worry necessarily. Running late? Send a text. Got hit with a surprise bill? Talk to them about it. Don’t treat your partner as a sensitive, fragile child—they will see right through it and wonder why you’re treating them that way. Just let your significant other know what you are thinking, or their mind may assume something worse is happening!
  5. Live your life. It’s hard to watch your partner go through pain, or have a panic attack. However, you can’t skip your friend’s birthday party or your company outing just because your partner is having a tough time. It is completely healthy to go out on your own, and not feel guilty or held back. Otherwise, resentments will build and impair the relationship. Just check in with your partner while you’re out and let them know you’re thinking of them.

If your partner is suffering from a severe case of anxiety that is impact his or her ability to function on a day-to-day basis, please consider learning more about ketamine for anxiety. Ketamine is effective for up to 70% of patients who suffer from severe anxiety and depression, and could help your loved one reclaim his or her independence…while taking a weight off of your shoulders, as well.

Elev8 MD Wellness Center offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from anxiety. In addition to ketamine infusions for anxiety, we also offer reiki, acupuncture, massage and IV hydration therapy. Contact our Charlotte, NC wellness center today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.