Anxiety isn’t something that a person can control. It is something that is completely irrational, and something that creates an irrational thought process. The funny part is, or perhaps the sad part, is that you know the feeling and thoughts are completely irrational, but again, it simply is difficult to control. If you have ever had anxiety, then you know what I’m talking of. People who have never felt true anxiety will tell you that it is something you have to get over, or that it can be easily controlled, and it isnt that simple.
As a young child, I suffered from anxiety. Not just anxiety, but severe anxiety which led to panic attacks, that led to agoraphobia. I was so afraid to leave the house for fear of having a panic attack. After several years, my family moved to a new town and slowly my panic attacks lessened. Anxiety was still there but not as severe. As I grew older, I learned what seemed to increase my anxiety, and what I could do to curb it.
Today, I rarely have anxiety. To this day, we don’t know what started my anxiety, or why I simply grew out of it. At times, I still get anxious, and can feel it creeping up. There are times that I go back inside myself, and experience avoidance. The one thing I have learned is that avoidance adds to the issues, and makes things worse. As much as I hated it, and at times still hate it, talking and hitting the issue head on helps my anxiety. Giving in to the anxiety and avoidance only makes things worse. Taking that first step is absolutely the hardest. But after that, I take another, and another, with each step becoming easier.
I go in to this past to say that my husband is now where he once saw me. Since we have known one another, I have had two major panic attacks, both at work, where has had to come and get me. The one thing I cant do for my husband is to make him see that what he does is only making it worse. Avoidance is a slippery slop, that if not hit head on, a person gets further and further within themselves, making it harder to crawl back out. As the person on the other side, it is frustrating at times because I see where he is at. Since I know what he is experiencing as far as symptoms, I know that there is nothing that I can do to help him. It is something that he will have to crawl out of himself. For me, having someone say something to me about it, or tell me to get over it, only makes it worse. Sometimes, it will actually increase my anxiety.
Finding that thing that helps, the thing that will get you through the anxiety, through the avoidance, through the isolation, is something that sometimes has to be found by themselves. Whether it is changing their diet, breathing exercises, medication, yoga, service dog, etc., it has to be something that works for THEM. Being by their side, knowing that someone is there when they are ready, DOES make a difference, but don’t push, don’t chastise, be kind, be by their side when needed, give space when needed, and be ready to talk and help when they are ready, not when you are ready.