A few weeks ago, I found myself in the throes of a horrific bout of anxiety. I’ve struggled with anxiety for years, but this was on a whole new level. I could barely get through my day because of what my brain was putting me through and I was truly terrified.
I’ve had anxiety the entire time I’ve been with my boyfriend Bosch, but this was the first time he’s seen me in a really rough place since we moved in together. I couldn’t sleep, I was irritable and easily distracted, and could be found curled up in bed crying for no reason at all. I needed him to be my foundation in those days, and I’m proud to say he performed beautifully.
The first morning it hit me, I went to the apartment gym at 5:30 am to try to run it off. It didn’t work and I found myself back in our bed by 6 crying ugly tears and trying to explain the horrifying ruminations that were attacking my psyche to my very caught-off-guard boyfriend.
You know what he said? Nothing. And that was exactly what I needed. As I talked and cried and talked some more, all he did was listen and rub my back for comfort. Once I was exhausted enough to fall back asleep, he laid with me for a while (even though he really needed to get up and get ready for work) to make sure I felt secure.
Some boyfriends may have offered to take work off and sit by my side all day, but he didn’t. He gave me the support I needed in that low spot, then once he saw I had some balance, he went to work and let me deal with it on my own. This may sound like a negative thing, but again, it was exactly what I needed. I would never have gotten through those rough couple of days if I had relied on another person to support me at all times. I needed to find the tools within myself, and that’s what Bosch helped me do.
If you find yourself in a dark place and don’t know how to communicate with your partner about it, these are some tips that I recommend:
There’s no reason to beat around the bush on this one. If you need to be alone, just say it. If you need to be with people, just say it. If your partner is understanding and respectful, then he or she will listen to what you need and honor those requests. In times of strained mental health, the most important thing is getting you what you need as soon as possible.
Don’t worry about being a burden
If you’re anything like me, your anxiety tells you that your very existence and your mental condition are annoying to other people. Remember this: Your anxiety is not your fault. Again, an understanding and respectful partner will know this and will not hold it against you.
Give them the benefit of the doubt
If your partner doesn’t struggle with anxiety or other mental health concerns at all, they can often be caught off guard when you find yourself in a low place. An otherwise perfectly supportive partner might falter a bit when they see their loved one spiraling, but just as they shouldn’t hold your anxiety against you, you shouldn’t hold their lack of experience against them. Your partner may not say and do all the right things at all the right times, but as long as they’re trying, that should be enough.