Did You Mean to Say That? : Loving Someone With Anxiety
We’ve talked about it before, the English language can be tough to navigate. During this time of social distancing people are experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression; and being encouraged to look after their mental health in a whole new way.
Have you been in a conversation with someone and watched as the thing that slipped out of your mouth struck a nerve?
We’ve all been there, and in this season people are more aware than ever before.
So if you’re navigating how to love someone with feelings of anxiety, here are a few tips to help!
Ask open questions about how they are feeling.
It can be easy to brush off comments by saying something like, ‘oh just relax’. For someone expressing their feelings of anxiety, they would have already done that if they believed it was possible. Instead, try starting a conversation and invite them to discover a solution by asking questions.
Show them that you hear their feelings, and do your best to empathize.
Again, it can be easy to say something like ‘you’re worrying about nothing’. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem, and can often cause the person to feel like they are being brushed off. If you’re not ready to have this sort of conversation with them either, that’s okay! Respond by saying something like: I know this is hard for you, and it is for me too. But it would be helpful for me if we could focus on something else right now.”
Let them speak.
It can be easy to say something along the lines of ‘yeah we all have problems too.’ Sometimes the person you are loving just needs to be heard. It’s okay to take a backseat and listen, but if it becomes too much for you it’s also okay to say: ‘hey, I’m not in the place to have this sort of conversation today. Can we try and focus on something good? What was your favorite moment this past week?’