• Grace Ehlers

how my husband and i deal w/ my anxiety

"...through joy and through sorrow..."

Recently, I talked to someone struggling with anxiety. Of course, I will keep their personal experiences between the two of us. If you come to me to talk, your hardships/secrets/whatever you say is safe with me, but there could be a blog post that you inspired me to write.

So, here we are.

I was asked if anxiety ever affects my relationships (specifically with my husband) and how I deal with it. She added that she was sorry if I had mentioned this before, and I facepalmed. What a HUGE topic I had completely overlooked writing about. I give tip after tip and share so much of my mental health journey, but never thought to share how it affects both my husband and I.

If it crossed your mind that it just isn’t a struggle between Harrison and I, you can throw that thought out of the window. It affects us, and the way we communicate all of the time. Honestly, that’s probably why I have never written anything about it. We are still navigating through it, but I will get to all of that.

Enough blabbing, let’s jump right in.

My husband is a realist. That’s just a part of who he is. He sees things rationally. It’s easy for him to come across blunt, because that’s how he views most things. Is that wrong of him? Of course not. It’s a part of what makes Harrison… Harrison.

On the other hand, you have me. I am an idealist. I either sugarcoat too much or too little. I worry over the tiniest of things. While other times the biggest of things, I wave away.

An easy way to put it is I want everything to be perfect, but the second something shifts I panic. My husband “expects” the “shifts” and shrugs it off. I sit there panicking while he sees it as a normal everyday occurrence.

We can be very opposite individuals. The saying, “opposites attract”, was almost made for us.

I can own up to the fact that my worries are not always rational. Anxiety is an excessive and (almost always) irrational way of overthinking. Because my husband and I are human and don’t “fake face” it on the internet, rational and irrational can cause disagreements.

It’s not easy to struggle mentally, and when it causes a problem (even a minor one) with your spouse, it’s easy to beat yourself up over it. This only adds gas to the embers.

So, how do we deal with it all?

We communicate. We learn what works and what doesn’t.

And we understand these things:

If you are the anxious partner, you have to communicate. Trust me, I know. How do you communicate effectively when you can hardly get your thoughts straight which is literally the whole problem?? Well, you have to try. How can your spouse help you if they don’t even know there’s a problem to begin with?

The second best thing you can do is give your spouse grace. Most of anxiety doesn’t even make sense in our own heads. Don’t expect too much from your partner, but also, don’t expect nothing from them. There’s a balance between “I know it’s hard too understand, but this is overwhelming for me” and “Forget it, I shouldn’t have said anything”. (<— Don’t worry, I have said it many times.) You should feel okay with talking to your spouse about the things that bring you down. If you are there for them, they should be there for you. Guilt on top of worry doesn’t help anyone. Communicate often, but be understanding of the fact that it’s not always easy to understand right away.

If you are the “not so” anxious partner, understand that your spouse is trying. They don’t want to be feeling the way they are feeling any less than they do. Just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. To them, it feels very real (whether or not it is real).

If you look up the definition of anxiety, part of the definition states that one of the symptoms is “compulsive behavior”. Anxiety can cause someone to lash out or isolate themselves at times. But again, there’s a balance. If they are screaming at you, hitting you, calling you names, blocking you, manipulating you into believing that they are putting themselves in danger and then refusing to respond, etc., they need medical attention, and you should NOT excuse any abusive behavior. However, frustration or crying over a small situation isn’t out of the ordinary. They deserve understanding, BUT you deserve grace.

My anxiety has calmed down a lot in the past couple of years, but it’s still very much a struggle. Harrison and I have learned so much in the year and a half we have been together. We work as a team understanding that we won’t always see things the exact same way. Where one falls short, the other is always there to pick them up.

We put our faith and trust in God to persevere, and we love each other like there’s no tomorrow. We laugh together often, and reflect more on the good. Our opposites don’t always flow 100% together, but most of the time, it’s what balances us out.


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