As many of you know, I have struggled off and on with anxiety and self harm issues since freshman year of high school. I would love to be telling you now that I have found the magic secret of how to make it all better – but I’m not. I’m telling you I still struggle a lot with these things (not always following through but with the thoughts) and how it’s affected my marriage.
I first told Trevor about my anxiety and self harm issues the day after we started dating. We were walking around downtown Green Bay and we walked past where I was seeing a counselor. I immediately felt the need to tell him what was going on in that area of my life and in that moment I knew I would trust him more than anyone before. It was a big deal for me to spill this information so early on and feel completely open talking about it. I felt a huge sense of relief telling him and thought that this initial step would allow for open communication about the topic in the future – which unfortunately I was wrong about.
The topic anxiety and self harm and mental illness are considered taboo and too few people are willing to talk about the topic. There is a huge stigma developed around mental illness, and this is making it harder for individuals to find the treatment they need or to talk to their loved ones about it. This breaks my heart, knowing that often times the source of their mental illness is a chemical imbalance they’re born with – not simply “moodiness” as a lot of the world sees it.
The mix of love and anxiety is hard. Trevor and I have been married for just over a year – and I feel that a lot of the things that cause fights or disagreements stem from my anxiety. This is hard for me to face. I know I want and need better control over my anxiety and seeing a counselor again is certainly on my to do list, but here are a few things I have observed from Trevor’s end.
- Loving someone with anxiety means holding them when they shake with fear from the awful thoughts that cross their mind for no reason.
- Loving someone with anxiety means wiping away the tears that may not make any sense or have been caused by anything.
- Loving someone with anxiety means saying just the right thing when it all passes.
- Loving someone with anxiety means staying by their side when they struggle to fall asleep.
- Loving someone with anxiety means trying to understand mental illness – even though it can be impossible to explain.
- Loving someone with anxiety means accepting the apology and giving forgiveness, even though the apology often isn’t given right away.
- Loving someone with self harm issues means telling them and making them stop rubbing their wrist when those thoughts cross their mind.
This is obviously not an inclusive list – but I feel it sums up my relationship with Trevor and the many ways he shows his love to me when I am struggling.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what it means to or how you have seen someone love you if you struggle with anxiety or mental illness. Feel free to comment below or send me a message.