by Caitlin Boos
Time halts: her heart rate increases to hummingbird speeds as a foreboding cloud envelops her lungs; her thoughts are clamoring so erratically in her mind that their uproar has begun to reverberate through her ears. Reality morphs into a befuddling blur of light and sound, and as she seeks for an indication that her spiral is purely fiction, you appear by her side, to talk her down from the ledge and back into the land of the rational. As someone who has suffered from both generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders since they were capable of cognizance, I understand the strife your girlfriend must often experience. Similarly, I sympathize with her need for the one she loves to help combat the onslaught of negative thoughts to recover from a cyclone of worry. On behalf of every girl who’s privy to anxiety, the following, is a comprehensive guide on how to calm our internal chaos when it inevitably erupts.
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Learn How to Decompress Situations
As illustrated in the opening of this article, anxiety is capable of catalyzing insurmountably stressful spirals remedied solely, by the dispelling of every gnawing thought. Though each individual suffering from panic attacks requires a different, decompression routine independent of them, some overarching behaviors tend to aid most! Optimally, the perilous chain of doubt and stress stops before it reaches the cataclysmic stage, and to achieve such, one must acknowledge they’re spiraling and subsequently talk themselves out of it. For most, internal pressures and external stimuli are too overwhelming to allow any self-realization, and thus, you must be able to decipher when your lover is beginning to panic based on her pace, tone of voice, breathing, and demeanor. Once you can diagnose the spiral, coax her out of the frantic headspace by reminding her that she is safe and loved, that her worries are imaginary, and that everything around her is truly all alright.
Be Careful and Conscious with Words
To someone with anxiety, words are incredibly important, as they are the foremost agents in both enflaming and deflating volatile situations. For most women, merely the plot of a point must be thoroughly well-thought-out but, for the girl who’s innately predisposed to overanalyzing things, both your plot and your prose must be calculated. Learn which subjects, statements, and phrasings often incite anxiety within her, and consciously abstain from expressing such while in conversation. Though this may seem superfluous, it is vital you acquiesce, as your girlfriend is very vulnerable to external opinions and insight, especially from those she trusts. When our perceptions of reality become hypochondriacal, we require a steady stream of reassurance to ease us out of the darkness and back towards serenity. Similarly, anxious individuals require an immense amount of affirmation and thus, you must become familiar with how to revitalize her self-worth, as well as when to know she requires such encouragement.
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Know When Worry is Motivating Things
Stress and panic – whether founded or perceived – may incentivize an abundance of contentious behaviors, ranging from the accusatory to explosive and self-sabotaging. While each person’s anxiety manifests in different mannerisms, the illness is internally destructive to all and thus, will usually incite some form of antagonism. Our overanalyzes of the present and fears for the future, convince us of nonexistent problems we subsequently try to rectify with responses the neurotypical onlooker would perceive as “uncalled for.” Your girlfriend may instigate arguments over matters menial to you, or, react in ways that seem melodramatic, but to her there is a formidable motivation behind the behavior. Diffusing conflicts caused by anxiety require techniques similar to stopping a spiral, rather than those traditionally employed in the art of arguing. If you can decipher when fear may be the premier factor in a proposed argument, then proceed as you would when quelling a worry as that will succinctly remedy the problem.
Understand How Much Space She Needs
Anxiety inspires a plethora of emotions within an individual, with insecurity and embarrassment being chief among them. Though such sentiments sound fairly similar, they are in all actuality juxtaposing, with the former requiring increased attention from one’s partner and the latter, demanding the exact opposite. As touched upon earlier, insecurity is remedied with copious affirmation and thus, when your girlfriend is submerged in this emotion, you must tend to her plentifully. Opposingly, when an anxious person is feeling inordinately embarrassed – usually in response to baseless overanalyses of conventional behaviors – they need ample amounts of time and space, to sit in solitary. When we spiral into unfounded bouts of how ‘poorly’ people are perceiving us, attention from other beings becomes our utmost dread, regardless if it is uplifting or supportive. The dichotomy of your girlfriend’s foremost emotions will need you to provide and allow attention and space, respectively, for her to navigate the relationship without ever feeling overwhelmed!
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Always Be Respectful of Her Boundaries
Discovering the other person’s—and defining the relationship’s—boundaries are innately difficult tasks to complete, even when both parties are void of mental illness. While every person experience worries differently, the feeling of losing control or the fear of misplacing trust is often how that initial uneasiness manifests. Consequently, anxiety frequently results in trepidation and hesitance towards intimacy or vulnerability in both the emotional and sexual natures. Your girlfriend may be incredibly afraid of opening up to someone who will eventually betray her and so, she refuses to make an emotional commitment. Oppositely, she may dismay the vulnerability of nakedness and subsequently abstain from sex and similar activities altogether. In whatever ways she defines her boundaries you must be accepting of such, as blatantly ignoring these paramount parameters, will do irreparable damage to her psyche. Pressure and surprise are violations of her stringent trust, so anything without immediate, upfront consent from your girlfriend is simply inexcusable.
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