Dating while having a mental health disorder can be difficult terrain for the person who suffers as well as for the people who love them. So, in a post shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, blogger Laura Mazza got real about what people can do to care for a partner who suffers from anxiety.
Having anxiety, she says, can be "heartbreaking" and difficult for both the person who suffers as well as for their partner.
"Anxiety isn't a one size fits all, it isn't consistent and it isn't always easy to tell," she wrote. "You might think she just snapped at you, but it was anxiety that did it, you might think she's angry, but it's the anxiety that's got a choke hold, you might think she's not enjoying herself when you go out and it's your fault, but it's not. It's anxiety."
While it isn't impossible to be in a relationship when you suffer from a mental health problem, mental illness can present its own challenges.
Mazza, who runs the blog Mum on the Run, also wrote about what anxiety sufferers can experience, and how it impacts their relationships.
"There isn't a day that goes by where she doesn't think," she wrote. "She thinks about everything, and usually it is the worst case scenario. She worries that something will go wrong. [...] That's why when she's home alone or out by herself she will text you a million times, telling you her every move or telling you everything that's going wrong, she knows you can't change anything, she knows you feel helpless, but so does she, that's why she needs to share it with you, otherwise her head will explode with panic."
That's why, she wrote, it's important for those who care for someone with anxiety to be understanding and to step up to the plate when they can.
"If you see her struggling with appointments, reschedule them for her, encourage her to take it slowly," she wrote. "Don't make her feel bad for missing an appointment, a party, whatever. She wanted to go, but she couldn't. She already feels bad. Tell her it's okay."
It may not always be obvious what a partner can do to care for someone with anxiety, but Mazza wants those loved ones to know that people with anxiety problems wish they "could just feel free" — "you just to need take her hand and tell her, 'I am with you.'"
Refinery29 has reached out to Mazza for comment, and will update this article when we receive a response.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Samaritans 24-hour hotline at 116-123.
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