How to Love Someone With Anxiety
Obviously, this post is about my experience with anxiety and how my significant other helps me through it. Everyone is different and I'm not a medical professional. Seek help if you need it.
I feel kinda bad for Louie a lot of the time. Mostly because I really didn't understand how severe my anxiety and depression were before I met him. Although, a few things happened in response to us getting together that may have set me over the edge.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, when Louie and I started talking, I lost all of the friends I had since the beginning of college. It was a really shitty thing to happen, but now, it really doesn't affect me like it did in the beginning. However, I did have to get over that. I spent a lot of time being upset and hurt over what happened between me and my friends, but on the outside, I had to push through. I had a retail job and was going to be finishing college soon.
The first week of March 2016, I was hospitalized for anxiety. 2 weeks earlier, I quit my job of 2 1/2 years at American Eagle and started as an eyewear consultant at LensCrafters. It was one of my first selling shifts at my new job, and I was a little nervous to get to work. I was showering when I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I felt dizzy and like there was too much going on. That's the only way I could describe it. Now, I know that I had sensory overload.
Louie was just outside of the shower getting ready for work when I threw open the shower curtain and was screaming. He probably thought I hurt myself or something, but I felt like I was going to die. My heart was pounding, I couldn't see straight, and I felt like I was going to puke. I grabbed my towel that was outside of the shower and was able to throw it around my body enough and collapsed into our bed. I was crying, screaming, and I felt like I was trapped inside my body.
I remember feeling like I needed to get out of my skin. I literally felt like I needed my soul to escape my body. It was a weird feeling--I had never felt like that before. I don't remember a lot from that day. But I ended up having to call out of work and go to the hospital, because I couldn't function.
Louie called my work for me and told them what was going on. I was embarrassed because I had just started that job, and something like this had never happened to me before. Louie was so worried about me that he ended up staying home from work that day as well and took me to the hospital.
I was puking repeatedly and I had no idea why. I was super nauseous and could not keep anything down. When I got to the hospital, they admitted me almost immediately because I told them I couldn't stop puking, that I couldn't catch my breath, and that my heart was beating out of my chest. They took my blood pressure and it was high. I can't remember what exactly it was, but I do recall sitting in the chair in the waiting room and I wasn't able to stop moving my hands and feet. I was wiggling my fingers and opening and closing my hands because it felt like I was shaking this feeling off. It's weird to think about and type out, but I guess that was my thought process in that moment. Louie held my hand and cried with me because we had no idea what was going on.
After a few hours in the ER, they gave me an IV full of Xanax and fluids, and told me I could go home. I started crying when they discharged me because I still didn't have answers. The doctor told me that he sees dozens of people like me in the ER every day with anxiety problems. He prescribed me drugs but didn't really give me an answer or remedy to feel better. That wasn't good for me and stressed me out even more.
The next day, the same thing happened. I woke up nauseous and panicked. I woke up, immediately puked (even though I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours) and then cried til I fell asleep and the cycle started again. I started to feel weak. This was only day 2 of my breakdown, by the way.
Louie wasn't able to stay with me that day, and I was really at a loss for what to do. Luckily, my hairdresser at the time was in the area and was also a pretty good friend of mine. She offered to take me back to the hospital.
All of the same people from the previous day were there but this time, I was alone. When I walked in I just started crying and they checked me in. I felt like I needed to throw up and lo and behold, I ran into the bathroom and did again. They knew what was going on since I literally was discharged less than a day before. I told them that I hadn't eaten in almost 2 days and that my anxiety wasn't going away.
They brought my back, hooked me into an IV, and started to give me a mixture of Xanax and fluids. I remember being in such a haze that day. They had me in a hospital bed in the hallway where everyone could see me and walk by me. I was alone, dazed from Xanax and lack of food, and I couldn't stop crying. It was one of the worst days of my life.
Louie was my lifeline during this time. Since my parents didn't live in town, he stepped up and really took care of me those first few days things were really bad. He held me, he got me ice packs when I was sweating from my panic attacks, and he rubbed warm wash cloths on my back when I was face-deep in the toilet puking nonstop.
We hadn't even been together for a year yet. I didn't see an end in sight. There were so many days where I told him "I don't want this to affect you" and "You shouldn't have to deal with this" but he insisted on staying by my side through everything. I really can't thank him enough for that.
It was definitely a journey to finding out what really helps ease my anxiety. Now, after about 2 1/2 years of fighting this demon head-on, Louie and I have a pretty good system to riding the anxiety wave.
What I Do When I Have a Bad Anxiety Day
Louie and I text most of the day, luckily, so he has a pretty solid play-by-play of how my day is going readily available to him. A lot of the time, something will happen at work to get me down or I'll have forgotten to have taken my anti-depressant, or sometimes it's just a "bad anxiety day" as I like to call it. It's those days where you wake up and don't feel yourself; like you're just traveling through life numbly.
It took me awhile to pinpoint that when I feel like this, it's me and Louie vs. my anxiety. Not me and my anxiety vs. Louie. If that makes sense. I have to personify this feeling in order to fully get past it. That doesn't mean it just goes away when I do get relief from the shitty times. It's just another notch on my belt proving that I can get through it.
On a bad day, here's the routine:
- Text Louie on my way home and let him know I feel like shit. Either that I need to puke, nap, cry, or rest.
- He tells me he has comfy clothes, water, my dog, and a fresh weed bowl is packed (better for me than popping 3 or 4 Xanax, honestly)
- While driving home I try to focus just on that--driving. That and playing music that makes me feel something. Sometimes I need a sad song to let me release everything. Sometimes I'll force a fun song that I can't help but sing along to.
- When I get home, I'm usually greeted by the dog who jumps on me and licks me. That makes me smile. Then I'll go straight into our bedroom to change from what I'm wearing.
- Louie is the best, so sometimes he has flowers or candy waiting for me. Usually it's sweats, one of his shirts, and some soft socks.
- If I'm feeling up for it, he'll lay in bed with me while I relax in the dark (or cry). If I'm not feeling up for it, I'll take a nap for a few hours to try and shake this feeling.
It depends on what the circumstances are, but I'm typically okay after I have a few hours to unplug. I literally need to be in the dark with no sound or light. My mind is going 1000 mph always, so I like to think of these little spats as life's way of telling me to slow down.
It sucks because I still have moments like these. I'll wake up puking for no reason, or I'll be so demotivated after work that I literally can't get out of bed to make dinner. Anxiety is a daily struggle, and the goal is to just feel better as the days go on.