Follow up post to “7 Ways to Show Love to Someone with Anxiety/Depression”
You lean back against the door you just slammed. You slide down to the floor, rest your head in your hands.
You are so tired of this. You give, and give, and give, but it feels like you get nothing in return. You don’t know how much longer you can cope. Does he have any idea just how much you do for him? Does he even really love you at all? Does his anxiety/depression render him incapable of love?
He loves you.
He is capable.
Loving someone with anxiety/depression can be stressful, frustrating, exhausting. It can also be heartbreaking. You might feel alone, helpless, and taken for granted much of the time.
I’m here to tell you that you are loved, more than you know. You are loved, and so, so important. Your loved one is extremely lucky to have you. And they know it.
7 Ways Someone With Anxiety/Depression Shows Love
1.) They talk to you about what they are feeling:
When someone admits they are struggling, they become vulnerable. It requires courage on their part, and it also means they have an awful lot of trust in you. It may not be a daily occurrence, but if they attempt to communicate with you openly and honestly, it means they want your relationship (friendship or romantic) to work. It means they need you. It means you are someone special.
2.) They thank you:
Your loved one may be irritable. They may be unreliable, break plans, or reject invitations often. They may go long periods of time without calling you. But do they thank you when you text or call? Do they thank you for extending invitations? That “thank you” means more than they have good manners. It means “please don’t stop calling.” It means they want you in their life, and they hope one day soon they will have the energy, motivation, courage to take you up on your offers. It means “please don’t give up on me.”
3.) They participate in social events with you, even if it’s only sometimes:
Merely leaving the house can be a huge achievement for someone with anxiety/depression. Social events are often the last thing they have the energy or desire for. Meeting new people, or being around ones they are uncomfortable with can be quite distressing. But they do it, for you. They do it because they love you and want to make you happy. Please try to remember this.
4.) They apologize often:
Anxiety/depression usually comes with an abundance of guilt. You probably hear your loved one say they are sorry an awful lot. They mean this from the bottom of their heart. They don’t want to be causing you pain. They don’t want to be making things hard. They want to be there for you just as you are there for them. They are sorry because they love you. They are trying their very best.
5.) They try to appear happy and “normal”:
When someone has anxiety/depression, the smile on their face, the joke on their lips, the clean clothes on their back are often an act, a costume. You may visit their home and see it is spotless. This is likely not the norm, and they probably spent a great deal of energy getting it that way to impress you. They want to look good in your eyes, because you are important. They pretend everything is okay, for you. This act is absolutely exhausting, but they do it. They do it because they care about you.
6.) They say the words:
Actions speak louder than words, but sometimes the internal battle someone with anxiety/depression is fighting leaves them with little energy to spare for actions. If they tell you they love you, please believe them. When a better day comes, they will show it. Please trust them, be patient, give them a chance.
7.) They seek treatment for themselves (and stick to it) :
Asking for help with mental illness takes guts. Sticking with therapy, practising learned techniques for coping, and being open to trying new strategies requires determination and perseverance. There is no easy way to overcome anxiety/depression. With hard work though, symptoms can be greatly reduced. Is your loved one with anxiety/depression trying to get better? I bet a huge part of their motivation comes from their love for you.
Love is always there. It may often be buried beneath layers of struggle, confusion, exhaustion, but it is always there.
Love is more powerful than any mental illness.
You just need to believe in it.
Thank you for reading!
Be Brave, and Talk