Supporting a person with any kind of anxiety disorder is a bit of a controversial role in my eyes. On one side it’s extremely rewarding. Your efforts and maybe even your sheer presence makes another person feel better, for which you’ll be appreciated big time. On the other side however, your life might be full of worries and doubts. Whether the other person will be ok when you are not with them. If you are doing a good job at all in helping. Why your support is not enough for complete healing? What if one day you need to leave…
Are you more supportive in case you hug and feel sorry for your partner in difficult situations, or is it a better kind of support if you say ‘get yourself together, you must be strong now!’. At the end of the day you just want to help, but who knows if that kind of help is the right kind of help in the shitstorm your partner is experiencing.
Unfortunately there is no golden rule here. So, I won’t pretend I can give you the best advice ever, I can only share when someone was successful in making me feel better and when they weren’t. These techniques will probably not work equally well with everyone. We are extremely different in how we experience panic, so it’s no surprise that our needs in those situations are different.
In case you are a Helper reading this article now, please read it with a critical mindset. Even better, after having gone through it, try to discuss it with your partner. They might not agree with all of the techniques here, but this can be a good way to start a conversation about your role in their anxiety. The point is, hopefully you’ll become an even better Helper afterwards.