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How can I explain my anxiety to my partner?

25 Answers
Last Updated: 06/10/2019 at 4:55pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Cynthia Stocker, LCSW, LICSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

My approach is direct, kind, honest & collaborative. My clients appreciate that I help them in a way that cuts through the jargon and gives clear explanations.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
November 26th, 2014 6:11am
Tell them how you're feeling using neutral language. If you need their support, ask for it. Be direct.
DouglasListens
November 26th, 2014 4:37am
I try to make analogies to situations where most people would experience anxiety - like being cut off in traffic by a big rig. It's like that except for something way less obvious and non-life threatening. When it's not at that peak, it's like being afraid of that big rig jumping out at you, all the time. Hopefully that provides some frame of reference. I think being honest about your present mental state can also be really helpful so that they can understand how to identify when you're feeling anxious. Sometimes it's not so obvious.
Anonymous
November 29th, 2014 7:52am
Well, I find it hard explaining my anxiety the my family myself! I think others already know how anxiety feel like (unless of course they are super duper confident 110 percent all the time!), so I ask them for their experience about what worries them and what makes them nervous, then tell them that's how I feel a lot of the times but magnified when under certain situations.
Erynn
December 17th, 2014 3:23am
Since anxiety is highly individual, I would think about a few things when explaining to your partner: What does anxiety feel like? What helps when you feel anxious? What situations cause anxiety? What are common thoughts you have when you are anxious, or that cause anxiety? Do you want to be touched when anxious? How can you best communicate with them when you are highly anxious? If your partner has little/no knowledge about mental illnesses, you may want to start by explaining that anxiety is not a choice or something you can just turn off, and that there are chemical aspects of it.
Anonymous
December 25th, 2014 7:52pm
First of all, you have to understand your own anxiety. if you are at a point where you don't understand why you have it then you have more internal work to do. Once you figure this out, then together you can talk through it and come up with ways your partner can help. Tell them to think of situations where they get really scared or anxious, so that they could relate better!
Anonymous
May 27th, 2015 8:14am
You can describe how your feeling when your anxious and what sort of symptoms you feel, you could also ask your partner to have a read of the guide on anxiety on the 7 Cups Of Tea website
magicalsummer152
June 17th, 2015 5:47pm
Go and simply tell them that you habe anxiety they will understand if you tell them times whem you acted like you shouldnt have...tell them you cant help it...and it would be nice if your partener would gelp you through the tym
gigantSummer65
November 26th, 2014 5:30am
just talk to them about what gives you anxiety show them how you feel when you go through that show them it is isnt just you being scared
Anonymous
November 27th, 2014 3:46am
Anxiety and especially panic attacks can be very difficult to control. Support can be everything, so make sure your partner is well aware of your needs when they are happening.
AshleyMarieTibbs
December 3rd, 2014 7:01am
You can explain your anxiety to your partner by going into the conversation with a calm and positive attitude.
Lorelei333
December 22nd, 2014 4:36am
I'm sure that your partner already knows. But, it may help if you describe to him/her the reasons for your anxiety, as in what your triggers are and why you feel certain situations make you feel uncomfortable so that they can recognize when there is a situation that will likely spark a negative reaction and support you in it. If they love you then they will understand. They wouldn't want you to feel anything less than comfortable.
Anonymous
December 30th, 2014 6:39am
Be honest. It is important to maintain communication in a relationship, particularly one where one partner has anxious tendencies. Being open about this can be important to help your partner understand who you are and how you function. But take things slowly. Expecting them to understand fully and completely right away may be a bit much.
Anonymous
January 5th, 2015 7:14pm
Tell him/her what happens in you head. Tell him/her each little step that takes place - if you can. If you feel very anxious at a certain point, try to write down what happens so you can tell him/her what goes on in your mind. Then, try to tell him/her what kind of support you would like/expect, that's one of the most important things. Good luck :)
Anonymous
June 30th, 2015 10:03pm
It may help to explain that anxiety is a disease-- no different in seriousness than any other. While some people are afflicted with conditions of the heart or lung, others are afflicted with conditions of the brain. Having anxiety doesn't mean that you're "crazy," only that you're suffering from something outside your control. Anxiety is tough to deal with, which is why it's important that your partner learn to stand beside and support you as you struggle through it.
lecorpsecake
October 26th, 2015 2:17pm
You go by pieces, don't wanna throw all of your fears and issues on them. Just start by relating an issue with an activity you guys are doing or on a talk some time... I'm pretty sure that if it is a nice person, he or she will understand.
FoxInTheBox
December 21st, 2015 8:03am
Don't hesitate. Since they are your partner, I would assume the two of you have a level of closeness and mutual understanding with one another. Just calmly describe the whole situation to them, and how it's bothering you. I'm sure he/she can provide you with a lot of much-needed support and guidance.
phantahna
April 12th, 2016 6:36am
Anxiety disorders are a category of mental illness disorders, characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, where anxiety is a worry about future events and fear is a reaction to current events. These feelings can cause to social anxiety (which includes not wanting to go out and be social because of the fear of what irrational idea might happen etc.)
emily12200
June 28th, 2016 10:34am
If they really love you, they will understand you no matter how you tell them. But, you can start by bringing up the subject or possibly talking to a proffecional.
StayPositiveFriend
September 12th, 2016 1:28pm
Anxiety is an incredibly difficult thing to live with and very difficult to explain to people who have never felt that way. Some people react as if you are just exaggerating and cant understand why you are being so dramatic. But this is your partner, you are together, they care for you and want you to be happy so you should not expect a negative reaction from them. Talk to them and ask them if they have ever been in a situation where they felt scared of something. Perhaps when they were little for example. Use that to build your explanation on and engage them on an emotional level. Their memories of such feelings can be used as context for how you feel about certain situations.
Anonymous
October 11th, 2016 6:20am
You can sit with your partner and explain to them what you are going through and then provide him/her with some web articles about anxiety so that he/she can better understand!
versatileJoy60
October 18th, 2016 10:24am
This is something that I can't even do myself. But I think it might be okay if you just talk casually to your partner and tell them what you feel truly.
livewireraincoat
August 7th, 2017 8:32pm
Honesty is the key. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember in this situation is that your partner should be supportive towards you no matter what emotional/mental issues you're facing. If your partner decides they don't respect your struggle with anxiety, they're not worth being in a relationship with. You shouldn't view this as a test of your own communication skills, it's a test of their character. I think you just have to tell it to them clearly and truthfully that you have anxiety problems, and explain this in more personal detail if you feel that helps. If you're honest, they should love and support you no matter what. Your anxiety does not define you.
Lifeisgood33
November 27th, 2017 3:23am
explaining anxiety is not easy but once you get the hang of it its great! I would start with "I get scared sometimes". This is not what anxiety is but to get them to understand this is simple for them. overtime I would share how anxiety makes me feel using "I feel" statements. I hope this helps!
Anonymous
April 16th, 2019 9:32pm
Anxiety is like drowning underwater. you know where the surface is but you can't reach it. it strangles you and keeps you put. Sometimes panic attacks have the same affect! It can be hard and they may struggle to understand what it is that anxiety is and even describing it may not be helpful at the end of the day but if they love you enough they may begin to understand but one explanation will not do it justice. Even a year from now they still may struggle but at the end of the day your the one that truly needs to understand it to overcome it.
BlindFaith
June 10th, 2019 4:55pm
Being honest, truthful and open is the way into another person's heart and support. They would want to be as supportive of you as much as possible. And if they are not, then they are not worth staying with. If you put yourself into that person's shoes, then wouldn't you want the same? Isn't having an open relationship with support from each other most important besides love? What would be in the way of this when external attractions are no longer there? Therefore, whatever you have with yourself, can it be shared with another especially if you want them to love and care for you?