The Challenges of Anxiety and Relationships
For most people, addressing anxiety feels overwhelming. Since anxiety has a physical and mental toll, it often feels like a self-defeating cycle for patients to try to focus on what triggers their anxiety. It is draining to not have control of your body, and this often leaves patients feeling hopeless or pessimistic about ever finding relief. In many cases, clients say they feel that it requires less of them to ignore their anxiety and to hope that it just gets better with time. However, as we all know, anxiety does not simply get better with time alone and its impact on your life is significant. There is both a physical and an emotional cost to not dealing with your anxiety, and this can affect your job performance, health, and relationships over time.
When I speak with clients, they often find that their anxiety seems to pervade their lives in such a way that it becomes daunting to even pinpoint where to begin. It is therefore critical when starting to address your anxiety issues that you take an honest inventory of how anxiety is impacting your life and how you retrain your brain to minimize or reduce its impact.
Anxiety Isolates Us from Other People
For most people, their anxiety usually comes at the expense of their relationships. Whether at work or home, the coffee house or the church, someone suffering from anxiety typically struggles to create, develop, or maintain healthy relationships. It often seems as though it is impossible for them to adequately meet the social norms or stereotypes that are presented as acceptable. As a result, social events become nerve wracking, dating may be non-existent, and family critiques become far more painful and hurtful. This causes social avoidance and leads to a withdrawn life, low self-esteem, and many times to depression.
In order to tackle your anxiety, it is helpful to find out how you interact socially and how you feel about these interactions. Most clients are so distraught that they blame themselves for their inability to connect, further justifying their withdrawn lifestyle, instead of recognizing that their unaddressed anxiety is the cause of many connected items.
How Does Anxiety Impact Relationships?
As an exercise, I suggest that my clients write down the various ways in which they allow their anxiety to impact their emotions, health, lifestyle, and all their social relationships. While this can be difficult, it is imperative that we boldly address what we would like to make better. Identifying the common elements of their stress or reservation allows them to get involved in creating a plan for what they might gain from seeing a professional counselor.
Here are a few examples of how anxiety can affect your relationships:
- Fear of a panic attack may have isolated you from your friend group.
- Your fear of flying makes you refuse to go on trips.
- You project suspension and doubt toward your partner.
- Being overwhelmed by thoughts of failure has produced isolation from your loved ones.
Christian Counseling to Regain Control Over Your Anxiety
When dealing anxiety, having a helping hand can make all the difference. A Christian counselor can enable you to communicate your real concerns about your anxiety and help you to learn to regain control.