Managing anxiety can be an overwhelming and exhausting undertaking, especially when the people around you don't understand it. One person you really need to get it? Your significant other. And when they do, it might be so exciting that you have to share it with the world. At least that's how Callie Theodore felt when she took to Facebook to share the sweet perfect response her boyfriend had to her anxiety-driven question.
"It's hard loving someone who suffers from anxiety. They will be over sensitive, they will make up scenarios in their head causing an argument, and constant reassurance is needed," Theodore wrote on Facebook.
Theodore shared a screenshot of her text conversation with her boyfriend, Chris Briggs. In it, she asks a question that many anxious girlfriends will be able to relate to: "Are we OK?"
Rather than becoming annoyed or exasperated by her worries, Briggs put himself in the running for Boyfriend of the Year with four simple words: "Very much so, honey."
It might sound too simple, but for someone who struggles with anxiety, that simple reassurance means everything.
In her Facebook post, Theodore continued, "Find yourself someone who doesn't make you feel like loving you is a job. Someone who will assure of you the little things. Someone who doesn't tell you that you're overreacting. Someone that will rock you on the floor in the dead middle of an anxiety attack. Find someone that no matter how hard you push them — they do not leave."
Those four little words helped Theodore understand that her loving boyfriend (who also lives with mental illness, she explained) is able to give her the support she needs.
"Dating someone with anxiety is like owning a beautiful house, but you don't have a key for it," Briggs told Refinery29. "You can't just break the door down, but you have to find some other way into it. You know how beautiful it is on the inside, but you have to let the walls come down on their own."
Theodore had some advice for people who are trying to manage their anxiety while in a relationship:
"Always communicate when you're feeling anxious and allow your partner to comfort you," Theodore told Refinery29. "You don't want to keep your negative thoughts bottled up until they unleash. Don't settle for someone who doesn't even attempt to understand you."
We love Theodore's perspective — anxiety doesn't have to be your whole identity, but it is a part of your life, so it's important that your other half is able to accept it and offer help when you need it.
"There are people out there like that. People that calm you and bring you a sense of security — that will be stronger than any dose of medication that can be prescribed," Theodore wrote. "You may have anxiety, but anxiety doesn't have you."