Anxiety · Relationships

Significant Others & Anxiety

“Oh, you started a blog? Can I read it?”


I’m sitting here with a glass of wine (a rarity for me on a weekday) mulling over the above conversation and how odd it is that the person who should know the most about me/my anxiety is the person that I try the hardest to hide it from. My husband. With whom I do everything in my power NOT to talk about my mental health.

Admittedly, this is ridiculous. We live together, it’s pretty hard to hide when your mental health is not stellar from someone who is around you each night. He knows I experience anxiety, particularly social anxiety. It’s what keeps me from wanting to go hang out with our friends on the weekends, what causes me to decline attending his work events (for the first year his work teased him about not believing I was a real person – so now he keeps a picture of our wedding on his desk), what causes me to recoil every time he suggests traveling to see an old friend of his, and occasionally (not proud of this one) what, in the past, caused me to drink too much when I was around his friends to help me make it through an evening with people I barely knew. He’s pretty darn familiar with my anxiety. No doubt he’s been making excuses for years to explain my behavior.

Nevertheless, I prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist. I can talk about it in the abstract – that I have it, it’s often a problem, and these are the situations when it typically increases. But, for whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to point out my anxiety in the moment. It’s too hard for me to say “I feel really anxious today and I don’t know why” or “my anxiety made it really hard to do ___ today and I did/did not do what I needed to.”  Instead I use code words (I know they’re code words, I haven’t figured out if my husband does) like “I’m really tired,” “I don’t feel well,” or “It was just a tough day.”

I’m aware that this is poor communication on my part. If I had a client doing this I would urge them to work on their communication skills ASAP. I’ve made great strides since moving back to my hometown in talking to my parents and siblings openly about my anxiety (wish I could have done that as a teenager). I can talk to friends about it until I’m blue in the face. But, I hit this roadblock when I think about being brutally honest with my husband. Maybe it’s part of my own denial – if I can make him think that I’m ok then it’s easier to lie to myself when I’m struggling. Maybe I just don’t want to appear weak or needy to him. Whatever it is, it’s dysfunctional and I need to work on it. End of musings.

I’m including a picture of my puppy because he is too cute for words and it’s a happy way to end this post about my dysfunctional communication habits. Tell me he doesn’t have the sweetest face! He’s chilling in my big reading chair in my office, where he usually hangs out while I do my classwork each night. 

6 thoughts on “Significant Others & Anxiety

  1. Hi! I am not sure if you still actively keep up your blog, but I just found it and read through your posts over the last day or two. So many posts resonated with me, and I found myself thinking, “Yes! Me too!” Your description of phone anxiety was perfect. I also feel much safer making phone calls in my car.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It is always helpful and validating in a way to read about how others experience and manage their social anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad that my experiences resonated with you. I have not been active with my blog lately but plan to pick things back up. I hope you will come back. I’ve got lots of thoughts in my brain that I’m eager to get out to others. The phone thing is a constant struggle for me, ever since I was a kid. I can’t tell you how thankful I was when I first realized I could order pizza online and not have to make the phone call!


  2. I feel for you and how hard it is to really openly talk to your significant other about your anxiety. I am currently not in a relationship though I imagine I would have the same issue if I were. I’m very private about my social anxiety in real life, and only a few friends I trust actually know how much it has affected me and even then, I have difficulty being comfortable talking about it in their presence. Even with the ones that have social anxiety like me, there’s certain stuff in social situations that may be uncomfortable for me but not for them, so it’s hard to be upfront and just say, “hey this is making me anxious, I’m going to go outside to cool off” and instead I just try to bear it.


    1. Thank you for your comment Nat! For some reason a notification didn’t pop up that I had a new comment. I appreciate you sharing your experiences with trying to discuss your anxiety with others. Talking about anxiety is so anxiety-provoking! Sometimes the experience of anxiety is so common for me that I feel like I’m being over-dramatic if I bring it up whenever it happens (which I’m not, but that’s what my anxious mind tells me). It feels like such an endless cycle sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries, I am glad to hear from you.

        I often wonder too if I’m being overdramatic with my anxiety. I feel incredibly alone when I am anxious because it feels so out of control and almost like no one else has felt what I’ve felt. And I know that’s not true but in the moment it’s hard to make myself believe that.


      2. Exactly! In the moment it’s so hard for that rational/wise mind to make itself known. On my good days I can make it happen. On my not-so-good days it feels impossible.

        Liked by 1 person

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