We often quite unknowingly dismiss anxiety as some sort of worrisome problem that people have. Unfortunately, I have been one of these people that presumed that anxiety was just another way of informing others about stress. I have used the word jokingly and never understood the precise definition of what it means to be a person with anxiety. However my perspective about anxiety changed when I met the woman of my dreams. As a woman living with anxiety, she explained to me what it really was. Even though her explanation was thorough I was still not able to grasp what it meant due to my preconceived notions. This was a struggle on my part because I was stubborn to learn about it. At first when any problems occurred I would get defensive and often think only of my own personal outlook on the matter. However she was patient and guided me along the way.
I learned to not get defensive or take her anxiety personally, because at the end of the day we are a team. I was able to put myself in her shoes and try to figure out ways to show her I was there for her. I let her know that I was a safe space to vent, and that I wouldn’t take it personally if she pulled away. I wanted her to be able to lean on me if she needed to and I wanted to understand what it really meant to have anxiety. I was able to have conversations with her regarding my thoughts about anxiety and how it differed from the ideas that I learned about after our talks. These open conversations, at the end of the day, were the key to familiarizing myself with anxiety. Conversations and communication are key ways to help strengthen and build on the foundations of all relationships. I found it really useful to check in and ask how I could best support her, rather than try to decide for her what would help. Through these conversations and my drive to see past the stigma, I understood that what I had heard about anxiety through media outlets were often inaccurate to a high degree, and that every individual seeks support in different ways. I want to thank her for educating me along the way and helping me be a part of her support system.
~ Jatin Kumar