Every relationship has its own set of challenges. These challenges are part of the growth of both individuals as well as their relationships. But what could be worse than a challenge that causes suffering to your loved one within him and threatens the very relationship itself? What can you do as a partner to someone who suffers from social anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is the third most prevalent mental health problem in the United States and also the most misunderstood. Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is defined by Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) as “the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situation.” A person suffering from this mental illness ends up avoiding any sort of interaction. In extreme cases, a person can’t even get out of the house or make a call as they are overcome by anxiety and panic attack. Other people often take it as just mere shyness or poor social skills or worst just an act. However, Social anxiety disorder is in fact included in the list of mental and psychological disorders in the DSM-5 or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a mental illness that sometimes manifests and sometimes does not but like any other disease, it can be treated.
Loving someone with social anxiety disorder is indeed a very great challenge. Here are 4 Effective Ways for you to be able to nurture your relationship with someone living with social anxiety disorder:
- Don’t identify them with their condition
You should not reduce a person as merely the illness he or she has. It is but one dimension of his entire personality and that too a debilitating one. Be sure to appreciate other person’s positive traits. This will help that person to regain a sense of self-confidence based on those more favourable characteristics.
- Avoid making assumptions
When deciding where to spend time together for a date or just to go out, avoid assuming that what you find as enjoyable is also enjoyable for your partner. Although there are times when a person with social anxiety disorder can manage to face other people and seemingly overcome his situation, it is best to consult with your partner if your plan is favourable to him or her.
- Be extra patient
Considering how behavioural shift can escalate in your partner, you must practice more patience. When your partner starts to withdraw from social interactions or experiences panic attacks, muster all the patience you can, only to help the person get through this episode. Your presence and support actually helps lessening the occurrence of these episodes.
- Acceptance is dearly important
Acceptance is always a key to the success of any relationship. When you love a person, you love him or her for who he or she is. You accept both good and the bad. To deal with your partner’s social anxiety disorder is a test that you will have to endure to keep your relationship going.