Girlfriend with anxiety, how to help

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I've been dating a girl for a little over a year and within the last few months she has developed some anxiety problems. She says she has a hard time staying at places besides her apartment, which is beginning to be a problem since we live seperately and I am always going over there. This morning we were talking about it and she said that she needs her stuff, i.e. "what if i get cold and i need my blanket?". After she said that I laughed, I didn't mean to and I know it was the wrong thing to do but it's not like I don't have blankets at my place. She says she is stressed but we're both college students and her parents pay her rent and car payments and right now since it's summer she is only working at restaurant. I don't really know what she has to be stressed about.

Also she says she gets anxiety when she is hanging out with friends and stuff, but she does that multiple times a week, so I can't really tell if that's true. Part of me thinks she just doesn't want to come over to my place.

The reason I'm having a hard time understanding is I am currently paying two rents, working an unpaid internship and working a job at night with no support from my parents. Also I am a combat veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD when I got back from Afghanistan in 2011. I had a lot of problems coming home (couldn't drive, go to college classes, check out a grocery stores), but I overcame those problems and my stressors were more significant than hers by a long shot.

I know that every person is different and that her stress and anxiety affect her in the same way that my PTSD affected me, but it is hard to not tivialize her problems.

Can someone help me understand and offer any advice on how to help her?

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  • Posted

    Try to hold her a lot, run a warm/hot bath for her with lots of bubbles (maybe candles?)... If she likes hot tea, maybe suggest some chamomile? I really love the lavendar & chamomile tea. You could try holding her hand and letting her know that even though, you're not going through exactly what she's going through, you're still there for her and are not going to leave her side. (: Oh, and try to go on little walks with her. If there's trails and she doesn't mind nature, that could be fun for the both of you; a chance to talk about what's going on in your lives (not just about the anxiety & PSD, but other things, as well). Watch funny/romantic movies or shows.
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  • Posted

    You know your stressors were harder, but to her, her symptoms are very real and probably just as hard.. It just shows that you are much stronger than she is, which is fine.. Just maybe invite her over for a coffee. Let her know right after, she can leave. If she slowly starts staying there, she would more than likely learn to be able to stay there.. I just got my own place and for 3 months, I refused to stay with my fiance in our new place, I slept at my moms. Its the only place I truly felt safe. Her apartment is her safety blanket.. You can also try bringing some of her stuff there to make it feel a little more like home.. Does she have favorite foods and movies? Maybe have a date night at your house.
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  • Posted

    I'm actually having the same issue as your gf. In the past I was afraid to leave my house to go to work to go out to the store, etc. I was put on Zoloft. It was the best thing I have ever done. My life was back. I traveled which I would have never done in the past. I was on it for 2 years before my doctor took me off of it. I was off of it for 2 weeks and my life was in shambles. I was back to square one. I couldn't leave my house. And for no reason lol. It's funny how anxiety works.

    I'm back on now for a month now. And today was the first day I had panic since being back on. So my doctor has suggested I up my dose.

    Anxiety comes in waves. She may have panic disorder like me. Where she panics literally about everything with no reasoning it all.

    My boyfriend doesn't understand my anxiety at all and I can tell he gets very frustrated about it. I like to give him articles to read to better understand the situations. He tries his best to understand. And that's more than I need from him. It means a lot. And I'm sure if your gf new you were asking for help here she would appreciate it too.

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  • Posted

    It's easy to judge others when you feel that you've experienced worse things and I fall into that trap sometimes too but what is hard for someone depends on the person. It sounds like you basically had to fend for yourself for a while compared to your girlfriend who is lucky to have her parents still supporting her.

    I'm sort of experiencing the same thing, my partner has PTSD from deployment and I have anxiety (not enough to be considered PTSD) issues from childhood that makes it a little hard to get emotionally close to someone. I think for us, just understanding where the person is coming from helps, frustration is normal but try not to take it out on her because it might come off the wrong way. You can also just ask discuss your concerns with her instead of guessing and jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts.

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  • Posted

    If it begins to anger you that she has a panic disorder because of what you went through with ptsd then it might make sense to end the relatiinship. She really needs compassion. This is a disfunction and the fear you felt is the same fear she feels because an actual panic attack feels the same whatever the circumstance.
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