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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / How to ask for space from partner in panic/anxiety

Topic: How to ask for space from partner in panic/anxiety

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. An Echidna
    An Echidna avatar
    1 posts
    14 September 2020

    Hi guys, first time posting...

    I’ve recently moved in with my boyfriend, who has been the most incredible support to me in my darkest moments, and is so so patient w my panicky anxiety/depression/mild BPD. He always wants to be there to support me, but often the only way I can calm down in a panic is to work though it alone.

    I always try to do this in the nicest way possible, but am often unable to talk or communicate effectively when in this space. Whenever I try to move away from him in a gentle way (e.g. breaking physical contact or moving to a different room) he gets really worried, and when I make it clear I want space for a bit he becomes despondent and sometimes almost seems angry... which kinda just upsets me more as I feel like I then have to support and comfort him while still trying to deal with my own breakdown.

    I’ve tried to talk to him about the fact that I sometimes just need a bit of space to sort myself out, but he doesn’t really seem to get it and just keeps reiterating that he doesn’t want me to push him away.

    Wondering if anyone has had a similar experience or could provide some advice for explaining it to him in a way that he might be able to understand better?

    Any help appreciated :) Thank you

  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10347 posts
    14 September 2020 in reply to An Echidna

    Dear An Echidna~

    I can only give you what I've though on for many years. When my PTSD, depression and anxiety became too much I wanted to be alone, and found even the most supportive actions by my wife, from asking how I was to offering a cupppa, would have a negative effect and often be met dismissively or even anger and resentment.

    I always wondered why. The conclusion I came to was that my brain was full to capacity with the thoghts generated by my condition, and there was literally no room or energy to deal with anyone else -no matter how well intentioned.

    I guess he feels frustration powerlessness, no roadmap to follow -and possibly even rejection as maidens always fall in the arms of the one they love during adversity.

    So I guess you are finding as I and many others have, that the supporters need training - to put it bluntly. If you give your doctor a list on what not to do, and then take your bf long to a consultation perhaps he will have the authority to explain successfully.

    Worth a go do you think?

    Croix

  3. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3078 posts
    15 September 2020 in reply to An Echidna

    Hi An Echidna,

    Welcome to the forums and thank you for joining us!

    I can see that Croix has already offered some really lovely support already.

    What you're going through I have been through myself too - sometimes it really helps for me to have some space, but like you my partner worries a bit and thinks I'm trying to push him away.

    One of the things that helped me and might help you - is having this conversation before it gets to that point where you are struggling and need some space. So as an example, you might say hey - when x happens - I feel y and I need z. Reinforcing that it's about you and your feelings and what you need in that moment, so that a) he's reminded that it's about you and not him and also b) in that moment he knows that you're not actually pushing him away.

    Another thing I do that might sound a bit silly is that I have a code word, so that if that happens then he knows I am totally okay but need some space for a little while.

    I hope this helps a little? I really appreciate you reaching out and kudos to you for taking care of your mental health :)

    rt

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