These tips on helping your boyfriend cope with anxiety and panic attacks will give you ideas on how to support him. Men who struggle with panicky, anxious feelings may feel vulnerable and embarrassed. They may not want to talk about their feelings, which is why a book may help.
These tips on helping boyfriends cope with panic attacks are inspired by a reader who says: “My boyfriend has suffered from severe depression since he was young,” says K. on When Your Partner is Depressed. “Last September, he quit his job due to high stress and has been unemployed for a year. He is still searching for a job, which led him to another round of severe anxiety and depression. He blames himself, has panic attacks, and pities himself. How can I help him?”
Your boyfriend may withdraw because he feels trapped and stressed. He may feel emotionally suffocated and overwhelmed by your love and attention – but it’s not you who is causing his anxiety and stress. His anxiousness is already there; your presence simply ignites it. If you tend to feel insecure or jealous, your boyfriend will feel more anxiety and stress. It’s important to be objective, to observe how your boyfriend’s anxiety affects you. If you can observe how your response affects your boyfriend’s anxiety, you’re already moving towards healing and freedom.
When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life is a bestselling resource on coping with panic attacks. The more you learn about panic attacks (why they occur, who is most likely to get them, and how to treat your boyfriend’s panic attacks), the better able you’ll be to help your boyfriend.
Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Panic and Anxiety
Here’s the rest of my reader’s comment: “He fears he might not be able to find a job,” says K. “He feels helpless, and told me it’s like there is a person inside him, telling him he is useless, not worth, will not find a job, etc. I have tried to make him positive again, but it’s no use. I tried finding courses so he can refocus while waiting for a job. But he refused to enroll in it. I keep encouraging him, but I’m slowly becoming exhausted. I think he is moving from depression to psychosis. Because he has no money, he can’t go to a psychologist. What should I do?”
These tips aren’t for when your boyfriend is actually having a panic attack. Rather, they are general tips for supporting a boyfriend who suffers from panic attacks. (It just occurred to me that I should write an article on what to do when your boyfriend is having a panic attack!).
Panic and anxiety attacks are physiological responses to stress, depression, and life events. They’re not a matter of mood swings or having the blues – your boyfriend’s panic attacks are a serious emotional health issue that requires professional treatment. No matter how much you love your boyfriend – or how much he loves you – you can’t just jolly him out of his feelings.
Give your boyfriend resources for treating panic attacks. You don’t necessarily need to purchase programs like Panic Away, especially if spending money makes you anxious! Go to a social services agency in your area, and get pamphlets on coping with anxiety and panic attacks. See if there are support groups for people with panic disorders. Talk to a counselor, and ask about free treatment groups, programs, or workshops.
Provide your boyfriend with materials and resources on coping with panic attacks, such as Panic Away: How to Stop Panic Attacks and End General Anxiety. Don’t push him to listen to all the CDs or talk to a counselor about panic attacks. Instead, give him information and resources, and let him make the decision to help himself.
You have to let go of the need to nurture and help him. I know how hard it is to see a loved one suffer, but you can only walk alongside him. It may not seem like you’re doing enough because he’s still suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, but you’re doing all you can do.
Remember that he has to decide to help himself…and let go. This is the hardest part of helping a loved one cope with a serious illness. You need to find the balance between being there for him, but setting your boundaries. You can’t force him to read books or join a support group.
Remember that you can’t just “cheer him up.” Anxiety about not having a job or possibly being unemployed indefinitely is normal. But, sometimes anxiety escalates to panic attacks…which happens to millions of men who feel overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. You’re standing by him, and though it doesn’t seem like enough…it is. This is why it’s so important to create a life you love; it’ll help you let go.
The best way to stop your boyfriend’s panic attacks from ruining his health and your relationship is to gather as much helpful information as you can. In How to Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Relationship, I describe a dietary supplement called ZenRX. But, I wouldn’t recommend you buy your boyfriend anything – even a natural supplement – to stop panic attacks.
Quick Tips for Helping Your Boyfriend With Anxiety
Here are a few ideas that may help…
- Enlist the help of someone he respects and admires – a brother, uncle, father, friend, pastor, ex-coworker, etc. Ask that man to invite your boyfriend for coffee.
- Get a volunteer job, and invite your boyfriend to join you (eg, walking dogs for the humane society, dishing up meals for homeless people, etc).
- Take a class together – yoga, ballroom dance, kayaking.
- Get a life – and enjoy it! Don’t dwell in his misery, anxiety, and panic. Detach from his depression, and free yourself. He may find the motivation he needs in your happiness and fulfillment.
What will motivate your boyfriend to get help with anxiety and panic attacks depends on his personality, lifestyle, perspective, and journey. There are no “pat” answers that help everyone. For instance, one guy might find that dog walking is exactly what he needs, while another might need a week-long camping trip with his buddies.
The trick is encouraging him to try different things until he finds what works. One of my favorite books ever is Kitchen Table Wisdom – Stories That Heal. It contains stories about being knocked down by physical and emotional health problems, and offers amazing advice for healing and becoming stronger and healthier because of the illness.
If you have any tips or thoughts on helping a boyfriend or loved one overcome anxiety and panic attacks, please comment below.