My girlfriend and I have been together for a few months now and she suffers from anxiety.
When we started dating I knew she had anxiety, she was upfront with what she had been through and what caused it and I've grown up with siblings and a parent who all suffered from one form of mental illness or another - so I never hesitated to think this was something I couldn't handle.
When something happens that we disagree with, I know myself and I know I need to take a few minutes by myself to process both sides of whatever we've just disagreed on. However, with her, I find that I no longer have that luxury as she'll instantly start to panic and her anxiety manifests into uncontrollable shakes, so I find myself putting my feelings about the situation to the side to comfort her and make sure she's ok and breathing properly - so I don't get an opportunity to process my feelings or even feel what I want to feel.
Recently, I had to have a conversation with her about the amount she messages throughout the day when I'm at work and I asked if we could please reduce (not stop all together) the amount we text during the day - I framed it in a way, that I need to concentrate at work, I can't be seen on my phone as much as I have been since we started dating and I feel that we're in a really great place as a couple that we don't need to give each other hourly updates of our day, these types of conversations can wait until we see other in person.
She argued that I was pushing her away and trying to put distance between us and it became this massive argument which that night, once again, resulted in a panic attack and uncontrollable shaking and two days of doubting that I wanted to still be together.
I'm now in a position where I don't feel we have created a safe space between each other to talk about difficult things without fear from myself that it's going to result in an attack. The alternative, which is keeping things to myself, isn't healthy and I'll eventually just bottle everything up and I have a lot of feelings I need to talk to her about, but I don't feel I can without causing another attack.
I'm after some advice on HOW TO HAVE A SAFE CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE WHO SUFFERS ANXIETY?