It’s not you, it’s my anxiety
The only healthy long-term relationship I had was with my anxiety medication.
Image courtesy of FashionFoodTwins.
There’s really no other feeling like being in love. Just the mere thought of even being in the same room with that special someone fills your stomach with butterflies, leaving you smiling like a lovestruck fool. They become your first thought when you wake up and the last one before you fall asleep. They’re the wind beneath your wings, the light of your life, the cheese to your macaroni. The sun shines a little brighter, birds are singing, all of those silly love songs start making sense and everything feels right! Well, as someone with anxiety, that’s not always the case.
There are moments where I can’t tell if my heart is racing because I’m about to see my partner or because I’ve already thought of every worst-case-scenario as to how this relationship is going to crumble right before my very eyes. My significant other and I might be sending late night texts, filled with heart emojis and sweet nothings, but like clockwork, my anxiety-ridden thoughts begin to creep up causing a wave of panic and doubt. Questions like, ‘Do they really love me?’ and ‘Aren’t they sick of me yet?’ flood my head until I can’t help but ask them in order to gain some sort of reassurance.
I like to best describe anxiety as having what feels like a never ending argument with your brain about what you should and shouldn’t waste your time thinking about. It’s exhausting to say the least.
Now I’m not saying that people with anxiety can’t have healthy, long-lasting relationships, it just isn’t always easy. Anxiety can be debilitating and no matter how much I know my partner loves me with every fibre of their being, my anxiety likes to tell me otherwise. But this isn’t a death sentence to any semblance of a good relationship.
At the ripe age of twenty-five, I have had my fair share of relationships that have negatively influenced my mental health. While it may sound a bit cliché, the best way to not only deal with your anxiety but to allow your partner to understand what you’re going through is communication. Be as transparent as possible and educate your partner about your triggers, why you haven’t been acting like yourself lately, why you called them twenty times last night and that you’re doing your best to improve your health.
But lest we forget about the other person’s feelings and mental health. Being with someone with anxiety can be overwhelming especially if you don’t have as much experience with dealing with it or you don’t have it. It’s important to consider their feelings as well. It can make all the difference in the world if you take the time to stop yourself from projecting your worries and insecurities about your relationship onto your partner.
Although everyone is different, the method that is most effective for me is writing down notes that are clearly visible for me to look at when I’m starting to feel a panic attack coming on. The notes usually contain little words of encouragement, reminder to take my medication and breathing exercises. Bonus points if you can have your significant other to write a few.
In the end, the right person will not only make an effort to understand what you’re going through but they will motivate you to work on getting better. While you’re probably sick of hearing it, your anxiety will not control your life and happiness forever.
Now do me a favor, unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath and let yourself fall in love.