“I can’t have a relationship… I have anxiety”
This was a constant thought in my head about 6 or so months ago. I was very lonely, wanting someone to share my life with. But my previous relationships all ended because of the anxiety that I suffer from as far as I’m concerned. My anxious thoughts kill relationships. They kill any chance I have at having something good.. at least so I thought.
I know very well that I am a handful. Not many people understand the effect of anxiety and what it does to a person. I don’t even understand what it does to me either. But all I know is that I am a completely different person when I am having a panic attack, I cry uncontrollably and hyperventilate. I can’t bring myself out of a panic attack, I just have to sit with it and let it do its thing.
The only problem with relationships, is that my anxiety is heightened. I’m not just thinking of myself anymore, but I’m thinking of my partner to. I find myself worrying whether they’ll still love me after they witness me having a panic attack, or whether they’ll still love me in the midst of a depressive episode. I’ll tell myself they deserve better, because I just cannot seem to think rationally in a relationship.
Just wait, there is hope!
Back at the end of January, my current partner asked me out on a date. I was hesitant because I knew that eventually I would have to talk about my panic attacks, and what the root of them is.
He had already tried taking me on dates countless times before this. I would usually say yes, end up flaking at the last minute because my head would make me think that was no point. It wasn’t going to go anywhere. But this time, something felt different. I felt more comfortable. I think it helped that I had actually already kissed him a couple of weeks before hand, it might have been just a drunken kiss for him. But for me, it felt amazing. I actually didn’t even remember it until one of my friends told me that I kissed him, and as soon as they told me, it was like a switch flicked and I remembered instantly! I almost felt in love already.
Valentines day came and I was unbelievably nervous. I considered cancelling, saying that I was sick. Usually my mind wins, but this time, for once, I didn’t want it to. I sat with the uneasy feeling in my stomach and just accepted it.
The date was perfect. Everything I ever wanted. I knew on that first date that he was what I had been looking for my whole life.
Personally, I think the fact that he put in a ridiculous amount of effort just to take me on a date really helped me feel at ease, and be more comfortable with stepping outside of my comfort zone (ironic, right?)
It has now almost been 5 months, but I am the happiest I have ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I still have panic attacks and he has seen my cry on way too many occasions but he knows how to help me and calm me down.
I know it is hard for people living with mental illness to think that they can find love, but let me tell you, you will know when you’ve found the one. And you will go through hell and back if it means that you can just be with them.