Anxiety Sucks! We all know this.. Life is hard with anxiety. You’re scared to do new things, meet new people, or sometimes, you’re scared to even let people know that you have anxiety. To throw another person into your life with all of this, another person that you have to spend a lot of time with, someone you’re expected to open up with, someone who you know will someday mean the world to you, makes things way more complicated..
Whether you’re dating someone WITH anxiety, you ARE someone with anxiety, or BOTH: dating in itself is a long and challenging road, but throw anxiety into the mix and it’s sometimes really crappy.
Now, I’m not saying that if you have anxiety, you shouldn’t go out on dates! And I’m certainly not saying that you should never date anyone with anxiety! (Please ‘don’t’ date people just because they have anxiety, unless you know that you can’t handle that.)
Let me tell you my story about dating with Anxiety..
I have anxiety (duh), and it sucks. I worry that I’ll have an anxiety attack if I leave the house, so I used to not leave the house much. That worry kept me from doing a lot of stuff when I first moved out of my parents house and in with my grandparents to help take care of them. It kept me from going out and going to events. It kept me from meeting new people. It kept me from going to college (at first). And it kept me from being a typical young adult.
My anxiety got worse the more I let it control my life.
Then I met a boy..
He got me out of my shell. He took me to so many places, and showed me so many new things. He was sweet, and he was patient with my anxiety. He made me feel ‘normal’. (Actually, any time I would tell him that I felt ‘normal’ around him, he would always tell me that it was because I WAS normal.)
We were perfect together, at first, because he understood my anxiety. But he couldn’t fully understand the mental battle going on in my mind..
I was getting better at first. I could go more places. But even though I looked calm on the outside, I was still constantly worried about having an anxiety attack every time we went out somewhere.
And then it happened.. My worst nightmare.
One day, I got sick while we were out, and I had to be taken home. It wasn’t anxiety that made me sick that time, but I blamed it on my anxiety. Because I got sick and had to go home, I made this amazing guy miss out on something he really wanted to do. After that, I was terrified that it would happen again. So I stopped wanting to go out and do new things. I didn’t want to be the reason he missed out on life..
I blamed myself for my anxiety. I hated having anxiety. Anything I did that was new seemed to trigger it to come back again. So I wanted to do the same things over and over, because it was safe. I kept away from anything that was ‘new’. But that wasn’t a very exciting life..
Patience, turned to impatience, and eventually we broke up.
There were so many more factors to why it ended. Anxiety wasn’t the reason it ended, but it was a big part of it. No one can ‘fix’ me, I am who I am. And I am someone who is going to live the rest of my life dealing with my anxiety.
A wise man once told me;
‘No one can fix you,
because there’s nothing wrong with you.
You’re not broken..’
Dating with Anxiety takes its tole on you.
Anxiety attacks are tough. They make you feel like you’re drowning inside, and no one can see it. You put on a brave face, because you don’t want to sound like you’re ‘whining’, or ‘seeking attention’. You push people away, because you think that it’ll be easier to live when you’re not constantly letting people down. You isolate yourself, and you tell yourself things that aren’t true.
It’s hard to break out of that funk. It’s hard to let people in. And it’s hard to love someone, when the main word you use to describe yourself is ‘anxiety’.
When you have someone in your life that you’re dating, that person is going to end up meaning the world to you. Most the time, they end up being your rock. You end up depending on them a lot (probably more than you should). And if that person starts to become the cause of your anxiety, it can feel like a crushing weight that leaves you crippled.
Anxiety takes its tole on you, both mentally and physically. Sometimes you need to be alone, other times you need people there with you. It’s a hard thing to try to balance.
You have to remember to take care of yourself, but you also have to remember to not isolate your partner ether..
Advice For Dating With Anxiety:
- Be straight forward. If someone asks you out on a date, let them know that you have anxiety. Don’t let them find out half way through the date when you’re hyperventilating and having a panic attack..
- Never assume that someone won’t understand you’re anxiety. People always surprise you, and anxiety is everywhere now. That easy-going person you’re crushing on that looks like they live a care-free life, could just as easily have anxiety or depression.. They could know exactly what you’re going through right now, but you never gave them a chance because you assumed wrong.
- Likewise; Never assume that dating someone will be the solution to your anxiety. Dating someone when you have anxiety can go ether way. They could ether be really good for you, or they could make your anxiety worse. It’s a coin toss really.. It depends on who the person is, what their intentions are, what type of anxiety you have, and how different/similar your lives are.
- Know what you can handle, and don’t be afraid to speak up when you need to. Only you know what your boundaries are, no one can read your mind or know what you’re feeling. So if someone is trying to get you to do something that you know your anxiety can’t handle, speak up! I know that speaking up can cause anxiety sometimes, but the person you’re with needs to know these things in order to help you in the future.
- Don’t feel like you have to change yourself or be someone you’re not. You rock! You’re awesome! Sure, you have anxiety, and you may feel like that’s a bad thing.. But don’t ever try to change yourself because someone can’t handle you. (You’ll get burned out if you do that.) Just be you, and eventually, someone will come around that loves all of you, for exactly who you are.
Advice For Dating Someone With Anxiety:
- Don’t complain about our how ‘unconvenient’ our anxiety is.. We are already hard enough on ourselves as it is. We know our anxiety is unconvenient. We know we can’t do things most people can do. And we know we make dating tough. What we need YOU to do, is to be understanding about our anxiety (and not to think about it as a joke).
- Be patient with us. We’re trying to do our best. The more patient you are with our anxiety, the easier it will be for us to trust you.
- Never try to push us into anything we don’t want to do. We’re good at knowing what our limitations are. Although yes, sometimes we’re surprised with what we can do, that is our decision on whether or not we want to push ourselves past those limitations.
- Never try to ‘fix’ us. We’re not a weekend project that you can just ‘work on’ and ‘fix’. Depending on what type of anxiety the person you like has, they could have it for LIFE. This is something we live with, and it’s a battle we have to fight every day. We don’t need someone to come onto the battle field expecting to sleigh the anxiety monster for us. What we need is a strong partner who is willing to fight with us, against a monster that will probably never die.
- Don’t get annoyed when we can’t do simple things. Things like; ordering food, asking strangers questions (or anyone questions for that matter), calling someone for any reason, filling out paperwork, having to go somewhere by ourselves, or anything else like that that you may think is ‘silly’. It’s not as easy for us. But we’re trying.
- Never tell us that it’s all in our heads.. We KNOW it’s all in our heads! That’s the problem! If it was something physically wrong, it would be easier to deal with. But because it IS all in our heads, it’s harder to handle, and harder for people to understand.
There is hope..
Dating with anxiety doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Sure, it’ll probably start out that way, but the more comfortable you get with each other, the easier it will feel (most of the time) to date each other without anxiety getting in the way.
Dating with anxiety is tough, but not impossible!
If you’re lucky enough to date someone with anxiety, you’re in for a treat. People with anxiety are some of the most sweetest and thoughtful people I’ve met. They’ll make you see the world in a different way, they’ll make you smile, they’ll usually pick up on exactly how you’re feeling, and they’ll always try to show you how much they love you.
If you’re lucky enough to date someone with anxiety while you have anxiety, then you’ll probably be lucky enough to have someone who understands you and your anxiety. When both people have anxiety (even it it’s different kinds of anxiety they have), more often than not, they will understand each others anxiety on some level. It sucks when someone you love can’t understand what you’re going though, or why. So when you find someone who’s going through it too, you have that magical connection that not many people can understand.
If you’re lucky enough to have the courage to date when you have anxiety, and the person you’re dating doesn’t have anxiety, then consider yourself very lucky. Think about it! You now have someone who can order those pizzas that you’re too scared to order over the phone! But seriously.. This person is likely to teach you a thing or two about getting out of your comfort zone, as well as how to live life a way you’re not used to living. Dating someone who doesn’t have anxiety can sometimes be calming. They teach you how to treat yourself better, and they remind you to try not to worry so much. (Although, actually telling someone with anxiety not to worry, is like telling a fish not to swim..)
Life is hard.
But life is also what you make it.
So make your decisions count..
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