So this post is going to be very personal to me, but it’s something I’ve been going through recently. It is part of the reason I recently opened my mind up to my anxiety, medication and starting this blog. I want to talk about anxiety in relationships. I want to tell you about how I didn’t notice how my anxiety was affecting me and my relationship until after it ended. You know what they say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Before I say any more, let me give you a brief background. I had been dating this guy for almost two and half years when, out of the blue, the relationship ended. It completely threw me, and even though we broke up two months ago, there was a lot of weird back and forth between the two of us in those two months. The break-up process caused my anxiety to hit an all-time high. I couldn’t stop feeling anxious about the situation. I carried that anxiety with me everyday and everywhere. Why was I feeling anxious? The way we let things carry on it was like we were trying to leave the possibility of us “trying again” open. I knew what I wanted and what I was thinking, but I had no idea what he wanted or what he was thinking. One thing that’s important for you to know about me is that I like when I can control things. It gives me a sense of space, direction, and comfort. In this instance, I had no control. I couldn’t control his thoughts or feelings, and there wasn’t anything I could say or do to fully get him back. That sense of not having any control or influence over the situation scared me and caused my anxiety to skyrocket. It felt more intense than usual, and it wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t stay focused in my classes because I was consumed with so many anxious feelings and thoughts. It got so intense that even when I felt hungry or tired, I couldn’t eat or sleep. After a couple of days of barely eating and getting close to no sleep, I stopped and told myself “This is not okay.” As I mentioned in my other post, I was noticing an increase and severity with the skin picking as well. So I talked to my mom about it, and I decided to visit the doctor to talk about anxiety medication.
Now that I’ve told you the end of the story, naturally, I plan on telling you the first part. During the two years we dated, I noticed a slow, gradual change in my anxiety. I noticed it was getting a little harder for me. That tight feeling in my chest and that fuzziness in my head became more frequent. I would like to pause here to say this was not his fault or because of him. I honestly felt extremely comfortable around him. I knew I could be my crazy, awkward self and that he wouldn’t judge me. I knew I could be my true self around him. Here’s the thing about anxiety though, it’s not exactly logical or rational. Of course, I noticed my anxiety getting worse in other aspects of my life but I always chalked it up to being tired or having a bad day. I always had an excuse because I didn’t want to address the actual problem. Let me give you some examples of how it affected me and my actions within this particular relationship. When I wanted to do something as simple as sing or dance in the car, I couldn’t. He would be singing and dancing, and I wanted to do it with him, but as soon as I thought about it, I would freeze with fear. I would think things like “He will think I’m stupid,” “I can’t sing or dance good so I shouldn’t,” “What if he thinks it’s annoying and decides to leave me?” When I wanted to ask him something, I would just stop and stare at him because all of a sudden I was scared and I couldn’t talk. I would get so mad at myself. I thought “Why is it so hard for me to ask him to go get ice cream? It’s a simple question.” It was the little things like singing and dancing in the car that got so hard for me to do. There was this constant war inside my head of irrational thoughts vs. rational thoughts. I would think “He’s going to leave me because I didn’t smile at him when I walked in this morning,” “No Jennie, he would not leave for something stupid like that,” “What if he thinks I look stupid smiling every time?” I feel like my anxiety held me back in aspects of my relationship with him and although I don’t know how exactly, I am sure this all affected his side of the relationship as well. I would like to say that this post is not to shame him or put blame on him or be anything negative towards him or even to myself. I did not seek anxiety medication because of him. It just happened to be this particular situation that made me realize I could benefit from it. Not long before our relationship ended, he went with me to my first therapy session because I was scared to go alone. He helped me get started on my mental health journey and, for that, I am forever grateful.