I have had anxiety for as long as I remember and as I get older, it seems to be getting worse. I’m in therapy, but sometimes dealing with your deep-seeded issues makes things worse before they get better. I’m also in a great relationship and we’re about to get married. He’s the man of my dreams, and he loves me, anxiety and all — but it wasn’t always so happy. My anxiety puts a big weight on both of us, and we’ve had to learn how to make it work.
- I need excellent communication. My significant other and I probably communicate better than most couples. We talk it out, but that wasn’t always the case. I have to talk out my feelings before my anxiety level reaches its high. I need to be reassured verbally by him. I need to know what’s wrong when he’s in an off mood. Otherwise, I sit and stew in negativity until I reach a boiling point. But now it’s great: if we’re upset, we talk it out immediately.
- I need a lot of comfort. Some days are worse than others, and on those days, I crave physical touch. I just need the physical presence of someone I love. The longer I’m with him, the more he’s the only person I want when I’m anxious. The flip side is physical affection is great for healthy relationships, and we’ve got it down to an art.
- Sometimes I have to bail on plans. This is enough of an issue for introverts, but being an introvert with anxiety means a lot of canceled plans. Some days I just can’t push through and fake it. On days when I’ve been extra social and my anxiety is too high, I need a way out of plans. I used to find a lie; now I try to be honest about the reason I bail. This often means my significant other ends up socializing without me or staying home with me. He’s had to learn when he needs to go alone or when he’s OK with missing out on the fun.
- I always assume the worst. I know plenty of people with anxiety always assume their other half is cheating. For me, I’ve never worried about this. If his phone dies while he’s out, I usually assume he’s dead on the side of the road. We’ve gotten in many fights over this. He used to feel like I was smothering him when I was home calling all the local hospitals asking if he was there. We had to really learn to respect each other’s needs: I can’t worry till 30 minutes after he says he’ll be home, and he keeps a phone charger with him.
- Some days I’m extra needy. Most days, I’m really good at compromise. We can do what he wants or watch what he wants, or we can meet halfway. Other days, I need his undivided attention. I need to be the sole focus of his attention. I need excessive cuddles and words of affirmation. These are the days that the darkest thoughts are creeping in, and his presence keeps them at bay.
- Some days I’m withdrawn. On these days, the anxiety has nearly drowned me. I just need to lay and be lost in my head. On these days, I sleep a lot. If I’m awake, I’m using all of my leftover energy trying to force pleasant thoughts in my brain. These are the days I just need to know he’s in the other room and that he’s not leaving. I need him there in case I need rescuing from the demons I’m fighting.
- I love intensely. The upside of always worrying you’ll lose your loved ones is you never take them for granted. I know wholeheartedly how special this man is, and I try to let him know as often as I can. My biggest fear is that I would lose him, and he wouldn’t know for sure how much I love him. No one else can help me wrestle my own brain as much as him, so I love him completely and fervently.