8 Reasons I'm Afraid of Love as Someone With Anxiety
This piece was written by Heather Elizabeth, a Thought Catalog contributor.
1. Love is scary. It’s full of feelings I’m not sure how to handle. As an anxious person, I have a fear of unexpected things. I like control. I want to be able to prepare. When falling in love, you never know what’s going to happen or what you’re going to feel, and to me, that’s scary.
2. It can’t be controlled. As much as I’m would like to control everything I can to lessen the anxiety around me, love is something that is uncontrollable. Sometimes I’m able to just let go and feel all those warm-n-fuzzies, but other times, I’m left feeling as though my world has just turned upside down and I’m not sure what to do. That leaves me feeling anxious.
3. I worry my illness can become a burden. I have learned to hate this word — burden. The connotation it carries is unfair at times. But, I understand it. Anxiety has the ability to make me irritable, obsessive, sad, lonely and so many other feelings I’m not so great at handling. The last thing I want is to feel like I’m just making my new lover’s life harder on them.
4. I will pull away. At one point or another in a new relationship, my feelings will get the best of me, and I will retreat back into my turtle shell of loneliness. Why? Because sometimes the world just gets to be too much. And on a “too much day,” I just need to feel like I’m in control. Pulling back is one way to do that for a lot of people who live with anxiety. When I’m anxious, I feel I can do a lot better alone, even when I desperately want my new love there to calm me.
5. I worry about the future. This is a common thing for people in a new relationship, but those with anxiety often have an uncontrollable tendency think about those past, present and possible futures all at once and create a mess of thoughts. Sometimes I can dream of the best future possible and make myself happy. Other times, I also have the innate ability to prepare for the worst and make myself sad with overthinking the bad. Those things can be overwhelming.
6. The word “love” can make me cringe. I have self-esteem issues. Sometimes I feel like I’m just not worthy of such a major emotion. Everyone wants to feel love and be loved at one point or another in their life, but as someone with anxiety and self-esteem issues, this just doesn’t feel possible for me all the time.
7. I’m afraid to ask for help from a new partner. The relationship is new. It’s fresh. Why would I want to darken it with my secret mental illness? That term alone is enough to scare some away. Lets face it, “mental illness” isn’t exactly something I want to wear on my name tag.
8. If I do continue my journey into the big, scary world of “love” and someone wants to help me deal with my anxiety, great! Sadly, you will probably be asking the question, “how can I help you when it just gets to be too much?” Guess what my answer might be? “I have no idea.” That’s right. I often have absolutely no idea how to voice my thoughts and feelings. Over the years, I’ve learned to keep some ideas in my back pocket on how to help, but they don’t always work.
Basically, I’m just like everyone else when it comes to fears of love… Multiplied by one hundred. I want love. I believe everyone does. I’m just scared no one will put up with my daily battles and nervous behaviors.
But I believe — even as an anxious person — fighting and going through the journey of love, however scary it may be, is well worth the shot at it. Just to say I tried.
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Unsplash photo via Sam Burriss