What It’s Like to Fall in Love When You Have Anxiety
This piece was written by Brianna Wiest, a Thought Catalog contributor.
Most of us like to believe in solutions – especially ones that come in the form of other people. We worry about a problem, fix the problem, the worrying goes away — we assume it all happens outside of us… until the worrying comes back. The trouble with assuming the problem is outside is that we always think the answer is, too.
Here’s the thing about falling in love when you live with anxiety: feeling happier about one part of your life doesn’t mean you’re less worried about others. When you intensify your sensitivity to one emotion, you do it across the board. Oftentimes, the more you love, the more you fear. Acquiring one great thing in your life doesn’t nullify the others. People think the solution to pain is joy, but it works the other way around too: the more receptive you are to happiness, the more receptive you are to everything else.
Falling in love when you have anxiety is all of these things. It often begins with the idea that another person will “fix it.” It may follow with the realization that they won’t. And then comes the important part, the real work of love. The dismantling.
Falling in love becomes a process of learning it’s OK. You get over your fears about being seen and known and loved, because one day at a time, one step at a time, one challenge at a time, you are. You may learn you can be comfortable naked, or that you can meet their friends and get along. You learn, mostly, that the things you’ve feared the most were actually things that would bring you so much happiness.
You may worry about silly, little things. You may overthink conversations, and fear how they see the roll of your stomach. You may think yourself in and out of situations that have no bearing in reality. You learn that love may not be the answer to anxiety, but it sure as hell is a great companion.
More than anything else though, you learn there’s something much more profound than being loved for being perfect, and that’s being loved even when you’re not. That’s oftentimes all we’re really trying to control with our anxiety anyway. We’re so often just filtering through fears about whether or not there are aspects of us that are undeserving of someone else’s affection.
When you fall in love when you have anxiety, you learn love isn’t what happens when it’s easy, it’s what happens when you choose each other in spite of the fact that it’s not.
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Unsplash photo via Haley Powers