To My Future Partner: Here's Everything You Need to Know About My Anxiety
This piece was written by Kirsten Corley, a Thought Catalog contributor.
It seems weird telling you this because it isn’t something I like talking about. It isn’t something I completely understand. And it’s something I learn more about each day, through my own life and my own research. Let me start by saying I am no expert in the field. I don’t know if this is what everyone experiences, but this is what I deal with.
This is what I live with and while most the time it’s going to seem I have it all together and things are fine there are going to be moments where I break down for no rhyme or reason.
There are moments you are going to have to pick me up off the floor crying because something went wrong. There are going to be moments where you can’t fix this thing I’m dealing with and just like the way I have to deal with it, it’s something even if I don’t want you to, you are going to have to deal with too.
You won’t notice a lot of things at first. What you will notice are the cuts around my fingers, the scabs I try to hide on my lips when you kiss me, the biting of my nails and the foot tapping.
You’ll watch me pace around before we have to be somewhere and constantly look at the clock.
You’ll see me look at my phone every few minutes, wondering why so-and-so hasn’t answered. It’s not just an individual or you I wonder about or sent multiple texts to — it’s everyone.
You’ll notice how I can’t sleep through the night and how I toss and turn most of the time to a point where it might wake you up.
Those are the things you notice in the beginning.
As you get to know me, at first you’ll admire my work ethic and accomplishments. It’ll be something you try to keep up with. It’ll be something you’re proud of.
But the dark truth behind such success isn’t striving to be my best but rather a lie I’m praying doesn’t become reality. And that lie tells me I’m going to fail. I’m going to get fired if I’m not number one. I’m going to let people down if I don’t pull this off. On the surface, I’ll be calm but under that is a feeling of inferiority of never being good enough and that comes out in the form of taking on too much sometimes.
In the beginning, you’ll see how important my relationships are to me. As you get to know me, you’ll watch as I invest a lot into others and overcompensate.
And you might tell me, “that person might not do the same for you, why are you trying so hard?” The truth is I will always give more than I’m getting. And I’d love to say it’s because I’m a good person but the truth is, it stems from an insecurity of people leaving and me wanting to prevent that.
In regards to our relationships, you might feel a sense of guilt for all I do. I’ve had people tell me to do less stop trying so hard. But it is in my nature to do those things. And instead of trying to change that about me, please accept it and know everything I do for you, I’m happy about and you don’t owe me anything.
As you get to know me, you’ll notice I turn back around often before we leave just to ensure everything is locked. You’ll hear me question and doubt myself multiple times, wondering if I turned something off or left it on. What you won’t see are the images of the worst case scenario playing out in my mind of what could happen.
The words “what if” are devil things that dictate my life.
As you get to know me more, you’ll notice I do a double take in every mirror. You’ll notice how I hate every picture we take. You’ll watch me change outfits multiple times before going out and I’ll ask your opinion but the honest truth is, I’m not really listening or believing what you say.
As you get to know me, you’ll realize how fixated I am about flaws you might not even notice. The truth is as good enough as I might be for you, I’m not good enough for myself and these unrealistic standards I have for the life I’m living.
No matter what you tell me, I’ll never feel good enough. And that anxiety comes out in the form of perfectionism. It’ll come out in moments where I break down because I’m second or I’ve messed up.
As we talk more, you’ll listen as I play out scenarios in my head and possible reasons my best friend might be mad at me. And it might be nothing. In fact, most the time it’s nothing.
But in moments after I might have messed up or I might not hear from someone in a while, my first thought is going to be, “it’s me that did something wrong.” I always try and fix problems I create myself.
In regards to our relationship, we might fight. Most the time it’ll come out in the form of something I’m insecure about. And I know it makes me seem unattractive. But if you can work with me through it, we can make this thing work.
I will over-explain everything. This is where you are, this is what you’re doing, this is why you didn’t answer. To you, it might not seem like much but to me, it’s everything.
My lack of trust isn’t towards you but rather a history I fear will repeat itself. I’m going to do everything very cautiously when it comes to us.
My anxiety stems from a lot of things in my past I don’t want to be my future. And I know I cannot blame you for that or hold it against you, but you should know this is why I am the way I am. And I’ve been this way for a while.
In time as you get to know me more, you’ll see firsthand the overanalyzing, the overthinking and situations played out from every angle.
As you get to know me more you’ll see me smile across the room and you’ll know something is wrong. You’ll see me standing there calmly engaging in conversation fidgeting with my ring and you’ll see something no one else does.
When we are out or drinking, the night will play out in one of two ways: I’ll either be fine or I will be so uncomfortable in public I’ll choose to leave or pick my poison in the form of hard alcohol. At first, it’ll seem fine and I’m finally talking and engaging in conversation, then it won’t be — and you’ll be the one helping me into a cab.
Regardless of how the night plays out, I’ll wake up the next day really embarrassed and really sorry.
Moral hangovers are the worst type of hangovers for anyone who has anxiety.
As you really get to know me, you’ll see how punctual I am. You’ll see how much I love planning things but more than that, I love controlling them.
The sense of wanting to control everything and lacking spontaneity comes because of this thing I can’t control.
While I might get everything done when I need to, you’ll also realize how much I procrastinate on things. I hold everything off until the last minute out of fear of things not working out. Which is like an oxymoron, I know.
I’m painfully aware of the flaws I struggle to accept but live with. But I’m trying.
Beyond all of that, beyond the nail biting and the restless nights of sleep and the fear that dictates my life is someone who truly cares about others and doesn’t want to hurt them.
And if you can deal with the little things that come with being with me, I can promise you, you’ll get someone who will love you unconditionally.
You’ll get someone who is honest and punctual and answers texts too quickly that probably took me five minutes to write.
You’ll get someone who really cares about you and will do anything to make you happy.
You’ll get someone who thinks a little too deeply about what to get you for the holidays, but it’ll probably be good.
And you’ll get someone who might see flaws within themselves but will look at you like you are the best thing that’s happened to them.
You’ll get someone who constantly builds you up until you believe it but more that, you’ll get someone who might be a little difficult at times but I’ll never stop trying for you. I’ll never give up on you and I will never walk away no matter how much you challenge me.
So more than anything, I’d like to conclude with thank you. Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for trying to understand. Thank you for loving me in moments I’m still learning to love myself and thank you for trying to make this work.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Getty images photo via Grandfailure