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Why My Dating Life Gets Complicated When Anxiety Is Part of the Equation

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We’ve all met that person. The one that piques your interest from the moment you see them. Good for you — or not — they invoke a reaction from you that you cannot control. It’s pure physical chemistry and it hits you so hard that you have to peruse this. This chemical reaction is enough to make anyone do some pretty crazy things but when you combine it with anxiety, things can get pretty messy real quick.

I have a tendency to come off as “completely crazy” to anyone I am truly interested in. Things get really complicated when you introduce romantic interest into the equation. In fact, for me that’s usually the kiss of death. The stronger the feelings I have, the more likely it is that I’m going to have zero control over my feelings and emotions when it comes to you. I’ve seen this happen in my own life many more times then I’d like to admit. Everything seems to be going along great, I’m in control of my life, my mind and my emotions and then I meet someone and suddenly I’m a mess and everything is falling apart.

You have to understand, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. Which means that if I’m interested in you, I’m interested in you all the time — 24 hours a day, I’m going to be thinking about it and analyzing every interaction we’ve ever had. I’m going to wake up thinking about how I can next interact with you, spend all day waiting for your response and then analyzing that until eventually I go to sleep thinking of the best plan of action for our next encounter.

It becomes an obsession. All day long, thoughts swirl around and around the same thing and they just take over. I catch myself thinking and analyzing when you are trying to do other things, and sometimes you even stop doing other things. I’ve found myself sitting for hours lost in a loop of thoughts just sitting, staring out into the room or pacing back and forth. Then the physical symptoms start. If things are going well, I’m on a high, nothing can touch me. But if I have even the slightest inkling that things are not great, my body goes into full crisis mode. I’ve had times when I couldn’t eat or sleep for days, my palms and other parts of my body are just sweaty and gross and if I don’t focus on breathing, I’m likely to throw up or pass out.

This is when anxiety really comes out to play. I start to find hidden meanings in things that just simply are. My brain runs wild with worst-case scenarios and situations where everyone is against me. I tell myself stories about how this game is designed to hurt me and that somewhere, someone is watching this all unfold and is laughing at me and my exposed heart.

At first, I try to ignore it. I recognize this for what it is — anxious thoughts being magnified due to my other feelings — but anxiety is so convincing. It will not let up until I believe these thoughts with every fiber of my being. I start to make connections that aren’t there and find “proof” that everything anxiety is telling me is truth. I just can’t let it go, it swirls around in my head over and over until I just have to say something.

I become critical and accusing towards the person. They don’t know where this is coming from, nor do they understand it. They have no idea how my thought process created this monster inside my head, or what it’s been like to have it haunting me for hours and hours because whatever interaction the two of us had didn’t occur the same way to them. It causes conflict and just like that, I’ve pushed away the one person I really wanted to have around.

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Unsplash photo via Toa Heftiba

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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