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When Your Anxiety Makes You Question ‘I Love You’s’

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I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in the third grade, and what seemed to start off as generalized anxiety and worry over the simplest of things, slowly grew into my attacks of panic. I would seemingly be fine one moment, but certain things would throw me off into a fit of emotions, leaving me lying down, shaking with tears streaming down my face.

Heartbreakingly, mental illness is something way too many people face. I’ve always felt quite silly talking about my own experience in a sea of so many others going through the same thing. It took me a while (until I was nearly 20) to realize how precious each person’s story is and how, though perhaps similar, they are not at all the same. However, they are useful and uplifting.

I hear people talk about relationship problems and love, but one thing I don’t often hear people talking about is the difficulty of being loved with a mental illness. So I thought I would share my personal struggle of being loved with a panic disorder, to relate to those who struggle like me and to help those who don’t yet understand.

On a good day, you can feel loved. It is not only a thought or feeling. It is something you know and can understand rationally. Someone, whether it be a boyfriend, parent or sibling can tell you straight up how it is.

“I love you very much.”

You know it. It is as easy as that. Yet, on the other days, these words can pour into your ears and feel watered down, meaningless. It isn’t that the person speaking them isn’t being genuine. Rather, it’s that my mind isn’t taking them genuinely.

You realize it is irrational, but you cannot shake the feeling. The once simple words of “I love you,” become complex, followed with questions and uncertainty.

Yes, they may love me, but is it worth it to them? Is it worth it to me? They don’t understand. I drag them down. It would be easier alone. It would be easier without…

It takes a special kind of person to realize what this is like and even more so to be understanding enough to help. The simple “I love you” sometimes isn’t enough.

For me this is the battle of needing constant reassurance and unconditional love, but it’s one I am beyond lucky to have found. More so than being lucky, it took work to get to where I am now. This place where I am learning how to communicate with loved ones and comfortable enough to realize it is OK to cry. Where I am realizing whatever emotion you are feeling matters, even if it is irrational. Most importantly, a place of knowing it is OK to ask for help and love.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 26, 2016
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