Sometimes I wish she could understand.

There are some days when all I want in the world is for my girlfriend to understand what it truly means to have an anxiety disorder; to understand what it feels like.

Of course, she understands the general feeling of being scared, stressed, anxious about something. However, it’s in the way that someone says they have a migraine when in reality, what they have is a bad headache. They just don’t get it. They are drawing from the only experience they have and trust me, I am glad they don’t go through the same anxiety I do. But just one time, I’d like to tell my girlfriend I am having anxiety and have her completely understand what that means.

I want her to understand that I am asking if everything is okay, if she’s upset with me, if she really likes me, if she really wants to see me, because that is the only thing that relieves the paralyzing pressure in my chest. It is the only thing that allows me to feel as if I have an ounce of control over my entire body. Because in that anxious moment, that extreme panic, I don’t. I can reason with myself, distract myself, breathe deeply but I can’t stop the blood from pounding in my ears. I can’t stop the feeling that my veins are crawling out through every pore of my skin. I can’t stop the elephant from stomping repeatedly on my chest, forcing the breath from my lungs. In that moment, it feels as if the world has turned on its side and the only way to set it right again is to say something, anything, that will remind me that everything is okay, that everything is right side up and I am the one who is sideways.

In the end though, I don’t wish anxiety on her. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But some days, I wish she could understand why I do the things I do. Some days I wish she could just get it.

Sometimes I wish she could understand.

What it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship.

I have an anxiety disorder. I am in a relationship. These two things do not seem as if they should be mutually exclusive correct? That is to say – I should be able to have both things at the same time. Sounds simple enough. The truth though, is much much more complicated.

I am in a relationship with the most wonderful person I have ever met. She is patient. She is kind. She makes me laugh more than anyone ever has. I feel completely safe in her arms. Everything should be perfect. But this is where anxiety decides to butt in and make things difficult for both of us.

I am not myself.  It is as I have two personalities – one that is fun, carefree, and more than anything, confident and one that is insecure, oversensitive, tense, scared, and clingy.  The instant I start to feel anything for someone, my brain and my body panic and pulls the old switcheroo on me and the confident girl is replaced by the insecure girl. You can see how this would be frustrating.

Truthfully, I am not insecure in any other aspect of my life. So why then, am I afraid that every single thing I do is making me less attractive to my girlfriend? Why am I afraid that every second of every day I am screwing my relationship up? No matter what I do, I feel like I am becoming less and less of the girl my girlfriend thought she was getting. Every day I wonder “will today be the day she realizes I am not all I was cracked up to be?” No matter how many times she tells me she likes me for who I am, there is a little voice in my head telling me over and over again, you screwed up.

I over-analyze everything. This is the part that really messes me up. Every single thing my girlfriend says goes straight to the anxious interpreter waiting inside my head to be processed so it can tell me what she really means. Let me repeat that. My girlfriend tells me something, my brain tells me it is a lie and says, “Here, let me help you out. This is the horrible thing she really meant. So glad I could clear that up for you.” Thanks, brain. Don’t know what I would do without you.

Getting annoyed with me yet? You bet your bottom I’m annoyed with myself by now. This is where the fun really begins.

This is the part where I get to get mad at my girlfriend because MY BRAIN TOLD ME WHAT YOU REALLY MEANT AND I AM REALLY UPSET ABOUT WHAT YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY SAY. Aren’t I so much fun?

Oh and after I get mad at her, I am extremely sorry I got mad at her. I tell her this at least 975 times. Then ask her about 467 more times if she is mad at me. If she wasn’t before, she is most certainly annoyed with me now. Commence apology cycle once more.

Exhausted yet? We are.

This is what it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship. Day in and day out, I am thinking of the way my actions effect her. I worry that what she is saying to me is what I want to hear rather than the truth and so I try to explain to her why she can’t possibly be telling the truth. Then I apologize for being so irrational while inside my head I am destroying myself for being so stupid.

“Why are you like this?” “Why can’t you just get it together?” “Can you just be normal for five seconds?”

Over and over again I ask myself these questions. Over and over again I push myself into the dirt and beat myself to a bloody pulp because I cannot control the thoughts in my brain.

I cannot convince myself that everything is fine a thousand times a day.

I cannot feel okay when there is a constant voice inside of me screaming that I shouldn’t be, that I’m not, that we are not okay.

What it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship.