Why People With Anxiety Have A Hard Time Letting Go

Matt Hoffman

People with anxiety cling onto people who love us. We don’t trust many people. We don’t put our whole hearts into many people. So when we do, we hold on as tight as we can. And then we hold our breaths.

We have impeccably high standards. High standards with our friends, with who we pick as our partners, and for ourselves. Because anxiety has us wrapped up in stress and overthinking all of the time, we need people who we completely have faith in. We need to be surrounded by people who we know without a doubt will be there for us no matter what. We need people in our lives who we can count on. And it takes a heck of a long time to have that trust take ahold of our hearts, so when it happens, it’s genuine. It’s real.

So when someone breaks that trust, and shatters our hearts, we are devastated. We are crushed. And part of hearts will vanish forever.

We trusted someone when anxiety screamed at us not to. We loved someone while anxiety shouted as us to stop. We got intimate with someone that we cared for, while anxiety whispered at us during the night.

We did everything that we told ourselves to never do. We did everything that our anxiety knew would crush us. So how do we even begin again after that wreckage? How do we learn to trust and to learn and to love other people when the people that promised us forever went away?

When we give our hearts to someone, we give it all. We don’t hold back. Because we held back for so long. We waited so long for them to mess up, and they didn’t until now. They broke our hearts. They took our hearts and smashed them in the concrete.

And all we did was love them.

Letting go of someone when you have anxiety is like trying to survive a tsunami. It’s like pulling apart a foundation of a house. It’s like tearing your hair out, strand by strand. It feels like it will never end. All of that pain. All of those memories. All of the words left unsaid. All of the unanswered phone calls. All of the trust that you used to have, turned to dust.

Letting go is something that is so incredibly hard for us to do. Because when we love someone with our whole hearts, it doesn’t just die. That love doesn’t vanish into thin air. It’s still there. It’s still beating within in.

It’s just not beating within the other person who we want.

And we have so many questions. Whether or not we did something wrong. If there was something we could do to change their mind. If there is anything that we could say, to make them come back.

But they never come back.

So we have to undress every memory that we have. We have to comb through the first day we met them, the first kiss, the first date, the first time they said they loved us, the first fight, the first makeup, the first time you knew you loved you them too, and the first time they broke your heart.

We have to feel all of it. All of the pain and the heartache. We can’t just ignore it. We can’t ignore our emotions and throw it into the ocean.We can’t just put on a show and pretend we are ok.

Because deep down we know that our anxiety will control us until we let all of the pain go. And we know that we will feel all of the hurt and the deep grief, unless we live through it.

We have to live through all of those memories and ghosts that haunt us day in and day out until they begin to fade. Until they become not so colorful. Until they start to burn out.

But I don’t think we ever let them go fully. I don’t think we ever stop loving them. Even if they never loved us back. Even if we never speak to them. I don’t think we have the kind of hearts that stop loving. No matter how long it has been. No matter how many months or years.

We can learn to let them go. But we can’t unlearn our experience of loving them. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson

For more poetry and writing follow me on Instagram!

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