An Open Letter To My Future Partner, As Someone With Anxiety

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Dating and relationships can form the biggest rollercoaster in the theme park when you have anxiety. So this is my letter to you.

Anxiety, though talked about more often now than ever before, is still highly misunderstood. And it can be highly frustrating. No person’s experience is quite like another’s. I’m not an anxious person. And it affects me in very specific ways. And a lot of people tell me that they don’t realize that I have it because It doesn’t control my life and it doesn’t define who I am. But to you, the man who is in a relationship with me, you will have first hand experience of the ups and the downs. If you’re not willing to be a part of my journey through my remission, as I continue my CBT and for the first time, start taking medication, I won’t take it personally. But If you stay, we’ll have a laugh through the tears that may come at 1am, and equally through the times we act silly and the times I am brave. You’ll have to make more sacrifices than me, but that still means that I’ll make compromises, and it’s still equal play. I’ll go above and beyond for you, but sometimes I’ll be as quiet as a mouse. Don’t see it as bad, see it as a time you can escape from me excitedly talking about fashion and film like a talking textbook.

You might have to sacrifice…

Some of my details. My best friend will probably always know a little more than you. Sorry not sorry. There’s something intangible in a female friendship that can’t be replicated. But know that she cares for me. Know that she’s supporting me.

Some time. You’ll have to watch me take ant-size bites of breakfast and maybe for an hour, but only if I’m having a particularly bad day. I know you’ve seen me stuff myself with mouthfuls of almond croissant, but things change under certain circumstances. But you can finish whatever’s on my plate. You’ll have to watch me fumble around the train platform before being able to step onto one of the trains, despite the past three being relatively empty. Nevertheless, at least you’ll get a seat in the end.

Places. There will be places I won’t go. There’ll be things I won’t do. I know you want to do them with me. But if I can’t, I’ll never stop you doing them with anyone else. If you give me the chance to take baby-steps, chances are, I’ll go to the end of the earth with you very soon.

Speed. I’ll suddenly feel ill. I may want to sit down; I may need to lie down; I’ll want a cup of tea; and I’ll start rambling about how scared I am, mentioning my irrational and hypothetical fears. Be patient with me. It normally turns to laugher. And If I take my time, it’ll blow over soon, and I’ll be back on my way, just a little slower, just a little more apprehensive. But I’ll be there.

A Lie In. Sometimes I need a lie in, don’t we all, but if if we have to catch a train, we’ll leave early. At least you won’t miss a train!

Hearing my voice. I’ll be private. Not shady. Not secretive. Just a little private. I may never quite fully understand why somebody wants to be a part of my life. But I’m an open book, you just have to ask. Sometimes I’ll volunteer the information, but again, I’m learning. I may be quiet. I may be having a bad day. But it’s never so bad that I can’t listen to you. You’ll always be my priority.

My company. I may overwork. I may work so much that I get tired, and forget to give you a hug or ask you how you are. I’m not trying to avoid you. I have high-functioning anxiety and part of that means that I’m trying to please my bosses, clients, and mostly, myself. Am I scared of my future? Of course! A gentle reminder to stop will have me planning a special day out for us both.

My conversation, to hear me ruminating. I’ll mention hypotheticals. I might dwell on the negatives. My mind might race. Once more, it’s infrequent. It’s temporary.

Some mobile data. I may message you back and forth before a date-night because I need the details. All of them. But hey, you get to chat to me for ages and the likelihood is, I’ll send you memes. TC mark

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