This past weekend I was scrolling through facebook when I came upon one of those paragraph meme things. As I read it, it was like an echo of all the doubts and fears I’ve been having for the past couple of months in my relationship. I can’t explain them. They have no justification. They’re just there, in the back of my brain, whispering insidiously. I happened to notice that he doesn’t do the little sweet things anymore, like drawing a random heart on a piece of paper for me to find when I come in the door after a rough day. Suddenly I’m inwardly freaking out about he’s falling out of love with me. I am fully aware this worry is ridiculous. I know couples get comfortable. I KNOW he loves me. I don’t like to write, or say, or even THINK it, but I know my anxiety is to blame.
I’m not one of those people who feed into the whole “mental illness is cool” thing. It seems everyone is out there on all the social media platforms with “ALL MY ACTIONS AND FEELINGS ARE BECAUSE I HAVE THIS MENTAL DISORDER AND THEREFORE I AM NOT TO BLAME”. I know there needs to be more of an awareness of mental illness.and not so much of a stigma, but it’s not a fad. It’s not FUN. It’s not something that everyone really has. Just because you worry one day, one month, doesn’t mean you suddenly self-diagnose with an anxiety disorder.
That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a CONSTANT, PERVASIVE worry. Something that explains why I picture 20 different alternate endings to a scenario and ALL of them are miserable. A complete rationalization on my reasoning for preparing for the worst case every day, all day. I have wet wipes and paper towels and napkins and ibuprofen and tweezers and all the things someone would need for tiny things that can go wrong ALL in my car. Who carries tweezers in their car?
An explanation for checking weather, venue website, and extensive google searching just to make sure whatever event was planned conforms to all the rules and satisfaction of everyone attending. He wants to grill at the park? I’m on the website making sure you’re allowed without calling first, do they have grills, where are they located, etc etc. Meanwhile he rolls his eyes and wants to wing it. My biggest worry is they kick us all out and it’s mortifying. He says “so? not that big a deal?”
I was diagnosed at the age of 15 with chronic recurring depression and severe anxiety. Me, being me, hated the way the pills made me feel, and stopped taking them. I found alternative ways of coping. Deep breaths, telling myself I’m fine, exercise, etc. Sometimes even just crying it out or asking for a hug works too. And ice cream.
I figured it was just a teenage thing. That’s what my grandparents kept telling me. I’d grow out of it. I learned if I ignored it and just kept pretending everything was fine, it would be fine. Stay busy. Fake it to make it, right? And it works most of the time until big stressors in my life bring it out, like wedding planning and house hunting. Sometimes it’s just really hard and I get the urge to just pack up and run. Wherever you go, there you are, though. All my issues would just come with me and manifest in different forms. I just have to keep reminding myself that my brain is playing tricks and ask him to draw me a damn heart on a piece of paper for me to find once in a while.