Published in Oct 2018 / Updated in Aug 2021
When I decided to write this article I wasn’t quite sure how to start it, but I knew that it was important to put it out there for anyone going through what I was, or being at the beginning of it. A few years ago I noticed something about myself that wasn’t quite right. I had always cared about everyone else more than I felt they cared about me but the biggest issue was that I would take a lot of other people’s problems on and absorb their emotions which in turn would very negatively impact me as a person.
So how does this relate to the topic at hand? Well, one day we had a death in the family, I was sitting with my mother and my grandmother and they were in tears, I did not really know the person who had passed away so I really didn’t have an emotional connection to them but I have an extremely strong connection to my mother and grandmother. While I sat there watching them cry I felt sorrow for them but other than the tiniest flicker of that I really felt nothing else, I had shut down completely and didn’t feel a thing. I went to the doctors and they explained this was called “Disassociation” It hurt me more that I didn’t feel more empathy towards the situation but at that point in my life I truly couldn’t take anything else on. I was in my own emotional torments and anything else would cause me to tip over the edge.
Long story short on this, I ended up putting myself on medication and found out that my serotonin levels were at an all-time low causing my dopamine levels to skyrocket, hence the almost depressed feeling I was going through. So, when it came to being in a relationship or even relating to other people, I shut down. Nothing else was breaking my walls and it wasn’t healthy. Escapism is another word for what I was doing when it came to relationships at that time. Anytime I felt anything happy or good for me, I would run or sabotage it or make an effort to try and run as fast as I could so that the other person couldn’t hurt me. I was not in a place to be in a relationship and I really didn’t even know it. I had done this my whole life and had never been able to understand why I was so unhappy all the time.
Now I am not saying that I am completely cured by my medication but what I can say is that it has caused a HUGE difference, My doctor prescribed me medication because he knows my whole story and it is definitely one that frightens even the most stable of people.
Writing this article has come about because I had started seeing someone who I had that “gut feeling” that they were just right for me. I can’t say that I knew they were the one but it’s the closest I have ever had to that feeling. Being with him made me the happiest person but my deep-seated anxiety issues caused me to constantly be running on all cylinders at once, worrying about everything and anything. Negative thoughts constantly swirling were something that I was worried would ruin my happiness. He’s an amazing person who constantly made me smile, made me comfortable and at ease, and truly did take away my anxiety when I was with him.
The issue was that when we were apart, the nights got colder and longer. The more I got attached the more my anxiety started to ruin the happiness. As usual, the more I got attached the more my anxiety fed off the happiness and started to turn it into something dark. Instead of the positive thoughts and messages that were easy being sent and received, I would start to send more of the kind of messages that were negative like “I’m sure you’re not interested in me more than anything physical but…” to any normal person this is crazy, constantly receiving messages that had a predetermined fate was not really a turn on and while I knew I was doing it after I had already sent the messages, I couldn’t stop myself at the moment.
No matter how much energy he put into the relationship I just never believed it was going to be anything more. My past experiences were what my anxiety was feeding off and making me think he was only there for one thing. I was a mess and I couldn’t fix it. Even the simplest of communications like “I just need to let you know that if you are only interested in me for a physical relationship or friends with benefits, I’m not interested in that and I can’t do that to myself”. Instead of coming across as me trying to not get hurt again, it was coming across as ultimatums and pressure, taking the ease and fun out of something that was actually really healthy for me.
Deep down my anxiety was causing me to test this man. I needed reassurance because I was letting my anxiety attack me, I was letting it get to me and cause me to act in a way that when I was happy, I would never even think of. The closer we got the worse I got, the more I felt my anxiety would try to trick me into thinking that it wasn’t real and he was just using me as all the others had done before.
When I met him I had completely given up on love, I had given up on the idea of ever being happy and knew that I was destined to just go around and around in circles with the same unhealthy relationships BUT then he came into my life in the weirdest of situations and made me realise that I still have so much love to give. He had started taking the bricks down from the wall around my heart one by one and for the first time in a long time, I was starting to take my guard down. Then he did exactly what I thought would happen, he walked away and the missile blow to my heart made a bigger explosion than ever before because I had actually let him in…I couldn’t understand WHY he had done it, he had pretty much closed off from me and didn’t want to talk about it BUT I was lucky enough that I was able to actually ask the question and not be completely blown off.
When he explained why he was walking away I started to see exactly what the issue was, my anxiety of being hurt had blown my mind into a million pieces and I WAS putting pressure on him. Instead of just letting things be and seeing if it was going to be something amazing, I assumed he was only interested in me for one thing and the tone of my messages was negative. I thought it was him that was taking my messages the wrong way, what I did realise when he told me what was going on in his head was that I really WAS reverting back to my escapism. I was running because things were getting really emotional and by pushing him away I was trying to stop myself from getting hurt.
It ruined my chances, it made him less interested, and yet he was literally the perfect guy for me, he just didn’t understand what was going on in my head and I wasn’t communicating it. I have been able to explain this recently and have decided it best to distract myself when I get the overwhelming emotion rather than start writing a message that could damage my relationship or even a potential relationship.
So while I have been given a second chance and may actually be able to save this potentially perfect relationship my advice to anyone suffering from anxiety is…the moment your head starts to get into the endless cycle of self-destruction, write down EVERYTHING you are feeling and want to send in a note on your phone or on paper or however you want and leave it for 24 hours, then read it again. If you make any changes add another 24 hours and do the same thing over and over again. By the time you are ready to send the message, the feelings may be very different and you may not need to send it at all…or maybe you will but at least it won’t be in a place where you are spiraling out of control.