Let me tell you, Generalized Anxiety Disorder gets in the way of everything. It’s gotten in the way of school, work, family events, relationships – everything. Before meeting my significant other, I rarely told the people I was seeing about my illness because I knew that they wouldn’t understand, and I was right. I went through all of these experiences trying to balance the two things and I thought I knew how to handle dating and having anxiety but then I met my boyfriend and I realized that what I was taught through my experiences were all wrong. I learned that you don’t have to be ashamed about anything to do with your anxiety and you shouldn’t have to keep it a secret from your significant other. I learned that the right person will help you instead of harm you, and I learned that anxiety is so much less sh*tty when you have that kind of support in your relationship.
1. Having anxiety is never easy, especially in a relationship.
Life is already difficult as it is, and having a mental illness on top of everyday life issues makes things way harder. Being in a relationship while having anxiety is both so good and so difficult. You’re forced to show someone else the darkest parts of your mind and they can either accept that or leave after finding out, but you if they stay, you have someone to help support you through all of it. it’s hard, but it’s worth it. It’s easier to better ourselves when we have someone standing beside us, rooting for us.
2. Your SO takes on a lot of your problems, but they love you regardless.
I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of patience to deal with a mental illness- both for the person with the illness and their support system. My boyfriend has dealt with so much regarding my anxiety but despite all of that, he makes sure I know how much he loves me, and I think that’s really important.
3. You’re going to have to teach your SO about your illness to help them understand.
Everybody knows what anxiety is, but not a lot of people understand how it feels on a day to day basis. I learned that you have to be patient in teaching your SO about the details of your illness because you cant expect them to fully understand every corner of this unique illness. You’re going to have to tell them about your triggers and what makes you anxious and how you react to it.
4. You’ll cry. You’ll have breakdowns. It will be messy.
Trust me, anxiety is ugly. It isn’t getting nervous before an exam or being socially awkward- it’s crying and screaming and it’s silence and insomnia. Having a supportive SO makes all of this a little bit easier.
5. There will be good days and there will be bad days.
Despite the fact that anxiety literally sucks everything out of you, there will be good days, I promise you. There will be days when the sun will shine just a little bit brighter for you and there will be days where you can’t stop smiling and laughing. Remember those days, and remember who was by your side during them. For me, it’s always either my family or my SO but it took me so long to find that support in the form of a relationship outside of my family and close friends. Hold out for that relationship, it’s worth it.