What Being In A Relationship Is Like When You Suffer From Social Anxiety

What Being In A Relationship Is Like When You Suffer From Social Anxiety

It's like a back-handed slap to the face of the person you're with...
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"I'm having an anxiety attack."

It was my first one in what seemed like months. I could barely keep from crying as I blurted those words out while on the phone with my mom.

"Take long, deep breaths. Focus on your breathing. You need to breathe," she said, knowing I'd pass out if I kept hyperventilating.

I was racing back to the Donald Tucker Civic Center for an FSU basketball game, after being informed that my purse was too big. The game was about to start and my boyfriend had been saving me a seat alongside his friends, and I had to walk three blocks by myself in the cold.

I was already stressed about having to drive to the Civic Center by myself, since I had never been. I couldn't find parking anywhere close enough, so I trudged along in the 40 degree weather, miserable and cold. Upon arrival, I was informed that my purse was "too big" and I wouldn't be allowed inside.

Suddenly, it felt like everyone was looking at me, whispering to each other, pointing out that I wouldn't be able to go into the game. It felt like I had a giant neon sign above my head that said "Mock Me."

It really wasn't a big deal. Looking back at it, I overreacted. I called my boyfriend, cussing and on the verge of tears, telling him that I was done, I was going home, and I spat out "have fun with your friends" as if this was all his fault.

After I had called my mom and she had talked me through my anxiety attack, I texted my boyfriend and immediately apologized. "I'm so sorry baby, I was just freaking out. I'm really sorry, I promise I'm not mad at you."

Dating with anxiety is not an easy feat to accomplish. Just when you think you've got a handle on things, one minor inconvenience sends you into a frenzy, feeling like everything is your fault and everyone is bothered by your presence. Anxiety isn't always watching paperwork pile up on your desk and deadlines approaching. It's walking into a crowded restaurant and not being able to hold your head up and look around at people.

For the longest time, I always thought my boyfriend would get bored of hanging out with me for long periods of time. We went for a hike with my dog on a nice Sunday afternoon, and upon our return home, he said he was going to hang out with his friends and watch some football. I broke down, sobbing, begging for him not to leave me.

It could all be separation anxiety, which I first experienced as a child, visiting my father's house on weekends while I cried and pleaded to see my mother. It wasn't anything against my father; I was just so used to always being with my mother, that without her, I couldn't function.

Now, I don't like to be alone. I like alone time where I can clean and write and gather my thoughts, but after a few hours, it feels like no one wants to talk to me, or to hang out with me, and everyone acts like I don't exist. So I begin to panic, and stress that this is how it ends for me- all alone, with nothing and no one.

Anxiety, for me, is this constant, overwhelming feeling in the back of my head, that everything is a lie and everything is far worse than it seems. It makes me have irrational fears, like being late to anything, or that everyone is staring at me and can see my fear of being alone.

It's almost embarrassing to have an anxiety attack while in a relationship. It's like a back-handed slap to the face of the person you're with, saying that you don't feel safe or comfortable with them, which isn't necessarily true. When my boyfriend asks me to meet him somewhere after work, I can feel knots in my chest because I know I'll have to look for him when I get there. I know that people are going to look at me and realize I'm lost, and talk about me under their breaths.

He's tried to talk me through it, often trying to make light of it with some jokes, but he doesn't understand that this isn't something I can click on and off. Anytime we have to go into a crowded place, I always make him go in first, so I can keep my gaze low and not have to look anyone in the face.

For Halloween, I wore a bandana around my nose and mouth, which surprisingly gave me confidence, and allowed me to lead the way through the crowd at a party, with my head held high, making sure to make eye contact with everyone. It was like I could hide my anxiety and fears behind that piece of cloth, even though there was no reason to cower in a corner with my head covered.

I know many people that have got a grip on their anxiety, and they've found a way to keep it level and not freak out every time something goes wrong. I've used the grounding technique, where you look around and name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste, and it's helped me through some of my more mild anxiety attacks.

Anxiety is so much more than just a term for "freaking out" that people throw around. It's something I've had since I was a kid, and I'll need to learn to overcome it before it consumes me.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Literally, so hot RN

I Was Cheated On, But It Brought Me A Sense Of Relief

Don't get me wrong, I'm still heartbroken.
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I dated him for over two years.

We did everything together.

I entered a different world when I laid in his arms, felt his touch, and kissed his electric lips.

It was amazing. It was beautiful. He was my first true love.

But…something always felt off.

From the day we started dating, I had a feeling that something wasn’t right, but I pushed it back, wayyyy back, because my love for him was stronger than I had ever felt before. But then, as time passed, although my love remained, that uneasy feeling grew. In fact, it grew so much, that I couldn’t push it back anymore.

A year ago was when I started realizing that I was becoming more unhappy. It just didn’t feel right sometimes, and I couldn’t figure out what exactly it was. There were magical days, but there were also devastating days. He would say things, and I would wonder, “Why would he say that to me?” but I brushed it off. I kept silent. I didn’t want to lose him and his love for me.

As college started, the feeling grew. I found myself more unhappy than I had ever been with him—I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. One day, I found myself lost and in tears. I prayed to God and I asked him for a sign, to show me if I should be in this relationship or not.

One hour later, I got a direct message from a girl. It said:

“I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I would want to know if my boyfriend cheated on me, so please text this number."

Want to know the craziest thing? Above and beyond feeling the immense pain, I felt a greater sense of relief, like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

It’s been 11 days since we have officially been broken up. And yes, It hurts. It hurts a lot. I wake up every day with a pit in my stomach, because for the first time in over two years, I am alone. Not completely alone of course, but my other half is missing.

I walk around campus constantly being reminded of him by the simplest of things. Where we used to eat, his favorite songs, what he used to say, wear, and do. Anything really, my mind finds a way to bring it back to him.

Heartbreak is exactly what it sounds like. I feel like my heart is shattered. I have little motivation to do my work and I cry, a lot. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say it's easy because it's not. Breaking up with him was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

The thing is, yes, I feel sad, and yes, it hurts. But for the first time in forever, I am hopeful for the future. I am optimistic about my life and what will come from this monumental battle.

I still think of him every day, but I know one day I will wake up and he won’t be on my mind.

And when that day comes, a new journey begins.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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If You’re Grossed Out By Me And My Boyfriend Kissing Goodbye, You Need A Reality Check

We shouldn't be shut down for loving each other.
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You see it all the time. A couple goes to give each other any form of affection and the crowd around them goes wild. Throwing phrases like, "gross," "I just threw up a little," "get a room," and more. These comments leave the couple feeling uncomfortable with their actions of just showing love for one another.

Why is this the natural response when two people in love are showcasing their love?

I do see certain points. The couples all over each other (making out, grabbing any part of the body they can reach, without even stopping for air) can get overwhelming and highly inappropriate. Those are the moments where I myself get grossed out.

There are moments and times for examples of affection. Where you become heavily attached to one another, that's more so for private places to be shared with just the two of you. If a couple decides to give each other a kiss goodbye as they part ways, they shouldn't feel reprimanded for doing so.

I kiss my family members on the cheek when I say hello, as well as when I say goodbye. Why is kissing my boyfriend goodbye any different?

Then comes the displays of affection that don't even involve any physical affection. As a writer, I enjoy writing about the experiences my boyfriend and I share.

I write about those experiences for quite a few reasons, some being to have another way of showcasing my appreciation for him, to give advice to other couples who share similar feelings/experiences, and to give hope to those who are still searching for that special someone and more.

Showing love for one another is something we all need to do more. This world is so filled with hatred and anger. Kindness and love, even in small attributes can go a long way.

I also know that the world can be a scary place. Things can change and anything can happen in the blink of an eye. While it isn't always the best way to think, I could lose him at any given time. I would much rather "be gross" and show as much affection to him as I can than not and regret not doing it more.

The jokes can be funny at times when coming from close friends. But there comes a time when it begins to bother the couple. They shouldn't have to feel anxious when it comes to showing their affection to one another just because other people are around. Give them a break and let them be in love.

Cover Image Credit: Tessa Boucher

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