Having anxiety entails having everyone affecting it, whether explicit or implicitly. It can affects relationships, too. Without precaution, said relationships can be wrecked and we blame it on anxiety; I'm speaking of any kind of anxiety disorder.
In my personal experience, there a lot of things that stress me out which mixes with my anxiety. It affects me and everyone around. I don't say this looking for pity, I don't need it: It can be hard sometimes, especially when in a relationship. Dating someone itself is a challenge. However, dating someone with anxiety (or any kind of mental illness) is a special kind.
Coming from someone that has dealt with it throughout most of my existing life, I understand (or try to) what my significant other has to deal with as well. Here are a few things to know about dating someone with anxiety:
1. Understand that sometimes, when we're anxious, it may not be rational and that's okay.
We know that we're not making any sense and you wouldn't understand because they don't understand themselves in that situation, no need to remind them in the middle of a breakdown.
2. We are actually optimistic underneath it all.
It may seem like we are negative the whole time although beneath the constant what ifs and panicking over imaginary scenarios lies probably the most optimistic individual you will meet in your life.
3. Patience is required. A LOT of it.
Everything will be the end of the world for us and we may prefer our own space instead of being asked to calm down. We will not calm down. If you decide to stick around, I highly advise to stick around, especially in moments of high anxiety. Oh, and we know we're overreacting, that doesn't help either.
4. You're not the cause, so don't feel guilty.
Don't take it personally, but relationships can add up to anxiety.
5. Understand that there isn't a quick fix for this.
There are good days, there's going to be bad days and anxiety will be part of all of them. Either you get with the program despite its paradoxes or leave.
6. Apologies will be frequent.
Because we want to be in good terms at all times, a slight inconvenience is a reason to ask for forgiveness. "Sorry for replying ten seconds late", "sorry for being so self-centered that I forget that you stand by me when I think everything is doomed".
7. We care way too much.
The root itself, I'd say, is caring too much. Anxious people love hard because we tend to be altruistic.
8. We picture the worst scenarios for everything.
We are convinced everything that can go wrong will be.
9. It can be rewarding.
It takes a strong minded person to have the guts to love someone with anxiety. You ou will be thanked at least five times a day. You will receive unconditional love.
I am not my anxiety nor I let myself be defined by it. I have come to terms with what's on the table and I know how to manage it. There are days, however, where I feel like I am the only person in the world who feels like this. Then I remember I am not alone. So, to anyone who has supported me on this bumpy journey: thank you, you are special souls.