How To Fix Your Anxiety

My Dog Taught Me That One Person Cannot Fix Your Anxiety

No matter how much unconditional love there is, it may not be enough.

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I've always dreamt of my dog living with me after I bought my own place. She's my best friend. (Even bester of a friend than my fiancé, I think, but don't tell him…wink wink). I dreamt that Cheyenne and I would take walks every morning and go on little truck rides to the park and the lake. We would be adventurers together in our own little life.

So as soon as I signed the papers and moved all my junk into my new house, I scooped up my puppy (11 years old but yes, she's still a puppy) and introduced her to her new home. I set up her bed in the living room and set out bowls in the kitchen. I even gave her new toys! She loved the squeaky hedgehog with the Santa Claus hat.

We took walks around the neighborhood. I introduced her to the Samoid next door. His name is Mumba. Cheyenne kept a close eye on the neighbor's decorative reindeer in case – you know – they attempt to conquer the world. She pounced on her hedgehog and played keep away instead of fetch. Our first few days together were great!

The first few nights, however, were a bit rough. Cheyenne has anxiety. It's common in German Shepherds. When bedtime rolled around, Cheyenne would curl up on her bed and get comfy for a few hours. Then she would start pacing. My house is laid out in a circle so she literally walked in circles all night. All my floors are hardwood so all I heard at night was the "click click click" of her toenails. It drove me crazy. She was going crazy. I think she was looking for my dad or my mom's dog or just something familiar.

I did my best to get her settled in. My fiancé and I treated her like a princess. We took her to visit my parent's so she would realize they're not gone forever.

But it didn't work. Cheyenne's anxiety got worse. She stopped eating for a couple days. She wouldn't come out of her crate unless I coaxed her outside. She stopped playing with her squeaky hedgehog.

After 2 weeks of frustration, worry, disappointment, and a lot of tears, I told myself to make a choice. Option 1: Keep Cheyenne, take her to the vet, and put her on Xanax for the rest of her life. Option 2: Take her back to my parent's house where she's comfortable and happy without the assistance of medication.

Sure, I want her to live with me more than anything but more so I want her to live where she's comfortable and happy. She's 11 years old. She's set in her ways. She's lived with my parents for 11 years and that's where she's comfortable.

I hoped that she wanted to be with me so much that it didn't matter where we lived. I was wrong. How could I force her to wallow in anxiety for the rest of her life? I couldn't. I would rather she live where she's happy than live with me and be miserable.

So what's the lesson here? The unconditional love of one person cannot eliminate your anxiety.

A new relationship – whether platonic or romantic – will not necessarily cure your anxiety. An old relationship in a new environment will not necessarily cure your anxiety. You cannot expect one person to make you unconditionally happy. Anxiety is a work in progress within yourself. Certainly, the people around you can have a great effect on your life outlook. But anxiety as a whole comes from within and needs mending through the mind.

So while Cheyenne lives the rest of days in peace, I will live my days knowing she's where she belongs. I – one person – was not enough to eliminate her anxiety and that's okay. But I'll still be there for my best friend no matter where she lives.

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The Truth About Dating A Girl With An Anxiety Disorder

She knows how annoying she can be, but she just prays you love her regardless of her flaws.

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Anxiety: A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

The definition makes it sound really daunting. Truthfully, there is no one way to describe generalized anxiety disorder if you have it. It is hard to live with, hard to cope with and unfortunately, really hard to date with.

Girls with anxiety are different than the average girl when it comes to relationships. That's just an honest statement, no matter how much it hurts me to say it.

We need the constant reminder that you love us, even though we know in our hearts that you do. We panic when you don't answer your phone, in fear that we did something wrong. We care about your feelings when you say that we don't need to worry and we need to be a little calmer. But it's so damn hard.

It isn't easy to love someone who worries about everything 24/7. Half the time, we know we shouldn't be doing the things we do. We know we shouldn't blow up your phone or ask just one more time if you are mad at us. But we can't help it. It says it right in the definition: compulsive behavior due to excessive uneasiness.

Being with a girl with anxiety is probably downright exhausting. It's exhausting for us to have our minds constantly running and worrying. But I promise it's worth it.

We come to you with everything because you are the one person who always knows how to make us feel better. When we are happy, you are the one person we want to be happy with. We all know the constant reassurance, reminders and the same old arguments get old. It gets old to us too.

There was never a time I wanted to have a panic attack because my boyfriend wasn't answering his phone. In my head, I knew where he was because he was usually in the same three places. I knew he wasn't mad at me because I didn't do anything to make him upset. I knew how busy he was with his classes and he was probably studying and I needed to give him space. But the little voice in my head always argued, "What if you did something wrong? What if he's ignoring you because he's angry? What if he's seen your messages and calls, but no longer wants to be with you?" And then I give in. I call, I text, I cry, I panic. Only to feel even worse 10, 30 or 50 minutes later because you answer angrily, telling me what I already knew after I did what I knew I shouldn't have done.

Having anxiety is almost like having a drug addiction. You know all the things that trigger you. You know all the ways to stay away from the bad places in your mind so you don't end up relapsing. But you do anyway and it hurts worse every single time.

Dating a girl with anxiety is as hard as it gets, but she will love you like no other. She is so incredibly thankful for all the things you put up with to be with her. Because she is worried about being loved, she goes the extra mile to always remind you how much you are loved. She always asks if you are ok because she cares about the answer and knows what it's like not to be ok.

The truth is that dating anybody with anxiety is difficult, but it isn't impossible. You get back everything you put in, even though you may not realize it. Trust me, she is sorry for being the annoying, crying, worried, naggy mess and it embarrasses her because she knows better and she wants to be better for you. But please love her. Hold her, understand her, listen to her, calm her, be there for her. In your heart, you know she would turn around and do all the same things for you in a heartbeat.

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A Day In The Life Of A Socially Anxious Person

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults in the United States. It is one of the most common mental illness and yet a lot of people don't know what social anxiety disorder (SAD) exactly is and have misconceptions about it. Social anxiety is often misunderstood as shyness. However, SAD goes beyond shyness. For someone with SAD, daily social interactions can be stressful to handle because of fear of negative evaluation and embarrassment.

To eliminate misunderstandings and spread awareness about SAD, here's a picture diary of what a day in the life of a socially anxious person looks like.

8:30 a.m.

"I better hurry and switch off my alarm before my roommate wakes up. I'm afraid she might hate me for waking her up this early."

12:00 p.m.

"I know the answer to this question but I'm too scared to answer. What if it is wrong and I embarrass myself in front of everyone?"

3:00 p.m.

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

5:00 p.m.

"I better keep practicing my order in my head otherwise I might stumble upon my words and make a fool of myself."

7:00 p.m.

"I am just going to delay answering this call as I'm afraid to answer the phone. I don't know who is on the other side and am not exactly sure what to say."

10:00 p.m.

"I'd rather not sleep, as if I try to, I'll be reevaluating all the embarrassing moments of my day."

Along with these thoughts, a person suffering from SAD might also experience physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, flushing, palpitations, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. If your day looks anything like the picture diary above and you have been experiencing physical symptoms, do not be afraid to seek help.

According to a survey conducted by ADAA, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help. If you are someone who is suffering from SAD, always remember that there's hope. Always seek help as social anxiety disorder is treatable through medication and therapy.

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