When I was a junior in high school, I failed my driving test twice. The first time was because my instructor was an ass, but that's a story for another day. The second time was because I had such an awful panic attack behind the wheel that nothing my instructor told me to do registered. I only passed the third time because I had the same woman and, thankfully, she sort of understood anxiety.

A few days ago, I got into a tiny fender-bender driving home from school. The next day I was so freaked out from the day before that, by some force of nature that I will never understand, I got into another accident. Now I'm currently waiting for the residual embarrassment to go away so this can turn into a humorous life lesson that I teach my kids someday. But alas, I'm me, so who am I kidding?

Anxiety is not "just worrying too much." Anxiety is not a woman thing that can be attributed to too much estrogen. (Reason #4164 why Women's Studies is still needed.) But anyway, anxiety is real. It is very much real and it cannot, and should not, be written off or pushed to the side as something minor. I know that there are some people out there who can barely function because of it, and my heart goes out to them. They are not being dramatic and they're not doing it for attention. On good days, they do great. And on bad days, the world is coming at them at a speed too damn fast to handle. You may think that you can surpass the exact science of modern medicine and therapy with the phrase, "Just stop worrying." If only it were that easy, friend. You see, what that actually does is annoy the absolute shit out of them.

Panic attacks are weird little things. They actually differ for everybody. For some, it's the hyperventilate into a paper bag in the fetal position kind of panic attack, purely external. For others, it's all internalized and, by all standards, they probably look okay. That's what it is for me. The best way that I can describe it is it's like when you're driving on a highway and you're suddenly surrounded by a bunch of 18-wheelers. At first, you're like, "Hey, I can probably pass them." Then you look at the ominous walls of motorized terror around you, realize that was a stupid idea, and sit there hoping to God that they turn off at the next exit so you can be free again. It's a steaming pile of suck and it happens a lot more than you think.

There's a metric ton of literature out there about loving a person with anxiety. Believe me, I've read most of it. But I know from experience that it's all true. It's going to get tiring and most likely pretty annoying, and you're probably going to want to quit. Seriously, don't leave them for something that they are trying desperately to handle within themselves. Yes, you will have to almost constantly reassure them that you still love them. Deep down they know that you do, they just like hearing it. You will have to always confirm when dates are and you will always have to text them goodnight so they know you're okay. Just know that they love you, probably a little too much at times. And what they're going through really sucks, but they will give everything that they have to you.