Today I am questioning a lot of things and overthinking – I often find I get like this after a busy weekend and it plays with my mood. Am I happy? Am I sad? I just feel completely empty and numb and being quiet at work, again, never helps. The people closest to me know how much I struggle with my job. Work is very quiet a lot of the time which starts the dreaded cycle of overthinking – feeling down – going onto Instagram – comparing myself to other girls – no one to chat to – stuck at my desk, and around and around it goes. I sit here for hours, upon hours waiting for work to arrive on my desk or trying to be as proactive as I can but when the office is quiet, what really can you do to keep busy? Read a book? Look at Facebook and Instagram? There is only so much scrolling and reading you can do before you start thinking into oblivion or getting so down you have simply no motivation to find ways to occupy yourself.
I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other girls and I will openly admit this, it’s a common symptom of BDD and I have had it since I was very young. I will sit and look at girls I envy, who I am friends with or who my partner has liked/seen before and compare myself to them and never win. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say and its completely true, the comparisons steal my confidence and I worry about who I am and what I look like so much. Women are so unforgiving of themselves. We don’t recognise our own beauty because we’re too busy comparing ourselves to other people. But really, why do I do this? I sit there and question why anyone would like me, I am nowhere near as beautiful as these girls who I compare myself to and they don’t have the issues I have to face (or do they?!). This is one thing I always seek reassurance with and question. Why is Scott with me? It would be so much easier for him to be with someone who doesn’t have the issues that I go through and I often bring this up when I am down at work. It must be so hard for him to deal with and I will be forever grateful for his patience and love on the days where I can’t love myself.
Having a relationship with BDD and any kind of anxiety is one of life’s hardest tasks. Relationships reflect the best and the worst of all of us and they can set alight our struggles or help them. When they’re right, they can feel like absolute magic. Even when they’re completely perfect, anxiety can steal that and sever the connection between two people who love each other. All relationships require trust, patience and love. People with anxiety often have these traits times 1,000,000 and will give them freely to the relationship and the other person. The problem is that anxiety can sometimes just as quickly destroy them.
For anyone in a relationship suffering from any kind of anxiety, please keep on reading.
Let them know what you are going through or thinking
I have always been completely open with Scotty about how I am feeling and what I am going through from the very beginning of our relationship. Keeping things too much to yourself has a way of creating distance between yourself and your partner. Anxiety and the thoughts and problems that come with it are completely and utterly personal, but make sure your partner is aware of everything you are thinking and feeling, as it’s an important part of being intimate. Scotty has always said my vulnerability is something he loves about me and I will never forget the first time he told me this, and this is where my next point begins…
Anxiety can affect relationships in so many different ways. It may provoke the need for constant reassurance, I know I have been there myself and this is my downfall on tough days. In others, it can cause them to hold back and lessen the vunerability and push people away. Vulnerability and being open to someone is so beautiful and it is the best part of a relationship, it certainly took me a long while to realise this. Part of being intimate is letting someone in closer than you let the rest of the world. Trusting someone with the untamed parts of you and these parts are often beautiful and always okay with the person who loves you for who you are. I always used to tell Scotty that he can do better than me, someone who doesn’t come with all of these issues but his answer is that I am not entitled to choose the “one for him” and accept that he chose me. There doesn’t have to be a reason why someone loves you, and it doesn’t have to be jusitfied, just understood and enjoyed.
The hardest and toughest conversations can bring you closer together
All relationships have to deal with tough times now and then but anxiety can make these things feel far bigger than they actually are. You will probably want to avoid talking about difficult conversations/problems with your partner, because of your concerns about what it might do. What I have come to realise is that these thoughts and issues will never just go away, they fester and one day it breaks you down and all of these little problems roll into one. It is far better to talk about the tough stuff openly together, as and when you need to. Relationships are built on trust, and trusting that your relationship can deal with difficult conversations is an important thing.
Ask for reassurance, but not all the time
Anxiety can often feed into everything, it can make you doubt the things that don’t deserve or need to be doubted – more often than not, your relationship. It’s completely okay and very normal to ask your partner for reassurance with things but too much can often become a habit. One thing that drives Scott crazy is my constant WhatApp messsages asking him the same thing over and over. So much so, he has now wrote me a letter for me to sit and read to avoid this happening anymore. Which again, leads me to my next point…
I have learnt that for the relationship to stay healthy, boundaries built by your partner or even yourself can be a great thing to do. Boundaries aren’t a way of pushing you away, but a way to help you and try and reduce the anxiety. You might be worried about something and need to talk about something over and over, but that’s not necessarily what will be good for you or your relationship. Talking is healthy, but talking over and over again about the same thing can be draining and create an issue where there isn’t one.
Talk about your triggers
If there is a particular situation that triggers your anxiety, make sure your partner is aware of it/them. Scotty has always been completely understanding (as he always is!) about my triggers. My triggers are nights out in big crowds and difficulties to exit places. Make sure your partner is aware of what yours is as when you find yourself in that situation he/she will understand what is happening for you and how best to deal with it.
Falling in love is meant to be completely magical, but getting close to another person also comes with highs and lows at the best of times. Anxiety does affect relationships, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. As long as you are open to it, you can make it one that’s resilient to anything. Scotty, I am so proud of how well you deal with my anxiety and depression, how patient you are and how you take it in your stride. I am proud of us and how far we have come to learn all of the above and I am so glad we still have so much to learn on this journey together. Thank you for not only being the most amazing boyfriend, but also my best friend and strength when I have needed it most. I will love you forever.