With the smell of love in the air, my world has shifted once again, and I’m struggling to keep myself on stable ground.
First of all “love” is an over-statement. I’ve spent two weekends with a man who, so far, seems decent. He drives truck Mon – Fri, so we hang out on weekends only. Since my anxiety keeps me on a pretty tight schedule, this works well for me. Although I still have to try and rearrange my weekends to make this happen. Last weekend, I barely worked on my studies, and now I’m stressed about being behind. I received an email last night from the gym I will be teaching at, and they want to have a two hour staff meeting this Sunday. Not a big deal normally, but now I need to fit in house work, grocery shop, study, hang out with the man, go to the staff meeting, get to the gym, walk the dog, and get to my moms for dinner — all on Sunday before I start another crazy busy week at work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about meeting someone. It’s too early to say if it will get serious, but compared to the many dates I’ve had over the past five years — it’s looking good. Five years. I can’t believe I’ve been single for that long. That’s a long time to get stuck in my ways. It is going to take some serious work on my part to include another person in my life. My life revolves around managing my anxiety disorder. I rely heavily on routine. Without it, I get overwhelmed. Everything in my life is scheduled and organized — including my downtime. I don’t relax until the work is done. Routine and dating do not go hand-in-hand, unfortunately.
Romance requires a certain level of spontaneity. Last minute weekend get-a-ways, unexpected sleep overs, breakfast in bed, surprise date nights…. you get the picture. Love is hard for someone like me. My reaction to a break in routine is severe anxiety — sometimes panic. My mind won’t let go of what I “should be” doing; therefore, I spend the whole time feeling stressed out and unhappy. I wish I were different, but I’m not. Loving me takes a special kind of man. Not that I’m unlovable — I’m actually a really nice and caring person. But I need someone who can understand that life it difficult for me. My mind works on overdrive daily, and it’s exhausting at time. I call it the battle of the brain. Constant check ins to ensure my thoughts are rational. Ongoing internal reassurance that everything is ok — that it’s just my anxiety playing games with me.
My anxiety has played an unhelpful role in most of my past relationship. I have a track record of picking the assholes. The ones who see my anxiety as a means to manipulation. I’ve picked these types in the past because I think it’s all I deserve. I’m afraid the good ones won’t understand me, and I don’t want to be judged by a man I respect. I’m working on changing these beliefs, however. This guy is nice and decent, and I’ve already told him about my anxiety — he hasn’t run away yet. There is no denying that I’m terrified of this going anywhere, but I’m also excited and hopeful that it does. Life is a journey with no destination, and I need to learn how to sit back and enjoy the ride.
“Life is a highway, and I want to ride it all night long” — Tom Cochrane