As you regular readers are aware as well a the battles of living with a mood disorder I struggle massively with anxiety. I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety (aka anxious about a whole bunch of stuff!) One way that manifests for me is Social Anxiety. I forever live in a state of wanting to have people around me, to make new friends, be invited to social events, and also absolutely hating social events and meeting new people. So when my partner asked me to go with him to a wedding reception and meet his friends my first reaction was that sounds great. But the closer we got to the event the worse my anxiety got.
The fear of being left alone, even for a moment while he went to the toilet, was terrifying. Having to interact with people I didn’t know. The worry of what people would think of me. On the day I told him that I just couldn’t do it. And rather than accept that like most people who know me would, he kept trying. Telling me how important it was to him that I was there. How everyone was looking forward to meeting me. He offered to check with his female friends what they were wearing so I could feel secure in my appearance. He promised not to leave my side. At the same time reassuring me if I still didn’t want to go that he wouldn’t be upset with me. After hours this, and the promise we could leave if I didn’t like it, I agreed to go.
When I got there I was nervous as hell! Shaking and sweating. Making a move straight for the bar hoping alcohol would calm my nerves, and at least I would have something to hold to stop me fidgeting. He made sure that we were always touching, whether it was holding hands, an arm around my waist. And the more time that passed the easier it got. Everyone was friendly and soon enough I was joining in with conversations instead of listening. When the time came to leave, I found myself almost wishing we could stay longer.
The moral of the story is sometimes it is better to face your anxiety than miss out on things you might have enjoyed.
And having someone there who is encouraging and supportive can make even the scariest situations feel that bit safer.
As time goes by I have started to notice how those people you thought would always be there suddenly aren’t.
It starts slowly, maybe a few friends start to drop of your social radar, maybe that friend you saw every week now you only see every few months, where your phone was always buzzing with new messages now you are staring at a blank screen.
I was never a popular kid, and I definitely haven’t acclaimed popularity in adulthood. Obviously things change, everyone has their own lives, their careers and their families. But recently after losing what was more like sisterhood than friendship with my bestie, it’s dawned on me that I don’t actually have any friends left. Sure I have acquaintances, I have work friends, but I don’t have anyone that I can talk to about anything, anyone who I can go on a night out with, anyone who I know will have my back.
I cannot say I am lonely. I have social interaction every day at work. I have a loving boyfriend. I share a home with my mum. And I not uncomfortable with my own company. But I am still overwhelmingly sad. I know that this is life, people come and go and really we cannot depend on anyone to be there forever. But I cannot help but feel Abandoned. Worthless. I cannot help but think ‘What did I do wrong?’
As a singleton walking around seeing happy couples it was easy to feel like it was everything I was missing. Easy to convince myself being in love would fix everything. But it’s never that simple.
They say love comes when you least expect it, and in the most unlikely person. 3 months ago when I went to Canterbury with a friend of a friend, on what I didn’t even know was a date! I definitely hadn’t expected to fall in love. Someone 7 years older than me, crazy as a coconut, and physically nothing like anyone I have ever dated. But he makes me happy, even if he annoys the hell out of me sometimes!
So the impossible happened and I met someone who loves the flawed person I am, someone who can manage the challenges my mental health presents. But it is far from a field of roses! Life throws up obstacles whenever it gets a chance, neither of us are perfect and we do argue. The biggest thing is despite being in love, I am not always okay. Love didn’t erase my mental illness, if anything it probably made it even harder! I still have depressive and manic episodes, I still get paranoid and obsessive.
Love might not have helped my bipolar, but my bipolar didn’t stop me falling in love ❤
So you might remember in my last blog post mentioning I had met someone. The last few weeks have been wonderful. He treats me so nice 🙂 makes me laugh, showers me with affection. And when he found out about my bipolar he handled it so well, having experienced a few of my downs and my irrational anger he told me he doesn’t mind at all and my unstable moods keep things interesting as he never knows what mood I’m going to be in.
To say he’s perfect would be a lie, everyone is flawed but I never minded his imperfections.
While it’s only been a month I can feel myself falling for him. And having been hurt before I am super protective of my heart, so I needed to start looking to the future. Despite my bipolar and spending a large amount of time wanting to be dead I know that I really do what to fall in love, get married and have a family. But it’s become clear he doesn’t share that dream. He isn’t the kind of person who believes in compromising on their dreams for anyone, and being 32 already I know he isn’t going to change his mind. So really I have only 2 options..
1. Continue this relationship knowing while I can have love and companionship I will have to let go of my dreams of being a mother.
2. Or follow my dreams and leave now before investing too much into it, hoping that one day I will meet someone who does want a family with me.
I honestly don’t know where to go from here 😦 so I am off to the gym to absorb myself in a workout!
Hey people of the interwebs, it feels like such a long time since I have seen the familiar screen of WordPress. It is entirely my fault I admit, it has been an eventful few weeks to say the least! So let me update you all..
Mr perfect from my last post, turned out to be not so perfect after all. After 4 dates he became really needy/stalky. Messaging and calling all the time…showing up at my work and my house, harassing my friends. It became so overwhelming, I felt completely suffocated and no matter what I said he didn’t calm down. So I told him we needed to stop seeing each other. To say he didn’t take it well would be an understatement! He threatened to kill himself if I left. Insisted he loved me, I was his whole world (after 4 dates guys!) I had to block him on social media to stop the continuous messages, but didn’t stop him sending letters to my house. I felt terrible about having to hurt him and end things, but his reaction showed me more than anything he wasn’t able to handle a relationship.
It was after all that drama that I ended up meeting a friend of a friend, on what I thought was a casual trip to the cinema…until he put his hand on my leg during the movie. Sneaky date ninja! Since we have been on 4 dates and I have to say I really like him 🙂 He’s 7 years older than me, with a good job. He’s intelligent, witty. So generous and affectionate. It’s early days and I’m worried he won’t stick around. But it’s the happiest I have been in a long time 🙂
Other life updates…work is going really good. My colleague is due to go on maternity leave for a year in May and I have applied to act up in her absence. Which means a pay rise and more responsibility for a year. I’ll have to interview but fingers crossed 🙂 I am still taking Exeffor and it has honestly made a big different to me. Sure the nausea sucks, and the withdrawals if I miss a dose are hell! But it really calms my anxiety, and my lows and mania has become for less often/passes much faster. I have got my alcohol under control so I am only drinking socially at the moment. And my doctor referred me for an exercise scheme. So I now have a gym membership and meet with a personal trainer once a week. Which is really great and will hopefully improve my body image as I start to tone and feel stronger.
February has been an interesting month. I decided to give up my search for Mr Right and just enjoy my life as a single lady, focus on my career and my mental health. And for the most part I have been quite content. My trip to Scotland gave me a new found confidence! Then sods law I met a guy. Gorgeous, funny, romantic…the whole damn package!
The last few weeks have been a blissful fantasy of dates, “you hang up, no you hang up” phone calls and cute text messages. Then he told me he wanted us to be a couple and reality came crashing down. Me and relationships get on like fire and ice. I have no problems recognising that I am not girlfriend material. I am high maintenance, I need a lot of attention and reassurance, I am impatient and argumentative, overly emotional and I am insecure as hell. Then of course there is the small issue of my mental illness. It isn’t fair to keep that from him, but I know all too well what happens when people find out about that.
Honestly I am terrified. I have been single for so long now I don’t even know how to be in a relationship with somebody. Love has only ever destroyed me and I don’t want to be hurt again.
I am writing this post from a train travelling hundreds of miles away from my home in London across the country to Edinburgh.
If anyone told me two years ago I would be doing this, I would have laughed. That nervous laughter that is masking hysteria because the idea of going on a holiday, somewhere I do not know, by myself, it would have terrified me!
Anyone will tell you doing something that you are afraid of is hard. And when you are living with an anxiety disorder a lot of things are scary. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the realisation that some things are more important than fear. So I decided I wanted to see myself be brave and booked a 4 day city break to Edinburgh. I naturally spent weeks worrying, imagining every possible problem I could encounter. But honestly I feel great. I am excited, can’t wait to explore this beautiful city! And being alone I don’t feel lonely, I feel free. I am so proud of myself for not backing out, for not letting the fear stop me 🙂
So if there’s something that you are dying to do, but anxiety is holding you back – you can do it. You are stronger and braver than you think!