Today is World Mental Health Day.
I have depression and anxiety. I have had it since I was 10 years old and it is managed relatively well with medication and therapy. I am to the point that I am fairly even-keeled. I recognize my red flags that indicate I need some tweaking or more tools in my metaphorical tool box.
Today my anxiety has also decided to be all like, “Heyyyyyyy!” This piece really helps explain my certain brand of anxiety, although my sleep is in a perpetual state of fucked-upped-ness.
Of particular note today are these:
Obsess over things people normally would never think about twice.
You replay conversations over and over in your head.
You think it’s your fault when someone doesn’t reply right away.
These particular things are especially burdensome when dating, especially in the beginning stages.
As I believe I have discussed at length before, I am an overthinker. I have to talk myself out of overthinking sometimes (I even chastise myself for overthinking about overthinking)!
Here is the current situation:
P and I did not get to see each other last week. He worked twelve days straight. He took Saturday to recover. Sunday he said he still felt groggy. We still texted during this time that he was busy, but the nature of our texts have changed a bit. They aren’t as fun or flirty. I realize that this is likely due to his exhaustion. He has told me he does not mind my texts. No one has done anything wrong. We have our next date scheduled for Friday.
Here is the current situation through my anxiety-ridden brain:
You are annoying. You need to back off. You are being overbearing and clingy. God, you’re such a loser, you can’t do anything right. Your jokes aren’t funny. You’re trying too hard. You’re too weird and awkward. He’s probably found someone else he’s talking to and you’ve been pushed to the side. Why do you even care at this point? You’ve only been on two dates. It is too soon to care this much. You are the worst at dating. If you were better at it, you wouldn’t care so soon and you’d play it cool. You’re smothering. Your anxiety makes you damaged goods. He deserves someone more normal. You’re trying to create a false sense of intimacy. You’re not letting it grow naturally if it is even going to grow at all. You need to still keep your options open. You’re too interested. He dreads talking to you. It is an effort for him. He only talks to you now because he pities you. He doesn’t really want to spend time with you. He is purposefully avoiding you. You’ve come on too strong and you’ve scared him off. You respond too quickly. Don’t be annoying. Don’t be annoying. Don’t be annoying.
As you can see, I am very paranoid about being annoying. That is what my anxiety is about today (and yesterday). Has he told me to back off or given me any sort of indication that I was annoying him? Not really… He did say on Friday that people in general were annoying him, but I didn’t take that to necessarily mean me. He likely has not given much thought to any of this. He’s interested in me, we have our third date set up, he’s looking for other work gigs and generally doing his life. He has no clue that I’m sitting over here hating on myself and being paranoid about how I’m perceived by him.
The problem is compounded because I am trying to come off as one of those normal, cool people who doesn’t have issues with anxiety. Someone who doesn’t overthink and who doesn’t think it is her fault when someone doesn’t reply right away. I am trying to keep the crazy pants stuff to a minimum.
I should note that I don’t do this with everyone. It seems to be with people I’ve taken an interest in, especially if their communication style changes. Even if there is a legitimate reason behind it, alarm bells start chirping in my head saying, “You’ve fucked it up again.”
And that really sucks for dating. My self-esteem and confidence plummets. I have a hard time believing what I’m told, like that my text messages aren’t a bother.
I must remind myself of my motto from Amy Poehler – Practice Ambivalence – and to stay in the present. I’ve started journaling. I distract myself. I talk about it in therapy. I take my meds. I cope. I realize that depression lies, too, (although I do not feel depressed at this point). I use the tools and lessons I have learned over the past twenty years of my life. I remind myself of truths, separating facts from crap.