Anxiety disorder and dating
Once you've been dating someone for a while, you generally know enough about them to figure out if they just fell asleep in the middle of texting or if they actually decided that they hate you mid-conversation.
When you're talking to someone new, though, everything they do is enough to make your heart rate go up. Or are they secretly praying for this date to come to an early end because your attempts at humor are so pathetic?
When you have an anxiety disorder, living a normal life becomes virtually impossible.
Everyday situations that other people don't think twice about can make you sweat and give you heart palpitations, and experiences that most people might consider to be slightly stressful can give you a full-on panic attack.
No smiley face emoji at the end of their "Talk to you later! Even if all the signs point to your new love interest genuinely enjoying your company, your anxiety will twist everything it can into convincing you that they're just talking to you and spending time with you because they pity you.
You know that sense of dread you get during that part in a horror movie when all the main characters are happy and not being murdered?
It is the unexpected attacks that I find the hardest.
But here's the thing: you're not some freak of nature.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that women are 60 percent more likely than men to develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, so if you're dating a dude, it shouldn't be a big surprise if you have the disorder and he doesn't.
It's awful because everything seems so great, and you want it to continue being great, but you know without a doubt that it's only a matter of time before things start to go horribly wrong.
For those of us with anxiety, that's what it's like being in a happy relationship.