I’m not a particularly anxious person, but a couple of weeks ago I’ve had to deal with it head on. Extreme anxiety is one of those concepts that doesn’t sound realistic until you experience first hand. It’s hard to believe that there are people to who suffer from anxiety on a daily basis. I only had to deal with it for a week and it was pretty concerning.
Now what, you may ask, caused me to drown in my own anxiety for a week? I had a date. I know! It sounds silly when you take a step back from the situation but you need to understand that I used to be extremely shy. It this point in my life I’ve managed to somehow evolve into an extrovert (according to the Myers Briggs test) and as a result I’ve gotten a lot better at socializing and making friends. In fact, most people can’t imagine me ever having issues interacting with people at any point because I’ve gotten so good at it.
So, I can make friends as easily as breathing but on the other hand I have little to no experience with dealing with people in any romantic context whatsoever. Most guys who ask me out are automatically shut down because I’m picky as hell and have no problem being cold (sometimes that doesn’t even work!). But, for once in my life, I decided to take a chance and go out on a date.
The impending date came with a ton of stress. I could hardly eat, I couldn’t sleep, and any ounce of focus was out of the question. Was I overreacting? Um. Probably. But, still! It’s nerve racking trying to get to know someone while trying to figure out if you’re still interested in them romantically. I’m horrible at multitasking and even worse at getting close to people. At least when you’re getting to know someone in a friendly manner there is always a certain level of distance between you and everyone else. I have no idea how dating works so suddenly I have to address my boundaries. It’s a lot more work than one would think!
At the end of the day, I’m reminded that to my core people make me nervous. Getting to know people, getting close to them, and potentially actually giving a shit about someone. It’s a lot to take in. My solution to my anxiety with dating is to go at my own pace and not feel guilty about it. I’m talking turtle speed here. If I don’t feel like answering a text, I’m not going to. If I don’t want to hold hands it’s not going to happen. When it comes to being around people and dealing with anxiety comfort is key. Don’t rush yourself for the sake of others and don’t feel bad if you suddenly decide you need to bail. Shit happens.