1. Deciding when is the most appropriate moment to tell a new partner you have an anxiety disorder.
Like should you do it before or after you break down and have a panic attack while they're hanging out with you? Really a game-time decision.
2. Teaching your new partner about the weird coping routine you have and absolutely cannot stray from.
Mine is talking to myself out loud and walking around my bedroom, and then having a snack and watching a very specific and very dumb TV show on Netflix.
3. When they can't hang out because they already have plans, you're sure they hate you and will never talk to you again.
It just takes you a minute to process that not everything everyone does is a personal attack on you. Anxiety is such a blast!
4. Counting how many hours it takes for them to respond to a text.
Timestamps are both a blessing and a major curse because now I have a metric I'll foolishly use to measure how much you care about me, even though I know (deep down) that it's wrong to do this.
5. And then comparing how many hours it takes for them to respond to how many hours it usually takes them to respond.
And while you're at it, you might as well compare how the tone of his texts has changed and start worrying that he doesn't like you anymore because he switched "lol" for "haha" recently.
6. Analyzing everything you do and say around them to make sure you're not letting your anxiety dictate the relationship.
Basically just trying so hard to be a normal person, whatever that even means.
7. Having the inevitable first anxiety attack in front of a new partner.
A truly terrifying and make-or-break moment. You don't want to be this way in front of someone you really like, but at the same time, you want to know that they can handle it well.
8. Feeling like they only want to spend time with you out of obligation, not because you're a fun person to hang out with.
Because honestly it feels insane sometimes that someone could actually enjoy being around you.
9. Worrying that you're being really annoying because you texted, "Hey, what's up?"
Basically you just feel like you're being too much all the time, even though you logically understand that it's perfectly reasonable and not at all too much to send someone a casual text.
10. When you meet their friends, having a whole new set of anxieties about whether or not they like you.
Meeting the friends for the first time is a whole thing because now it's just a new set of people to try and be normal and cool and casual around.
11. Explaining that sometimes, you don't text back for two days because your brain just sorta shuts down for a bit.
And it's not at all personal. Sometimes you just have to turn off your phone and shut yourself in because things just get too overwhelming and your brain needs a serious staycation.
12. Being up all night when you have sleepovers because your brain conveniently kicked into overdrive at 2 in the morning.
My head might look still and calm on top of this pillow, but know that my eyes are wide open and I can't stop thinking about how I shouldn't have bought that pair of shoes or eaten that last slice of pizza or said that thing to my friend or oh my god, I'm literally never sleeping tonight.
13. Trying really hard not to push your partner away because you're just so terrified of being left by them.
You want to be with this person, you really like this person, but every single aspect of really liking someone terrifies you, so this sad little part of your brain just feels like life would be easier if you never really liked someone.
14. Realizing it's hard to be with someone who has an anxiety disorder and feeling really guilty about it sometimes.
I know it's very annoying that I sometimes cry over something as tiny as accidentally burning a piece of toast, but I really do appreciate your patience and swear I am still a very cool person to be around.
15. Trying to explain how it's possible for you to go from crying and exhausted to laughing and energized in a matter of minutes. The inside of my head is basically just a bit spinning Ferris wheel and sometimes it gets stuck on a weird mood for a minute, but things always keep moving again.
16. Dealing with partners who want to "fix you."
They might mean well for wanting you to feel better, but anxiety sucks and isn't just something that can be fixed by a romantic partner. Anyone who wants to fix you fundamentally misunderstands how anxiety works.
17. Constantly reminding yourself that it's possible for someone to like you.
Living with anxiety can feel a lot like the world is against you and everything is unfair and no one can possibly like you. But that isn't true, because you're great. Anxiety is just a shitty thing to put up with sometimes.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.