It’s taken about a year, but I think I’ve finally made some progress in convincing my boyfriend that the socially anxious part of me, the one he sees most often and impedes my life most often, is one of the hardest parts of me to live with. I knew he didn’t understand when I first explained to him why I had issues answering calls, making calls, meeting new people, hanging out with new people, talking with people, going to job interviews, keeping jobs, or why I refused to take communication classes. He thought I hated people. Add in the bouts of depression and self harm and road rage and panic attacks and well, I must have looked like a mess. I still am, but I’m getting tidier.
No, I’ll stay positive.
I’m getting tidier. My Tidy Monster has been in working extra hard lately.
At any rate, I’ve known him for a few years, kind of. It was a rocky start because of my tendency not to answer people’s text messages or phone calls when they start getting close to me; my anxiety made me ignore him at first and that pretty much destroyed the friendship we’d hardly began. Therefore I preferred to stay away from people; I’d either drive them away or force them to put up with my bullshit and I didn’t wish either hell on anyone.
He probably still doesn’t understand the self harming and suicidal ideation, I think that disturbs him, but after a year he’s starting to understand that when I get depressed I can’t just pull myself out of it. Instead, he just spends time with me if I ask. His humor most often takes my mind out of itself for at least a little bit. If I can’t pull myself out of bed he doesn’t make me feel like I’m acting ridiculous, although maybe he still thinks like that. But at least he doesn’t project any more negativity on me.
We’re complete opposites though, I think that’s what makes us so interesting. I’m an inch or so taller than him; his family is from Mexico and I’m just your average African American, Polish, Danish, Irish, Native American (Cherokee) blood; I love rock music, he’s not a fan; he’s big into sports and absolutely adores football, and I can only handle watching one quarter on television; he’s a business major and I’m getting into the industry just to fuck shit up. We’re completely opposite. So we have miniature arguments often but we don’t let them ruin what we have. I know my personality is a little difficult to handle since I can go from being very cooperative to an arrogant, narcissistic jerk who knows she’s always right in a matter of seconds, so I’m not really sure how he even puts up with it half the time. I know it’s yet another thing I need to work on. I guess I also have to learn Spanish.
He thought I didn’t want to learn it because I was stubborn but I had to explain taking a class where the tests are oral is not the easiest thing for me right now. I wouldn’t learn anything.
I dove into this relationship head first, not even knowing I did it really. I remember getting out of the hospital E.R after a panic attack, recovering from all the Ativan and C.A.T scan contrast fluid they shot me up with (they checked for pulmonary embolism), and then a few weeks later waking up in his bed after staying the night. Our relationship started off more as a friends with benefits thing, which I wasn’t complaining about. I usually hate being this close to someone but somehow it didn’t bother me at the time and so when I started realizing the gravity of the situation I decided I could do one of two things: awkwardly lie about why I couldn’t continue with a more stable relationship, or give it a try. I gave it a try and I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
He told me this morning he decided to do his speech in his communications class on social anxiety disorder. I’m glad I don’t have to be a guest speaker, though.
I’d say that’s progress. Maybe through the process of writing his speech he’ll get an even better understanding that it really is hard for me to walk out of the door every morning. I’m hoping he can convey that feeling of dread to his class. I’ve never had my story told in such a large setting and even though I won’t be there to hear it, I will be dying in Calculus peacefully knowing across campus a group of students is learning the reason all the quiet kids seem “weird” is because they are exhausted from working up the courage to step out their door each morning.
He’s lucky I own the DSM-V and have a bunch of other articles on social anxiety disorder and anxiety in general; he doesn’t even have to do any research for the factual part of the speech.
That better not be why he chose this topic.
Don’t be afraid to tell your story, even if it’s only part of it. Every word counts.