People always says that when you meet the right person you will be able to navigate anything with them. There is a lot of truth to that statement. However in life you may not have that someone in your life, you may really be struggling, or the person in your life struggles with understanding you in the way you need them to understand. This blog will be super personal but not meant to paint the people in my life as horrible individuals. However it is a reality that I know many like me experience.
Expectations vs. Reality
Expectations tell you that if your partner loved you they would know how you feel as your anxiety mounts. Reality says no matter how much empathy they might have, they aren’t going to understand if they don’t go through it themselves. This is why you in reality need someone who has a high level of empathy while you in return are going to have to do active self-care.
Expectations says that if you have a partner they will have a higher level of understanding to help see you through. Not always true. There are movements when you find that your partner misses the mark. What they see as ungrateful, anger, fear, is masked as anxiety. When you have anxiety often times you have a thousand questions, you don’t deal with unknowns or you may not be able to express yourself correctly. These feelings are complex.
Let me give you an example. In college freshman year I was learning myself. I came in the door strong-willed and able to articulate myself extremely well. Over the course of those first years through fault of my own, I was made fun of, talked about, and had to withdraw from many social circles. On top of that I already lacked social skills even though I had great academic skills. I found myself not able to be bubbly and I felt alone. I started to figure out once around certain people what I should or shouldn’t say. As the years went on I became more and more reserved that once I graduated although I was happy to be away from some of the dismissive crowds I had managed to just tolerate; I greatly couldn’t navigate even in my small town outside of my set crew. This is when my anxiety took off.
In college my coping mechanism was to be loud or angry just so it would make more sense that if someone didn’t want to be around me I would already have an outlet. I started being only around my 4 friends for the most part but even with the them I felt I had lost a little respect.
I’m learning how to get back to myself. When I had my kids and moved to Philadelphia which made sense it still mentally stripped me of a lot of independence. I had already moved from my apartment to my parents home. The only reason that wasn’t a total bummer was because they wasn’t there and I was living in the home with my siblings. Being able to secure my own bag, right or wrong pay my bills, and live on my own terms always made me feel stronger. Moving to Philadelphia didn’t make me feel secure on my terms. Everyone told me how great it was to have my needs met by someone else but by then my episodic anxiety had already kicked in. I moved away from what I knew and only expressed it outside of fights with those around me. See how that anger as a coping mechanism was the band-aid that didn’t help me in the long run? Once again I was around people who were smiling in my face, talking behind my back, but wanted to have a private relationship while publicly bashing me felt like college all over again.
It’s funny how that type of mess didn’t bother me in high school because I was too focused on my academics. Now my focus was on my kids but without outlets I was feeling alone. I’ve called alone stuck many years because I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t stuck it was feeling alone and honestly let’s call a spade a spade; I was. I didn’t understand my anxiety and by this point I hadn’t been seen by a counselor. I moved away from familiarity, and I couldn’t articulate what I was going through but that didn’t stop the talking. It didn’t stop my anxiety either.
Let’s flash back to now, anxiety is better managed but it doesn’t change how I am perceived. If I’m having a hard time and stay to myself I’m perceived in my mind and by the things or situations as ungrateful. If I express myself, I’m angry. Now this is why having anxiety is hard. That line between real and expectations slide into one other. Have I been told I’m ungrateful-at times yes. I have to be 💯. I’ve walked in on conversations that my husband has had about me and my anxiety with his friends that made me not want to be around the same friends he spoke ill about me too. Some to this day I speak but mentally side eye. Having anxiety has stripped me of the ability to have peace while I actively take ownership of it. I had to talk to my counselor many times and her advice I took but not all of it. As I work through that why not, I’ll reveal it at a later time.
When I blogged about going to counseling I was told by some how brave it was to speak openly but often times people I wouldn’t have told were told anyway. I grew up in a home that if others were going to speak about something about me; let me tell it in my own words. Again this isn’t to throw anyone under the bus. These are real situations that have happened and I have to work through those scars and how anxiety has robbed me at moments to control who I allow into my inner circle and who doesn’t. People make it seem like it’s not a big deal but if you’re left vulnerable, having someone not want to talk to you because you’re getting on their nerves or not wanting to go out because you feel like people are whispering about you because they know things that you would never tell them is debilitating.
I’ve missed cues on friendships because of my own anxiety. However because I was used to certain people and their antics I allowed disrespectful behavior too. How I was able to figure things out was to go to therapy to find out who was who and what people’s words, actions and behavior means to me. A lot of that is to speak truthfully about where I am. So when you see a personal blog and I’m writing it comes from a very real place.
How you perceive how people treat you can very much be clouded by anxiety. However you have to know yourself and trust your instinct. As much as I wanted to carry the anger of my husband’s friends the reality my issue was with him and not them. How I felt they were responding was based on my anxiety. And it was up to me to work through that.
I can’t say that I’ve conquered my anxiety. I have and do manage it better. I struggle with perception because when actions say someone would rather not be around me and I know I’m super dope individual, I know it has to be a few reasons, they really don’t like me or my anxiety has me perceiving the situation one way.
To those who suffer with anxiety that has caused break ups, lost of jobs, or feeling alone know that I understand. All I can offer is understanding as you work through it! Don’t give up on yourself! Don’t think you’re alone. Don’t think you aren’t worthy of finding love that will help you in getting towards your goal of controlling your anxiety. It will get better!!