Don’t Date Me If You Can’t Handle My Anxiety

By By Holly Riordan

Don’t date me if you are going to get annoyed when plans are cancelled at the last minute because I’m not in the mood to socialize and would rather spend the weekend inside. Don’t accuse me of trying to ruin your fun on purpose. Don’t act like I have control over my anxiety because I would never choose to feel this way. It’s the worst feeling in the world and I need someone who understands that, even if they have never experienced it themselves.

Don’t date me if you are only interested in spontaneous, spur of the moment dates. I need to plan things ahead of time. I need notice before you stop over or bring me to a party with your friends. I’m not the kind of person who wants you to show up at my house unexpectedly and take me for a drive. I am not good with surprises. I like to be prepared.

Don’t date me if you are going to call me crazy when I freak out over the little things. Don’t tease me about my fears, just because you are more comfortable around people than me. I might not have the courage to ask a waitress for ketchup or to search for the bathroom on my own. I might need your help and when that happens I don’t need you to patronize me. I need you to be there for me.

Don’t date me if you are looking for a social butterfly. I am not going to let you take me out every weekend. I am an old soul. I am most comfortable around small groups. Crowds make me uneasy. Parties make me feel awkward. Most nights, I would rather snuggle on the couch with you than order drinks from a bar.

Don’t date me if you are going to treat my mental health like a joke. Don’t expect me to skip therapy sessions to hang out with you. Don’t leave me hanging during panic attacks because you assume I’ll be fine. Don’t tell me to calm down or stop overreacting when my throat closes up and I have trouble breathing because that is not the way anxiety works. I cannot just turn it off at will.

Don’t date me if you are going to feel like I’m holding you back. I don’t want you to feel like you have to ditch your friends to babysit me. I don’t want you to feel like you have to tiptoe around my feelings to avoid upsetting me. I don’t want you to grow to resent me. I would rather be alone than with someone who thinks they are settling by staying with me.

My anxiety already makes me feel horrible enough about myself. I don’t need my person to make my insecurities worse. I need someone who is patient with me. Someone who is gentle with me. Someone who tries to see situations from my point of view. Until I can find someone like that, I am happier single.

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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You Don’t Know It Now, But You’ll Be Sorry You Let Me Go