When I was 18, I met, fell in love with, moved across the state for and eventually married someone who I thought would be in my life for the next 60 years.
I planned a future of date nights, family gatherings, anniversaries and memories with this person. I spent the next five years being part of a relationship that showed me no true love.
As hard as we tried to actually love each other, it wasn't there: no spark, no passion. The true love – deep, dark, wonderful, painful love – just wasn't within us toward one another.
And that's fine. But it led to me picking up my shit and leaving that situation. I realized I didn't have to stay with someone if that love didn't exist.
A year has almost come and gone since the day I left and took my future back. My life has changed and evolved in ways I didn't think was possible.
My career has taken off in strides. My family is building itself right in front of my eyes, and it seems as though I'm starting to succeed at adulting.
But then, my anxiety sneaks up and wraps its bony fucking fingers around my throat. It chokes the life out of me, and reduces me to a fright-riddled heap.
The family building up in front of me consists of a new love I'm very proud of. He's the sweetest thing.
He keeps me happy and wants to be a part of my future and family. He happens to be very precious to me.
Naturally, this should feel amazing... and most days, it does.
Then, I'll have moments of torment. A nagging feeling of despair leads me to believe every hiccup in my relationship is signaling the end of the greatest era I've known. It makes me think every risk I've taken in the past eight months has been for nothing.
What a crushing feeling.
Today, as a matter of fact, I have come to the realization I'm in a healthy relationship. For the first time in my life, I'm with someone who loves me: every flaw, every freckle, every giggle.
The flaw in our partnership stems from the anxiety that creeps in and tells me everything is wrong. It makes me think all I've worked for has been in vain, and I have failed at yet another relationship.
Today, I've come to the realization I can't let my anxiety get the best of my relationship. It doesn't get to take my peace of mind on a daily basis, and then take my relationship too.
So, I won't let that happen any longer.
I must learn how to protect my love from my mind.
Tuning into my body is the fastest way to face my anxiety and knock it down. When I listen to myself and take stock of what I'm feeling, I realize the fear creeping into my head is a farce. What I fear is nothing more than my mind trying to convince me I'm fucking everything up.
So, to combat that, I've developed a system to overcome everything.
First, I find some peace.
I separate myself from anything and essentially tune out the world. I shut out the noise, the chaos and the stimulus that could bring me back into my anxiety-riddled state.
Then, I react, no matter what it looks like. For me, it often takes the form of tears.
I let my tears flow completely uninhibited until my mind clears. Then, the clarity begins to fill me.
When I have found the silence and released the hurt I'm feeling, my head clears. Peace starts to fill me, and it allows me to understand the small things are truly small.
Nothing can affect me unless I let it.
Although I understand this is easier said than done, I also understand these tactics don't always work in the way of calming me down.
This method doesn't always expel my fears. But when it works, it knocks me out of the spiral I find myself in.
Knowing these things about myself helps me understand I'm not fucking up as badly as I think I am. I am not in a bad place. My relationship is not failing.
But my anxiety needs to be controlled in order for me to find peace in my life.