This article first appeared on SHE'SAID' and has been republished with permission.
Anxiety works in mysterious ways.
One day, you’ll be completely fine. Then the next, you have an anxiety attack in the bathroom for absolutely no reason. The sporadic nature of anxiety makes it extremely difficult to control and live with. Not only does it affect you personally, but also every decision and opportunity presented to you throughout your life.
So of course, anxiety tends to rear its ugly head when you’re single and ready to mingle. Dating is stressful even if you don’t have any kind of mental illness. But, throw anxiety into the mix and it becomes a monumental task which feels impossible to complete, let alone attempt.
From overthinking everything and stressing about all of the reasons you’re single in the first place, to getting up the guts to finally ask someone on a date, navigating the single and casual dating world as someone who struggles with anxiety can be absolute hell on earth. You go through cycles of convincing yourself you’re fine being single because no-one would be able to handle your anxiety, anyway, and being desperate for someone to be there for you when you’re having a bad mental health day.
1. You constantly try to decipher why you are single.
Is it your personality? Your clothes? Your hair? Or, all three?
2. Setting up your Tinder profile is like disarming a bomb.
One bad photo and a cringe worthy bio means it’s all over.
3. Messaging someone takes days of planning, preparation, and panic attacks.
4. When you do finally send someone a message and end up left on read, you examine everything thing you ever said to determine where you went wrong.
5. When you ask someone on a date, you need your best friend on speed dial and your parents as an emergency contact, just so you don’t have a panic attack.
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6. If they say yes to the date, you immediately start stressing about where you should go and what you should do.
Is mini golf fun? What do people do for fun these days, anyway??!!
7. If they say no, you immediately hide under you bed covers and you decide you will never come out again.
This is your life now.
8. As you approach the date location, you start sweating tremendously.
Now, you have to worry about if you smell like an armpit, which sends your anxiety into overdrive.
9. When you meet them, do you hug?
Or shake hands? Is shaking hands weird on a first date?!!!
10. You constantly think about what to say and try your hardest to make the conversations fun.
You remind yourself to never talk about the weather. Do you tell jokes? Or is the risk of them not finding you funny too high? Maybe just talk about the weather??!
11. As you part ways, you must navigate the dangerous minefield of goodbyes.
Do you kiss them? What do you say? Do you just run for your car and never look back?
12. Even if the date went really well, your brain isn’t going to see it that way and will convince you it was a complete disaster and you’ll never find love, ending up alone for the rest of your life.
13. But, this is dating and no matter how bad your anxiety gets, you will find a person who understands.
That person may be the one.
Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.