I have lived with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) all my life. I have also been single most of my life. In this past year, I’ve found someone I hope to spend my life with, and as a result, I’ve discovered a few new roadblocks. No one could prepare me for the intensity some symptoms take when amplified by loving another person. Anxiety often plagues me with doubt, guilt, negative intrusive thoughts, insomnia, excessive worry over trivial things and so much more. In the context of the relationship, those once-debilitating issues I had during an episode or flare-up as a single person seem worse now.
I used to have guilt about avoiding appointments or breaking plans. Now I have guilt about how every decision I make or don’t make might potentially harm my partner. Knowing they fully love and accept me as I am, sick brain and all, helps me to recognize that even though the pain of the guilt is real and felt in my mind and body, the basis for it is not. I am at the point in my journey where I am testing my limits — limits of how much I can work, what types of employment I can be successful in, how much social time I need to thrive and how much is too much. In all of these instances, I feel heavy loads of guilt.
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