‘His comment was, ‘This is our summer and we aren’t doing anything fun.’ It was my fault, just like everything else.’: Woman’s struggle with severe anxiety and how her boyfriend helps her get through it

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“I woke up and it was a normal day, I haven’t slept well all week, so I got to sleep in. It’s summer so the kids are gone with their dad.I woke up to my phone, a call from my wonderful Love, who wanted help picking out some stuff at Walmart. So, I popped right up and got ready. We ran our errands and, on the way home, it hit me, I feel extra emotional. Some days that means nothing. Today wasn’t one of those days.

We got home and pretty soon I felt it, a harmless comment cutting like a knife. It wasn’t even a big deal, so why did it affect me like it was. I suck it up. We play video games together for a while. I’m not always very good, and he’s adorably competitive. Working as a team isn’t easy. But anytime we lose, I hear things harsher than they are meant. Like my brain is purposely trying to make anything hurt me. So, I remove myself. Give me space to collect myself. He hates to see me cry. And truly he didn’t do anything wrong. Nothing that was said bad, just typical responses, it was my brain that was twisting it.

I went upstairs and worked on putting up some home decor items. The first item was hooks, I would use for towel hooks. I immediately realize it came short two screws. Once again. Feel hurt, but more like I’m a failure. I open all the packages trying to hold back the tears, it’s not a big deal I can’t get things put up. But my brain told me it was, regardless, it was my fault. I went down stairs and took an anti-anxiety pill. I am overwhelmed with illogical emotions and am literally shaking. I curled into a ball under the blankets on the couch, trying to hold back the tears. My Love noticed quickly that something was wrong.

‘I’m just overly emotional’ I told him, knowing there wasn’t any logic to my tears. I decide I’ll go upstairs and take a bath, luckily able to distract myself from my thoughts for a brief moment. But my bath was short, maybe 15 minutes. I go back down stairs. We discuss what to do the rest of the day, I’m still holding back tears, unable to fathom leaving the comforts of my home. His comment was ‘This is our summer and we aren’t doing anything fun’, not directed at my lack of having plans. But of our lack of overall not doing much, it has been a busy summer, full of family tragedy and traveling accordingly. Regardless of the meaning of what he said, my brain made it my fault, just like everything else.

I went back upstairs to our room, laid in bed, curled into a ball under the blankets and proceeded to cry. I feel fragile, like old antique glass. Or the porcelain figurine with its arm glued back on, one wrong move and I’ll fall apart. I hate trying to talk when I’m crying, it always makes me cry more. So, I text my Love and apologize. ‘I love you. I’m sorry I’m so emotional. I’m sorry we aren’t out having fun’.

I can hear when he opens the message and hear him coming upstairs, and where I am still crying, not hysterical, but the tears won’t stop. He tells me it’s ok, it’s not what he meant, he holds me and lays down beside me. He doesn’t like to leave me when I cry, even when I tell him he can. He doesn’t know how much that actually means to me, even if I can’t talk or cuddle, just him being close is comforting.

I stare off into our bathroom. I don’t know how long, still tears having run down my cheeks. Completely thoughtless. He checks in, asking what’s on my mind, I look deep in thought. I let him know, absolutely nothing, just empty. I finally convince him he can go back down stairs, I’ll be ok, I’m going to try to take a nap. I take another anti-anxiety pill, the first hasn’t even touched how anxious all these feelings are making me. I lay back down and continue to cry. Still for no apparent, logical reason. And that continues for several hours.

My Love has checked on my many times, assuring me if I need anything to ask. I asked for popcorn, he made me popcorn. A couple hours later I asked for him to go to the gas station and get me a pop, assuring him, if he didn’t feel like leaving so late, I would be fine without. It’s 10 p.m., he went and got me pop, and brought me my favorite cookies. He’s being the godsend I didn’t think I needed. Shortly after 10 p.m. I finally stopped crying. But still, unable to relax enough to go to sleep. So, I sat in bed and colored while my Love laid next to me playing games until he fell asleep. Me unable to sleep, again keeping my mind busy until I feel I’ll finally be able to crash…. 4 a.m.

Since high school I have been diagnosed with episodic mood disorder. Episodic Mood disorder is one in which the symptoms may fall under two or more of the other types of mood disorders. Basically, I experience bipolar bouts (much less severe than when I was younger), depression/mania, and anxiety. So, my entire day, spent in tears, due to my illness. No change in medication, just a day where my illness gets the best of me. Maybe I was crying over nothing, or over everything. I can’t tell, because I know my mind played tricks on me. I could feel it happening but couldn’t stop it.

People who have no experience with mood disorders of any kind, geez, they are lucky. That was my Love, he had a hard time understanding it in the beginning. I would send him pins (Pinterest), someone else’s perfectly worded picture or article describing my mind. He did research and read and studied. I often told him I was broken, and I can’t be fixed. His toughest thing to accept is he can’t fix it.

He surpassed anything I expected of him when he sent me a LONG message one night to tell me ‘You’re not ‘broken’. Everything that I have read makes me believe you are the bravest, strongest person I have had the privilege to meet and love’ ‘The reason why I disagree is because you don’t deserve to be classified that way. I might phrase this wrong but, I think that you’re saying you’re broken as a way you’ve had to describe yourself to people that are unable to understand. And when people, myself included, dig into it and you try to describe that way makes them mistakenly try to ‘fix’ it. Which probably makes you feel lower and doesn’t help.’ And much more.

Man, even rereading the message that I saved, for good reason, still brings tears to my eyes. He put so much time, effort, and thought into understanding my illness. Mental illness isn’t something that you can just pop a pill for and move on. It is still a constant battle every single day. To wake up and push all the demons down that daily, try to tear you to shreds.

So yesterday I cried. I cried most of the time I was awake. And for no apparent, logical reason. Maybe it was built up. Maybe it wasn’t. But today I woke up and was able to get out of bed. Leave the house and interact with people. I can say with total certainty, without my Love I would have stayed in bed today, being defeated without even trying. People learning and understanding (as much as possible) about mental illness is important. And I never realized how much until I had someone who was willing to do it all on my behalf. To help me be better, to help us be better.”

Courtesy Sally Selensky

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sally Selensky, 29, of Williston, Montana. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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