OK, so let’s be clear. Dating is no fun for anyone. Maybe if you’re super chilled about meeting new people who want to know every detail about you and are basically just grilling you to see if they can spot your inner psycho, it’s fun. For me and my single friends, however, dating is more of a necessary evil. Like tampon shopping.
I arrived fresh faced into the single world around three years ago, and whilst I experienced the wonder that is the ‘newly single glow’ – you know, when you are giving off that elusive single vibe and getting allll of the attention, I soon landed flat on my face in ‘OhMyGodWhatDoIDoNow?’ land.
Now, I’m fairly sure most people struggle when a long term relationship ends and they become single for the first time since their teens, however when dealing with the dating world and anxiety disorder, it becomes a whole different ball game.
A week after finally becoming single, I was forced into a sparkly new dress, make up covering the puffy eyes and a smile plastering over the constant anxiety of your world having just been turned upside down. I was off out out with my older sister and her friends. Like sisters to me, they were very #TeamHannah and wanted to help me talk to new guys. I was in no way ready or had even really thought about meeting someone new. But I’m a proud lady and was determined to have fun, so found myself scouring the room looking for the possibility of an eligible bachelor.
And then I did. The most beautiful guy I had ever seen up until that point in my life walked past and actually paid me attention. Me! The fat girl from school! Now, my friends do enjoy my level of awkwardness but somehow the loud music and different languages we were speaking, it all seemed to work, and I went home with his business card. Nailed it!
We started texting the next day, nerve wracking for most I’m sure, however for me, nerves were a visible shake; a message alert would send my body into overdrive, heart pounding and hot with nerves. My brain turned from excitement into a complete anxious meltdown. Targeting the tiny thought that maybe he had beer goggles on, my brain compounded it into a complete belief that he must have got the wrong person. Surely he couldn’t have actually liked me, I was ugly, I was fat. All the weapons in my arsenal of mental health problems seized this new opportunity to appear. The difference between most people dating, and someone with anxiety or any other problem is that whilst they might have doubts, my doubts become facts. My brain believed them completely, there was no rationalisation.
So I spent the next week before our first date, not nervous or excited, but in the throws of massive panic attacks. Surely he would cancel on me, and if he did, how on earth would I get back up again. I wouldn’t be able to face the humiliation, this was my one chance, my only chance of ever being happy again. Wasn’t it?
Somehow I managed to make it through the week and onto the date and he didn’t (visibly) recoil when he saw me, we had a great time, one of the most epic first date kisses of all time (I can write that cos he agrees) and actually carried on dating for a further 3 months. Eventually it was me that ended it, because I realised I wasn’t being treated well enough. That’s right, I actually attributed enough self worth to myself that I could end a potential relationship for not being treated well.
So I’d faced something that terrified me and managed to escape relatively unscathed out the other side, this was going to be yet another thing I had conquered right?? Hmm….