Cravings. They are the little gnawing feeling at the back of our minds that propel us to act in specific ways, or absurd ways that seem awkward to the rest of the population. Cravings may be at the detriment of our health, such as our societal addiction to all things alcoholic and smokeable. Remember your first time being egged on by a friend, or the first time you withdrew from prying eyes and placed the kiss of death substance on your lips, be it the first shot crudely slurped from a bottle in a park or the cigarette you struggled to hold on the tip of your lips. There is an allure to putting these things into our bodies, they are so socially accepted that being a non-drinker, especially in a student community, can label you an oddball. Then there are the less harmful but equally desirable cravings. In a society which condemns waiting, instant gratification is a must and we cannot go a day without a fix. Cravings are associated with pleasure; we abide by the dogmatic Freudian pleasure principle and devote ourselves to it.
Now subvert the expectation of pleasure and keep the incessant stabbing that coerces us into taking action and what do you get? Anxiety.
We put substances into our bodies that are damaging; it’s a well-established fact. Yet there’s a certain glamour attributed to this consumption, so much so that we welcome it into our lives without much consideration. Anxiety is another force that tugs at our mental processes and twists us on the inside. It agitates the feeling of normality into a cancerous tumour that grows and begins to bulge; difficult to stop and too easy to inflame.
Anxiety is a feeling looked down upon because many do not take it seriously. If it is not diagnosed then it will just be brushed off as something you are fabricating, and worse still – maybe you will try to brush it off too.
Anxiety in relationships is where it starts to get tricky, akin to walking across minefields waiting for a blast. Anxiety is needing constant reassurance because in the last few days that you have not seen your partner they are sure to have changed their mind. Why would they love you because you are unworthy of love? Anxiety is the constricting feeling you get in your chest every time someone looks at you for a little too long, suddenly their warm smile turns into a scowl and they are picking at every detail of your appearance and belittling it. Anxiety is tossing and turning at the first stages of a relationship because you never know how the other person feels and the more you question it the more insane it seems that they would want to be with you. It is lovely getting to know them but simultaneously you dread intimacy: you never know when they will bolt. When a relationship is over, anxiety does not let you appreciate the good times that you had with the person and does not let you blame them because you are the one who is always not good enough.
It comes down to being intrepid and battling through anxiety to be able to explain to your partner what you are feeling. You may think that your feelings are illogical and will make no sense to your partner, so why bother right? Wrong.
Learning to trust the person with who you really are and what you are dealing with will ease the burden because you won’t be facing it alone. If you feel that sharing is selfish because it will inconvenience your partner or if they vocalise that they do not want to discuss it then – newsflash – they are probably not the right person.
It is difficult to love someone with anxiety, but if you work through it as a team then the love received will be unconditional. Have the bravery to vocalise your fears and your partner will have the strength to care and help work through it.