Head Over Feels: The anxiety of dating with a mental illness

In the fourth grade, I had my first panic attack—at least, the first one I remember. It happened at a softball game. I worked myself up to the verge of tears because of some irrational fear of becoming sick. I had no reason to be so distressed, but I was. Since then, I’ve experienced panic attacks and anxiety triggered by almost anything, even something as illogical as potentially falling ill in the future.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in five adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness. My mental illness never impacted me on an interpersonal level until I started dating my high school boyfriend, Brian.

However, I have never dated a person with a mental illness like mine.

I didn’t receive an official diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder or take prescribed medication until age 18.   more

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