As someone who suffers from anxiety, I know how hard it can be. You’re just sitting there, minding your own business when the whole world contracts and your thoughts turn to all the uncomfortable things that are happening in the moment.
Your heart is racing, you’re sweating, your breath is coming fast. Sometimes it feels like you’re going to lose control of your mind and body. It’s not fun, especially when you’re trying to enjoy yourself on a date! If your anxiety is severe, you might have decided that dating is too big a task to take on, but fear not. By following my advice, you should find it a little less daunting.
Know Your Triggers
Mine are low blood sugar and a lack of sleep. I also can’t tolerate caffeine or a lot of sugar. It might feel like it comes out of nowhere, but over time, you will come to recognize which factors in your daily routine lead to an increase in anxiety. If you really aren’t sure, try keeping a log of what you’re doing when it hits.
Are you in a big crowd of people, or drinking a double shot of espresso? If so, you might want to consider skipping the coffee and going someplace low-key on your date. There’s nothing wrong with suggesting changes to an existing plan if it means you’ll be spared the discomfort of an anxiety attack.
Assemble Your Coping Strategies
These could include anything from trusted friends to calming rituals to anti-anxiety medication. I watch a shit-ton of Netflix on days that I’m feeling particularly anxious, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! And I also go to therapy and take meds when needed.
If you feel the anxiety start to build as date night approaches, bring on your strategies! It’s easier to be proactive and put the brakes on an anxiety attack before it happens, than to calm yourself down after the fact. It might also help to have some kind of mantra that you repeat to yourself when things get rough, like: This will pass… it always does.
When you feel anxious, don’t make a ton of plans that you have to keep. If you’re seeing more than one woman at a time, try to space things out so you’re not running from one date to the next. Although I can’t deny the brain-soothing benefits of getting laid, anxiety can be made worse by piling too many things on at once.
On the other hand, having too much time to sit around and contemplate how anxious you are can be just as triggering. Try to strike a balance between dating and spending time on quieter activities—like meditation—that might benefit your mental health.
Be Honest about Your State of Mind
Don’t be afraid to open up about how you’re feeling. You don’t have to go into painstaking detail unless you want to, but being honest about what’s going on with you will help your date understand if sometimes you might seem a little distracted. Anxiety is incredibly common, and for all you know she struggles with it too and has coping tips to share.
I would suggest working it into the conversation casually when you’re feeling fairly calm and stable. That way you’ll be able to explain your situation thoughtfully and have a discussion about it. I find it’s easier than bringing it up mid panic attack.