Thursday, May 25, 2017

Please, Don't Leave Me

Thirteen months.

That is how long Nerdycakes and I have been dating. We met for the first time at a funeral. He asked me to dinner a few months later. He prefers to think of our first date as when we met instead of an introduction and small talk over funeral sandwiches and church-lady potatoes. I love the idea of meeting over cheesy potato bake made by old Norwegian women; it is Midwestern "meet cute" at it's finest. What I love even more is the surprised look people give me when they ask where I met him and I tell them, "at a funeral".

We had been dating a little over a month when I lost a family member to suicide. He was with me the night I got the message. He took the phone when I squawked out his name. He replied to the message. He stayed with me that night, and the next night. He went with me to the funeral and didn't judge me when I spent the following work day in my pajamas with his laptop, writing and crying.

We went to see KISS in concert the week before his birthday.  He wanted a chocolate cherry bundt cake for his birthday. I had never made a bundt cake before, but that is what he wanted and that is what he got.

He went with when we took my sister's kids to Trick-Or-Treat this year. They were a year and a half old. They went almost a full mile. He carried a baby for almost half of it.

My family caught the flu the week before Thanksgiving. Everyone was feeling up to eating and spending time together so we still had family dinner on Thursday. That Saturday, he got the flu and lived on my sofa bed for three days.

I finally watched all the Star Wars movies and in December we went to see Rogue One on opening night in the theater.

He bought me the most delicious cake for my birthday. I got sick the next week. March ended up being the most humbling month of illness I have ever had in my entire life. I would tell you about it, but I am still not ready to talk about what happened.

These are some of the highs and the lows from the last thirteen months. It has not been perfect, but it has been pretty damn good. So good, in fact, that I did not realize what has been missing from our relationship until this weekend.

I woke up at two a.m. on Sunday morning with a migraine. I took ibuprofen, drank a glass of water and went back to bed. I woke up again and struggled to write my Sunday Confession before taking more pills, this time I turned to prescriptions. We went out for breakfast and did some light shopping. Then we headed home for a quiet afternoon. It was a relaxing Sunday at home until I started walking around the house in circles because I felt like I was forgetting something.

Nerdycakes had a few days of work training he needed to leave town for so he was leaving that evening to head home and pack for his drive the next day. I have known about this trip for weeks, months even. We bought him extra shirts to take with. We ordered extra power cords and travel cases for some of his devices. He is self-sufficient and does not need my help. I didn't do anything except tell him what color shirt I liked and ordered stuff online for him. The nagging feeling like I was forgetting something persisted, so I named everything we bought and he wanted to take with him out loud. I did this while pacing the house. I do not know if it was the medicine I had taken, the caffeine I had been sipping or a combination of both, but before I knew it I was teary.

Thirteen months.

Nerdycakes has seen me struggle with my anxiety. He notices that it takes me three hours to leave the house to come stay at his place for the weekend sometimes, he shrugs and asks me to tell him when I am leaving. He is patient with me when I ask him to pull over in the middle of our night drive through the country so I can call my sister and make sure everyone is OK. He notices when I hesitate. I think he gets it, but I never bring it up and we don't talk about it.

When I know he's taking the convertible out for a night drive, I check my phone every fifteen minutes to make sure the volume up. I worry when when he's sick, because we all need someone to bring us stuff and do things for us when we don't feel good and make sure we're OK. Sometimes I worry, but it is actual worry not unfounded anxiety and imagined fears. I don't start to panic and envision the horrific things that could have happened to him when he is running late. I never have dreams that something awful happened to him or that I am at his funeral. I don't call him in the middle of the night to check on him because I had a "bad feeling". I don't cry and beg him to stay because something of unknown origin is bothering me.

That is what our relationship has been missing for thirteen months!

It was so nice not having that anxiety in at least one area of my life that I did not even realize it was missing. I am left feeling ashamed and angry. I'm ashamed that I did not realize or appreciate how anxiety free my life has been and ashamed that it came back. I am ashamed because there were tears and I am angry because I could not hide them. I am angry that I caused him to worry because I seemed upset enough for him to suggest that I go to my mom's for a bit.

At the end of the day, I was able to talk him into some extra snuggles before he left which is exactly what I needed. Once he was out the door, the readjustment to the silence that falls over the house when I am alone was swift and I was fine. I immediately remembered how much I enjoy my own company and proceeded to lay spread eagle on the bed and eat ice cream while watching reality TV.

I'm left wondering though, what do I do if this happens again? Can I learn to apply the lack of anxiety to other areas of my life?  What do you do to deal with your anxiety?

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