Loving someone unconditionally is the purest form of love. It allows someone the freedom to be completely themselves, without fear of judgement or criticism.

I am lucky enough to have an abundance of people who love me in this way; but I still have an innate fear of people leaving. If someone asked me what my biggest worry about relationships was; cheating or lying wouldn’t be up there at number one. The fear of losing someone I loved by them choosing to leave outweighs the risk of unfaithfulness or dishonesty by a million miles. I’ve experienced all three of these things, and the most pain I have felt is undoubtably from the loss. Cheating and lying obviously hurts like cr*p but when that happens I find it easier to tell myself I’m better off without.

Thankfully, this fear is less so when it comes to my family or friends. Maybe because they’ve been consistently there for me for so many years, it’s proven to me that they are here to stay. They have gone above and beyond to prove to me that despite every doubt Ben drills into my brain about my worth as a friend; a person; an employee, they don’t believe it. And I shouldn’t either.

Anxiety is a difficult illness to understand, and more so, to experience. We all suffer with anxiety to some degree: it’s a normal human emotion. But when it starts to control your life and your relationships with people, that is when it’s beginning to become a disorder.

I have always been an anxious person, or so my mum tells me. As a child I wouldn’t like staying away from home as I’d feel sick and worried; I didn’t like asking for things in shops etc. as I got flustered and didn’t know how to act; I worried obsessively about tiny, insignificant things. And as I’ve grown older and experienced more profound, somewhat traumatic things, it has increased the anxiety I feel about ‘normal’ things and therefore manifested Ben inside my brain.

I view myself in such a contradicting way at times; I know how many good values and traits I have. But a lot of the time I also believe that other people are more appealing because they don’t worry obsessively about how a message has been written; or they don’t wake up in the middle of the night because their brain is convincing them there is something to fear; or they can go to any event filled with confidence and not worry that they’ll say something stupid and think about it for days after.

Anxiety isn’t an easy thing to live with. I have felt so good for such a long period of time now that having an odd blip seems more significant than it ever did when it was a daily occurrence. I have been experiencing days, even weeks recently without Ben chipping away at my confidence and self-belief, and it has reminded me of the things I am capable of and brought out my true self again. Yet I have a moment of relapse and it feels devastating. It brings back all the feelings of frustration and sadness that I felt constantly a few years ago. And that in itself creates more sadness and more frustration. I want to feel proud of how far I’ve come, I want to feel strong because I am able to manage better than I did before; I want to believe that despite Ben making an appearance, he won’t be here to stay. But today I am finding that hard. I find it so much easier to remind people that these moments don’t last and they don’t define how your future will be; I just wish that today I was able to believe myself more than Ben convinces me of the opposite.

And despite my fear of loss, there’s no one else I want to lose more than Ben.

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