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Yes, you read that right. The Teary Teadrinker is catching feelings for somebody special. And I am absolutely terrified.

You see, this guy has me breaking my own rules, such as no long distance relationships and no starting something new during a tumultuous time in my life. He lives 100 miles away and I’m in the middle of a major depressive episode. So you can see how I might be a little nervous, or absolutely terrified. Whatevs.

So far, he’s been a positive influence in my life. He listens when I cry and he points me in the right direction when I lose my focus. He’s been a major source of support for me during a time when I desperately need it. I honestly don’t know where I would be if he hadn’t come into my life when he did, because I was ready to completely give up on myself. All in all, he’s pretty great. Not perfect, but then again, neither am I.

But, (and there’s always a but) I worry that my feelings for him are fueled by traumatic bonding. (Been there, done that, spent 10 years trying to get rid of that t-shirt!) I worry that experiencing such strong feelings so early in a relationship doesn’t bode well for our future. I worry that it’s way too soon to start falling for him. I worry that I don’t know him well enough to trust him. I worry that he doesn’t feel the same way. Conversely, I also worry that he’s going to leave. I worry that he doesn’t really understand what he’s signing up for with me. I worry that my frequent depressive episodes will scare him away. I worry that I’m making more of our relationship than it is. Can you tell that I’m a giant ball of anxiety right now?

And my biggest worry is that all of my conflicting worries will be what drives a wedge between us.

So many feelings that I haven’t felt in a long time are coming up for me. I feel excited, terrified, exhilarated, terrified, happy (eek!), terrified, content, terrified…are you noticing a pattern yet? All of my positive feelings contain an undercurrent of fear. And the fear isn’t about him, not really. I’m afraid to love anyone. I’ve kept my feelings so closed off and bottled up. I did that on purpose. I never thought that I could begin to fall for anyone so quickly. I’m a pretty brutally honest person, but I’m at a loss for what to say here.

I guess what I want to know is, how do I maintain a healthy relationship when I’m not in an emotionally healthy place myself? When I don’t know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like? When I analyze his words and actions to the point of overanalyzing? When I find it difficult to trust anyone else because I don’t really trust myself? When my life feels like it’s just crumbling around me?

I don’t really know how to answer those questions, address my fears, and soothe my worries. But I’m damn sure going to try to make things work. I’m talking through it with both my therapist and my rape crisis counselor. I’m being honest with him. I’m writing out my feelings. I’m working hard to get emotionally healthy. I need to do it for me, but I’m also doing it for him.

To be honest, I think he’s worth it.

Love and light

P.S. Is anyone else out there trying to navigate dating while managing your mental illness? Do you have any advice for me? Help!