Treating my anxiety helped me realize it’s okay to be a “bitch”

“You’re being a bitch.”

No, I don’t think I’m being a bitch. I’m just trying to be one “of your boys,” and the “perfect girlfriend,” and keep my identity intact. So no, I’m not being a bitch. I don’t think?

Brandon and I have been dating for over a year now. We watch adult cartoon shows on Netflix and chill. I feel his skin’s warmth, and hear his unsteady breathing and occasional sniffles — and it makes me genuinely happy.

But I’m an anxious person.

This is my third relationship in five years. My 35th interaction with a man since I started using stupid dating apps. Out of which, only two interactions were reasonably normal. The rest, well yada, yada, yada.

When Brandon said that I was being a bitch, it made the ground beneath me sink.

I made plans for us for a Friday Date Night, and he decided to “hang with the bros.”I nagged. We argued. He hung up the phone. I panicked. He turned off his phone. I called 11 times, left 4 voicemails, and texted 46 times.

But I didn’t “bitch.” I said sorry repeatedly, and begged for his answer. I twitched in my skin, and berated my self for being stupid.

But I shouldn’t have apologized — not to him. I should have apologized to myself.

I’ve been caring more about how Brandon feels when he’s with me — rather than how I feel in general — because all I want is to love, and to be loved back.

I want some unconditional love (you know, repeated amounts of assurance that there’s no one else like me — because I’m the ONLY woman for him). That love where I don’t have to explain my crazy, he just gets it. A guy who is a feminist, but doesn’t overpreach it. A man who admires strong women but understands that strong women have huge falls. A strong woman like me, who in spite of my successes, can only see my faults.

I have Separation Anxiety Disorder. Easily diagnosed and commonly dismissed because I just “have to be more confident and it'll "fix itself."

I’m turning 28 this year, and this young Bengali’s anxiety “didn’t fix itself.” It’s not a character flaw that I refuse to change, and this unfair perception suggests that I’m weak and need to pull myself together — just “stop being a bitch.”

My anxiety is unsettling. It morphs and grows, and rips out through the back of my body like it has demon wings and talons. The anxiety either takes flight and hovers over my interactions with other people, or it envelops me and disrupts my daily life with judgement and self-loathing. I’m not worried about Brandon cheating on me — I’m anxious that I will never be good enough.

I’m a strong female doing it on my own, hustling and bustling and trying to make a name for myself here in the City of Angels. But deep down inside, the anxious demon waits, restless to break free and wreak havoc.  I worry about people’s opinions to the point that it drives my hopes and fears. I fear that if I speak my mind, I’ll come off like an opinionated “bitch” and not be liked anymore.

I had to get to my late 20s before I felt ready to talk about my issues, before I realized I needed help.

Now I speak up for myself. And yes, there will be days when I’ll be called a bitch. I don’t mind being a bitch, but I’d like to be a bad bitch who is in control of my own feelings, on my own terms. I’m in therapy, but not taking medication. I want to first learn to release these anxious feelings.

Trust me, more than anything, I’d like to be a carefree person — an online personality, doing makeup tutorials and photographing cool pedicures for Instagram. But I’m not carefree; I’m not some princess living in a fairy tale. There’s no guarantee of a happy ending where I frolic off with 1000-plus likes on my Tweets. Some reassurance once in a while is enough to get me going, but it shouldn’t come from others.

It should come from myself.

As for Brandon, we’re still going strong. He apologized for his insensitivity, and for calling me a bitch. And immediately after wailing like a sheep dog, I barked loudly, “It takes one to know one.” 

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