Living with an Abusive Metamour (Guest Post by Liz Gentry)

This week Liz Gentry of Learning Many Loves has chosen to share her experiences of living with a mentally ill and abusive metamour. Many thanks to Liz for opening up about this difficult experience.

Don’t forget to stop back next week, when we’ll be taking a close look at the intersection of abuse and mental illness.

First, a little background: I met my partner Jon a couple of years ago. Jon was dating another woman, Lora for about nine months before Jon and I started dating. A few months into Jon and I dating, Lora moved in with Jon. After dating Jon for a bit over a year, the three of us moved in together. We lived together for about fourteen months before Jon broke up with Lora. His reason for breaking up with her was (as he has told me) the abusive cycle that their relationship followed.

In writing about a day in the life of my experience living with someone who is verbally abusive and emotionally, the first thing I need to say is that what I expect from the day varies greatly with where we are in the cycle. The beginning of the cycle has no abuse. Lora and Jon would get along fine. Then small instances of verbal abuse and control would begin to creep in. Those instances would escalate over a several month period. Then there would be a huge screaming fight where Lora was repeatedly verbally and abusive towards Jon. The week after the fight, there’s a period of constant low-level fighting with a lot of controlling behavior and attempts to impose control through badgering, gaslighting, black and white thinking, and threats. Eventually, a resolution was reached, and there would be a honeymoon period again, with no abuse for some days to a few weeks before slowly beginning to escalate again.

The hardest thing for me (being a metamour living in and observing this abusive dynamic) was watching someone I love be abused, ridiculed, mocked, screamed at, and badgered. I am definitely someone who would rather be hurt myself than see someone I love being hurt. For all that experiencing this second-hand hurt, as I was not the one being abused, there was a deep sense of powerlessness about this. I couldn’t control my partner’s boundaries about what behavior he would accept. But I did need to figure out where it was appropriate for me to draw my boundaries, without becoming controlling or coercive myself. Although I viewed Lora’s behavior as abusive, Jon didn’t always agree at that time (later, he painfully came to the conclusion on his own that her behavior was really abusive many of the times when he said that it wasn’t). This put me in a very uncomfortable spot – if he doesn’t believe the behavior is abusive, is pushing him to understand that it is gaslighting? Even if I’m doing it out of pure concern (we could say “for his own good”), do I have a right to push until he agrees with me?

I think the answer to that is no. Even if I’m doing it out of concern, forcing Jon to agree with me about Lora abusing him is still forcing Jon to do something, and that is abusive. He had to come to his own conclusions, and live his life accordingly.

But trying to let him live his life, and live with him and his abusive partner was incredibly hard. It was scary. It was enormously stressful. When Lora was gaslighting Jon, I doubted my own ability to evaluate situations for harm. I repeatedly went to my friends and asked “Is this normal? Is this healthy? Jon doesn’t seem too upset about it, so maybe I’m just causing problems by being upset by it. Maybe I’m not really poly. Maybe this is a way that jealousy is manifesting itself and I’m really just trying to get rid of Lora so that I can have Jon all to myself. What is wrong with me?”

Admitting to myself that Lora behaved abusively took a long time, because I didn’t want to have an abusive metamour. I didn’t want to believe that my partner was willingly being in a relationship with someone who was abusive. Complicating matters were Lora’s diagnosed mental illnesses of PTSD and anxiety disorder. Was a behavior really abusive if it was fueled by those mental illnesses? Having gone through several hard times with depression myself, not cutting Lora slack with her mental illnesses felt hypocritical, shitty, and like I was being a bad metamour and a bad person.

Inside myself, there was a cycle of anger, fear, guilt and doubt. Anger at the way Lora treated Jon. Fear at seeing how it impacted him and wore him down over months. Guilt for not cutting Lora some slack and being more understanding, given her mental illnesses. Doubt that I was really poly, doubt that I was overblowing things, as I seemed to be the most concerned of the three of us, when it came to Lora’s behavior and the impact it had on Jon. But then, that doubt would give way to anger the next time I heard Lora and Jon fighting and she told him that he was as abusive towards her as her drug addicted ex had been.

Lora’s ex used to do things like “punish” Lora by having unprotected sex with other women, and then telling Lora that he’d done so while he and Lora were having sex the next day. Knowing this about Lora was painful and evoked a lot of sorrow in me for what she went through, while simultaneously enraging me that she would compare our loving, supportive partner to such a dirtbag. Who wouldn’t get angry at that and think to him/herself “No matter what is going on with me, it is WRONG to say that to a loving partner in a fit of anger”?

Living with Lora was also hard because I didn’t know how to treat her. She seemed to like me. She claimed to want to have a closer relationship with me. She wanted us to be close friends. In theory, I wanted that too, but seeing how she treated Jon…did I really want to get closer to Lora? And as time went on, she slowly began to treating me in ways that concerned me deeply.. She didn’t hear that I said to her, and attributed behaviors to me that I’d never do, but she would. For example, one day, I was getting home from work as she was leaving to go to the store. She said to me “Jon is a little sick, and he’s sleeping. I wanted you to know so that you don’t get angry with him that he doesn’t come and greet you as soon as you get in”.I have never been angry at a partner for not coming up and greeting me as soon as I got home. But a long-standing fight between Jon and Lora was that if Jon didn’t drop whatever he was doing and greet Lora when she came home, it was a sign that he didn’t really love her. Because Lora felt that Jon should always be excited when she gets home, and eager to greet her immediately, if he really loves her.

There’s a lot in that paragraph, that describes the level of control and expectation of behavior that Lora had towards Jon. It’s also a good example of the kind of difficult situation I was in. We all have our quirks and vulnerabilities. Was Lora feeling strongly about Jon greeting her as soon as she gets home just a little quirk? If Jon agreed to do this, then did it mean it wasn’t controlling? Did I have any right to judge or have an opinion about these things?

I didn’t know the answers to those questions. I did know that if getting closer to Lora meant that she would expect the same of me, then I didn’t want to get closer to Lora. I’ve never expected such a thing from a partner, and I didn’t want to be close to someone who would have that kind of expectation of me.

Because of the number of things that Lora could take offense to, coming home slowly become stressful and unpleasant. I never knew what small thing would send Lora into an enraged tailspin. I never knew when a quiet night would turn into a stressful night, as Lora found fault with something that Jon said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do. There were many instances where it seemed like Jon couldn’t win. When he wasn’t being berated for saying something Lora didn’t like, he was being berated for not talking to her enough.

While these fights fueled by Lora’s insecurity and masked as problems with Jon’s behavior raged on, I would think to myself “What does he see in this relationship? Do I have the right to judge it? What do I do about this? Can I do anything?”

This is a glimpse of what it was like, living with an abusive metamour. The self doubts, the anger, the hatred, the fear…it was all terrible. It took a toll on my health, my sleep, my ability to function at work, my ability to trust myself. I restarted therapy to work through these problems.

I’ve become passionate about having a dialogue and creating some form of action plan for other metamours who find themselves realizing that their hinge partner is being abused by another partner. I believe it’s very important to address controlling and coercive behaviors as soon as they begin and to push back against them immediately. I think that – had we all been willing to open our eyes and admit that Lora’s behavior was abusive earlier – it’s possible that our relationships could have been salvaged. By denying the reality of her abusive behavior for so long, I hit a point of no return, where I cannot have anything to do with her. Likewise, Jon (who is still in contact with Lora) isn’t certain if he’s able to have her in his life in any capacity. He’s trying to figure that out, but he’s said that it would have been easier to stay a part of her life had the abuse not escalated to the degree it reached while they were together.

The abuse of one partner by another will reverberate into the relationships with all other partners. I think we owe it to ourselves, as people committed to multiple loving relationships, to figure out different ways to handle this kind of situation. We need to work through finding the tools to do what we can to combat abuse, while respecting the agency and humanity of all those involved. Doing so would reap enormous benefits not just for the poly community, but potentially for our other friends and family members who may be dealing with abuse.

Liz Gentry is a pragmatist disguised as an optimist. In addition to her day job as a corporate desk-jockey, she specializes in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Though of a poly-friendly mindset all her life, she didn’t start living polyamorously until about five years ago. She chronicles her polyamorous journey at

This post is part of the Abuse in Polyamory blog series. It is related to Polyamory and Mental Illness.

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Anxiety Disorders and Polyamory

This post and others discussing specific mental disorders will reference the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Psychiatry and Psychology, Edition Five (DSM-V). Apologies to my international readers, I’m just not familiar enough with the ICD to use it as a reference.

Please note: everyone’s experience of anxiety is different. This is general information meant to give you an idea of what to expect. Nothing in this blog is intended to diagnose or treat. Please see a psych professional if you or someone you love is suffering from depression.

The Anxiety Disorders

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Selective Mutism
  • Specific Phobia
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Panic Attack (Specifier)
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Other anxiety disorders are anxiety caused by medication or substance abuse, anxiety caused by another medical condition and two varieties of “other” anxiety disorders (specified and unspecified).

Anxiety disorders can generally be divided into two categories: those that involve anxiety (fear of something that will happen/might happen) and those that involve fear of something that is currently happening. Separation Anxiety Disorder, Selective Mutism, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder involve anxiety. Specific Phobia and Agoraphobia involve fear. Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia, Panic Attack Disorder, and Panic Attack (specifier) can involve either anxiety or fear depending on the individual.

Selective Mutism is only diagnosed among children and appears to be closely related to Social Anxiety Disorder. Separation Anxiety Disorder is primarily associated with children, but can be diagnosed in an adult.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

With the exception of Selective Mutism, the main symptom of all anxiety disorders is an inappropriate or excessive fear response. The form the fear response takes varies, and the way it is described in each disorder varies. For most anxiety disorders the fear response needs to be ongoing for a long period of time. Generalized Anxiety Disorder’s first criteria is “Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).”

My experience with anxiety disorders is a combination of generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and panic attacks. My Living with Anxiety post last week was specific to generalized anxiety–it involved a great deal of fear of things that might happen and the majority of the fears I describe involved everyday, normal situations.

Where Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a near-constant fear response to everyday worries, other anxiety disorders are more situational. Social Anxiety Disorder is obviously related to social stuff–the fear response can be triggered by anything from performance, to being in large crowds, to family gatherings, to meeting and interacting with a stranger. Panic attacks are an extreme fear response that last for a short time. Panic Attacks can be triggered by a huge variety of things, but usually each person will have specific triggers related to their past experiences, phobias, or anxieties. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder who is frequently anxious about money may have a panic attack at the thought of losing a job, for instance.

Agoraphobia is often found with Panic Attack Disorder because for many people the only thing worse than having a panic attack is having one in public.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is anxiety about being separated from something that is a personal anchor. This anchor can be a person, a job, a safe place, etc. Being separated from this anchor triggers a fear response.

Each anxiety disorder has other symptoms apart from the fear response, but it is the fear response that makes these anxiety disorders.

Let’s take a closer look at fear responses for a minute. A “healthy” fear response follows the fight-flight-freeze pattern. You get a jolt of adrenaline to boost your body to peak condition until the cause of the fear is dealt with. You respond either by becoming aggressive (fight), getting away from the cause of fear (flight), or hiding and waiting for the cause of the fear to pass (freeze).

Adrenaline is rough on the body. It jumps your heart and respiratory rates, puts your muscles on hair trigger, shuts down your digestive system and does some really funky things to your senses. It is the biological equivalent of putting nitrous in your gas tank. Huge boost now, but you pay for it later.

As we’ve said before, mental illness is what happens when part of the mind metastisizes. In this case, it’s the fear response that’s turned into a life-eating mind-tumor.

In some cases the tumor creates unending fear responses. I swear I got at least 10 hits of adrenaline during the one hour I wrote that anxiety post. And each surge of adrenaline had to be diverted, controlled, sat on, because there was literally nothing to respond to. Factor in the way adrenaline burns through the body’s energy, the shutdown of your digestive system, and the difficulty sleeping when you’re getting constant hits of adrenaline, and you have a recipe for a life that swings between constant on-edge fear and utter exhaustion.

In other cases, the tumor creates supercharged fear responses. Imagine an adrenaline surge so strong you feel like you are getting a heart attack. Imagine your respiration speeding up to the point that you are hyperventilating and not getting enough oxygen. Imagine your muscles being flooded with adrenaline to the point that you are shaking so hard you can’t stand up. Welcome to panic attacks. Of course, being physically incapable of responding to the thing you fear usually just makes the fear worse. Which means the body sends out more adrenaline, and the feedback loop is off to a perfect start.

Mild forms of anxiety disorders can sometimes be ignored or written off “I’m just a worrier.” “I’m not really comfortable in crowds, but it’s no big deal.” ” ‘I can’t stand the thought of losing you.’ ‘Hey, I’m right here.’ ” The point where “normal” worries and concerns end and a disorder begins isn’t easy to pinpoint, even for professionals, but if your anxiety or fears are affecting your ability to do normal, everyday stuff, it’s time to talk to an expert.

Treatments for Anxiety


There are two types of anxiety medications, the ones you take every day to control and manage the disorder, and the ones you take “as-needed” that can stop a panic attack in its tracks. (The one time I went to the hospital with a panic attack, they gave me a shot and I was down in ten seconds flat. It was beautiful. I went to my doc the very next day and said “Prescribe me this. Now.” The pill version was only effective before the panic attack actually kicked in, but it was still a wonderful, wonderful thing.)

As with depression, everyone’s responses to medication will vary. The medication that worked for me might not work for you, and the medication that made my anxiety worse (yes, this can happen), might be exactly what you need.

Medication is a managing treatment for anxiety. It can’t cure the disorder, but it can keep it under control so you can get on with your life. The effectiveness of medication in treating anxiety disorders varies widely.


There are several forms of therapy that are generally used in treating anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective 70-90% of the time in improving anxiety disorders, and creates “substantial” improvement in 30% of patients.

Other forms of talk therapy vary in their effectiveness, though none are as promising as CBT. The “talk therapy” of popular imagination is usually less than useless for anxiety disorder. Something called Intolerance of Uncertainty therapy has shown promise in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

“Fringe” therapies (ie those that are not part of standard psych treatments and need more studies but has the support of most psych associations) such as art therapy, animal therapy, music therapy, etc may help anxiety disorders, there just isn’t enough information.

Alternative Treatments

Trained service animals are very helpful in managing Panic Attack Disoders and some other anxiety disorders. Cats seem to be a popular therapy animal for anxiety disorders, but small dogs and other “lap sized” pets are common.

Breathing exercises, meditation, and biofeedback have at various times been popular for treating anxiety disorders. Their effectiveness varies widely.

Herbal treatments such as chamomile and lavender are generally mild enough to be taken safely, but definitely talk with your doctor about possible drug interactions. I have personally found that in some cases calmatives make the feeling of anxiety worse–if you are suppressing anxiety in order to function, relaxing enough to be aware of just how anxious you are can make it seem like the calmative triggered the anxiety.

Human touch has been shown to be very effective in dampening the fear response. Some people have had benefits from regular massage therapy, others have used cuddling as a home therapy.  I’ve known a few people who when they started getting anxious would do each others hair, the social grooming acting as a calmative. Be aware that massage/cuddling/etc can have the same effect as herbal calmatives, relaxing you enough to really feel how anxious/afraid you are. Be aware also that given the sensory effects of adrenaline, some people cannot handle being touched during a panic attack or other anxiety episode. For these people touch may help to prevent or reduce anxiety, but only when the anxiety is not currently active.

Physical activity, whether going for a run or cleaning the entire house, can be a good way to deal with the burst of energy from adrenaline, reducing the stress of anxiety on the body and mind (and anything that lets you turn a mental disorder into a way to get stuff done is a good thing!)

When Anxiety and Polyamory Collide

Because of the many and varied forms of anxiety disorders, it’s impossible to succinctly sum up the way anxiety can impact polyamory. A phobia of dogs probably won’t affect polyamory at all unless one of your partners has a favorite pooch they want to introduce you to.

Separation Anxiety Disorder, if your anchor is one of your poly partners, can have some obvious impacts and may appear as jealousy or controlling behavior if people don’t understand what is going on.

Social Anxiety Disorder can make going on dates difficult, or turn meeting your partner’s new girlfriend into an absolute ordeal. SAD can also make a person seem abrupt or rude as their focus is more on not running screaming from the room than how to be polite which can make for awkward first meetings and misunderstandings. I once witnessed a 10 year friendship dissolve when one person developed extreme social anxiety. The friend with social anxiety was having trouble with their heater. The other friend asked a relative if they could help out. Having a stranger in her home triggered an extreme panic attack in the friend with social anxiety, who hid in her room the entire time relative as working on the heater.  Relative complained about rudeness, other friend was extremely offended and upset that her relative was treated so poorly when he went out of his way to do a favor for the friend with social anxiety. Their friendship never recovered.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can turn the normal worries and fears associated with polyamory into an unending nightmare, or might not have an impact at all, depending on the kinds of things your GAD focuses on. The exhaustion common to GAD and other anxiety disorders can have a similar impact to the exhaustion/enervation of depression, depending on how bad it is.

Ways to Manage Anxiety in a Poly Relationship

The biggest and most important thing is to understand the impact of anxiety on your partner. Asking someone with social anxiety to go out to the latest night club doesn’t work. Obviously someone with a phobia of heights is not going to enjoy a trip to the top of the Empir State Building.

But this applies in more subtle ways as well. If your partner’s social anxiety makes meeting your new girlfriend a challenge, then maybe you need to be okay with them not meeting. Or maybe they can talk over the phone, or using social media first.

Know what to do if your partner has a panic attack, and especially how they want you to react if they have a panic attack in public. Understand that someone with anxiety disorder may need to cut an evening short because they just can’t take anymore, and it doesn’t mean they didn’t have fun, or that they are trying to ditch you, it means that their illness is acting up and they need to go someplace safe to deal with it. Maybe you can go with them and help them deal, maybe you need to let them have some space. Either way it isn’t personal, it doesn’t mean they wanted to leave, doesn’t mean they didn’t really enjoy themselves. Just means anxiety is a bitch.

Learn your partners triggers and how to help bring them down. Learn how to give aftercare for panic attacks (yes, it’s a thing.)

Probably most important in terms of impact on poly relationships: If anxiety manifests in ways that look like jealousy or controlling behavior, do not follow standard poly advice for dealing with jealousy. Learn to tell the difference between anxiety-induced and jealousy-induced behavior. Treat jealousy like jealousy and anxiety like anxiety. Your partner has tools for managing anxiety for a reason. Use them! Treating anxiety like jealousy just compounds the problem.

How has anxiety influenced your poly relationships? What ways have you found to take care of your relationships in the face of anxiety?


This post is part of the Polyamory and Mental Illness blog series.

Living with Anxiety

(This is a completely unedited stream-of-conscious recording of a few minutes in a day with anxiety. Everyone’s experience of anxiety will be different, but I hope this gives you some idea of what living with anxiety can be like.)

The anxiety is moderate today. I can do what has to be done, but it’s hard. Any moment I’m not focused on something the fear comes back. I once read someone describe anxiety as “you know that feeling you get when your trip and you know yuo’re about to fall? It’s like that but all the time.” That’s not my anxiety. but like depression, everyone’s anxiety is different. My anxiety is like the constant feeling you’ve forgotten something. The sense that the other shoe is about to drop. The roiling nausea of knowing that your whole grade rides on this test and you forgot to study. It has me constantly looking over my shoulder, hunching in, seeking to protect myself from the horror that is always just about to hit.

I’m lucky in my anxiety. My anxiety is usually mild, sometimes bad like today. But my bad days almost never get past “moderate” anxiety. I’m not trapped in my home because meeting a stranger in the hall will trigger a panic attack. I can think clearly enough to know that the fears bombarding me are my illness and not in any way real.

“Breathe” I tell myself. A dozen times a minute, “breathe. Keep breathing.” It’s easier if I can hide. A computer game, a book, an interesting discussion, someone else’s problems. Anything to let me hide from the anxiety and not be aware of it for a while. But hiding is dangerous. I can get trapped in it. Stuck in a book and not able to come out because my mind knows that when I stop reading the anxiety will be waiting, so I can’t put the book down, can’t stop reading, and I don’t enjoy the book, I race through it, flipping pages like cards, trying to read fast enough, to distract myself enough, to push aside the looming cloud of anxiety waiting to ambush me the moment my distraction falters.

I’m nauseas now writing this. Thinking about the anxiety, being with the anxiety, and it grows to overwhelming and my gorge rises until I’m so focused on the nausea that the anxiety is…less of an issue.

Michael and our son running around the apartment and I want to shout at them to stop, to shut up, to be quiet because every noise makes me jerk and look, cringe away. Every toss of the beach ball is a disaster about the happen. Every happy squeal is a lighting strike going off next to my ear. I have aural sensitivities. My ears are…funky…and sounds are closely tied with my anxiety. Just the clicking of the keyboard as I type is (Breathe!) making me write faster, racing “away” from the fear in a parodoxical tic that just makes the fear worse as the keys click faster and louder. (Breathe.) The beach balls sails towards the window and I jump. It falls well short of the glass, but still for a moment I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t think “Oh my god, the window will break!” It’s faster than that, there’s no time for thought, no chance for ideas or words, or anything but that instinctly certainty that something bad is about to happen. But it doesn’t. The ball falls lightly t the carpet and my son moves on to practices summer saults and he asks me to watch and critique (Breathe) and everytime he pushes himself over I want to lunge out of the chair and grap him before he falls and it’s just a summersault which he’s done dozens of times before in the middle of an empty floor. But still my breath catches every time he grunts and pushes himself upside down to fall–“fall” a scant foot to a well carpeted floor where he laughs and gets up to do it again, each time pushing me closer to the edge of my sanity while he plays not knowing that his having fun being a kid is slowly destroying me. (Breathe.)

I cheer his summersaults hiding my reaction as best I can.

He gets tired of summersaults and runs into the kitchen to check the therometer we left in the fridge. We talk about tempature for a moment, and talking about ocld and hot and the way we can watch the thermometer go up now that it’s out of the fridge is safe. But soon he’s asking about the thermometer, does this come off or does that come off, or what happens if I do this… (breathe). And he’s not going to hurt himself, it’s a sturdy thermometer, and even if he does manage to damage it, it doesn’t have mercury or anything dangerous in it. But as my anxiety kicks in his voice begins to ring like someone is banging a bell right next to my head. I breathe and tell him I can’t answer any more questions, he needs to go play. He’s in the “why” stage and I can’t think clearly enough to answer his questions. I’m a bad mother. I should be encouraging him to question, encouraging him to learn, but I can’t think, and I can’t answer, and if I tell him I don’t know all he does is ask why I don’t know until I want to tell him to shut up just to get some peace and quiet.

Instead I distract. “Do you want a snack? Let’s get some crackers.” He wants peanut butter on his crackers, his favorite snack. My movements are jerky and unsure. My grip unsteady. My hands aren’t actually shaking, but the tics and twitches and constant jerks are even worse. Nothing that involves fine motor control–like spreading peanut butter on a cracker, or using a knife (I don’t care that it’s a fucking butter knife! My anxiety goes into really high gear at the thought of any kind of knife). So he gets crackers on a plate and a cup of milk, and I retreat to write some more, trying to breathe, to calm, to use the techniques that short circuit the anxiety. It’s still there. Reminding me of blog posts that need to be written, chores to be done, everything that I need to do and every disaster that could happen because I’m not doing it RIGHT FUCKING NOW. My anxiety whispers about the fact that some busybody claiming to be helping us could stop in at any minute and find something wrong with the apartment (they aren’t busybodies, they’ve helped us a lot and I’m grateful for everything they’ve done, but all my anxiety knows is that they can show up and find something wrong and then….logic is a weak log against anxiety. There is nothing wrong here. Our home is clean, we are fed and clothed, and making progress towards our goals. They’ve stopped by twice and said how great everything looks. And the more I talk myself down, reminding myself that there is no reason for a disaster, no reason to fear, my chest loosens and i can breathe because I can point to solid evidence–they’ve been here before and nothing went wrong. That doesn’t work so well other times. And this is why my anxiety is moderate–because I can talk myself down from the edge, because while my son is quite and there are no minor problems and headaches demanding my immediate attention I can work myself down to the point that I can write this, and I can make myself something to eat, and I can clean my son’s dishes without freaking out that someone will walk in RIGHT THIS MINUTE to criticize dirty dishes in the sink.

I prefer anxiety to depression. Anxiety is easier to channel into action. Anxiety is easier to to turn into adrenaline so I can get my ass in gear and get shit done. Depression shuts me down completely. Anxiety just makes me really, really, really fucking irritable. Unless I start hiding. If I start hiding it’s all over and I might as well be on Mars for all the good I’m doing myself or anyone around me. My anxiety is moderate, my depression can (though thankfully not often) become severe. Of course I prefer anxiety to depression.

But at the end of the day, it’s just a different kind of hell.

This post is part of the Polyamory and Mental Illness blog series. If you’ve found this blog series valuable, please become a Patron and support my work.