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  1. When fighting a battle, there is always strength in numbers. But, having someone by your side sometimes comes with a cost. Superiority in numbers is something very different from strength in numbers, and, with anxiety, this can be a crucial difference. Late at night, when my anxiety found me alone in the dark and slowly pushed me over the edge into a panic attack, I used to think that everything would just be better if there was someone there with me. I think the isolation that the dark and quiet of night time is what made this the worst time for my anxiety. It was harder to distract myself when I was alone, and I didn't have the helpful distraction of trying to keep a strong mask in places for everyone around me so they would think I was fine. At night, there was nobody there to see me struggle, nobody I had to put energy into making believe I was fine. And, nobody to support me when I finally tipped into panic. I've been with my wife for five years now, and what I have come to discover is that no longer being alone may have helped me in some ways, but it has also presented challenges that I didn't expect. I don't get the night time panic that I used to get, and in some ways have better control over my anxiety than I ever have. But, I've also adopted my wife's struggle with anxiety, panic and depression. In some ways, that's been a tougher battle than the one I faced alone. I suppose I thought that addition would lead to subtraction; I thought that by adding a partner, I would be subtracting anxiety. In fact, adding a partner added their struggles and difficulties to my own. There's nothing simple about the arithmetic. Whenever you add, you add complexity. This is not to say that I have regrets. I guess this initial post is really just a recognition of the fact that a lot of us face what we feel is a solitary struggle, and sometimes we think the solution is out there for someone to simply gift us with it. We want the solutions to be simple. We want someone to take the problem away. But, the world is more complex than that, and the solutions are never simple. The strength we gain in numbers comes with the commitment we have to make to give back to that network of people to help them with their own troubles. My wife has helped me face a lot of my own problems with anxiety, but the struggle is still there and has taken on a new dimension because I, in turn, have to help her deal with her own. And, that's difficult. Just as it's difficult for us, as a community of similarly afflicted individuals separated by screens and distance, to share of ourselves while needing the sharing of others to keep moving forward. I'm here and willing to be your +1, of the occasion. But, can you be mine?