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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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cheshire-cattsy Offline
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Separation anxiety? (Need Advice) - February 19th 2015, 05:37 AM

So I have been diagnosed with general anxiety and social anxiety and I have been noticing more and more lately that I'm getting extremely attached to the people around me especially my girlfriend.

Back story:

Ok so my girlfriend comes over every weekend and we hang out and such, and sleep together. (No not like..the sexy type, I mean the literal cuddling falling asleep in each others arms type of thing). But I have noticed that ever since I knew her that I would have panic attacks if she didn't text me back right away, at first because I was scared her dad did something to her but now it's just in general, I would panic. If she's not with me I feel this constant dread something horrific is going to happen to her, resulting in panic attacks where I can't breathe and my heart clenches. Lately I have gotten around 2-3 hours of sleep because I would have panic attacks and violent sobbing fits because I've been exhausted, mentally drained and all I can think about is how I need her. It would start out small like I miss her but then it keeps getting worse and worse to the point I would have panic attacks and severe depression episodes, it even getting to the point of suicidal thoughts and that I HAVE to see her right away or call her or something....Even when we have fights, if she leaves the room I get scared and extremely lonely along with the severe depression episodes and have to run out to her right away...I don't like being alone I know that, but I'm starting to think this may not be a normal thing....I know I can't be diagnosed unless by a psychiatrist but I don't have the $ to go to one at the moment so I was just wondering if it may possibly be separation anxiety? Even with my mom I get a sinking feeling and I get panicked if I don't see her for a long period of time.

(Btw my girlfriend and I have been together for 4 years now...Idk if that changes anything or not though. )
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Re: Separation anxiety? (Need Advice) - February 19th 2015, 02:55 PM

Hi there,

I have similar feelings, and whilst I havenít been diagnosed, it is one of my main reasons for seeking therapy, because it can get so intense.

Iím not a professional, and I donít know much about separation anxiety (thought it was usually in toddlers and children?) but for me, personally, I feel that it may be some form of fear of abandonment. This isnít an actual disorder but more of a symptom. Fear of abandonment can come from many things including depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and how you were brought up. It could also be low self-esteem and insecurity issues. When we feel we arenít good enough, we worry that others might leave us because we donít deserve their attention. Or with anxiety it could be Ďcatastrophizingí the process where one thought snowballs into another, each getting worse and more dramatic. With anxiety, we may overly worry about someone elseís safety, and worry what might happen to them. I would advise against self-diagnosis because there are so many things that this could fall under.

It is said that this type of fear, is primal. When we are younger, we depend on people to survive (we need them), but as we grow up, this dependence can become unhealthy; we need to trust that we can survive without them. I say this because
all I can think about is how I need her.
gave it away. I think that you need to trust that your girlfriend or mum are safe when they aren't with you, and that you are safe too. When they aren't with you, try distracting yourself. They will be there for you when they return, you just have to trust that.

The way to work around this is to rationalise your negative thoughts. What, realistically, are the chances that your girlfriend may be harmed in some way? Unless you know that she has had an abusive past or that people bully her, I would say that generally the chances that something would happen to her (or even your mum) would be quite low. It might help to work it out until the worst case scenario: if something bad did happen to your mum or girlfriend, ultimately, you would still survive. And whilst it would be terrible if something did happen, you would get through it. But remember that this is only Ďwhat ifÖí and worrying about what may or may not happen is a waste of time and energy. Though it might help you to talk to your mum and girlfriend about how you feel, so that if anything bad were to happen, you would have a plan on what to do.

I would say to set aside a certain time to worry, and only worry within that time. If you find worrying thoughts popping into your head, tell yourself that you will worry about it later. Find ways of safely expressing your emotions, crying is a good, but what about drawing, writing, listening to music that suits your mood etc. Having other friends and participating in activities and hobbies may help, as you will realise that you donít need to depend on a particular person to be happy or enjoy yourself. Building up self-esteem by reminding yourself of all your positive qualities, and positive things in general can also help.

I know that in the heat of the moment, logic tends to go out of the window, but try to remind yourself that there is no need to worry and work through rationalising your thoughts. Try to calm down as well, and do some deep breathing techniques (deep breath in for 3 seconds, out for 3 seconds, for a minute/until you have calmed down). This will help stop the panic attacks. When you feel calmer, try to take your mind of it and do something you enjoy so that you donít fall into a depression. Itís best to talk to someone if you have suicidal thoughts, try checking out our hotlines.If you ever feel suicidal, please talk to someone or go to your nearest ER. Itís definitely something worth getting therapy/counselling for though.

Take care

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cheshire-cattsy Offline
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Re: Separation anxiety? (Need Advice) - February 20th 2015, 01:29 AM

Thank you so much, you're insight has helped me a lot and I believe you're right!
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Re: Separation anxiety? (Need Advice) - February 25th 2015, 02:07 AM

Hi Sunflower,

I agree with Holly. You could have separation anxiety however this could be rooted in some other condition such as depression or General Anxiety.
I know that before going to college when I was given time alone at home, I always got anxious. I never worried so much about the safety of those that were not around however I worried more about the fact I was alone and had no one with me.
It could help you to have short periods of being by yourself that extend to longer periods (this can be done by those that live with you).
In relation to your girlfriend, it is understandable you would worry about her safety (particularly if she came from an abusive home environment) however if you know she is out of that environment, try reminding yourself she is safe and if she has not given you any indication that there are problems with your relationship use the security of it as a comfort in some way when you get anxious about things.
It could help for you to talk to a mental health professional to figure out more appropriate ways to get over this anxiety in a manner that is comfortable for you and will help you best with overcoming this aspect of your anxiety.
I hope this helps and that you can get help for this.
Take care.

"i don't care your intentions. I just want you to know my self-hatred never took me where I wanted to go. At the end of the day...I can pick at the pain but I can't cut it away."
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advice, anxiety, panic attacks, separation, separation anxiety, severe depression

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