It’s become a very common thing in our society I believe. However, most often when we talk about separation anxiety we imagine or are referring to a child being separated from its parent at a young age, perhaps when the child goes to school for the first time or when the parent goes back to work. We could even apply it to our animals when we go away on long trips and leave them behind. They have been known to suffer separation anxiety also. But there are other times when separation anxiety exists.
As adults, we like to think we are immune to such weaknesses. However, there are events in our lives sometimes that will cause us to feel the nagging sensation and begin to spiral into our own form of separation anxiety. I have felt this a few times in my lifetime. The first time was when I married my second husband. He was in the army and we were stationed at Ft. Sill, OK. I am from TN. So I left everyone I had ever known and moved half way across the country. Now I had left home before, but never this far. At first I was ok but shortly within a month or two began to feel the need for my family and friends. I have a very close family. Life wasn’t the same without them. I started spiraling into a bad case of anxiety…. wanting to see them, wanting to be able to just go to their houses and talk for a while and visit…. go to dinners when they cooked out, I was missing so much. It didn’t help that my bipolar had not yet been diagnosed and my symptoms were just starting to get out of control also. Finally after about 9 months we got settled into a more manageable routine and when my husband got four day weekends we would drive home (it was about a 15hr drive) for the weekend. This helped to temper down my anxiety levels a lot. Although I still didn’t get to see my family and friends often at least I got to see them and that was enough for me. Although this made me more home sick. And if you’ve ever been in a similar position you know there is a difference between home sickness and separation anxiety.
More recently, something I am dealing with at the moment is with my current boyfriend. He travels with his job. Sometimes he is only gone for a week or two. Sometimes he is gone for 6 to 8 weeks. Its not uncommon for the assignment to change at the last minute or even while he’s gone. For instance, this current job he is on, before he left he knew he was going to be gone approximately 6 weeks and then he would be home. But right before he left he found out that when he got home from this 6 week assignment he would only be home for about a week and a half and then he would be gone again for another 3 weeks but then he would be home for a while because his busy season is winding down. Well he just told me two nights ago that he just found out that instead of getting to come home for that week and a half they are going straight from this job to the next one. But the good news is when he does come home finally he WILL be here for a while. When he first left me this time to go on this 6 week job, I was practically devastated. I know this is what he does and it is going to happen over and over again. But this was the first time he has left me for such a long time. The pull and tare I felt on my heart was so much more than I expected. For the first few days I drove myself almost crazy just thinking about him being gone none stop. I couldn’t get it out of my head, “He’s Gone, He’s Gone” It was like a leaky faucet Drip, Drip, Drip…..Finally after about two or three days I realized what I was doing and I realized I couldn’t spend the next 6 weeks like this…..So I try to keep myself busy so I don’t have time for that leaky faucet to creep back into my mind, because when I do slow down or sit idle for two long or let myself listen closely enough, I can still hear it in the back of my mind, because it is still there waiting to attack drip, drip, drip….. “He’s gone, He’s gone, He’s gone”….. I just try to remind myself that he is coming home, coming home, coming home…. to me. The separation anxiety is always there waiting to overwhelm me at the first sign of weakness…. The key is to not let your guard down and keep your mind on other things. “Idle hands are the devils play things” If that is true then what are idle minds…. just a thought…. J