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Separation Anxiety Doesn’t Just Happen to Children

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So apparently separation anxiety doesn’t just happen to babies and children. I know this because I have gone through it — you know, as an adult — very recently.

A little back story: my anxiety manifests itself in various ways; it shows up as actual anxiety/panic attacks, a short temper, that need to know (read: control) all the things, to having no appetite. The last one stuck with me over the course of the past four days. From the day my husband and children left on a road trip to visit his family, while I flew out to attend my cousin’s wedding.

Why was I nervous, why couldn’t I eat, why, why why? My children were perfectly safe, they were with my husband, he knows what they like to eat, what they like to do. He knows how to take care of them because, you know, he’s their father. And because he’s my husband, he knows what I need. However despite the daily phone calls, photos, text messages and video chats, my brain couldn’t turn off. And I let the anxiety control me, leaving me feeling like I was walking on a tightrope while our little family was apart.

Steady as she goes, I kept myself distracted, enjoyed the special time with my extended family, the gorgeous weather and the beautiful wedding. Meanwhile, my subconscious had a party of its own where my anxiety was the center of attention. The constant push and pull I felt as I walked into an empty house where I was alone just for one night. There is something about being alone with my own anxiety that creates even more anxiety, because apparently that’s a thing, too. But somehow I made it through, and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy. I distracted myself, played music to tune out the quiet, read my book filling my mind with the words of someone else’s story.

And the anxiety lessened for just long enough. Maybe today is the day I can accept it and be with it. One thing I do know is that despite the uncertainty in each situation that life throws at me, I gain more realization, which prepares me for the next time and the time after that. With practice and patience comes acceptance. And each day I work towards that goal.

How about you?

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Originally published: December 3, 2016
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