I need some help with what I assume is adult separation anxiety.
May 16, 2014 6:19 PM Subscribe
For reasons that I'm have not yet unraveled, I have developed an anxiety trigger around being away from home (away from Mom?) and getting sick. This is a complex issue, interwoven with other issues. I'll try to be succinct.
posted by msbadcrumble to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a diagnosis of panic disorder, but am very functional. I work, have a degree, etc. One of my main (THE main?) panic triggers is going somewhere (traveling) and getting sick (mainly stomach-related, as I have emetophobia as well). I'm afraid on several levels - not knowing when/if I need help then things getting out of hand because I couldn't/didn't know to ask for help, not being able to get help, feeling awful, people getting mad at me because I'm sick, having to then get home (travel again) while sick, not being able to take care of myself or having no one to help me which would lead to passing out and dying. Some of this has to do with assertiveness and speaking up for myself and my needs. Family environment has taught me that doing such is not okay. Some of this is just irrational-anxiety-brain that I can't seem to get around. Over a year of exposure therapy (regular travel) has not worked in lessening or eliminating this. I suppose I feel that I don't have to worry about being "on", being gross or smelly, or whatever with Mom. She's Mom, you know? And I know that she wouldn't abandon me and refuse to help me if I were sick. Anyone else, they could just walk away (or get mad and walk away, or fed up and walk away...). Oddly, given my just-stated comfort with Mom, my mother tended to get irritated/pissy/angry when we got sick (however "sick" manifested). I know that has something to do with my fears, as well. Not having had the very developmentally necessary experience of being on my own and building confidence in myself that I can, indeed, handle life, has been very detrimental as well.
I cannot recall ever becoming ill (aside from anxiety-induced physical symptoms) when traveling. I am intellectually capable of taking care of myself. Due to various circumstances, I've been forced to live at home for much longer than is healthy, and I know that has contributed greatly to this problem. That in itself is humiliating and embarrassing in a way that words cannot describe. I'm working on getting out, but money is a huge issue (as is this anxiety/sick issue).
Yes, I am seeing a therapist, but I'm loathe to bring this up with her as it is so embarrassing and childish.
Yes, I do work out to help the anxiety. Doesn't help when in the situation, though.
Yes, I do take medication for the anxiety, though I'm considering switching since it doesn't seem to help much.
I likely have IBS, which triggers the anxiety since it's a gastro thing.
This is a deeply ingrained problem and it is and has been negatively affecting my life in numerous ways. I'm at a point now where I'm considering moving a full day's drive from my family/current home. This issue is causing me great distress and will potentially prevent me from taking the very necessary and overdue step of getting out of here. I'm incredibly fed up with feeling this way and feeling limited in my life. If you aren't familiar with anxiety disorders and/or are of the mindset that I should suck it up or stop choosing to feel this way, please do not respond. That view is not helpful to me.
What I'm looking for:
Others with similar experiences
Suggestions for solutions or things to work on or do to change my thinking about getting sick
Insight as to why I might be so afraid of getting sick/being away from home
How to get rid of it
Anything else that you smart mefites think might be helpful