Friday, July 30, 2010

Separation Anxiety

When I was little, my mom traveled a lot for work. I'm talking like every other week she would be going somewhere around the country ... for the week.

This is how it would go:

[No more than 2 days before she had to leave, so I didn't have too much time to freak]

Mom: Ali, I'm going to be going on a trip to Nevada.
Me: [already crying at the word trip] when?
Mom: I'm going to leave Monday morning before you wake up but I will be back Thursday night before soccer.
Me: [bawling my eyes out] please mom no. Can you ask [her boss] if you can do a conference call? Tell him you can't go.
Mom: I have to go Ali but I will be back before you know it.

For the days leading up to her leaving I would cry at random times & make her pinky promise to call me no more than 10 minutes after she landed at her destination. (something my dad HATED because if she was one minute late I was a total hot mess.) Oh & sometimes I would even become physically sick. Those were the best times though because usually, she would end up not going.

This spontaneous combustion (AKA: random bawling my eyes out) would continue the whole time she was gone, at school, at day care, anywhere. & when she returned you can guarantee that she never went to the bathroom, shopping or even took a shower without me being in a 10 ft. radius. I can remember her saying one christmas, "Ali how am I supposed to get you presents if I can never go shopping alone?" I agreed to let her go that time.

After about a year of this, of not being able to drop me off at school without freaking out & the final straw, hitting the babysitter when she was trying to console me after both parents had left on a trip, I had to go see a therapist.

I was diagnosed with Separation Anxiety of the worst kind.

Eventually, (around 5th grade) I finally conquered the anxiety.


You see, I no longer freak out when my mom goes on trips & sometimes I even stay home alone while she is gone for days at a time but I have to be honest and say that there is not a time that she goes on a trip for days at a time & my stomach doesn't drop just a little.

For a minute, the re-occurring thoughts that I had when I was younger, (will she ever come back? What will I do if she doesn't come back? Will I find my hair brush without her? ha!) flutter back into my tummy. The difference between then & now though is that now I can rationalize & tell myself that of course she will come back. That's what I tell myself.

Here's the deal though: I'M GOING TO COLLEGE IN 2 WEEKS!!

& you know how I said I can push those thoughts out of my head & rationalize? Well, I'm struggling with that. Am I the only one?? I know that going to college is going to be a blast. I know that I'm on the way to the rest of my life. I know that I definitely don't want to live in this house for the rest of my life. I know that I have an awesome roommate & that for pete's sake, I'm only one hour from home.

Still though, when I think about moving away, my stomach does some back handsprings. I just wonder if I will ever grow out of Separation Anxiety or Anxiety itself??

Good, bad or indifferent, I'm going & I refuse to be Debby Downer so I'm putting on a brave face and trucking right through it.

Nothing good comes easily, right?

(oh, another crazy thing about this?? I am babysitter for the world. Seriously probably 30 or more families since I started 6 years ago. & the hardest thing about babysitting for me is when a child is crying because their parent left. All of my feelings return & I just want to sit & cry. I can totally feel their pain.)

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I could have written this post when I was about to leave for college (minus the mom going away for work part). I had separation anxiety from the time I was in 3rd grade. I never wanted to be without my parents! Truth be told, I still live only 3 miles from them and the only time I was away was college. Trust me, you will be fine and the older you get the more the anxiety will subside.
Your story about your mom leaving made me tear up. My daughter is only 14 months and I have to go away every 2 or 3 months for 2-3 nights. It kills me to leave. Right now, I know she doesn't notice much but I pray for a different type of job in a couple years.
Good luck with your move! You'll love it!