Moving/separation anxiety...

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Soonblue
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 8/19/2007 1:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey folks,

Completely new here so let me first fill you in on my back story with anxiety/panic and a little about myself. I'm 23 years old, male, living on the east coast. For most of my life, I've been plagued with separation anxiety, the condition of getting extremely anxious/panicky when away from familiar areas, loved ones etc. This tends to be something that fades over time with children, and while I had my first bout with it when I was only six(first grade or so), it definitely wouldn't be my last. When I was about 11, I went through a period during the summer of 1996 where I would completely freak out when I wasn't near my parents. I'd worry that I was going to get sick(diarrhea, throwing up etc), while they were out of the house and I was by myself. This particular fear plagued me off and on for the next several years with varying severity. At the time, I did not seek professional help for it because I kept hoping that it would simply 'go away.' Then, it came time for me to go to college. My university was about forty minutes away from where my parents lived and I knew I'd be living in a single dorm room, so you can imagine the anxiety I felt on move-in day. I was so panicked and nervous that I came close to vomiting several times during the actual move of my computer etc. Suffice to say, the first two weeks in that dorm weren't a lot of fun and I spent a lot of time on the phone with my 'rents who tried valiantly to calm me down. Eventually, I did manage to subdue the fear and push it to the back of my mind. It cropped up in minor form for the rest of my freshman year but nothing major and I did manage to successfully live in a dorm by myself for eight months. It also helped that I had two friends living fairly close-by, one on the floor below me and another in a building just across the courtyard. Sophomore year I had the same problem but with an added addition: both the friends I'd had living close-by the previous year had moved to the other side of campus, and I remained in the same complex. My mind fixated on that for some reason for the first week of the semester and my anxiety became worse than it ever had before. That first week I felt awful and wound up suffering from both de-realization and insomnia. The second week, I was introduced to another guy living in the same complex by a friend of mine and we became good friends over that first semester. Again, just having somebody living close-by that I knew was a comfort. I was able to get past that bout as well and was not plagued badly again until the autumn of 2006, when I entered my last year of college before graduation. I spent my last year of college living at my parents' house and commuting to school, and for a while during that fall everything was fine. Then one night in October while doing some programming work, I suddenly began to think about the changes that were coming down the pike at me: graduation, entering the real world, getting a job etc. To put it simply, I freaked out and had one of the worst panic attacks I'd ever experienced. Wound up spending the next three hours hunkered in my bed alternately shaking and trying to read and watch TV to take my mind off it. Eventually I exhausted myself and got relief as I fell asleep. eyes For the next eight months I would be bothered by extreme panic attacks and anxiety that would come in cycles: they would last for about four to five weeks and then disappear for a few months. I finally bottomed out in February of this year and went to the school counseling center, as the anxiety had become so bad that it was severely affecting my ability to do work properly. I was skeptical about seeking help but the school counseling center turned out to be a wonderful experience. I really felt that a team was working with me to fight my problems. It was also suggested that I try low dosages of some common anti-depression/anti-anxiety SSRI medication, and I was put on 10mg of Lexapro. Slowly but surely, I got back on my feet and wound up successfully completing my final semester. I'm proud to say that I graduated on the 26th of May this year. I was offered a job a month later by the very university I had graduated from. Upon hearing this news I was incredibly happy: I'd spent some great times through college(despite anxiety), and knowing that I'd be able to stay close to that environment was a wonderful feeling.

That brings us to the present. I'm now on a lower dosage of the Lexapro as I'm being stepped off it, and will cease it completely in October. While I lived with my parents for the last year of college, I've found having an 8-4:30 job every day with a 40-minute commute both in the morning and the afternoon gets exhausting pretty quickly. To cut down on the commute time, I very recently(three weeks ago), opted to move out of my parents' house and into an apartment about eight minutes from where I work. This also means however that I'll be about 45 minutes away from my parents. Now, I'm 23 and will be 24 next April. I don't want to be living with my parents until I'm 35. However, I was given the keys to my apartment last Thursday and I began moving some furniture and stuff in this weekend. For the last five hours I've been experiencing a feeling I haven't had since sophomore year of college: fear of the unknown, fear of being away from my folks, fear of being out my own. As so often with anxiety, the fear I have for the situation is much worse than the situation itself. I'm moving into an apartment in a town where I know several people(I have many friends still at the university and others who graduated with me who decided to take apartments in the surrounding area), and where I'm literally a five-minute drive away from the house of a good friend. For some reason, I'm still having this fear of living in an apartment complex where I don't know anybody.

So...sorry this was so long and rambling, but I did well in group therapy and it helps immensely to write my feelings out. It also helps to hear of similar stories from other people and coping mechanisms they might have used to at least get through the worst of their anxiety until they'd settled down. The university counseling center is only available to students, not employees, so I no longer have that resource. I chose HealingWell after reading some of the posts on here. Please, let me know if you've had similar experiences and if so, what helped. Thank you so much! :-)

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/19/2007 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello and Welcome to Healing Well and the A & P forum. We have many people that have anxiety when moving or change occurs in their lives.

It sounds like you did well with therapy and I would suggest you find a new therapist that you form a trust relastionship with and get back to learning new coping mechanisms.

If you are working full time I would hope that you have health insurance.  You may need to see you physician too re meds to get you through.

I wish you peace and keep posting.  I am very pleased that you read through the site and liked what you saw.

Gentle Hugs


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
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"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 


Danxiety
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 322
   Posted 8/19/2007 3:15 PM (GMT -7)   
oh man, i totally get that as well. When i first got the job i'm at now i had to go for 3 weeks to another state for training. I thought i would be fine, knowing i would be back in a 3 weeks. The first night i was there i totally freaked out and had a panic attack. I wanted to go home so bad, it was weird. Nothing bad had happened the first day, in fact it went really feel, but the fear of the unknown, unfamiliar place freaked me out.

I think its rough moving away from your comfort zone, but i also know that once you get familiar with your new situation you be fine. Infact, you will most likely feel great, and happy you made the move. I think you're going through the roughest part right now, and maybe some trips to the folks house would be a good thing, for a little while. Almost like tapering of medication :)

I'm the same way. It's really hard, weird, and scary -- but you'll get through it. I think taking risks and trying to stick it out is the best cure. You always know you can go home, and maybe for a while you do a reverse commute and hang with the folks for dinner or something a couple nights a week. Then you can try and step it down. Also know that they're not that far, and you can still be with them, even though the ache and fear is that of distance and change of environment.

You'll do good man! Hang in there. Maybe invite them over to your new pad, though it might be hard for you when they leave. I would almost suggest for now, going back to the familiar place and adjust to you new place at you own pace. It's totally natural to feel the way you do, dont be hard on yourself. I'm 32, and the last time i had a panic attack i told my doctor " All i want is my mom".

Take care, and welcome to the forums here. Lots of great people post here :)
Dan
---
Anxiety and Panic Disorder.

"Breathe! You Are Alive"
- Thich Nhat Hanh


Soonblue
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 8/19/2007 4:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks very much to both of you for replying so quickly. To answer stkitt, I do indeed have health insurance(in fact just got approved for it and obtained my cards in the mail the other day), and I will definitely seek professional assistance if I continue to suffer this for more than a week or two. It was a very positive experience for me the first time and the psychologist I spoke to was wonderful; it helped incredibly to have another person's take on why I might be feeling the way I was.

To Danxiety, I understand what you mean about moving away from your comfort zone. I think my problem goes beyond just moving places at times as well...it seems like any big disruption to my daily routine, or a complete change of my daily routine, brings out these feelings of anxiety. Probably goes right along with 'fear of the unknown.' :-) My folks actually helped me move some of my stuff in the other day and I had a few friends come by to visit. A good female friend of mine who's known about my anxiety for many years and had similar problems when she moved away actually stayed over with me last night to make sure I was ok, which was great. I'm actually staying at my folks' place tonight as most of my work stuff(computer etc.) and entertainment like TV and radio are still in my old room. Won't be moving them out until later in the week.

Strange question, but do you find having the TV or the radio blaring when you're alone in a place helps to relax you? Seems to work decently well for me; just feels good to have another voice in the room.

Danxiety
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 322
   Posted 8/19/2007 8:12 PM (GMT -7)   
yeah, i always have music playing or the TV on. Also having my dog helps a lot as well.

Thats really cool you have a friend that understands whats going on and stayed with you! Thats really really cool, actually.

I'm the same way man, I think for me its the sense or fear that i dont have control of a situation. That is part of it. So peoples reactions can sometimes set it off for me. Like, if someone is acting irrational (or what i believe to be irrational) it can trigger panic. I wonder if they can say certain things or act a certain way (speaking generally about a few of the women I've dated) then what else can they do? I have that fear as well. So yeah, its not just separation for me too. Its also the break in routine, the uncertainty i guess.

Anyways, sounds like you're doing well and on the right track!!! And yeah, thats not a strange question you asked. Infact when i have panic, i have to go to sleep with the TV on and sometimes the light :). Also, every night i need to have a fan on just to have some white noise. Silence makes me anxious.

Also, major life changes cause anxiety in just about everyone. Thats why so many people what to have "stable" things, like jobs, marriage, and so on... Change is scary, some people just handle it differently, but I think the majority of people feel some level of discomfort. Me... I have anxiety, which leads to panic...

be well!
Dan
---
Anxiety and Panic Disorder.

"Breathe! You Are Alive"
- Thich Nhat Hanh

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