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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/31/2010 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I saw the request for newbies to post their own thread so here we go. I'm 20 years old, a college student and have been formally diagnosed with GAD for about five years now, but suffered from it long before. I'm an only child and the stereotype is usually spoiled, stubborn, and conceited I'm probably the opposite (other then the stubborn part ). My parents (who are still together) left me all the time to attend social events and always made me feel second best as I was growing up. My dad was strict with everything and wasn't pleased if I got anything lower then a "B" in school (a B- wasn't acceptable). Being a police officer he exuded intimidation and we rarely spent any time together, I was always anxious in his presence as he's very unpredictable and temperamental. My mom was my best friend but as I got older I realize she can be an enabler and sometimes tried to make my dad look like the bad guy saying things like "your father needs me to leave and be with him this weekend" when he wouldn't have cared if she would've stayed home. When I had just turned 18 I asked my mom why they left me all the time and her response was "your father and I were married 7 years before having you, we already had a lifestyle".

My psychologist has helped me realize that there will be a life without them, event though I still have an annoying need to please them. To this day when they leave me to go on vacation, I still experience anxiety although it has grown less and less. I certainly felt like an outcast while going through my teen years, crying hysterically at age 16 when my parents left for a week, while friends in similar situations couldn't be more excited to have their parents gone.

Every once in awhile I am also "blessed" with a panic attack that sometimes comes out of left field and deep breaths don't help. Like a lot of people in these situations I can start to feel like I'm losing control of my sanity and I need to be on the next bus to the insane asylum. I was also diagnosed with depression and IBS-D at the same time as my anxiety (age 15). Shortly after I started seeing a psychologist and my doctor prescribed me Lexapro, Donnatal, and Xanax. I only take the Xanax when I really need it and luckily I only go through about 60 pills a year (I have a fear of becoming dependent on it). All of these help to keep everything under control, but unfortunately I'm not always adamant about taking them and have recently been suffering the consequences. My anxiety itself doesn't always stop me from living a "normal" life (whatever that is), it's usually the IBS as that is not easy to hide in public and I will soon be introducing myself on that forum. I'm lucky, though, to have a best friend who also experiences depression and mild anxiety. It helps to have someone who can understand the way you're feeling and I know I'm a strong person, but lately have been getting tired of fighting and could use more support. Even just to read some of the posts on here is comforting, I always knew there were people who suffer the same way I do, but it's nice to actually read their experiences in black and white.

I'm not very religious and I sometimes wish I were, but at any rate I am spiritual. Whether this life is a gift or a test (or both) my goal is to become in control of it and not let it control me. It's not easy in any way, shape, or form but since I still get out of bed in morning, I figure I'm doing a pretty good job.

Thanks for reading.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/31/2010 3:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am sorry to read of your anxiety issues and I know I had anxiety as a child but was not dx until I was in my thirties. 
I am glad you have a good pdoc who recognizes your sx.  Adults may experience: wide-ranging separation anxiety symptoms, such as extreme anxiety and fear, when separated from major attachment figures; avoidance of being alone; and fears that harm will befall those close to them.  Separation anxiety disorder may be a neglected diagnosis in adulthood. 
Due to the recentness of the separate diagnosis for ASAD, there is no standard treatment for the disorder. Most therapies treat it similarly to other Anxiety Disorders with a combination of medication and therapy, especially a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is often used to treat phobias. It involves slowly increasing the person’s ability to tolerate a stressful situation.
I am wondering what kind of therapy you have received ? 
You also seem to have the need to try to please people which I also have gone through but am much better at trying to please myself first after much therapy.

Everyone needs to hear that they are doing a good job and that they are appreciated. We feel good when someone shows us love and approval, but that can go to far. I have heard this need for approval called Approval Addiction. We have a fear of letting others down. 

Constantly keep yourself headed in the right direction for you. It may not be easy at times, but in those times of struggle you will find a stronger sense of who you are, So when the days come that are filled with frustration and unexpected responsibilities, remember to believe in yourself and all you want your life to be, because the challenges and changes will only help you to find the goals that you know are meant to come true for you.

Remember you must live life for yourself so work on kicking the anxiety to the curb and enjoy each day to the fullest. 

Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 358
   Posted 9/1/2010 4:51 PM (GMT -7)   
I can relate to the need to please the parents thing. My father wasn't around much during my first two years of life. Later as a child I did well in school and he praised me for it. My brother did poorly and got yelled at. I learned that I needed to do even better in school in order to (1) avoid being yelled at, (2) keep my father around, and (3) obtain his approval and maybe even praise. It wasn't until about two decades later that I realized what was going on. I became a perfectionist, thinking the better I am at whatever the better chance I have of keeping Dad around and getting his approval.

But as an adult I'm now realizing that it's my expectation that I need to be perfect and that his love was conditional (which may or may not be true). Only recently have I been able to confront him and tell him how his words and actions made me feel. Only recently have I been able to accept the possibility that he might not accept me or approve of me. Only recently have I come to accept that he could say "you're not worth my time" and walk away. I don't want that to happen, but I'm finally in a place where I can accept it if that's his choice. That transition alone has made a huge difference for me in easing the pressure of needing to be perfect, which in turn I'm hoping will lower my anxiety.

I also thought it was interesting that you said you're not religious, but sometimes wish you were. Do you feel like something's missing? Faith communities, even ones that are "spiritual, but not aligned with any particular religion" can provide affirmation and a sense of community. You can also look into churches and services that are online if you want to check them out without feeling like you're making a commitment.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/2/2010 9:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for replying.

I'll start with stkitt:

I am happy that I got diagnosed and was about to receive help at a very young age. With that said the only reason it happened was because my anxiety and depression were severe. My mom especially tried to make excuses (my period was the most popular) to pretend it was all normal and I would grow out of it. I can't tell you exactly what type of therapy I receive, but my psychologist usually is there to remind me of the underlying reasons for my anxiety. I might get anxious about something relatively small and insignificant, but it usually roots back to my parents and childhood. Recently, she helps to keep me grounded when I worry about the future.

I know you nor anyone here knows me, but I think I was a really good kid. I rarely got in trouble in school, I got good grades, I played sports, I had good, positive friends, I've never tried any kind of drug, and my friends and I didn't even touch any sort of alcohol until we were about 18 and we always did it at my friend's house (her parents knew) and no one would drive. Last summer I had to quit my job due to a back problem (much to my father's dismay). I was starting school in a month and my dad didn't want me to work during school so there was no time to find another job. He came home from work one day, I had just gotten back from taking my dog to the park, and I hadn't had a chance to do the dishes, which was usually done by the time he got home. My mom had just come home and my boyfriend and friend were over and I saw him taking two duffel bags upstairs. They were leaving that night (as usual) so I thought maybe they were just going to take those. Instead I get called up into their room and where he started yelling at me, calling me ungrateful and lazy and told me I could pack my bags if I didn't clean around the house more. Obviously this has made my anxiety level skyrocket so my psychologist helps me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also can over analyze, so when I'm with her and am having an issue we really break things down. I don't consider my separation anxiety a phobia so I am not treated for that. Going off to college was a big test for me and I loved being away from home, so it really should be what things can be like when I'm not in that environment. I thought I might cry when they left me, but I actually cried when I moved back home. Go figure.

I know a lot of people feel the need to please their parents, but it's nice to know it was your father as well. I've already become a perfectionist of sorts, it's not that I think perfection is possible, but I do push myself to the limits and often get anxiety attacks if I think my dad won't be pleased with an outcome. Through therapy I have already realized there is no pleasing my father for more than a few seconds, but it certainly is a hard habit to break. Lately I've been working hard in school, not for him, but for me, because I can't wait for the day when I no longer need their support financially. I'm happy I need less and less emotional support from them, but it is difficult when I am at home, because I never know what my dad's mood will be. Thank goodness for college, I get to move out on Sunday.

As far as religion, I was raised and confirmed Catholic, but no one in my family is super religious. My dad was never baptized and my mother is also Catholic, but doesn't really practice. We celebrate Christian holidays but I think it's more the be around family than the actual meaning behind the holiday. It was when I first experienced depression when I was 13 that I really stopped believing in Catholicism. I guess what I believe is there is some higher power or something and it created us, but I believe man created religion and all that goes with it. I have heard of faith communities and may eventually get involved because I guess I do sometimes feel like something's missing. It's comforting for people to believe in something whether it turns out to be true or not. I feel like religion helps a lot of people and I just wish I could believe in it but truthfully, I don't. I know people have lots of different views on religion and I respect theirs' so I try not to bring the subject up too much.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 358
   Posted 9/2/2010 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   

I think it's great that you're doing well in school for yourself and not to "please Dad". You said that you need less emotional support from your parents, and while it may be necessary for you to accept that you may not be able to get emotional support from your parents, I hope you don't go the other extreme of isolating yourself and thinking you can handle everything in life on your own. We all need others in our lives for support, even if it can't be family.

I know a lot of people raised Catholic who at some point or another stopped going to church and start questioning things. I think that's perfectly normal, especially at your age. You're finally on your own and it's a process of figuring out who YOU are as an individual, as opposed to who you were taught to be as a child.

I don't want to go off on a religious tangent, but a number of people with a former Catholic background think of religion as being all about rules and how you're never good enough, while other non-Catholic Christians tend to focus more on having a relationship with God. Many of the "Catholic rules" come from humans as opposed to God directly. If you look up the history of Protestantism the name essentially means Protest-ism as the people were protesting the interpretations of the Bible that humans (priests) were making. A lot of this came about when the printing press was invented so that anyone could get a copy of the Bible (and make their own interpretations) instead of only being able to listen to the interpretations of a priest or other Church official.

Finally, I just want to say to anyone who may be upset by anything I just said -- I apologize. I am not trying to attack or put down Catholicism in any way. Catholicism has played a strong role in my own family life and I have nothing but respect for Catholics, other Christians, and people of any other faith, including agnostics and atheists. I am in no place to make judgments and I hope that I did not come across that way.
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