We are BACK with another day of Little Introspection! Today we’re discussing a feeling that many littles, (myself included), experience: separation anxiety. I remember, years ago, the day that someone called me co-dependent. They were making an assessment of me without knowing the full extent of my emotions, or why I desired to be around my previous partner. They didn’t understand the creeping feeling that washes over you when your partner has to walk out the door. They didn’t understand the still, empty feeling you experience when the person that you love is suddenly… gone.
I. Separation Anxiety is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of:
In my D/s relationship now, I have built in code words to signal how I’m feeling. I am no stranger to poking out my bottom lip, looking at my Daddy as he’s about to go to work and saying, “miss miss” in a timid, soft voice. He knows with one look that while I am frowning, deep inside my mind is spinning at the thought of being alone. It isn’t that I can’t be alone, because I can. For me, separation anxiety stems from the fear of being alone permanently. What if my Daddy gets in a car accident (God forbid) and never comes home? I have experienced moments where one moment a loved one was with me, and the next they were gone. I’ve had dear friends for years suddenly drop off the radar never to be heard from again. Such loss creates a fear of being separated from those you care about.
If you’re experiencing separation anxiety from your caregiver, don’t stress. This is nothing to be ashamed about. There are tons of Littles who feel exactly the same way you do. Our minds reach out to cope with the fear, by yearning to be near the people that make us feel safe, desired, and loved. As Littles we gravitate towards dominants that make us feel protected and cared for. Having anxiety at being apart from your security blanket really isn’t that strange. 🙂 So know that your feelings are valid, heard, and wanted.
II. Ways to Cope with the Anxiety:
I stand up loud and proud here in my blog, and tell the world that I have lived with anxiety for nearly a decade. (By the way, if you’re new to my blog, this is probably as good a time as any to say– Hi! Welcome! I’m Kitten and I’m so glad you’re here! Hehe! <3). I shine a spotlight on mental health because it is so desperately needed. That said, if you are struggling with anxiety, grab my paw, because I’m about to give you a bunch of ways that I cope with separation anxiety, and hopefully these will help you too. First off, create an environment that suits your desired preferences for being comfortable. Here at home, I call it my “hidey hole”. But in truth, I have simply created a spot that is calming on my nervous system. Over the years I have learned that: temperature, lighting, sound, and smells are all a major factor in my environment. Therefore, when I’m blogging to you in my writing spot, I turn on the heat dish to medium, draw the blinds to create soft lighting on my eyes, turn on gentle classical music, and put a spritz of lavender in the air. By creating a harmonious environment, my nervous system remains calm and in balance.
So, too, do I use these same strategies when I have to be alone at home. I snuggle up in a comfy spot and work on my writing. Another strategy is to keep the mind busy. Working out is great for this. Go for a walk or do some gentle yoga stretching. Turn on Netflix and tune into a movie. Do what you have to do to keep your mind occupied so that you’re not feeling the separation nearly as much.
III. Learning the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety:
Before I had a good handle on the anxiety I was feeling, life felt confusing when my Daddy would leave for work. I would sigh, grow moody, and irritable and then we would end up bickering with each other. I couldn’t articulate why I was feeling such a strong urge for him to stay home, and he felt like he couldn’t do anything to fix my feelings. It was a mess for the both of us. But after years of reflection, soul searching, and tons of conversations, I finally began to open up about how I truly felt. Only then was he able to jump in and we created strategies to cope with the stress of being apart.
Sometimes it’s difficult to identify if you’re feeling separation anxiety, but some common symptoms include: having fear that your loved one is going to get injured or killed if they leave, yearning to be physically close to your partner at all times, growing panicked or short of breath at the thought of them leaving, feeling depressed or moody when you’re alone, having headaches because your body is so anxious and overwhelmed, having intrusive thoughts about all of the fears over being away from your partner, and having difficulty sleeping (e.g. insomnia) while being apart from your loved one.
IV. Additional Treatment Options:
If these symptoms sound like you, or you recognize that you’re struggling with separation anxiety, the first thing is to create a plan to help yourself begin to heal. No one wants to live with anxiety. I’m with you in this fight, my friend. You can do this! Begin by sitting down with your partner and discussing the depth of your anxiety. Talk about your symptoms and what situations trigger fear in your mind. Discuss things you would like to implement to begin to try and cope with the anxiety. If you are suffering from severe or debilitating anxiety, and it feels crippling, do not feel ashamed to reach out to a medical professional for help! I cannot stress this enough. There is no shame in calling your primary care physician and making an appointment to discuss getting anxiety medication (SSRI’s), coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy to begin putting your life back together.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to put your health first! If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Prioritize self-care days and nurture the things you enjoy. Find a local therapist who you feel comfortable opening up to, and discuss your separation anxiety. No psychologist is going to shun you for being a Little. Trust me! It’s who you are, and these professionals are usually well versed in age regression. Your journey to a happier, healthier life all begins with a single baby step. I believe in you. 🙂
That’s it from me for this post, my friends. Stay tuned for the next topic. If you, or someone you know, is struggling from separation anxiety and you have additional questions or comments, let me know! You can also email directly in the “Contact Penny” section above. Have a wonderful Sunday, and I will see you all back here tonight!