I have been thinking recently about my history of anxiety, and the more I think about it the more I remember about times during my childhood when I felt genuine panic.
My primary school was fairly large, but to get to the nursery you would have to cross the playground. My brother is 2 years younger than me, so when I was in year 1 he was just starting nursery. My school had a morning nursery and an afternoon nursery, my brother was in the afternoon nursery, I remember this because my mum would have to walk through the playground during my lunch break to take him. I always made sure to see them when they were walking through.
For some reason after my mum dropped my brother off and was leaving the playground I got some sudden bouts of separation anxiety and would cry and beg her to take me home. To be honest, I’m not sure why I was so upset, but I seem to remember something about either A) being scared she would forget to come and pick me up or B) that something terrible would happen to her on the way home and nobody would tell me until it was too late. This is all fairly morbid for the thoughts of a 5 or 6 year old as I am sure you are aware.
The worst day began like all of the others, my mum walked through the playground, I’m sure she dreaded seeing me as she knew the routine. Usually she could get me to stop crying before the end of lunch, or a dinner lady would take me away and look after me. But this time I was not having any of it, I cried and held on to her arm and wouldn’t let her go. She had to walk me back to my classroom. I remember her taking me to the class and I was still crying and holding on to her. Everyone was staring at me like I was crazy, and then this guy came over and told her he would look after me. Then she left and I was over it.
From what I remember the fear stopped after this, maybe it’s because I was embarrassed, or maybe it’s because I realised I was being irrational. And I thought I had grown out of it until I was with my ex boyfriend.
When my ex boyfriend first went to university, we were still in a fairly new relationship, he would come back every few weeks and we would spend the weekend together. But when it came time for me to go home and for him to return to university I would cry uncontrollably, I was scared he would never come back, that his train would crash and he would die, or even that he would get drunk at university and choke on his own vomit, all irrational thoughts.
Of course I have since grown out of it, but sometimes I do have silly, irrational fears about people being hurt, but more so when they are supposed to be somewhere at a specific time. If I am around for the time my parents are usually home from work (10:30) and it gets to a point later than that, I do start to worry about them, and if they have been in an accident.
I talked before about how my mums anxiety stopped me from wanting to stay at peoples houses and go to their birthday parties and maybe in reality she has some reverse separation anxiety issues, she was scared that she would lose me.
The Elephant in the Room