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Separation anxiety?
Nov 20, 2009
I am desperate for help. Please, if anyone reading this has experienced a similar problem or has ANY advice that might help me sort this out, get in touch. I can't go on like this any more.

Basically, I am terrified that my mother or brother is going to go missing, to die accidentally or to commit suicide. I've always been protective of my brother, who is three years younger than me, but this past year it has become a serious, serious problem for me and now I'm worried about my mum as well I just feel I'm completely losing it.

Obviously my brother has become more independent as he has grown older, as everyone does, but I don't know how to let go of him. I'm so used to being involved in everything he does. He had a fairly rough time at school and was difficult during his teens because of that, getting very angry and dramatic over small things that probably wouldn't be of much consequence to those who have had an easy and secure upbringing. I think those episodes frightened me very much into thinking he would do something to hurt himself.

Our parents separated when I was thirteen and it was not a nice time at all. He, I and our mum clung together quite fiercely during the divorce process and I did everything I could to protect him, which at that age wasn't much... my point is that I've always felt this desperate desire to keep him safe. And now I feel that as soon as he steps out of the house and into the world, he is not safe - anything could happen. Of course anything could happen to anyone, but I always think it's going to happen to my brother.

This is how bad it is - if he is more than ten minutes late home from work, I panic. My mind goes through all the possible things that could have happened to him until he comes into the drive. If he says he is going out, I need to know where, how, who will be there, are they expecting him, etc just so I know who to contact should he not come back. If he has a bad day and talks about it I feel afraid that he will give up altogether or kill himself. I set him a time in my mind to be home by and if he's later than that time, I am a wreck. I know he's not an especially happy or content person at the moment, and it worries me.

My mother is having a difficult time at work at the moment and so now these feelings have spread to her too. To make things worse, I am currently involved in a long distance relationship and so have bad feelings concerning separation, and I have started to become afraid of leaving the house while my family are out in case someone calls to say they've been in an accident and I am not there. I have distanced myself from my friends and lost confidence in myself. I am not employed and fairly dependent - I don't have any plans to move out just yet and I cannot drive (could this play a part in my issue with my brother's new-found indepence???). I don't feel I can do anything until I solve this problem. It's making me so snappy and irritable with my family and I feel so guilty, which just makes the fear of losing them worse, but I don't know how to switch off from it.

I would say I have been having these irrational thoughts for approximately one year although my problem has grown progressively worse and has now reached a serious point.

My brother has gone out into town for the night tonight and while he doesn't drink, I am absolutely terrified something will happen. It's the waiting that's the worst. I feel sick and have horrible thoughts racing through my head. I have been crying a lot. I have eaten only one meal in three days. I just feel so anxious at the moment.

I don't want to be this way any more. Please help. Should I see a doctor? I'm beginning to think it's my only hope. I only just turned 22 and I feel like my life's over already.

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