13 Ways to manage Deep Separation Anxiety from Best Friends

A Girl With Blakened Eyes Holding a smiley Drawn against her Face

It is a common venting these days on Social Media on how one’s best friend ditched him/her without any reason. And it hurts a lot. And sometimes it hurt lot more than the hurt that comes about in separating from a romantic relationship.

So why does this happen to so many of us? And what should we do about it?

FAQs

FAQs on what is involved in such conditions

How to manage separation anxiety from friends?

13 Ways to manage Separation Anxiety
(unless diagnosed or symptoms last too long, in which case you need to be seen by a Psychiatrist or a Licensed Therapist)

  1. No conflict separations – Understanding it:

    Many times our separations from our friends are more out of life, family, and work circumstances and without any conflicts. A good understanding of such circumstances around such separation and giving your friends and your friendship a full benefit of the doubt can help ease the distress.

    Constant reminders to ourselves that can help ease blame on either party can help. Also, converting such reminders into meditative or affirmation routines can not only help with separation relief but also can put a discipline around the practice and make a good habit out of it. This can quicken the relief process.

  2. No conflict separations – Planning in anticipation:

    Most great friendships come with a very high level of understanding and empathy and above all, communication. More so, non-verbal communication.

    Communicating, celebrating togetherness, creating some fond memories, and enjoying some activities in anticipation of the separating event can help. It can give a much needed vaccine-like therapeutic closure even before separation.

  3. Committing to Life Routine:

    Writing down our commitment to a work and life routine (weekdays and weekends included) can keep us involved. Even minimalistic planning – like writing down our hourly engagements including downtime and time for ourselves can help this process a whole lot.

  4. Meditation:

    If that is doable Meditation is the penultimate savior to many ailments. The problem only is that it is easier said than done. Right meditation and adequate mediation are necessary to rely on it for full relief.

    All the same, some mediation is better than none of it. If you are not so yogic in personality, this separation can be a motivating reason to learn this great skill. That can bring 2 rewards from one deed.

  5. Affirmations:

    Affirmations are another way to institute positive belief patterns in our lives. There is a way to practice affirmation and there are plenty of resources online that can guide you on how to practice it.

    Consider ‘affirmations’ that can help –
    * suggests no blame for separation on anybody,
    * help with a renewed outlook towards a new life and
    * elevate your presence as a worthy ‘friend’.

  6. Being Grateful:

    Expressing gratitude to not only others but also yourself for being a part of a worthy friendship is quintessential. Being grateful also relives you of any regret if any.

  7. Accepting Change:

    Accepting change is not easy. Especially, change in a very old friendship – be it conflict based or not so.

    But once you accept it, you will have conquered a very big mental block. ‘Accepting change’, among other things, involves accepting a real possibility of its recurrence. Tagging it as good or bad is completely up to us at all times.

  8. Open Mind:

    All the above are ways to manage separation anxiety with the awareness of pain and distress. Bearing an ‘open mind’ and accepting such life events to be a part of ‘whole’ completely takes the pain awareness out of your mental makeup.

    An ‘open mind’ is an asset. It is both a defense mechanism to a variety of life events and also an immunity booster if you will. Having an open mind comes from accepting all possibilities of a future loss without compromising on the celebrations of the present.

  9. New Goals:

    With an old friend now gone, time spent with him/her opens up to a newer use or investment. Time is one asset that cannot be bought.

    Such an understanding impresses the worth of the most important asset. You can now use the same time to learn a new skill, art or, even develop new relationships.

  10. Reinforcement – a new path altogether:

    You can bring to bear all your experiences from pain, suffering, and distress to start an online pursuit like – Blog, Website, or even a Course. These resources can now coach and teach others how to manage separation anxiety. Neither is the online World ending anytime soon nor is World going to be any complete with newer training and teaching resources. An undying trend that will at least last another generation after us.

    Such an attitude of turning your pain into gain – can be both therapeutic and lucrative.

  11. Resolve conflict – Gift them with space:

    Not the best way to put it. But this applies to even conflict based separation anxiety. Resolving conflicts most of the time not possible. But forgiving is doable. One of the best ways to avenge your hurt is to forgive others. And gift them with a space to realize your importance in a World without you. Few can do this, however.

    To forgive is not action about your past; it is action about your future.

  12. Most courageous of it all – Seek Help:

    Most people get this completely wrong. Seeking help is seen as a sign of weakness. Quite to the contrary, it is for the same social reason and the repute of it – the most courageous thing to do. Seek professional help.

    You can start with a Licensed Therapist or even a Psychiatrist if it is out of control.

  13. Another Courageous act:

    Join support groups Joining support groups is also stigmatized within some communities and cultures.

    Again, nothing is further from the truth. Chances are you will meet someone who can open new perspectives for you. Better still, now you can be in touch with somebody who is more available for you than your Therapist.

  14. Bonus: the 14th one – Consider hiring a Life Coach:

    To not look biased with this coming on this website, I framed this to be the 14th without stealing from your 13 takeaways, as above. It is, in my strongest conviction, the smartest thing to do if you have separation anxiety.

    So many benefits that Life Coaching brings with itself.
    Here a few –

    i. You cut on your time of suffering – from years to months or even weeks sometimes.
    ii. It is totally unbiased since a paid professional is on your side and will never point blame at you.
    iii. It can show you a – direction. And analyze it to the core with you.
    iv. It will set up goals for you and also show you how to form goals in real life without being too bookish about it. v.
    It can help you complete those goals with accountability coaching.
    vi. Above all, if you need serious help – it will be the promptest to guide you to get seen by a Licensed Health Care professional.

How can we be our most ‘resilient’ self to avoid this condition?

Prevention remains better than cure and Yes, it is possible even in this case.

We are humans and only prone to errors much less social beings vulnerable to so many emotions. Even the most headstrong among us have their share of emotional swings.

That said, there are ways to come about a bit stronger by building our inner resilience to potential separation anxiety. They are –

  • Widen our social and/or professional circles to include more people that we can share/interact with in some way or the other.
  • Have a larger purpose in life than investing all our emotion(al) (eggs) in one basket, in one relationship, or in one individual.
  • Accept the possibility of downturns in life. And plan both time and space for us to be somber or even sad. It needs to vent out than become a problem larger than we can handle.
  • Be prepared to bid goodbyes to the people around us. So many situations and so many people in our lives reach that point and we rather stay prepared. It is, after all, a big churn, and life only guarantees one thing and one thing only – CHANGE. Making not-so-good ‘change’ smooth is possible.
  • Lastly, live and celebrate the present. Do not live in the future in anticipation of things/events that may (or may not) bring us happiness. That is the best way to be – so when the sad moment of separation comes, there is not too much of unfinished business.

What are the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety from friends?

These are a variety of possibilities that come with such a condition.

Signs and symptoms can range in diversity and intensity depending on each situation and remains subjective to each one of us. It can be physical, Cognitive, Behavioral, or even Psychological.

  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Muscular stiffness;
  • Stomach of Head aches;
  • High or Low Blood Pressure;
  • Nightmares;
  • Guilt;
  • Shame;
  • Irritability;
  • Appetite changes;
  • Breathing issues
  • Nightmares;
  • Indecision;
  • Ritualistic Tihnking;
  • Concentration Issues;
  • Anxiety;
  • Persistent Fear;
  • Social Isolation;
  • Development or Complication of other conditions;
  • Increased conflicts.

What are the causes of anxiety from friends?

There may be just risk factors and not real causes to separation anxiety

Separation anxiety has been linked to the below-mentioned causes and risk factors in some cases:

  • Genetics and Family History: We lose our dearest friends and all those genetic vulnerabilities get triggered. It can even be inherited.
  • Chemical imbalances: Believe it or not – chemical imbalance is a real condition and very possible and will have nothing to suggest your mental strength or otherwise.
  • Context: Our environment plays a very big role in the way we act and react to situations and people.
  • An Outcome of other complications: It can also be an outcome of other complications e.g. loss of a loved one makes us overly dependent on this one friend.
  • General Health and gender (being a female) are other general risk factors.

How professionals can help and how?

Depending on the seriousness, you may want to promptly reach the below professionals in the order of severity of your condition.

Life Coach

  • If you believe prevention is better than cure – reaching out to a Life Coach is that prevention;
  • Life Coach will promptly work with you and help you do 3 things –
    * Strategize – To understand the core at its most non-clinical level
    * Form Goals – To inculcate new habits, new routine and new outlook
    * Attain Goals with Accountability Coaching
  • You can also work with a Life Coach along side a Licensed Therapist.

Licensed Therapist

  • These professionals are clinical category of health professionals. They do not prescribe but they work with a variety of trained techniques to treat this disorder.
  • Depending on the case – they may employ – CBT, DBT, Hypnosis among other treatments to deliver individual and some time group therapy.
  • They can take between a few weeks to a few months and sometimes a couple of years or more to complete the treatment.

Psychiatrists

  • They are Doctors. And they prescribe medications for your conditions. Sometimes, they are also Nurse Practitioners, who prescribe under the supervision of Doctors.
  • Again – condidtions dependent – medications can really help and have their versions of side effects too.
  • Prolonged dependency on medications is not the best case scenario unless needed.

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