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Dr. Debbie Magids Headshot

Separation Anxiety: On Feeling Homesick

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Recently, I returned home from a trip to LA. I was there pitching a TV show -- a dream I've been pursuing for the last five years. In all of the years I've been working on this dream, I've never been as excited or hopeful about a project as I was about this one. Because of a rough patch when my mother was sick and then me needing an operation shortly after, I hadn't been to LA since October -- the longest stretch I've had in five years -- so it was a big deal that I was finally back out in the world.

I was excited and hopeful, until the day I was leaving for the trip. For the first time in many years, I was struck with very old feelings of homesickness before I even left my home. It was hard to go this time, and these difficult feelings stayed with me when I arrived.

I spent time meditating and talking to friends, so I was able to identify what was happening; it felt important to figure it out because I was afraid of sabotaging my meetings. And I refused to be the cause of my dream not working out after all of the blood, sweat, and tears I'd put in over the last five years.

I used to experience these feelings all the time when I was younger. Whenever I'd leave home (to go to camp, college, or abroad to study and travel the world), I'd always feel them. This didn't stop me from going, but I'll admit I always suffered a bit when I arrived at my destination. Finally, I realized I had a deep fear of separation that was rooted in the fact that my parents were Holocaust survivors. For them, separation from family meant death, so the anxiety they felt was so powerful -- and it was unknowingly (as all of our parents' issues are) passed on to us kids. But with time and determination in my own therapy, I worked it all out (or so I thought). I became this very independent woman who could go anywhere and do anything -- on my own. And it was a very important attribute for me to achieve.

But as always, still waters run deep. Ever since my operation, I've been enveloped in safety and love from the people who are closest to me. This was the first time I was going out into the world after my surgery. Of course, in hindsight, it makes sense that these old feelings would resurface. I'd gone through a life-altering experience, and hadn't anticipated the aftershocks -- the unleashing of very old wounds. I was venturing out into the world again, but with a greater knowledge of life's fragility.

I don't know the outcome of the trip -- whether or not we sold a TV show -- but here is what I do know: Recognizing this old wound and why it was being reopened, feeling the old feelings and releasing them, and practicing deep breathing and meditation completely cleared the way for me. I ended up feeling better than I ever had before. I kicked *ss in the pitch meetings. I was more open, more determined, more grounded, and less nervous than I can ever remember. My overall trip was more joyful and all that I experienced was fully appreciated. The end results are not up to me; I'll leave that to the universe. And whatever happens, it's okay and meant to be.

The lesson: Figure out what's going on for you when you're feeling off and do your best to release it. Always make sure you're not the one sabotaging what you want out of life and have faith that life will work out just as it should.

For more by Dr. Debbie Magids, click here.

for more on becoming fearless, click here.