Separation Anxiety

Sure, I'm still thinking about Six Feet Under, and I'm sort of suppressing an urge to view the final episodes again on HBO. Why is that? I think part of it is that I know I would be hooked and become an obsessive viewer (I once watched a 6FU episode about 3 or 4 times). Another thing is that I know I don't want to live through the separation anxiety again. It's as if I've already said goodbye to these characters, I need to let go.

Do we all share this kind of separation anxiety? Or are some people immune to that -- they can just leave and not feel a thing?

Have you ever read a book with such great characters that you start to feel anxious (but excited at the same time) to read the last chapter or epilogue?

Have you ever left a theater feeling lost and distressed, only because the curtains were drawn and you couldn't see those characters again?

And these are just fictional characters. What about real people? Do you have a hard time saying goodbyes to your friends? Parents? Siblings? Family?

I've always had a bad case of separation anxiety. And that's strange. I mean, I left home (really, really left home) at a young age. I thought by now I should have a good handle on this particular emotion, but I don't. I dread saying goodbyes. I feel really sad and lost whenever I leave a job, a place, or saying goodbye to people I know. Not to mention people I really love. Everytime I return from visiting my parents, I have to distract myself with a lot of activities to keep myself from dwelling on that feeling of sadness and anxiety. I do better when I'm the one traveling. When it's someone else who's doing the traveling, I go beserk with anxiety and dread and sadness.

So why is that?

Are we hardwired to feel anxious because of abandonment or survival? Or are we conditioned? As a species, humans are pretty defenseless on their own. Unlike many animals, young humans need to be taken care of and nurtured until they're way into, at least, their teens. We function the best when we're with other people. We call the truly independent loners "freaks" and we doubt if they're truly happy. So, is separation anxiety an instinctive reaction to survival? Why does a baby cry when it's taken away from its parent? Clearly, we haven't taught babies what "goodbye" means. But a baby seems to understand, by instinct or by conditioning, the concept of separation, and they express anxious behavoirs. These anxious feelings and behavoirs tend to develop and extend way into adulthood, sometimes up until our deaths.

Death. Is death really that bad? Why do we fear death so much? Is it because of the unknown: Is that it? Is there anything after death? Or is it because death is the ultimate separation? From the life we know, the people we love, and the world we live in. As we take our last breath, we're saying goodbye to our own existence. Everything we know about being human. Interestingly, it's not about survival anymore, because we are dying and we know we are dying. But we still try to hold on. We're afraid to let go.

Or are we all just big babies?


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