I am a 25 year old gay male. I do suffer from depression but I manage to bounce back very well. One thing I do have a big problem with is what feels like “separation anxiety” of sorts. When I meet someone new or hang out with friends, I am very happy, but when I leave people or a party or anything where I am around people to being by myself I become overwhelmed with anxiety. It is really hard for me to want to do anything at all.
I don’t know where this comes from. I have very wonderful and supportive parents, and family and friends. I do know that it is really bad when it’s with people I feel romantically towards as well, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s whenever I leave anyone’s house or a lunch with friends somewhere. Is this a condition or is there any way I can stop feeling so sad about this? Thank you.
A. What you might be describing is dependent personality disorder (DPD). Individuals with DPD believe they need to be taken care of. They have a fear of being abandoned and being separated from those they deem important in their life. The belief that they need to be taken care of, and the fear of separation and abandonment, ultimately can lead to dependency on others. Others may perceive their need to be taken care of as being “clingy.” The clinginess might be a result of the individual with DPD feeling as though they’re unable to independently care for themselves.
Individuals with DPD are highly critical of themselves. They tend to be pessimistic, filled with self-doubt, and they often minimize their abilities. They are also hypersensitive to criticism. Any remark that might be perceived as being critical is proof, in their view, that they are incompetent.
You are a great candidate for psychotherapy. You have been able to “bounce back” from your depression but the fact that it remains a part of your life means it is an unresolved problem. Your depression may be correlated with your separation anxiety problem. Medication might also help to treat both conditions. Your primary care physician could provide you with a referral to a mental health specialist and a psychiatrist. Please take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jan 2013
Randle, K. (2012). Anxiety & Depression When Alone. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/08/anxiety-depression-when-alone/