Lesbianing with AE: How to Manage Anxiety in an LDR

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Dear Lindsey, 

I’m in love with my girlfriend and things could not be better. Her work is sending her to the UK for six months and due to my job at home I can’t go with her. This will be the first time we’ve really been apart since we started dating and I am worried about spending so much time away from each other. I’ve had some anxiety issues and she has been a lifeline for me. I worry about spiraling out of control with her gone and I worry about making her worry about me if I call her for support. I feel like I can’t go to her with these worries since I don’t want to make her feel guilty for doing something that’s a professional organization. She leaves in January and I can’t stop thinking of worst case scenarios. – Alone and Afraid

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Dear Alone and Afraid, 

Letting people in can be scary when you suffer anxiety—but it can make a world of difference. You believe you’re helping your partner by hiding your worries, but she knows you and she can tell something’s not right. 

By communicating your worries before she goes overseas, you two can discuss ways to ease the distance (and your anxiety levels) before things get critical. 

You KNOW you’re worst case scenarios are not helping things. By continuing to ruminate on them unchecked, you risk sowing the seeds for those scenarios to come true.

You KNOW you’re worst case scenarios are not helping things. By continuing to ruminate on them unchecked, you risk sowing the seeds for those scenarios to come true.

Think of it this way: If you tell your girlfriend how you worry about suffering an anxiety attack while she’s gone with no one to help you, she can help you come up with resources. This can increase your comfort (bypassing anxiety) or give you outlets if things get bad.

If you don’t tell her, and instead you tell yourself every day how worried you are about spiraling while she’s gone, then you sow anxiety and fear that will naturally come out when you start to feel lonely and you’ll worry all the more about the next setback, because you’re in a state of heightened anxiety. 

A girlfriend can be a wonderful support system for anxiety, but you need more than just her. It’s not fair to either of you if you are overly reliant on her to bolster you from anxiety. 

There are many ways to deal with severe anxiety while your girlfriend is overseas. A few of the things I’ve tried: Therapy, CBT, CBD, medicinal herbs, medicinal weed, meditation, medication, yoga, exercise, talking with friends, tarot, journaling, distraction, long baths, “emotional support animals” (aka pets). In my experience, a combination of methods that targets the physical, mental, and emotional works best, because you can self-select from your coping mechanisms when you feel the tension build. 

Take December to uplevel your self care strategies and find ways to manage anxiety. Work with your girlfriend to lay out ground rules for the time she’s gone. Maybe you’ll text daily and have an extended video call once a week. Maybe you’ll watch your favorite lesbian television shows every week and send each other voice memo reactions. Technology gives you so many creative ways to remain connected and that will help you through the anxious times. 

It’s only temporary. You’ve got this. 

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