Separation Anxiety


A few years ago, I had a conversation with a coworker that has stuck in my mind ever since. It was about the difference between work friends and “real” friends. Her opinion was that work friends were temporary friends – when you changed jobs, any friendships made at your previous employment were dissolved. I found that perspective a little perplexing, maybe because I don’t categorize my friends or maybe because I don’t call just anybody my friend. Some are acquaintances; some are colleagues; and some truly are friends. True to her word though, as soon as she left the company we never spoke again. No emails returned, even Linked In requests were refused.

When you’ve worked at the same company for a few years, friendships do develop on many levels. It may be one or two people you have lunch with regularly, but sometimes relationships extend beyond the workplace. Being part of a social group at work, participating in golf events, dragon boat racing, major fundraising events, even corporate Toastmasters club meetings, often facilitates the development of friendships. As time goes by, if you haven’t met every member of their family, you’ve certainly heard enough about them to feel you know them as well.

Work friendships can be very beneficial. They can develop into trusted confidantes, an outlet for our frustrations, as well as an often well-needed perspective on situations.

When people move on though, things change, especially if it wasn’t their choice to move on. HR departments usually send out notices of organizational changes, along with dire warnings not to communicate any further with the person or discuss any matters that are confidential or proprietary. For many people, this is where the friendship dissolves.


Now imagine you’ve been part of a company for several years. You’ve helped it grow and transition from a small, family business, to a larger, international company. Then one day you leave. Maybe you’ve retired, maybe you’ve taken a different job, or maybe the company has restructured and your position become redundant. Whatever the reason, can you imagine how it will feel if the closest friends you’ve made in the company suddenly shunned you. It’s as if you’ve become a pariah – persona non grata. Dropped like a hot potato. What an awful experience that must be and what awful friends you must have. These must be the kind of friends my previous co-worker had experienced, and on which she formed her opinion and built her walls to protect herself from the sting of that type of rejection.

If I have someone I’ve been friends with for several years at work who is now in this situation, I absolutely will pick up the phone or send an email to ask how they’re doing. I will meet them again for lunch or dinner, and discuss what they’re up to these days, how they’re managing, how I miss them. I will NOT discuss confidential, proprietary company business. Boundaries need to be set and respected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss personal events. You can and should reach out if you were any kind of friend. For many people, this can help smooth the transition. Changing jobs is a major life event and can be extremely stressful. If you’ve been good friends and shared confidences with someone, it’s actually insulting if you can’t or won’t do this. The friendship may eventually fade as time goes on and life paths evolve and change, but at least you were there to help with the transition.

As a friend.

“Things are never quite as scary when you have a friend.” 
– Calvin and Hobbes – 

Be Healthy… Stay Well



In this post, I’m going to share with you a story and tell you about a series of events to led me to discover a health professional who has helped me to find my way to a healthier self.

First the story.

A couple of years ago, I started experiencing some disturbing symptoms. My blood pressure would occasionally spike and my heart would start racing. A couple of people I work with have had heart attacks, and two actually passed away. Since I have a lot of problems with stress, (and people my age can start to have problems with hypertension), I went to see my family doctor. In his usual dismissive way, he simply said “It’s all in your head.”

I did a bit of research and came to the conclusion that I was probably having anxiety attacks. So I went back to my doctor and shared my suspicions with him. He agreed and said that was what he meant when he said it was “all in my head”. His solution was to take antidepressant medication. Really? They prescribe that shit for everything, don’t they?

I  believe in dealing with health problems in a more natural manner. If I need to change something in my life – diet, exercise, whatever – I’d like to try that first. So I decided it was time for me to give naturopathic / homeopathic medicine a try. And that’s how I met Ashleigh Higgins, ND.

What follows is an unsolicited recommendation. She doesn’t even know I’m writing this.

Right away I liked her. She has a warm, inviting personality, making it very easy to share my fear, doubts, insecurities, etc. In other words, I opened up! One of the biggest things that impressed me about Ashleigh was she didn’t try to sell me any supplements. She made recommendations, and told me I could find them at most health food stores, such as Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket.

Ashleigh suggested I try two things: a St. Francis herb called Strest and a homeopathic medicine called Calcarea Carbonica; both were inexpensive. We also talked about some digestive problems I have (IBS and diverticulitis) and she suggested I stay away from all dairy to see if that would help and she suggested I rub some warm castor oil on my stomach and relax and let it soak in.

Fast forward 6 months. I’m calm, not having major anxiety attacks, and able to control the minor ones. I’m sleeping very well, and able to plan and put things in perspective. I still have digestive issues, but I’ve seen some improvement and she’s made other suggestions for me to try. It’s a journey.

I have a different health philosophy now. If I break a bone or contract some terrible disease, I’ll see my family doctor, because traditional “healthcare” is really “sick care”. It’s reactive, not proactive. For almost everything else, I will seek the guidance and advice of a “wellness” professional like Ashleigh Higgins.


Ms. Higgins has an office in Keswick, Ontario, as well as in Cannington, Ontario. Here’s her website:

She can bill your insurance company directly and you can book appointments online. I’m so grateful I met her, and I highly recommend her. What do you have to lose? (except whatever is making you sick).

Life’s short – be healthy – stay well


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.