Why Moving Back to New York City Gave Me Anxiety

This is fittingly the 100th post on my blog. I started this blog when I left NYC in 2014 in search of bigger and better things. Actually “running away” is a better way to describe it. I’ve had to move back to NYC for a couple months for work, and this is how I felt about returning to the City and how it’s forced me to face my fears.

I am currently in New York City because our startup Party with a Local has been accepted into the Techstars Connection accelerator. Before I left Amsterdam, I started writing a post “Why Moving Back to New York City Gives me Anxiety” that I never got around to finishing and publishing as a way to cope with my freaking out about the move. In the week leading up to my departure, I had insomnia every single night, not being able to fall asleep until 4am or even later. The night before my last day I didn’t sleep at all. My heart was racing and I had so much adrenaline as I laid in bed. During the day, I was really antsy and unable to focus at work and I felt like I was unable to get anything done.

My body’s physical responses to the fact that I need to return to New York City really shocked me, and forced me to really be introspective and understand the source of my anxiety. Leading up to the trip, when people asked me if I’m excited to go to New York, I would just shrug and say no (which makes me sound super lame and ungrateful). People always have a “wtf” kind of expression when they hear me say that, so after a couple times I just smiled and said “yes!”

It turned out I was dreading going back to the City because of all my negative emotions associated with the City when I finally decided to pack up and leave.

Over the past 3 years, when people asked me why I left New York, I just said that it was because I don’t like the City, it was too hectic and crazy for me, and wanted to see more of the world. Personally I knew that I ran away from the City because I hated my job, had a shitty relationship, and was abusing my liver multiple times a week, blacking out way more often than it was healthy to. I blamed the City for my behavior – full of soul-sucking jobs, men who don’t know how to commit, crazy fun nightlife, and friends who always enable me to drink (who I love dearly!).

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I left NYC at a low point in my life and I now realized that I have associated NYC with all these negative feelings. That’s why I adamantly insisted that I hate the City and that I don’t want to come back. My fear was so great to the extent that my body was physically reacting to the impending move.

Fast forward a month and a half – I’m back in the City and I’ve been having SUCH a good time. As soon as I landed in NYC my anxiousness evaporated, and I just became really excited. I was out and about exploring the City like it’s my first time, and it’s been amazing to reconnect with old friends. I still go out frequently, but not as much as I used to and not having “messy” nights out. It’s great being in the City doing a job I love and with people I love!

I had blamed the City for my “shit life”. Now I realize that I was being totally unfair, it’s not the City’s fault that I was unhappy with the state of my life, it was my own fault.

New York is still the greatest city in the world. My feelings towards NYC is the way you would feel about someone you had a passionate affair with but with whom but things would never work out – always a love hate relationship. I think for me, NYC is best enjoyed in short spurts. At the moment I freaking love the City. I hope I get to leave before I start hating it again!

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  1. I actually just recently moved back to New York and I am so overjoyed by reading your account of returning to the city. It was the same exact way for me… It’s incredible how our emotions can paint our reality. Thanks for writing this, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

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