Oh man, I hear you. My DD (also 7 months) will not tolerate being put down while I do anything for more than a couple minutes tops--and that's if she's in a good mood. Lucky for me she's my first so I can usually manage to pick her up again before she gets past the complaints into real cries, but I can just imagine. I would feel crappy too--even though you have no reason to feel so bad! I know it's terrible to hear your baby cry, but it's not as though you're neglecting her. You're right there, if she really needed you I'm sure you'd pick her back up right away, and you probably hold her most of the time whenever you can. (I tell myself that too but I still end up rushing through stuff or doing it with her in the sling, because it breaks my heart to hear her fuss.)
Is there a way to amuse her so she'll forget to cry and be upset that you're not right there, at least for a couple of minutes? My DD will forget to fuss and end up smiling instead if I dance and sing (even little waves of the hand and headshakes count as dancing), or make funny faces or kissy noises or animal noises at her. And I can get away with going (momentarily) around the corner if I play peek-a-boo and talk to her from where she can't see me. I think it helps her to know that even if she can't see me, I really am still there.
The silly dances and songs are such good baby-amusers that my DD now kind of enjoys watching me from the other side of the room (at least for a few minutes...) because she can't see me dance when I'm right there with her. My mom and my in-laws made fun of me for doing silly dances...until they realized that silly dances keep the baby smiling and that she'll tolerate being held by random (scary?) people if I dance for her. It's worth a try... (My DD's favorites are "If You're Happy and You Know It," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," and "My Ragtime Gal." I think she likes them because they're bouncy and upbeat.)
Mom to the wacky and wonderful Kalyani (August 2011)
I understand how it feels... my dd was like that a few months ago. I didn't know what to do and didn't want to keep her crying, so ended up using carrying her in a ring sling all the time. I even took her to the bathroom with me because she'd start crying the moment I set her down. I posted about this and many mamas here assured me this separation anxiety stage will pass. She's 10 months now and it's SO much better. Hang in there!!!
single mama to DD1 (June 2011) and DD2 (Dec 2014)
Ds was the same way at that age. It's a common stage when they get to the age that they are starting to move around on their own and realize you have to the power to move away from them! I'll second the suggestion of singing/talking when you have to step around the corner for something. It was kind of gradual for us, (well, the onset wasn't) but it does get better.
I've read that playing peak-a-boo can help with this. They go through a stage where they don't understand that you still exist when they can't see you, and that scares them, so anything that helps them understand that you still exist when you're out of sight should do some good.
The one whose separation anxiety wasn't so bad had a litlte soft-sided photo album with pictures of us she'd carry around when she was between 1 and 2. Maybe that's why it wasn't so bad? 7 months is young to be holding onto photos maybe but that might be an idea as she gets a bit older and you go back to work. Something like this: http://www.lullabyebaby.com/gd-58501-baby-gund-my-family-baby-photo-album.htm although I think they make the same kind of thing cheaper too.
Just wanted to chime in to ease your fears about future babysitters. DS (8 mo) is having mega-separation anxiety right now and cries when I leave for work in the morning. But DH distracts him and after a minute or so he completely forgets that he was upset. :)
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
Mine too. Full-blown teething and anxiety all kicked in within the past two weeks. Whenever I feel like I have had just about enough, I concentrate on how tiny her little body feels in my arms, and how tightly she's clinging to me, and remind myself that she's scared, upset and hurting, and I'm all she has. And I feel sympathy for her again. But yeah, I'm there. Two hours of sleep last night, maybe, and only if I was perfectly motionless, holding her in arms while reclining, letting her comfort nurse.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!