When Your Nest is Empty, What’s Next?
I’ve been struggling with sadness on and off this year and haven’t been able to put my finger on what’s bothering me and then my therapist suggested empty nest syndrome. I assumed this is typical sadness when all the children have moved out. But since I was having such a hard time with this bout of sadness that was moving into depression, I decided to spend a bit more time researching it.
According to Psychology Today,” empty nest syndrome refers to feelings of depression, sadness, and, or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes.” The Mayo Clinic writes that “you might also worry intensely about your children's safety and If you have only one child or strongly identify with your role as parent, you might have a particularly difficult time adjusting to an empty nest.”
Since I already manage depression, I must be careful of any syndrome that can add to my difficulties. While I am proud that my only daughter is out experiencing life, finding her career and perhaps a special someone, it does not seem to help with the painful feelings of loss. When I reviewed the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations for managing this problem, I saw “Keep in touch.” I could talk to my daughter every day, but she is busy building her own life and we can go weeks without speaking except for the occasional brief text which does not help alleviate the sadness.
There are many tips on the internet, and I have done almost all of them (the biggest being writing the blog as well as a book). The one I am trying the most is engaging with friends. This is not my forte, but they have experienced this syndrome and can provide a shoulder to cry on or that very important hug when needed.
I would love to hear from others out there who have gone through this syndrome and have something to share.