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Overwhelming feeling of loss (empty nest syndrome)

(18 Posts)
Dani414 Fri 23-Sep-16 22:48:43

Hi, my oldest son left for Uni last Saturday. I have to-date not been able to function normally. I feel so alone, sad, weepy and completely heart broken. I have read many stories relating to the empty nest syndrome and everyone talks about how it does gets better, that you should get a new hobby and talk to other people who understand. My problem is that I don't know anyone who is suffering like me. I seem to be the only one who feels this utter despair. I should add that my husband is also sad but he seems to be coping much better. I don't feel hungry, I lack motivation to do anything and cannot bear the thought of being alone. I do have another son who is 15 and he is ok and in no way am I neglecting him (quite the opposite) but why can't I get rid of this really sad feeling - I'm not sleeping properly. My Uni son does 'what's up' us regularly and we speak to him most days and he is fine. I just feel so upset. I know I should not be feeling like this as you are all thinking I have a husband and another son at home so what's my problem - but I can't control my feelings. Should I visit the GP for medication?

IdblowJonSnow Fri 23-Sep-16 23:04:35

Hi. Can't help as mine are much younger so obvs not at uni, but I'd imagine someone with more experience will be along shortly. In the meantime cut yourself some slack, and no, I wouldn't go to the Docs as early days yet. It's great that your son is fine so maybe just plan some nice things to do over the next few weeks while you are readjusting?

Dani414 Sat 24-Sep-16 08:57:29

Thank you for your message. This morning I'm trying to get organised by planning to put the washing machine on, hoover etc but the tv is on very loud to drown out the quiet (as my Uni son was quite noisy) I have a churning tummy and I'm trembling. Please can anyone tell me that this is 'normal' and things will get better? Thank you for reading and answering.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sat 24-Sep-16 09:06:43

My ds 22 got offered a job on London. He dithered about taking it, then decided not to. In the 3 days he thought he was going, l cried non stop. I know it's totally pathetic, but l just couldn't stop.

I felt the same, so l don't think you're odd. But l don't know how you get over it .

ssd Sat 24-Sep-16 13:03:34

this will be me, I can see it coming, it terrifies me, mind you the future terrifies me

IdblowJonSnow Sun 25-Sep-16 00:13:00

Hi. Yes, things will get better but if you are literally trembling and this hasn't abated then maybe it would be worth visiting a doctor? Not to get any medication but if you're that anxious then it may be worth discussing on a professional level? Are you worried about anything specific or is it purely missing your son that is causing you to feel like this?

Dani414 Sun 25-Sep-16 09:39:06

Dear idblowjonsnow - thanks for answering. I am purely missing my son. I can't seem to function well and every time you hear bad news (on the tv etc) I just seem to question 'life' itself and the future. Things will improve with time (I hope), I'm just struggling with this sadness as my sons have always been my world. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I just feel so quilty as other people have much bigger problems than me and mine seems trivial compared to them.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 25-Sep-16 09:53:11

There's thread for parents of uni newbies; you might find some support from people going through the same thing. Someone posted blog entries describing the experience, which were very moving and, for me, put a lot of things into words which I hadn't been clear about previously (just taken DD yesterday & DS1 went back two weeks ago).
Warni g: they might make you cry, but I found having the vague sad feelings described so eloquently calmed me a bit.
I haven't been struggling with it as you have, though. Might be worth seeing your doctor if it goes on.

Jugglingballs65 Sun 25-Sep-16 09:54:14

I cried for weeks after DD left for uni. Cried most of the way home after dropping her off.....5 hour journey!
She is now in her third year and this time didnt cry at all.
It takes time and in my case a time consuming hobby, plus plans of things to do when she comes home.
DS is still at home and due to leave next Sept, so am preparing to cry for weeks but it will pass.
Feeling lke this is natural and it will pass, just be kind to yourself and let yourself feel like this, its natural.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 25-Sep-16 10:11:23

'Empty nest thread

BonAppetit Thu 29-Sep-16 12:27:30

Dani 414 I feel the very same as you! I thought I was going to vomit during our farewell meal together Sunday afternoon. I couldn't speak Monday and Tuesday. DS is my only one and the house is so so quiet. There is terrible news all the time re Syria which breaks my heart and I think it is normal to be this sad. Sending you big hugs and if you don't feel any better after the weekend I would speak to your GP. Oh and take care of yourself.

Dani414 Thu 29-Sep-16 18:12:32

BonAppetit. Thank you. It's a very slow recovery but I'm getting there as I now have the distraction of my mum visiting me. I hope you feel better soon too.

Propertyquandry Thu 29-Sep-16 18:16:34

Can you up your hours at work to temporarily take your mind off things? Or book somewhere fab for the 4 of you at Christmas?

BonAppetit Thu 13-Oct-16 12:47:29

How are you doing Dani414? I am being massively distracted by very unwell elderly parents. Great innit? Thinking of you today and hope you ok .... I think I am?

user1498739670 Thu 29-Jun-17 15:21:27

Hi, I'm Suni. Never posted before! It was good to read other women's experiences. My son went to uni last year n I felt bereft. I didn't don't want to be a clingy mum, he is 6ft I can't put him back on my knee n nurture him n even a year later, sometimes the physical desire to do so makes me cry. Since he left we write snail mail, a way for me to express my love in the blog of my life without being in his face. He loves getting my letters n I love writing them.(obv's we txt n call as well) I went back to daily yoga practise, gym sessions n tried n love evening classes body combat n Zumba. Am exploring art classes n doing up a house. I can't say I am happy clappy all the time but I am better than I was. He is home for the summer n I love spending time with him but appreciate he is living his life to. When my son left for his uni interview he said he heard me burst into tears as he went to get on the train n almost turned back because he didn't want me to be sad. He worked so hard to get into Goldsmiths if he had done that I could never have forgiven myself. ( I never felt the tears coming one minute I was so proud of him the next I was a wreck!) So I try very hard to be brave n proactive n logical n celebrate how our relationship is changing into a more adult one. We love each other deeply he is a young adult it is time to embrace where our relationship is going instead of trying to put it back in a box it doesn't fit into anymore. Giving our children the space to become adults is very hard but even so the rewards I am already experiencing. If I say I could do with a hand to lift this heavy thing he is there n proud to be strong n big enough to help me. If I say I m thinking about art foundation course he gets me a book on thinking like an artist. A woman once said to me motherhood is all about letting go, from labour onwards. It is n it still is we must all have hearts a mile wide! N the tears we shed keep them that way. I don't know if this is of any help to any mum out there but it is my experience.

helen2704 Thu 28-Sep-17 10:20:05

Hi dani414

I've just read your post from last year and I can honestly say that I feel exactly the same way as you and have also been struggling to sleep or eat. My every waking moment is consumed about thoughts of my 18 year old son who has gone to Uni. I go to sleep thinking about him and wake up many times hyperventilating thinking about him. I feel utter despair and overwhelming sadness and just want to go and get him back even though I know it's not what he would want and neither would we. We are very proud of him and encouraged him to go to uni but nothing prepared me for the way our house is now. It feels different, noiseless and empty, almost like it's someone else's house. I also have a 15 year old daughter who has seen how upset I am but I can't stop myself as it feels so overwhelming. I feel lost and I feel like I have now lost my son. We have been texting and speaking on the phone but at a manageable level but this is not the same as poking my head round his bedroom door and seeing him. I have read all the articles regarding this where people say it will pass and keep busy but I can't focus on anything else and dont want to be in my house on my own. How do you feel now Dani414? How is your relationship now with your son 1 year on? Can anyone else help me?

millifiori Fri 29-Sep-17 10:37:57

I think it's normal to feel as you do, OP. A massive, fundamental part of your life has been wrenched from you. Any periods of huge readjustment and change can leave us feeling emotionally unravelled. But I agree that the best way to climb out of it is to focus on what you have right now (15 year olds will need help with GCSEs and lots of support) and what you wnat in the future. DH and I talk and talk about what we'll do once they're gone and this has helped massively to reduce the anxiety I feel about them leaving.

helen2704 Fri 29-Sep-17 12:03:20

Thank you for posting a response. Very much appreciated.

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