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Empty nest syndrome

(4 Posts)
Jack66 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:07:51

Hi all,
I'm in a horrible place right now, my only child is leaving home in September and I can't stop crying. I feel absolutely bereft and full of panic.
He's 19 and we've never been apart for more than 2weeks at a time and that was only twice. It's always been just me and him- his dad lives in Ireland and I have no family.
I've always known this day would come and have prepared him for independent life quite well. But I will miss him so much I fell like my heart is sinking.
I went through a very difficult time unearthing my abusive childhood about 6 yrs ago and have really isolated myself. I moved to this town 5 yrs ago and, although it worked out great for my son, I have only made one friend who I see maybe once every 2 weeks.
I'm 47 and haven't worked for 17 yrs due to depression and chronic post traumatic disorder and dibilitating anxiety. I find it very difficult to trust people and be around people even though I would dearly love to have a social life and support network.
I feel so alone and adrift and literally don't know what to do or what step to take first. I haven't been able to stop crying in a few days, haven't been able to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. I'm scared of what ill become without purpose. I should also mention that I find motivation elusive and always have needed someone else to pull me along...even as a child. And I have huge abandonment issues.
He's an incredible human being.. So kind and emotionally intelligent, helpful and thoughtful, I know how lucky I've been to have him this long.
I didn't have a clue what love was or what it was to be loved until he was born. . It feels like when he goes love will also be leaving.
Has anybody been through similar?
Does anyone have any good advice.
Does anyone know how I can get to a place where I'm not living in dread for the next few months?
Please take into account that "going out and making new friends" is really a very difficult process for me and one that I've tried to do for 5 yrs without much success.
I don't want him to be burdened by my grief or feel anything less than excited for his new life. But it's impossible to hide cos my eyes are a mess from all the crying.
I'd heard of empty nest syndrome before but I wasn't prepared for this overwhelming sense of loss before its even happened

Misfitless Sat 08-Feb-14 10:00:01


Hi Jack 66.

I can remember my mum going through a similar thing when I left home. She tried to shield me from it but it was obvious. She had my dad at home, too, but still felt bereft.

Is your DS moving a long way away? If he isn't moving too far away, you both might like to meet up for lunch once a week? If he is moving far away, maybe you could go and visit?

This would no way compensates for missing him daily, but at least you wouldn't be faced with long stretches of weeks/months on end without seeing him.

He will come home, too. Make sure he knows that his friends are always welcome to come back home with him.

If you're not working full time, and it's not too expensive, maybe you could start a day/evening course...dressmaking/baking/learning a language or something like that.

Sometimes friendships just evolve, if the emphasis is on learning a new skill, rather than making new friends, it might feel less stressful.

Might it seem less daunting to start something before September? if you leave it till he goes, you might find it even more difficult, I would, anyway.

There are lots of things you could do, but I'm not sure how much time you have to spare. Eg., could you fit in a morning in a charity shop? Is there any other voluntary work you would like to try? If you aren't working full time, what about getting a dog? That would give you the purpose to get up and get out a couple of times a day, and it would be company.

Again, anything that you can put in place now, I would, rather than waiting till September. You've got several months in order to have created a whole new routine and set of interests for yourself.

Doing this might be quite reassuring for your son, too, I'm sure he's worried about you, I was worried about my mum.

Jack66 Sat 08-Feb-14 18:32:23

Thankyou so much for your kind response. I am lucky in that he won't be too far away. I've been trying to think of all the things I'm grateful for... Like the fact that he's 19 and not 16 and that he has the confidence to do it etc. but the waves of panic, which I think is brought about by the fear of being left behind with no purpose and gnawing loneliness, keeps overwhelming me.
I have been trying to put things in place but it feels like I'm trying to stick plasters on a gaping chasm. It feels desperate, like I'm desperately trying to find distractions to avoid going through it. It's hard to "be with it " when you're terrified of it.
It's made it so clear that I need people in my life so I'm going to have to do something. I loved being a mum ( for the majority of the time)! I loved the focus, the sharing, the love and the purpose I don't think anything comes close for fulfilment. I hope something comes along or unfolds for me because you're right when you say it would help him too. I know he worries about me.
Thankyou so much for being so kind. It was wonderful to hear how things are from his side through you. Xxxx

Bigsmiles4 Thu 30-Oct-14 23:35:52

Jack66 - wondering how you're getting on now September has been and gone? Still early days but is it as bad as you thought or are you coping? My third left too this year - have one left at home for this year only and already feeling lost!

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