Childrearing

I Got A Preview Of Empty Nest Syndrome

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empty nest“I’m way too young to be going through this,” I sobbed to the therapist. “This wasn’t supposed to happen for another 10 years at least!” But at least I knew what was wrong with me. No, sadly, it’s not menopause. The diagnosis is “empty nest syndrome,” or something a lot like it.

I had made numerous phone calls to friends asking for their shrink’s numbers. I was in an emergency state and my therapist, who I haven’t seen in a very long while, turns out to be on vacation. Ass. Same with every other therapist in the city – asses – which made me seriously wonder what people, like me, were SUPPOSED to do, if they were having a breakdown and there was no on there to talk you through it because all the shrinks in the city were at their cottages. And it’s not a feeling that you can explain to your family or friends, except to say, “Everything sucks! Yeah, I don’t know why.”

Finally, I got a therapist on the phone, who listened to me sobbing and I told him all the things that were going on (or not on) in my life.

“It sounds like you have a void with your daughter gone.” Yes, yes. Yes!!! Apparently, this therapist figured out, after five minutes, that I was feeling the way I did because my daughter has gone off to Europe with her father for five weeks. She had already been gone to overnight camp, and back for five days, before taking off again, this time with a huge time difference, which turns out made all the difference.

At camp, I knew I couldn’t talk to her, so it really wasn’t on my mind. But knowing she is just in Italy, which means I could talk to her every day, made me extremely anxious. With the time difference and bad connections, I can barely talk to my daughter. I know she is having a great time with her father. I know it’s his time with her. I know they will bond and she’s in good hands. But this shrink was right. The knot in my stomach, my depression that led me to bed for hours in the middle of the day, trying to find anything good – with my son right beside me – in my life, was depression, for sure.

But why? Everything in my life is good. Except that my daughter was not near, or with me. It feels like I’ve lost a limb. I often go into her empty bedroom and sit on her bed thinking, “I wish she’d keep her room clean like this all the time,” and, “How am I going to get through this?”

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