My son has been at basic training for almost two months and I’m having a hard time adjusting. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to go to bed or turn the lights off. He’s left before for brief periods, but now it’s obviously for good. I’m so proud of him but I can’t seem to adjust. I don’t do much other than work. If I’m not working, I just sit at home. I can go days without human contact. I was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder back in 2002, so it’s an ongoing issue, but it’s worse now that I’m alone. I keep telling myself I don’t want to be here anymore. I have no emotional attachment to the place I’m currently living. I have the urge to move closer to where my son is, or where he’ll be based. As a parent, we know this day will come. I guess I didn’t really plan for it or think about how it might affect me. People tell me to move on with my life, But I honestly don’t want to. Whenever I picture my son, I picture him as a young child. I guess I can’t get over the past.
Yes this is inevitable for us as parents, but it is also a time to celebrate his growth and make necessary changes in your own life.
You have good reason to be proud of your son as he takes on the responsibilities of an adult. Your work now is to take on the responsibilities of being a capable and self-reliant father by dealing with your isolation. First and foremost you need to be connected to others. At the one end I would encourage you to join a support group for those in the armed forces and you can get that information here.
I’d also encourage you to seek therapy for the depression and you can find a local therapist by checking the ‘find help’ tab at the top of the page.
Don’t wait. There is help available and the time to get it is now.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Empty Nest Syndrome?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/11/18/empty-nest-syndrome/
Last updated: 15 Nov 2018 (Originally: 18 Nov 2018) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Nov 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.