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    By Amy and Bernadette

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Counting Down

Obviously I’m not the first mom to experience life with an “empty nest.” I’m not even the first mom living with a depressed husband who has to deal with empty nest syndrome. But I”m pretty sure the existence of depression in our household is going to make this new chapter that’s looming even more difficult.

There will be, of course, the same kinds of things all empty nest-ers have to learn to deal with. Fewer people to share those inside family jokes with. Considerably fewer school events on our calendar (and yes, I really will miss those). No more impromptu viola, piano, and voice concerts in the living room. Silence from our son’s bedroom, instead of the latest Vlog Brothers video or Pentatonix track.

All this stuff is pretty typical. But throw depression into the mix, and I suspect things may head downhill pretty fast.

image credit to rakstagemom.wordpress.com

image credit to rakstagemom.wordpress.com

People tell me it will be a wonderful time for Bruce and me to get to know each other again, to discover the joys of being a couple, to go out for dinner, attend concerts, take vacations we’ve dreamed of. What they don’t realize is that when your life and your marriage relationship is at the mercy of depression, the picture isn’t that rosy.

We’ll have some good times, I’m sure. When moods are stabilized (and with SAD season only a couple of months away, I include my own moods in that concern), we enjoy each others’ company. We know plenty of tricks for having fun on a shoestring budget. But financially, we’re light years away from dinners, concerts, and vacations. And I expect we will continue to struggle through the ugly symptoms of depression and anxiety.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to deal with this new stage of life, and looking for positives to focus on. On that list:
-time for volunteer work I’ve long been interested in.
-new challenges at work and the time and space to be able to meet them
-surely a significantly smaller grocery bill (maybe we can even cut down from those SEVEN gallons of milk per week)
-creating a personal blog where I can pour out thoughts on life, the universe, and everything, and maybe keep myself occupied enough not to notice (quite so much) how much I miss our kids. More info on this new blog coming soon. I’m picturing writing my first post through copious tears on the way home from dropping our oldest off in her new home on the east coast.

You’d think that by now I’d be accustomed to adjusting every stage of life to the reality of life with depression. You might even think that after all these years it would get easier. That doesn’t seem to be the case, I’m afraid. So I guess I’ll just do what I always do: put my head down, plow through it, and hope for the best.
-Amy

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing what you did
    It touched me deeply

  2. One day at a time, right? Hoping there will be some nice surprises to your empty nest years……

  3. Amy,
    I have one left who will be a HS senior this year. And I am separated now four years. My challenge is dysthemia, and as my eldest gets ready to return to college, I’m free falling. I feel we could sit and drink coffee all day discussing these issues. I am so glad you visited my blog, else i wouldn’t have found yours!
    MM

    • Oh, my – I wish we could get together over coffee…sounds like we’d have a lot to talk about! I’m so sorry dysthymia is troubling you, and I can see how it would be especially challenging with such big life changes looming. I’m feeling that myself this week, as so many “lasts” pass us by before our youngest leaves for college and our oldest departs for grad school. Dear me, feeling weepy just writing about it…Anyway, I too am glad you found our blog and I found yours. Let’s keep in touch!

      • Hello! I got sidetracked from the blogosphere. Bacck now. How are you feeling? My baby is a college senior, ready for a Ph.D program. Zoom. Just like that. Peace.

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