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A Different Empty Nest

A few day ago Amy wrote a post about empty nests and depression.  I know some of the surprising road that she will be going down.  Empty nesting is rarely an easy deal.  Every parent approaches it in a different way, and with depression in the mix, it becomes a gigantic crapshoot.

Now twelve years with my children on their own,  I find I still miss them, more on certain days than others. When I get to see them it is indeed wonderful, especially enjoying the people they have become and the friendship we have adult to adult. I have found time to pursue a great many interests from café ownership to writing to gardening, but by the same token, I have found it difficult to weather the ups and downs of my husband’s depression and the surprising things he says and does to deal with our empty nest.

Sometimes he becomes my new kid.  He becomes so needy and wants to be the center of attention –  the depression talking.  He will sometimes alienate in an effort to fill a need he has – again springing from the depression.  He makes family gatherings difficult by not participating….again the depression.

Now we are entering a new stage of empty nestdom where he has to face the fact that he is getting older and that has caused its own set of challenges when complicated by depression. He can’t see the value of exercise…after all he is getting old.  He feels his body is falling apart…..see previous sentence.  He’s always referring to the fact that he “only”  has x number of years left and woe is he!  He continues to look at everything as “having done that” and “nothing new under the sun.”  So much of this is caused by his depression.

Empty nest is survivable even with depression present.  I don’t, however, look forward to the problems that aging and depression will bring.  I faced it with my father.  I’ve faced it with good older friends.  I’ve faced it as a child with severely depressed aunts and uncles.  But I have never faced aging in a depressed partner.  What’s around that bend?  Is it a different kind of empty nest?  More later.

– Bernadette

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