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    ARUNNINGKAT   42,371
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Empty Nest Depression...and photos too.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soooo..... it has been waaaayyyyy.... toooo..... long since my last blog! Sorry folks! I will try to bring you up to date without all the boring details. Question is, where do I begin?

It has been an insanely busy summer and as of today it has been exactly five weeks since we dropped our youngest off at college. Yep! I am now 36 years old with a "empty nest". Not exactly my life-long dream. And it has been tough, really tough. Because really, I have not only raised my two step-daughters since we got married 8 years ago, but Amanda has also been my friend and companion in a lot of ways. (I was pretty close to our oldest too until she left for college... a story that my regular readers know is long) We have done everything together! Late afternoon coffee runs on a bad day (or a good day or when PSL arrive at Starbucks or any other good excuse for coffee emoticon ), bike rides, runs, shopping trips, craft projects, parties, lunch out, just about everything. My life was constantly full with her and her friends too. And on top of missing her, I am now feeling old. So very old!

So here I sit: I have lost my constant friend and companion and I am also painfully aware that my original plan (dream?) of having a few more little kids by the time the older two were both at college has not happened at all. And it has been tough. Although I think I said that already. Anyway. I have felt like I am in a fog, drifting with no aim. I had a few thoughts before she left that perhaps my hubby and I would go back to the "honeymoon phase" a little with no kids to take care of (we had kids full time within 2 months of getting married, so some newlywed time could be nice....), but no I have been far too depressed to even be cheerful let alone romantic and quite frankly my husband is irritating me more than anything else right now. No energy for cooking nice dinners or cuddling while watching movies. I have just felt like crying. And all those projects that I thought I could get done once there were no kid responsibilities.... well, I just haven't had the energy or drive to get them done. I haven't even wanted to get together with friends because I was just flat too sad and didn't want to risk anyone asking me how I was doing because I would probably just burst into tears. And then there are those that think my sadness is ridiculous and judge me for it.

And because of all the issues with the oldest one that started about the time she left for college, I am extra heart-broken and fearful that I will lose Amanda altogether. She is a completely different child, but still there is that fear there. Our kids are my life and I don't know that I could survive completely losing them completely.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I have hated feeling so down and moody (I am usually very easy going and pretty happy-go-lucky) and wanted to start living again. Yes, I miss Amanda (and raising kids) like crazy, but there is nothing I can do to change the fact that she is now grown up. I know I have to embrace the good things that I do have right now. Life is far too precious to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I need to focus on myself, perhaps even spoil myself a little, or at the very least start feeling human again. Sooo... with all of this in mind, I thought about what I could do to get back on track mentally and I decided to start with exercising like a crazy person. If nothing else I would have one thing that I enjoyed, one thing that provided structure in my life. AND I think it is finally starting to work this week. I am finally starting to feel human again, to plan for the future and not dwell on the sadness. I have been meeting 2 different friends at the gym 2-3 times a week plus lots of exercise on my own and it does seem to be working. I can focus on finally losing the weight I have struggled with and spoiling myself a little. As of a few days ago I have lost about 8 lbs in the past month and 1 inch each off both my waist and hips. FINALLY!

SO, it is a very slow process, but things are starting to look up for me. I plan to continue my crazy exercise schedule and gradually add in a few more healthy foods, time with friends, a few house decorating projects, plan a few parties and anything else that comes up. I plan to continue being almost selfish as it were in my approach. I have never really done that and really don't want to make a habit of it, but feel that it will help me cope and give me something to focus on right now.

And I will work to adjust to the new normal for us. Weekend visits with Amanda (so thankful she is close enough for that), attending the games that she performs at and moving from a constant daily care role to a parent who texts, calls and makes sure there is a baked good or new quilt or something fun to take every time we go visit. I am becoming acquainted with her new friends and planning for her holiday visits home. And as a nice little side, one of these days when I visit she is going to notice all the weight and size I have been losing and be pleasantly surprised.

So that about sums up where I am at right now and gives you a glimpse into my journey.

Thanks for always being there my dear Spark friends!

And here are a few photos from the past few months:

Amanda in one of her new dance uniforms

Representing Amanda's new school - I own lots of navy now!

I have been reduced to taking the dog for car trips. She doesn't seem to mind. emoticon
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRS.CARLY 11/11/2013 12:49PM

    Both you and Amanda are both beautiful!

I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time, but at the same time it warms my heart that you LOVE raising kids so much!!! My husband and I are talking about maybe starting a family...which is really late in life for us because he is almost 40 and I'm 33...the thought of being a mom this late in the game for the first time scares the crap out of me and I'm not sure if I will be able to handle it. I always love hearing when people get so much joy out of raising their families...and especailly when you marry into a already made family! It is HARD to be a step parent and it takes an amazing person to do so.

It's been a while since you wrote this blog, I hope things are better for you! 36 is still very young! Go out there and make some girl friends who have the same goals and interests as you!

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VERONICAVW_140 10/29/2013 12:18PM

    I'm sorry to hear about the foggy aimless feeling. But it is good to know that you are taking steps to get yourself to a better spot. Meeting up with your girlfriends for some gym time gets in lots of endorphine producing activity. :)
CONGRATS on the 8lb loss this past month. Way to go. That is awesome.
You and Amanda are beautiful! Loving getting to see more pics of you and your fam.

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LIVING4HIM_INWI 10/28/2013 10:29PM

    Sorry that it has taken me a while to read this! I am so sorry that you have been depressed but it is very normal and understandable. You spent a lot of time with the daughters and it is definitely a loss when they go to college. It is a huge change in your schedule, a void that needs to be filled. I'm so happy that you decided to pour yourself into exercise! What a blessing that is! You are on your way to stardom!! There is nothing wrong with some much needed "me time!" Don't ever feel guilty about that. Keep up the great work!

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BEEANDHAM 10/28/2013 1:58PM

    You are looking fabulous! Enjoy this time focusing on yourself-you definitely deserve it. When you're happy and healthy it's contagious and you attract those people to your life. Keep us posted more regularly; I've been missing you! emoticon

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SHARBEAR100 10/17/2013 4:31PM

    Change is really hard and what you're going through is a big change. I'm so glad you're feeling better and focusing on yourself too. Your pictures are great - Amanda is beautiful and so are you! Take care of yourself and congratulations on the progress in your weight loss.
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TRI_BABE 10/17/2013 3:08PM

    Wow. I think what you are feeling is normal, though I don't have personal experience as I've never had kids. You are going through a loss and a life change, both of which are stressful. It is a new way of living, but as such, you are grieving as well for the lifestyle you had to leave behind due to new circumstances. I would cut yourself a break and do exactly what you've been doing. Open yourself up to new activities, friends and experiences. emoticon

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BOSTONBLUESGIRL 10/17/2013 11:00AM

    I'm sorry to hear about how you have been feeling. Have you considered therapy at all? There is no shame in getting help and actually, having a neutral 3rd party to talk to can be good to get new perspectives that you probably hadn't even considered. If you are feeling depressed to the point where you are not doing things you like to do, it's probably a good idea to talk to someone to figure it all out and come up with a way to treat it. Another thing I hear from your post...you seem to have put everyone else ahead of yourself. I don't have kids so unfortunately, I can't relate to that, but I do know it's important to make sure you take care of you and not sacrifice your well being to make others happy or for fear that if you are not superwoman, people will be mad. It's like the oxygen masks on the airplane. They tell you that if they come down, you are to put yours on first before you help anyone. Why? Because if you don't and can't breathe, what good will you be to help your child or the person near you? It's the same thing in life...you need to take care of yourself first because if you don't, what good will you be to others? Are there any groups or things in your area you could maybe join? Exercise groups, walking clubs, cooking classes, sewing groups, etc? Maybe just doing something you enjoy with other people who also have similar interests would help. It's a great way to meet new friends while doing something you like to do. That way, you'll feel fulfilled and that will have positive effects (like feeling more motivated, positive, happy, energetic, etc). Anyhow, I hope things get better and that you treat yourself well. If you are not for yourself, who will be for you? That's something my therapist has drilled into my head and it is very true. emoticon

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LYNSEY723 10/16/2013 8:24PM

    I hate to hear that you are feeling so blue, but happy to hear you are starting to feel better! I can't imagine what you are going through right now. I wish I had some words to help but I know nobody can say the right thing to make it all better. If you ever get lonely or need a shoulder, you know where to find one!

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 10/16/2013 12:46PM

    Awww, I'm so sorry! Sounds like the transition has been so tough but I'm glad you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! It's so good that you're taking care of yourself and congrats on the 8 pounds down already! Sending you lots of hugs! You're a great stepmom! (I like exclamation points)

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LETSSTARTOVER 10/16/2013 11:32AM

    Sorry you've been feeling down, but it's great you're combatting it by working out. I've had the baby blues since Adrian was born and I can't wait to work out again (I had a c section). Keep going!

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AMBERNICHOLE3 10/16/2013 10:16AM

    Love the pics

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TORTISE110 10/16/2013 6:01AM

    They come back, they do. It takes awhile and it is different but rewarding too. That said, I wish you well with the transition. I will say you are not old!

Congrats by the way, of parenting these girls into college! emoticon

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ADVENTURESEEKER 10/16/2013 3:45AM

    Yaye for the weight-loss, boo to the sadness. Good that you're dusting away the funk. I can't imagine what you're going through- I'm the same age, not married and no kids. How life can deal us different lives! To have all those experiences and be as young as us :) Enjoy the 'honeymoon' :)

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JENVAMPVEGAS 10/16/2013 12:24AM

    emoticon
It is so good to hear you are starting to shake off the "funk." I know how hard that can be. Yay for seeing the brightside! You deserve the time to focus on you. Enjoy it!
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