When your children leave home – Homeopathy can help
At this time of year many people's children will be leaving home for University or College for the first time. This is a huge transition for parents and adult children alike. It is an exciting and happy event, but mixed in with this there is often anxiety, sadness and a feeling of great loss and even redundancy – the so called ‘empty nest syndrome’.
We don't stop being needed by our children when they leave, but the change in our role is massive. Since they were born we have nurtured and supported our children, and now suddenly they are stepping out into the world all by themselves. We may experience similar feelings to those on their first day at school but potentially much more intense and far reaching. We will no longer see our children daily; we will be removed from them in a way that we have never experienced before. It can make us reassess our identity and our purpose. This is all very natural and extremely common, but many parents feel guilt at feeling this way, thinking that we should feel only the ‘positive’ emotions such as pride, happiness and excitement. It is important not to underestimate the enormity of this upheaval. We may wonder whether or how our children will cope ‘alone’ as they step out into the world, no matter how grown up and independent they appear. We may feel sadness and will almost certainly miss having them in our daily lives, regardless of how fraught and difficult the teenage years may have been!
For many of us, our children leave home when we're approaching the menopause. We may also become responsible for an ageing parent or other relative, which in turn will bring home to us that we are ageing ourselves. This situation can give rise to a range of conflicting emotions including fear and depression. Symptoms that may occur at this time are varied and may include any of the following:
Mood swings and tearfulness for no apparent reason.
Low energy levels and libido.
Sleep disturbance or depression on waking.
Lack of motivation.
Lack of concentration.
Poor appetite or overeating from boredom or needing comfort.
Muscular tension and aches and pains.
Panic attacks and palpitations.
Find ways of stimulating your interest in things and people outside the home. For example adult education courses, learning new skills, updating your current qualifications, or renewing friendships that have dwindled.
Focus on positive benefits that maturity brings: greater experience, a more balanced perspective, deeper emotional understanding and increased confidence. You may feel a new sense of freedom.
Be as honest as possible with your partner about how you feel. Men and women go through similar life crises, but in the past, men have been conditioned not to show feelings of sadness, vulnerability, or despair. This has caused tensions and misunderstandings between the sexes, often leading to a total breakdown in communication. By being honest, and open with your partner about your fears, insecurities and confusion regarding the ageing process, you may come to a better understanding of each other.
If symptoms are causing marked distress or do not improve over time consider counselling.
Look at your diet. Avoid food and drinks that are likely to make mood swings worse: these include alcohol, coffee, very sugary items like chocolate and biscuits, and fast foods. If you suspect you need a temporary boost, consider a good multi vitamin supplement, or a short course of high potency vitamin B-complex or vitamin C.
Become more physically active. It has been shown that regular, rhythmic exercise stimulates chemicals in our bodies that fulfill the role of natural antidepressants.
Homeopathic treatment If your symptoms are mild and infrequent, the self-help measures outlined above, plus an occasional dose of an appropriate homeopathic medicine (info below) may be all you need to help you through a difficult time. However, if you feel that your symptoms are preventing you from getting on with your day-to-day life; if they seem to be getting worse; or if you find you need to repeat your homeopathic medicine frequently to gain, or sustain improvement; you need to seek help from a trained practitioner. This also applies to anyone who has suffered from long-term anxiety or depression in the past. If you have a chronic emotional condition you should not be self-prescribing. Because homeopaths treat the whole person, mental, emotional and physical symptoms are all taken into consideration.
Description of symptoms and possible remedies Anxiety with panic that comes and goes abruptly General Indications: Sudden feelings of fear that descend for no apparent reason. Terror, or conviction that death is near. Very restless, especially at night; fearful of the dark. Feels much worse for extreme heat or cold. Afraid of crowds and of going out. Worse From: At night. Extreme heat or cold. Becoming chilled. Stimulants. Better For: Fresh air. After sound sleep. Remedy Name:Aconite
Anxiety and restlessness with fear of loss of control General Indications: Sense of unease and threat from disorder or untidiness. Fixated about own state of health, or health of family. Apprehensive and distressed by change: needs to feel in control by sticking to routine. When distressed, reacts very badly to being cold, comforted by warmth. Worse From: At night. Cold in any form. Being alone. Better For: Warmth. Sips of warm drinks. Movement. Remedy Name:Arsenicum album
Anxiety and depression, feel weak, dislike any change. General Indications: Want to stay home. Many fears - death, dark, their own health. Vulnerable and sensitive- can't be teased, feel upset for others. Easily chilled and tired by exertion. Sour discharges. Craving for eggs. Worse From: extremes of or changes in weather, eating dairy. Better For: dry weather. Remedy Name: Calcarea carbonica
Uncontrollable, and involuntary weepiness with strong mood swings General Indications: Very weepy and emotionally reactive after emotional stress or sense of bereavement. Erratic eating patterns when distressed with sleeping problems. Contradictory symptoms alternate between weepiness and excitement, being silent and talkative, or wanting company and demanding time alone. Worse From: Cold. Sugary foods. Cigarette smoke. Coffee. Emotional strain. Better For: Warmth. Eating. Activities that distract the mind from problems and distress. Remedy Name: Ignatia
Sadness and depression from suppressed emotions General Indications: Withdrawn, antisocial and weepy in private. Reacts very badly to sympathy and attention: wants to be left alone. Mood swings. Feels worse for emotional release which feels demeaning, especially in front of others. Worse From: Sympathy. Warm, stuffy rooms. Touch or physical affection. Emotional stress. Physical effort. After sleep. Better For: Skipping meals. Being alone. Gentle exercise. Fresh, cool air. Remedy Name:Natrum mur
Extreme feelings of stress and ‘burn out’ with irritability General Indications: Working too much- into the night and cannot switch off to get to sleep. May rely on stimulants to keep going, leading to anxiety and palpitations. Eats badly and drinks too much alcohol, resulting in constipation, indigestion and nausea. Worse From: In the morning. Being disturbed when asleep. Stimulants. Cold draughts. Alcohol, painkillers or sleeping pills. Touch. Mental or physical over-exertion. Better For: Sound sleep. Warmth. As the day goes on. Lying down. Remedy Name:Nux vomica
‘Free-floating anxiety’ which attaches itself to anything General Indications: Emotionally sensitive and liable to pick up moods from others. Very responsive to attention and reassurance. Inclined to get enthusiastic quickly, but bored or exhausted, equally rapidly. Worse From: Cold. Storms. Darkness. Evenings. Being alone. Crowds. Over-excitement. Better For: Reassurance. Warmth. Eating. Sound sleep. Massage. Remedy Name: Phosphorus
Moody and tearful with craving for sympathy and company General Indications: Weeps at slightest cause: feels much better for a good cry on a sympathetic shoulder. Moods are very variable and can be changed for the better by being in company. Fearful of the dark and being left alone. Insecure with need for reassurance. Worse From: Being alone. Darkness. At night. Stuffy, warm rooms. Humidity. Resting. Feeling neglected. Better For: Fresh, cool air. Gentle exercise out of doors. Cool bathing. Sympathy. A good cry. Physical affection. Uncovering. Remedy Name:Pulsatilla
Feeling low with irritability and no interest in family General Indications: Very physically and mentally exhausted. Lack of interest in partner with loss of libido, or positive aversion to making love. Fears being alone, but feels worse in company. Feels out of control and unable to cope. Worse From: Sitting still. Emotional demands. Humidity. Going without a meal. Better For: Vigorous exercise. Fresh, open air. Warmth. Sound sleep. Eating small amounts regularly. Remedy Name:Sepia
Depressed and apathetic from suppressed anger towards family General Indications: Keeps a stiff upper lip: outwardly caring, considerate, reasonable and in control of emotions, while inwardly broods, fumes and dwells on resentments and injustices. Gets very angry over trivia, but avoids confronting roots of resentment and unhappiness. Feels violated after sexual contact. Worse From: Anger. Slight touch or pressure. Sexual activity. Smoking. Early morning. Better For: Eating. Warmth. Resting. Remedy Name:Staphysagria
Where to buy remedies Most of those mentioned can be bought from local health food shops or you can buy online at Helios pharmacy. If you have ongoing symptoms it is best to see a homeopath.
Have you got exams results looming? Are you looking for a job? Maybe you have a first date planned. Remedy suggestions for 'Anxiety' here.