To learn more about the author of this article, Phyllis Klein, LCSW click here
I see many young adult women in counseling who are leaving home for the first time. This time of transition is very important in getting “launched” into adult life. Going through changes like leaving home, moving, starting a new job, can sometimes bring on depression. There are so many adjustments to be made and changes, even good ones can be stressful and anxiety producing. The losses involved in letting go of the security of family, home, old friends can bring up depression, feelings of insecurity, and fear of the future. Signs of depression could include problems with eating and sleeping, either too much or too little, difficulty concentrating, low mood, crying, and irritability.
Sometimes these thoughts and feeling pass on their own and sometimes getting help is very useful. San Francisco is a place many young people come when they are getting started in adult life on their own. The costs for living expenses are so high that many young women find themselves in roommate situations, or if they can afford it, have small studio apartments. Some people take the opportunity to try living with their significant other. In any situation, life after leaving your parent’s home will have joys and challenges. You might find yourself feeling much more homesick than you expected. You might notice that having roommates is far different from having your parents there to help when sibling conflicts came up.
Or, you might feel happy to be away from home, with some guilt about that perhaps. Sometimes you can have the realization that your family did not prepare you very well for life on your own, or you may have already known this. If you are trying to solidify a serious relationship by living together, there can be unexpected bumps as you learn to negotiate the differences in how you related to each other when home doesn’t have the space of two separate living arrangements. And sometimes a couple will also have roommates to contend with, adding complexity to your situation.
When young adults come into therapy, it is often after a newly tried experience didn’t work out, such as a failed relationship or a job that isn’t working. That can feel so discouraging. Also, your relationship with your family may be more complicating than supportive.
It is very important to remember that experiences felt as “failures” can actually be part of the independence learning curve. You might notice that you are having trouble bringing your drinking down after a lot of college partying. Or that you are irritable and anxious about how to “prove” yourself in the world. And with so much economic trauma going on in our country right now, it is a very stressful time to be in the launching phase of your life.
Getting therapy can be very helpful. You might be able to have a few meetings to talk about your situation and feel a lot better. Sometimes there are ongoing issues such as an eating disorder or history of depression that can use more help. If you are thinking of asking your parents for economic support for therapy, or they have offered it, one recommendation I have is to see if there is some way for you to pay for a part of the therapy from your own money, even if it is just $5-$10. You might find this a hard concept, but I think it is a way to foster the road to your independence. In addition, sometimes there are complicating factors involved in having your parents pay, and these can be discussed at the beginning meetings to understand what would work best for you.
Photograph by Bill Kuffrey at Public Domain Pictures