Nesting dislocation syndrome is probably not a recognised mental condition. You won’t find it mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), for example. That bible of psychiatric medicine is now in its fifth reincarnation. But it doesn’t list nesting dislocation syndrome.
Nesting dislocation syndrome is nothing like empty nest syndrome. An ’empty nest’ happens when the last child in a family leaves home. That’s when some parents can feel as if their lives have lost meaning. Perhaps they feel deserted. They may have to search for something else to occupy their time. Some need new activities to replace cooking and cleaning for an adult child. They need another purpose.
An empty nest also implies that a once fully occupied bedroom becomes either a junk room or ‘the spare room’. It is a space waiting for new occupation.
Nesting dislocation syndrome has nothing to do with parental instinct. It is more about the disruption of one’s home (nest).
Watching television footage of refugees streaming from Syria into an unknown future nauseates me. Incarceration under barbarous conditions on offshore islands of people seeking asylum in Australia is a miscarriage of justice.
What must those people feel and think? What must it be like to be without a home or prospect of a home? To have no hope of settlement? My writer’s imagination cannot visualise that agony. I shut down.
Compared to their suffering, my discomfort is minor, although temporarily debilitating.
The phrase was coined by one of my sons-in-law. It describes a peculiar set of symptoms and behaviours that I exhibit when my home is disrupted. I don’t know if other people experience it. Some must.
Choosing to move is fun. I enjoy it and have moved often. My house-moves have always been for a good reason. One or two moves have been duds. But on the whole, I’ve recovered and made a new life.
Signs and symptoms of nesting dislocation syndrome
- Anxiety because I know life will never return to normal
- Fear that I will forget what normal ever meant
- Nostalgia for the old order
- Passionate longing for a return to order
- Obsessive tidiness of whatever can be salvaged in the mess
- Lack of concentration
- Inability to read or write or garden or engage in craft projects
- Less engagement in social media and not writing blog posts
- Disinterest in social life generally
Nesting dislocation syndrome has a very rapid onset. I never anticipate when it will strike. In between, I forget how much it hurts.
But then it dissipates as quickly as it started. One day, I wake up and everything is as it should be. Birds sing. The sun shines. My world falls into place. Until the next time.
I would love to hear if other people also experience nesting dislocation syndrome. If they do, then perhaps we should start a movement to have it included in the DSM-6
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