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Young Woman Wonders Why She Always Has A 'Sad And Mournful Feeling' Of Wanting To Go Home, But She's Already Home

Photo: MART Production / Pexels 
woman sitting alone

A woman in her 20s wrote to the English parenting forum Mumsnet with a question about a peculiar feeling that turned out to be more common than she expected. 

She explained that she lived with her parents, her siblings, and her family dog, in the house that she grew up in. Yet she had a consistent sense of being homesick, even though she was home. 

The young woman wondered about the ‘sad and mournful feeling’ of wanting to go home, despite already being home.

“I find myself saying to myself, ‘I want to go home,’ even when I’m sitting at home,” the woman explained. “Does anyone else experience this?” she asked. “There’s this sad, mournful longing for ‘home,’ but I’m already at home.”

Young Woman Wonders Why She Feels Homesick But She's Already HomePhoto: Liza Summer / Pexels 

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Many people left comments assuring the woman that she was not alone and that they, too, experienced a similar sensation. One person on the thread described the feeling as “a pining, yearning quality to a longing for home that can leave a person quite unsettled.” 

In a 2007 research paper published in The American Academy of Pediatrics journal, Christopher Thurber and Edward Walton defined homesickness as “distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.” They noted that “severe homesickness may be best classified as adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood.”

Some people tried to decipher where this woman's feelings were coming from. 

“I suspect it's a yearning for your own home, your own space, to spread your wings into adulthood and be able to make a space your own, have freedom, autonomy, and independence,” said one person. Another person wondered if she had a “longing to feel safe or happy when you feel the opposite.”

Young Woman Wonders Why She Feels Homesick But She's Already HomePhoto: Orione Conceicao / Pexels 

The young woman responded, saying, "I don't think that it's related to wanting my own home, it's not even really about the house itself, just a feeling.”

   

   

“I remember thinking and saying the same thing as a child,” she recalled. 

One person introduced a cultural concept from Wales into the conversation, noting that the woman’s sense of homesickness sounded like the untranslatable Welsh word “Hiraeth.” The word “Hiraeth” is related to a feeling of nostalgia, yet it also holds a sense of irretrievable loss, a melancholic longing for something that can’t be found.

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The feeling of being homesick while at home is an emotional phenomenon spanning cultures around the world, yet it can’t necessarily be explained.

One person on Mumsnet shared their experience with the feeling, saying, “The Portuguese call it 'saudade.' It’s a melancholic longing for another time or place or person, a feeling of homesickness.”

Young Woman Wonders Why She Feels Homesick But She's Already HomePhoto: Becca Correia / Pexels 

“I get it a lot,” they revealed. “I want to go back to my childhood home — But I can never go back, because not only is it not the same, I’m not the same person.”

Their bittersweet comment touches on an intangible longing that perhaps unites us all. To be human is to seek our place in the world. We want to feel rooted. We want to feel like we belong.

While there might not be a distinct answer or any exact reason for this woman’s intangible sense of feeling out of place, the fact that so many others experience the feeling, too, means that ultimately, she’s not alone.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers mental health, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.