After Retirement,
Anxiety and Depression

By Wendy Fisher, Retirement-Online.com

After retirement, anxiety and depression, particularly in the transition period (adjusting from work life to retired life), is relatively common. Oddly enough, it's not something that people talk about.

During this odd period of life, you may experience anxiety or depression... seemingly for no reason at all.

You retire and suddenly have all this free time - Time with no committments, which you waited for all your working life. Problem is -- does that make you happy, or anxious?

Do you know the symptoms of depression and retirement?


At the tender age of 58, Louise Hay, the bestselling author of You Can Heal Your Life established Hay House, which is now one of the largest publishing houses for spiritual and personal growth. Louise is living proof that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to make some changes and reshape your life into the one you desire.

Many years ago, a speaker at a series of Pre-Retirement Programs talked about what happens at retirement. She advised on the stages of grief: denial, anger, depression and acceptance.

Dr. Lawlis from the Dr. Phil TV show has an Anxiety audio, if you'd like to check it out to help yourself move on with life.


We usually associate grief with death but we can grieve many life changes, like when a home burns down, or when we lose a job, or a pet. We can also grieve when we retire... the loss of work identity is huge. Often we don't even realize how much of ourselves is tied up with our work status. This is an important transition period in life and HOW you choose to live retired, determines the rest of your life. 

Oddly enough, all our working years, we wish for freedom. We can't wait to be wild, happy and free in retirement. Then comes the day we walk out the proverbial retirement door -- and what do we DO with the rest of our life?

Who Am I?
-- and -- 
What Do I DO with the Rest of My Life?

During the working years, the ability to keep up our household duties (meals, grocery shopping, housekeeping, yardwork, etc) is not easy and usually squeezed into the weekends. Free time sounds positively blissful. Suddenly retired, everything feels so mundane and you become bored, depressed, and anxious in retirement.

Here are my own answers to some emotional retirement questions!

Then you might also have retirement anxiety and depression over finances -- how do we ever know if our income and savings will last? If your retirement anxiety is about money, read this page on how to reduce financial stress. It's amazing what your mind can do!

Recognize that anxiety and anxious feelings are normal as you retire. This IS a major life change!

Dr. Lawlis from the Dr. Phil TV show has an Anxiety audio, if you'd like to check it out to help yourself move on with life.

Coping with Anxiety is just one more issue with your retirement transition, suddenly, nothing is the same.

But... that's ok as you transition into your New Retired Self, the Retired Person who is HAPPY with a New Life!

-- You've left your friends behind as they are still working, but were they really friends or simply co-workers? Put the relationships in the correct perspective and if they were great friends -- grab that phone and make a lunch date with them -- now!

-- You've lost your identify and ask yourself: who AM I now?  It feels odd to introduce yourself -- "Hi, I'm Wendy" instead of "Hi, I'm Wendy from Human Resources" or "Sally from General Motors".

But you will survive, you just need to live through the Retirement Transition period that hits most new retirees...

Ok, now to prove my point here - even big guys like BILL GATES of Microsoft lose their identity! This is a SPOOF retirement video - Bill Gates' CES keynote featured a funny retirement video that included cameos by Jay-Z, Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Brian Williams. Bill *knew* he'd lose that Microsoft CEO Identity and chose to laugh at what his future holds.

Yes, nothing is funny about retirement anxiety or depression - but I did want to show that we all - big and small - go through identity crisis.

Enjoy the video!

If you are considering an early retirement, learn what retirees have experienced - their own problems with early retirement. They've "been there and done that" (early retirement) before you!

If you are in a forced retirement situation, click and read stories written by retirees who were also forced into retirement.

What to do?

  • Talk to friends and family about what you are going through. Maybe one person has that nugget of wisdom that just "clicks" with you and you are on your way to a happy retirement. 
  • Talk to your doctor about your retirement issues, you may need medication to get through this slump in life... especially if you let it go too long.
  • Join my Retirement Community - Just a simple private group for retired folks to chat in. Make new friends!

THINK about where you'd like to be in life -- find new hobbies or new friends, volunteer, work part time -- just don't sit at home in a depressed state.

How will you survive depression and retirement?

Depression and retirement links to other websites featuring articles to help you through this problem.

Get Well -- Give Back to Your Community!

The following are real stories, from real retirees, who after retirement had anxiety or depression. There are also lots of comments from retirees who added their two cents.

I sincerely hope just one retiree left the perfect words for YOU to think twice -- and find a better retirement life just for you!

Please Share Your Own Story on Depression/Anxiety After Retirement


Your comments will help others to think about retirement, before leaping into the "depression at retirement" pit. Please share what happened to you so that others can plan ahead accordingly:


  • Did you fall into a depression when you retired?
  • How long did it last?
  • In your opinion, what helped you to break away from the depression?
  • How did you walk out that retirement door? Did you voluntarily retire, or did you leave because of a disability, employer forced you out, etc?
  • Were you thrilled to leave your employer or was it a difficult decision?

    Name your "Retirement Depression" story here..

    Read about what other Visitors have to Say...

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors on this topic:

    Patience is not my name! 
    Hi! I retired the end of April 2014 after working 37 years as office support staff. Plan was to retire with my husband in 2 years, but I felt devalued …

    Young (54) ANXIOUS.....and retired! !!! 
    Hello everyone! My husband and I just retired 3 weeks ago.. the day after he retired from 25 years as a police officer, we left Detroit and moved to a …

    What will I do? 
    My job was eliminated at age 65, with a 6 months severance package. I have lots of hobbies, but found myself in a depression and very anxious. I have …

    Retirement: Not What I Expected! 
    I "retired" at the young age of 60 (1 year ago) because I was sick of my co-workers & bosses, burnt out on the work, didn't want the responsibilities & …

    Unhappily Retired 
    Having left the lower 48 states, moved to Alaska when 22 yoa, and living there for 35 years my life was turned upside down when I retired. Over a …

    Retiring in 13 Days 
    I am 55 years old and retiring from the school system this fall after 13 days. Reading some these stories I'm experiencing these same anxieties, crying …

    Anxiety/Depression in Retirement  
    Hi~ my name is Sharyn & for the last year or 2 l have been pretty miserable! Having taken an early retirement back in 2002 ( RPN )... because of physical …

    I knew it would happen, but I didn't know why...or how to fix it! 
    In July 2013, after 30 years of service as a licensed clinical social worker in a high stress job I decided to opt for an early retirement at 55, accepting …

    Forward into the breach? 
    My husband is 9 years older than I am. He was laid off in 2001 and never really went back to work full time. He is a creative guy with more hobbies than …

    Write the last chapter, or close the book? 
    Wow! this is a fantastic site. It’s not that misery loves company (I’m sure some passers-by, onlookers, will think that), but those of us going through …

    Miserable Retiree 
    I have retired after 35 years in law enforcement and I am miserable.. I am not happy with my wife or my life, barely hanging on anymore!! Wendy: …

    Always Depressed ... But More Depressed after Retirement (as well as working from home, that is) 
    I have suffered from depression for most of my life, but was able to (mostly) handle it by keeping busy being a wife, mother, workaholic, student, divorcee, …

    Moving mistake 
    I made a mistake moving from a cute cottage to a retirement village that I find very depressing. I am 82 but really feel more like 40, in my own …

    It's like Living inside a box... 
    I once described this post-retirement depression as living inside a box with my hands tied and unable to move or breathe...the depression hit me hard and …

    Never thought I would feel this way after retirement! 
    I retired from a government job after 34 years of service at the age of 57 two months ago. It was the holiday season and I was very busy but now I …

    It Does Get Better 
    I wrote earlier in the year about the depression and anxiety I was suffering as a result of retiring on 04/30/13. It was awful. I woke up every morning …

    The Black Cat 
    Many years ago an old wise man told me that I spent a lot of time looking for a black cat in a dark room that is not there. It was a heck of a lot for …

    Memory? 
    Hi! Not sure if I can remember posting this topic before, but my memory has gotten worse as I have gotten older. I make silly errors and forget simple …

    Depressed with husbands retirement 
    I am 57, I have a 16 year old daughter to raise. My adult daughter lives with us, she is handicapped and has no income and no resources. My adult son lives …

    Retirement: It's like the loss of a loved one 
    I've read a lot of this stories about anxiety and depression in retirement. I identified with the loss of identity. This has definitely been a grieving …

    Two years after retirement 
    Well, actually year and half. I retired for several reasons, the main one being that my husband had been retired for 10 years. He went on day trips …

    After retirement, living 24/7 with inactive husband will be scary! 
    My husband retired from teaching 17 years ago and became a "couch potato," while I have fortunately continued working since then in a pleasant and creatively …

    Trying to stay afloat as the months roll by.... 
    I believed I was a Workaholic! in other words a worrier...... as the month progress i am now trying to live the best life i can on a tight budget..... …

    No Normal 
    I worked as a State Trooper for thirty one years twelve of this years as an undercover officer working with some of societies less than desirable people. …

    Click here to write your own.

    FIGHTING DEPRESSION 
    MY HUSBAND PASSED AWAY IN 2007 AND APPROXIMATELY 1 1/2 YEARS LATER I WAS IN A SERIOUS ACCIDENT AND WAS UNABLE TO WORK AND WAS FORCED INTO RETIREMENT. …

    Retirement Day 2 
    I voluntarily left my job after 32 years. I shouldn’t say job, because it was a career -- a wonderful one at that. At 57 years old, I get full pension, …

    Letting go of my job status 
    I am about to retire from the federal govt. After 30 years I am sending out an e-mail tomorrow morning to all the Rangers/Staff of the districts I …

    Retired: How do I get motivated and get moving? 
    "Retiree Happiness" I haven't figured out yet. I enjoyed reading through some of your stories because my experience is so much the same. I've been retired …

    Surprised by depression 
    I retired last month after many years with the same agency; the job became too stressful and there were no opportunities for advancement, so I retired. …

    Retirement Depression 
    This page about retirement depression is full of stories written by visitors to this site. These stories all ask the same basic question, after retirement... …

    At loose ends... 
    I decided to retire - I didn't have to retire but was of age. I had held several high level professional positions that had cast me into public view as …

    Depression before; much worse after retirement 
    I am being treated for depression for years talk therapy (stopped) and medication (now on Cymbalta). I retired at 62. Downsizing and incentive package …

    "About Schmidt", the movie 
    The other night I watched, again, the movie About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson, who is one of my favourite actors. It's about a man who has just retired …

    Another Retirement Woe... 
    Took a voluntary early out, couldn't wait for it, now am hesitating... finding a supplement job with outdated competitive skills from younger more educated …

    I had found my people, my tribe. 
    It is a difficult subject to discuss without prelude. I have gone through many stages of push and pull. At this point, I regret not having cultivated …

    "Reach Out" 
    As I sit in the mall, I contemplate my pending retirement. I have been off all week trying to "burn off" the mountain of time that I have on the books …

    Retired: Joy is not so Joyful lately 
    I retired 2 years ago from a wonderful 39 year of teaching world history career in public schools. My husband is an art teacher and since he is younger …

    Retirement: Having anxiety attacks! 
    I have been retired from the Chicago Public Schools since this past June. Well, really for the past month as I would have been off for the summer anyway. …

    Retirement: Early Days 
    I have been retired only five weeks. My company retired me. Mind you, I am sixty six and worked one year over the retirement age in a part-time position. …

    Retirement: Everyone else is too busy... 
    I retired last fall at the age of 55 from teaching. I wanted out at the earliest opportunity because my job was going nowhere (although not horrible) and …

    Depression/Frustration/Dissapointments 
    Ok I am a newbie to this retirement site. I suppose, like some of us, I don’t like to think that being over the age of 55 is considered being a senior. …

    Who Am I Now? 
    I am in the process of being pushed out of my job for financial reasons and will probably retire within the next month and a half. I work at a great …

    Retired & Lonely 
    I remember four years ago when I use to watch all the office employees during the rush lunch hour at the farmers market and felt so sad for them and for …

    Lonely, Unemployed, Depressed Widow  
    Have you ever experienced being in a room full of people, and feel totally alone? Upon becoming a widow after 50 yrs. of marriage, it is a total …

    Worrier - Any Other Retiree Worriers Out There? 
    Hi I am a always a worrier, afraid of uncertainties. My worries comprises of alot of things. Mostly evolved around family, work and finances. I feared …

    Down-sized twice within a year 
    No, I did not fall into a depression when I retired although it was close for reasons that will become obvious later in the article. What kept my spirits …

    Retirement Depression: After 10 Years 
    After 10 years following early retirement... it hit... deaths, health issues, limits to finances, less friends, less beer, less everything, it seemed, …

    Depressed in maryland 
    I retired from teaching, after 32 years, three years ago this year and have been dealing with depression from retirement. I was always a healthy vibrant …

    When I am melancholy 
    When I am melancholy a word I prefer to "depressed", the last thing I want is advice. The first thing I want is for the other person to tell me …

    Click here to write your own.

    Was unfairly dismissed
    a year before I was to retire
     
    I worked with developmentally challenged individuals for 14 years. I worked in a group home and also in a day program where I served individuals. I …

    Retirement: My Story 
    I retired 6 days after my 55th birthday. I had high hopes, all of which have fallen through. I had 33 years of service credit with the state of California …

    Retirement Anxiety 
    The following stories on Retirement Anxiety were written by real retirees who visited this site. They are sharing their story and asking for comments …

    More here! 
    More on Retirement Anxiety and Depression here!

    Anxious, angry and memory issues 
    I retired a year ago and so did my spouse. I find myself angry sometimes, very anxious sometimes and worst of all having problems remembering how I did …

    Retired & Awake at 8am? 
    I lived for the weekends when I could sleep till ten. And I did, with no problem. Then I decided to retire at 65 and now I wake up at 8 and stare at …

    Forced Retirement: Learn from others who've experience this before you. 
    Did you experience Forced Retirement? Or are you about to experience this? If so, this page is written by retirees from my website who have experienced …

    Retired at age 51 
    Loved my job for 7 years. Last 2 years big changes for the worst. Not happy. No advancements to move me into a happier position. Husband retired. He wanted …

    Problems with Early Retirement 
    This page is about the Problems of Early Retirement - written by real retirees who have retired early, then asked "Now What?" If you are considering …

    Retirement: From somebody to nobody 
    I am about to retire from the military after almost 45 years active and reserve time. Here I am General and Sir. Outside I am nobody. Many of my friends …

    Retired: Alone in a crowded room 
    As a carpenter of over 40 years one poor choice cost me my job. I got enough work to reach early retirement age and got out when I could. Since my …

    Retired, Extremely Busy, and Totally Confused 
    When I retired from Verizon after 36 years as a technician, I was ready to go and try something new. I was tired of the Corporate life and had always …

    Can A Stay at Home Mom Retire? 
    I cratered eight months after my youngest son left home. I was so happy to have done a great job and thought I would love my empty nest. I decided …

    Recognising the Need to Soldier-On 
    I suspected for a couple of years that ‘things’ within me were not too good, a once-enjoyable job had transformed itself in a chore of almost Herculean …

    Out of nowhere...
    retirement anxiety and depression
     
    My husband and I both retired in June of 2010. I volunteer two days a week at the school where I taught for 30 years - my husband does nothing. After …

    Retired and Still Struggling at 67 
    I wish that I could say that I have found excitement or even contentment in being "retired" for the past 3 years. But, I have not come to that place of …

    Can I Afford To Retire? 
    I am quite sure that people love the fact that their misery has a lot of company. I found some sort of weird comfort just reading the headings of people …

    Retired: Not One of the Bunch  
    I retired from a career that is ridding itself of older professionals. I knew with my increase in salary and age, the top was seeking to oust individuals …

    Bored Silly and Not Motivated 
    I have not been working for 2 years now (I am 65)... my husband has been retired the same amount of time he is just now 61. It was his choice to retire …

    Granny Nanny,..
    and not happy about it.
     
    I am sure there are loads of lovely older mums whose children have produced lovely grandchildren, but how do learn to say no !! I had six children …

    retirement fears.... 
    Retired at age 62, after working 30 years at a job I loved. It was my decision to retire. Hubby is retired and loving it. My problem is .... I'm waiting …

    Never Seen My Husband in Such a State 
    I am totally stressed out because my husband who recently retired at 60 but still works as a consultant, is having anxiety attacks. We have moved to an …

    Good Life, but just not happy.. WHY? 
    I'm falling into depression before I retire but I want to... I'm 68, lost my abusive husband to alzheimer's. My younger sister and I had to take care …

    Regretting retirement 
    I chose to retire at the young age of 55. I thought I’d walk out the door from my job and fall right into happiness, far from it. Six months after …

    Retired & Can't Stop Crying 
    I am a 56 1/2 Y/O male and am going into my 25th day of retirement. I have never been so depressed or anxious in my life and I think I've only had 3 or …

    Click here to write your own.

    Retirement: 2011 not a good year. 
    Lost job, best friend died, got cancer had to retire... 2011 has been a forgetful year. In February 2011 I was taking my best friend (57 years old) …

    Retirement depression 
    I just want to thank you all for your comments and stories. I have a similar story. I retired January of this year. I could not wait. I had a heart …

    Blindsided by Retirement 
    I was so ready to leave work; I just really hated it, plus it was really stressful. But now that 2 months has gone by, I really feel like I'm going …

    Retirement: I was hoping to travel... 
    I was hoping to travel, but my husband don't like to travel! His idea of vacations was always time for fishing. I hate fishing, or I should say I hate …

    Retirement: what depression?  
    I "retired" a lot sooner than my retirement age. All of a sudden I did not have my money to spend as I liked. Tough, we cannot have too many good things. …

    Retired: I'm not living anymore.....just existing. 
    I've worked outside the home all my life. I've been divorced for 11 years, have one son that is married and lives 10 hours away. I've had anxiety, depression …

    Retirement and depression 
    I was terminated from my job and given a forced early retirement. I was (and still am) battling depression and anxiety. I thought I hid it very well, but …

    Reality set in after Retirement 
    I am 67 years old and had a part-time job working from my home. I loved my job and never wanted to quit. Unexpectedly and due to the economy, my position …

    Retired without a direction or reason for being 
    I retired in Feb. 2010 and have been lost ever since. I call it retirement depression. We have moved to a house we inherited and the renovations …

    Retired and Free to Be.. Who? 
    I have been retired for a little over two years and I am still finding it hard to adjust. I retired a little earlier than I planned due to a change …

    Had to retire due to health, but sure didn't want to 
    I was often asked when I was going to retire and my stock answer was "I'm going to work until they plant me". I don't play golf, I have no hobbies …

    Retired: Life After the Military - Who Am I??? 
    I'm 38 years old and recently retired from the military after 21 years of service. Sounds great huh? I thought so too at first. But not long after …

    Retirement: The world is waiting for you 
    After retirement is the time when you can look for doing all the time what you always wanted to do, all your life. Think of two things at first: …

    Retirement - I guess I wasn't ready... 
    I guess in my retirement I was not ready to go. At the time of retirement I was experiencing stress and anxiety. The first time I went through something …

    Retirement: An Extended Vacation, and Then What? 
    When I retired two years ago I thought it was the greatest time in my life. I felt like I was on an extended vacation and thoroughly enjoyed my first couple …

    Retirement Freefall:
    From "I'm Flying!" to "Where In The Heck Am I Going?"
     
    After nearly 30 years, last July 1, I slept in (on a weekday!) and then sat out on my patio, enjoying two leisurely cups of coffee and reading... for two …

    RETIREMENT: Ready or not, here comes my next chapter... 
    I retired six weeks ago. I am not depressed; actually feel real good about it. However, I have taken so many naps. A lot of sleeping. It seems I am …

    Retired and Destressed 
    I retired a year and a half ago. I could not wait. I thought of lounging around the house and watching all the t.v. shows that I could only catch if I …

    Depression in Retirement
    is not Normal
     
    There are many stresses in life that may lead to depression, and growing old can be a key one. One very important for those suffering from depression …

    Avoid Retirement Depression with Planning Activities... 
    It is always hard when you have to leave anything that you have been a part of for a long time. When you have worked for an employer for a long time …

    Depression and Retirement Transition 
    There are many stresses in life that may lead to depression, and growing old can be a key one. One very important for those suffering from depression is …

    How To Retire
    (from someone's who has been there...)
     
    It is always hard when you have to leave anything that you have been a part of for a long time. When you have worked for an employer for a long time …

    Retired and Now: No purpose 
    I am recently retired and like many longed for leisure time, time to meditate on life and to do things I had always wanted to do. The problem is that …

    Making the Change to Retirement, Sucks... 
    I am still in pre-retirement stage. Became severely depressed 3 years ago. Seem to have many regrets in my past family and business aspects. Too …

    Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana and I 
    We have something in common, BPD (borderline personalty disorder)... They died young but I may live until old age. I fear the day when I will need …

    Click here to write your own.

    Unexpected anxiety and depression after retirement 
    Retired after 34 years teaching... didn't really expect to retire for another three years, but the hours were unending and more demands coming every day. …

    What's worse? 
    I had a job that was becoming impossible. The expectations, particularly 56 hrs/week, unreasonable managers and the dangerousness of the work was making …

    Retiring very soon-and already depressed 
    I'll be retiring from my job of thirty years in about a month and I'm feeling a lot of anxiety already. You see, my wife retired from her job after …

    Retirement: Whole New Life 
    It is true, retirement does depress you. And why it shouldn't? When you work for an institution for all these years and then they suddenly ask you to go, …

    Retirement:
    Boredom is a measure of sucess
     
    I retired at age 57 from civil service in New York State, I am 60 now. I have seen it all in the field of Forensic Psychology and don't want to see …

    Disability, Depression at Retirement, Counselling helped me. 
    Yes depression is a kind of disease which can lead to so many problems. Yes I had depression after my retirement. It lasted for 1 year and now iam …

    Click here to write your own.

  • Custom Search

    Share Your Retirement Just Click & Write!