Anxiety/depression early retirement

I retired at 52 after 27 years in fire service. Was ready to go after watching a few buddies die of cancer.

Sold my house up north, ended a relationship (we both new what the retirement plan was), and moved into my vacation home in Arizona.

Everything went according to plan, joined clubs, travelled a bit, had plenty of friends visit, and after only three months I just had an anxiety attack, and feeling of despair that I have never experienced in my life.

I can't focus on simple tasks, wandering around the house like a caged lion. I am excercising and riding my bike, playing poker with group, etc...but have fallen into the deepest depression and don't understand why. This is everything I planned for.

Money is not an issue.

I have a Dr apps for tomorrow. I have never felt such a feeling of loneliness and despair. What is going on... (rhetorical)

Comments for Anxiety/depression early retirement

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Many have been there, done that before you...
by: Wendy,

Yep, the media talks money as the retirement issue, and having income or savings certainly gives you more possibilities ---

BUT in the long run, its all about your mindset in retirement.

I pray the doctor can help you... none of us like meds, but if it gets you beyond this temporary retirement transition period, so be it.

This IS temporary...

The more you say to yourself, I'm full of anxiety, the more your subconscious fixes that deep into your brain.

Start now with a better mindset, even if you don't feel it: "I love retirement and all the possibilities it brings me..." or something like that. Write it down, carry it, put it on your frig, whatever you need to do -- to see and say it daily, many times a day.

It will feel weird, It will feel like a lie, but let it seep slowly into your subconscious until it becomes your new truth... seriously it works!!

by: Karin

Make sure the doctor checks your thyroid. It may not be retirement-related

Response to anxiety and depression
by: Carolyn

I hear your delayed reaction to retirement - with me I was happy as can be and then after 7 months I began to feel down - my sister got ill and that exacerbated the feelings until I was a walking bundle of anxiety and depression at 62 despite having interests, hobbies, freinds, being comfortable financially and doing volunteer work.

I thought I would never feel myself again - I felt outside my body as if an invader had taken over - never felt like this before - went to a doctor. it took about 3 tries but got on the correct medication and a year after lying in bed crying I found myself on a Caribbean cruise with two old university friends!

I swam with dolphins and sea turtles in the Caribbean sea and swam every day.

It will pass but I know it seems like it never will. I am glad you are seeing your doctor. That's a very smart move.

A new perspective
by: Elna Nugent LenoxMA

Dear Anxiety:

Your chosen work has included drama and tragedy in contrast to other days when not too much was happening.

You have done a great service in your work, something which can give you deep satisfaction. But people lose who they really by identifying themselves exclusively with their jobs.

You still have so much more in you to give. We are all like an iceberg we see on the surface of the water in the shining sun and think that it is all we are. When actually that iceberg is connected to a gigantic glacier , sometimes as big as a minor continent. We have no idea of how vast a potential we have that is not even barely expressed never mind seen.

What is most difficult for people to address when they retire is that they are closer to the end of life...and they can't deal with it. I can assure you that life is a continuous journey and you have endless discoveries ahead of you.

Death is another birth. And the memories we have had will all come flooding back to us as we go on-not in an earthly body- but in a super-atomic body that is indestructible and has much the same appearance we had here.

Right now let your imagination help you carve out adventurous days ahead . Most retirees should really consult a recommended counselor when they retire. It can make a difference quickly rather than have us drag along without much hope.

A thousand blessings to you.

by: Sheila, Cambridge, Ontario

Have you tried speaking to a pastor? Sometimes they can be very helpful. They have had the training.

by: Joe W.

I think that there is a common link between all the first responders such as the firemen, police, ambulance works and the military.

I'm not saying it's PSTD but maybe it is something like that, which robs you of the ability to focus on ANY second careers or even general retirement. Then, if you add 'cancer' to the picture it would surely produce more anxiety for anyone that takes part in these kinds of career options.

Before starting any new project it's probably very important to achieve your most important goal first i.e. health & wellness.

Joe W.


Hi..maybe you need a change of scenery.
You are welcome in "The Villages".


Dear Anonymous,

Retirement is an adjustment. Don't worry, there are plenty of folks here who have experienced the same thing. I hope you will find peace.

You Gotta Hang In There!
by: Mark in Maryland

Let me relate a similar situation of my own, and maybe it will help. At age 47, after 25 years in accounting and executive management I simply quit my job, bought a house on a golf course and moved 3/4 of my family to Florida. No jobs lined up, no health insurance, but I really didn't care as my burn-out was that severe.

So as with you, I'm living the good life, walking my dog in shorts and flip-flops in February, making $7/hr. cleaning golf carts when out of the blue, CLINICAL DEPRESSION rocks my world, and my poor wife and son have a basket case to deal with. And she absolutely hated Florida and being away from her mother up north.

Having little other recourse, I was institutionalized two separate times and about the only things I remember was that I couldn't possibly be as crazy as the rest of the "inmates," and that I told my family I would write a book one day called "Shoes Without Laces" because that's what they did: took the damn laces right out of my tennis shoes.

Long story bearable, we lasted one year in FL and moved back north, where a psychiatrist friend-of-a-friend diagnosed me with bi-polar disease and saved my life, literally, with a cocktail of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications.


Good luck my friend, and know that there is happiness and fulfillment after depression. I am almost 63 now and have been joyfully retired for nearly three years. I would not trade it for the world!

Retirement at 52
by: Drew/San Diego

In my experience the transition from working full time to not working is too great a leap. Firstly, if you are 52 and in good health, you made the move too soon. You've gone from being fully engaged in life to having no purpose. Apparently you left a relationsip behind as well.

The doctor visit will help, but you've got to change your life. What are your passions? What have you always wanted to do? Any chance of putting that relationship back together? Time to decide what you want to do for the next 30 years...

♦ The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain

Retirement Blues
by: Robert

I retired approx. ten months ago from my job (27 year police career-Patrol Lieutenant for the last 16); I am struggling with the loss of identity issue; furthermore, it seems that life is dull/boring, and there is nothing really to look forward to...59 years old, and for the first time in my adult life, there are no personal goals that I am working towards; hope this forum helps; best to all.

Be hopeful for the next phase
by: Sandy

I am so sorry you are feeling this, but you are not alone. So many of us who have posted on this site have gone through and are still going through the post-retirement blues. For some of us, it is a restlessness; for others it is a sadness and for other, it is a deep depression.

Talk to people, go to your doc, accept the fact that you might need meds and find your new place in the world. It is not easy at all and you may still have ups and downs. No one ever told us this part of life, so I guess we are all discovering it together. And hopefully, we are helping each other cope.

Let's try to enjoy the years we have left, after getting the help we need to be present and in the moment. I am sending you good thoughts for healing.

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