Delayed Post-Retirement Blues

by Nancy M
(Sylvan Lake, AB Canada)

I retired in March 2013. My first summer off my husband thought it would help me to transition into retirement so he organized a road trip that took us from Alberta, our home province, to Ontario (where I was born and raised and where my family all still live).

We spent 2 months there and arrived back in Alberta a month before we were scheduled to depart for our winter vacation to Yuma AZ. I was fine that winter because I knew I was going back to Alberta to a summer job. This schedule continued for the next 3 years..wintering in Yuma and working in the summer in Alberta.

All that changed this past winter. The job I was doing during the summers was no longer available, so I spent the winter agonizing over what I was going to do when I returned home for the summer.

I went into a deep depression and suffered with bouts of anxiety and panic attacks starting in November which got progressively worse as the winter months went by. I couldn't figure out why I was feeling like this until it dawned on me that for the first 4 years of my retirement I always had a job to go back to during the summer months and now all of a sudden I had no job waiting for me.

After reading the stories on this site on how people feel right after they retire, I am wondering if I'm experiencing a delayed reaction to my retirement. In other words it took me 4-5 years to feel what people typically experience within the first 4-9 months of retiring.

In case anyone is wondering, I sent out resume after resume applying for jobs that were posted on a job search web site, but had no luck landing a job. I am doing some volunteering but I don't find it keeps me busy enough.

I am on medication to help me deal with the depression and anxiety which has helped me tremendously. I'm not looking forward to going south this fall for fear of digressing back into the same state I was in last winter.

Has anyone experienced a delayed reaction to retirement, and can you offer any helpful suggestions on how to deal with it and get past this negative state of mine I'm experiencing.

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Delayed Reaction to Retirement
by: Nancy

Getting yourself motivated is not an easy task, but it is important. You will have to force yourself to take the steps to volunteer, but in the long run you will find that it's worth the effort you put into it.

Choose something you are interested in. Most senior/retirement homes need volunteers or food banks.

It will fill in some empty time and will get you out of the house for a while. Don't give up.

Delayed Reaction
by: Anonymous

As a writer leaving a full time position (booted out the door with a group from my newly merged company) I just picked right up as a freelancer.

I knew I didn't want a full-time job in the corporate world. So between freelance and unemployment checks I was rolling along merrily for at least a year. Even when the unemployment checks ended, I still had a small stream of freelance.

That's when I decided to apply for a fellowship non-profit. I had always harbored the idea that working for a non-profit would be extremely gratifying. After the 4 month fellowship/course I realized that paid jobs were pretty much non existent in the non-profit world for someone my age. And during my hiatus from paid freelance, most of my clients disappeared. So 2 years after my retirement, it all fell apart.

Nothing to do and all day to do it - unmotivated to volunteer - unmotivated to look for paid freelance. Just plain unmotivated. I guess it just finally sank in. Or I don't know what - but I lost interest in most of my activities.

I have sough out therapy and am seeing someone - going through the meds process which has helped a bit. But of course very few shrinks accept medicare - so the cost is an issue. This is a long winded way of saying it did take a couple of years for retirement to sink in, and kind of sink me. I so envy other retired folks who seem to love it. Maybe some day I will too.

Retirement Blues: Anxiety & Panic Attacks
by: Wendy,


This is all so very normal -- and yes, in your mind you weren't REALLY retired because you did work part of the year. Right?

Now, you don't.

BUT if you were doing good before -- you were enjoying the contentment and small daily joys of retired life. You certainly can do this again.

You are not your work. You are much much more than that!
Please don't let the work side of you overrule the rest of you...

WHO IS NANCY? Who is she away from work? What are your interests away from work? How can you pursue your interests in a new way, like volunteering or groups?

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