Early Retirement Blues

by Ian White

Hi there

Well my story started in November 2014. After 30 years of teaching I found I woke up one morning, sat on the toilet and burst into tears.

My understanding wife, also a teacher, took me to the doctors and I was given a sick note for 4 weeks. Within 1 week I had decided not to go back. I got in touch with my pension people and to cut a long story short in February 2015 I officially retired.

Life was great until Easter 2015. Those first 4 or 5 months were great. The elation of not having to go back in was overwhelming.

I started running again; I went for regular walks; I started to look after the house; I lost 10kgs in weight and now feel fitter than I felt 20 years ago.

With my pension we managed to pay off all of our debts with a good lump left to do house improvements. Money is not a problem, with my wife still earning. Life couldn't have been better.

Since Easter, however, I have been getting anxiety attacks. it started with the innocuous crossing of a railway bridge to change platforms. My legs started to shake. I started to sweat. My fear of heights was intensified and I won't go to places with high buildings and "a nice view" is a real worry for me.

Suddenly, after enjoying going out every day, I get mild vertigo attacks. Don't get me wrong...I still do go out, and go running; the irony is that my times are getting faster!!

I try to meet up with other retired friends once or twice a week for a walk, and in one case to help out with some DIY.

My worst days are when I have nothing on my agenda. I feel as if I am in a void. With no school to go to and no pressures taking my mind off things, I tend to overthink. My stomach churns and when I go to new places or experience new events, my legs wobble again...that for me is the worst of all the symptoms.

I have been for counselling, which has indeed helped and the doctor prescribed beta blockers, which I threw in the trash bin!

From what I have read, a lot of others are having similar problems. That alone holds a certain amount of relief for me. At the moment, I get good days and bad days. It's the old "two steps forward, one step back" routine. Surely this cannot last forever?


Comments for Early Retirement Blues

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It doesn't last forever...
by: Wendy

I never experienced panic attacks like you are having, but others have. You are not alone.

I pray it's a phase as you transition from working fella to retired fella. GIve yourself time to renew, figure out who you are now, as Retired Guy, and move on.

Just give yourself permission to live life as your soul wants to live it... busy some days, down days other times. It's all good!

by: Rose Raintree Arlington Wa.

Ian, I have posted some blogs on Retirement online community and written some comments here as well.
Perhaps some of my experiences will be of benefit.

I was an RN for 35 years and some of your concerns I can relate too. For my my faith and love for my family is what I hung onto until the light came back again. today I am happier than I have ever been and so glad I am retired.

I too found that I need to stay interested and I applaud you for running and losing weight as all those things are so important in your new journey and discovering whats ahead.

Life is not over but I do think we have to reinvent ourselves and our purpose. Find something that tweeks your passion again and yet gives you great joy and something to look forward to each day For me it is gardening now, which I was horrible at in the beginning and still learning.

As well as improving my home, like I just finished painting the floor of my shed and rearranging things in there today. I crochet, I love to read, I have many friends I have in different places all over the world that I love writing and hearing about their lives. I also love to write.

You said you overthink, I always did too, and so I began asking God to direct that thinking to benefit others. And now I write my journey and days and things that I think might help others along the way. I think we can benefit so many with the years and experience we have lived and when we focus on that we find our own lives increasing in purpose and joy.

God bless and keep up the positive things and I am sure you will find your way.

Spouse appears to have similar issues
by: Anonymous

On June 2014, I retired after over 35 years of teaching, however my spouse had been retired about fifteen years.

I am active, but my spouse appeared to have OCD. If I am using a drawer and leaves it open, he closes it, turns lights off I am still using, watches the same TV programs over and over, to the point he knows the words, often he repeats the script before the actors states it.

To help me cope, I try to stay out the house as much as possible, such as going to the library, exercising, volunteering, going places alone, meeting up with friends for lunch, and doing other things. He does not want to go places because he has anxiety attacks.

I go to counseling to seek someone to talk about my issues and to figure out what strategies I need to use. I find it is very helpful, eventhough it cost $40.00 each session.

It's All Good
by: Nancy

I liked what Wendy said, "down days, busy days, It's all good". I wish someone had uttered that simple phrase to me when I first "graduated" to retirement. I know what you mean about the stomach churning. I used to wake up at 4:00 with a blast of pain over not having my job to go to. I'm better now, after 3 1/2 years.

Based on my own experience, you are still in very early retirement and retirement blues in my case did get much better.

You are so doing the right things, counseling, running. That running can really be a mood elevator. Take care and keep coming back.

post retirement
by: diane canada

It is interesting. I enjoy being retired, its been 2 years now. I keep very busy mainly doing volunteer work but have started quilting as well. what I find interesting is on the occasional day that I have nothing to do and stay at home I get quite anxious. I can't seem to lay around and read or even do housework. I have to get out and like you I have a tendency to overthink myself and all ailments seem to be worse. I am only happy when I am out with other people.

by: Ian

Thanks for all your input. It is much appreciated. I have been going to counselling now for a month and things are getting slightly better. The palpitations and stomach churning now only occur when I wake up. After a short while they disappear.

My main concern is the dizziness. I have always had a phobia for heights and my anxiety seems to tap in to this. I feel uncomfortable sometimes when outside; looking up feels weird and any sudden movement makes my legs wobble for a few seconds.

I have a history of inner ear and sinus problems so I don't know if this is anxiety brought on by a physical problem

, or this is a physical problem brought on by anxiety. The last couple of weeks I have had aching around my jaw, neck, left sinus, ear and temple. I am going to my doctor this afternoon for a chat.

Part of me is craving for a physical problem, because then at least there is more chance of a cure. The main part of me believes it is still a psychological problem though which is now causing physical problems.

Anyway...what do I know?! I'll see what happens.

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