Feeling lost

by USA

It's been four years since I took a voluntary buyout at from my full-time job and I've hit rock bottom

Looking back on it now, I didn't realize how much I depended on my position to give me a sense of who I was. I also failed to appreciate the social connections both with my co-workers and those I interacted with.

When I told my boss I was leaving, he wished me well but said "What are you going to do all day? Just go fishing and ride your bike?"

The short answer there was "yes" and for a time I did enjoy my leisure time pursuits both alone and with my retired buddies. Life seemed pretty good -- even though I still had a nagging feeling I'd made a bad decision to retire so young.

I also was continuing to smoke a fair amount of weed, something I've done pretty regularly since college. Getting stoned and then going for a bike ride, a paddle or a hike became my standard way to spend my days while my wife worked and our teenage son was at school.

But now at age 60, I'm reallly struggling to fight the depression, anxiety and self-doubt. I've been doing some freelance work but that can be isolating since there is no office to hang around in. The worst question I often hear is "what are you doing with yourself these days?"

Even the pot no longer brings me relief, in fact it makes me feel even worse about myself -- both for screwing up my life and also for being a drug addict. Alcohol does help reduce my stress to a bit but I have reduced the drinking for both physical and mental health reasons.

The worst thing going right now is the insomnia. It's rare when I feel I got a good night sleep and recently I've been laying in bed for hours just ruminating on all the stressors in my life.

They have me on the anti-depressant mitrazapine to help with the sleep and that was working initially but not so much lately. I've tried mindfullness, relaxation and other techniques with some limited benefit.

Also been doing some individual therapy along with a men's group for recovering addicts. So it's not like I'm not trying to get my self confidence back.

Unfortunately, the longer this goes on the suicidal thoughts have crept in. I doubt I would actually go through with something like that but it's scary to think you could get that deep into the darkness.

Not sure where I am going with this other than to "empty my bucket".

Trying to keep my chin up.

Comments for Feeling lost

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Yes, retirement is tough.
by: Mark


I understand your how you feel completely. I retired 3 years ago to escape a crazy dept. director. I was planning to work another 2 years before he arrived. It's been a struggle to find a mission again.

I've looked at full and part time jobs. The process of job hunting sucks at age 63. I do a little part time volunteer work and try keep a schedule of sorts.

It can be tough, but try to hang in there.

Been There
by: Canadian Retiree

Dear Feeling Lost

I could have written your post myself. I too have felt lost since retiring last year. I also took Mirtazapine for a whole year. I was put on a wrong antidepressant at first which made me feel suicidal.

I tried volunteering but didn’t last because I kept pining for my job. I’m doing better now. I’m taking art classes and a workshop on Leadership. The mirtazapine really helped. I encourage you to stick with it. I met with a psychiatrist and a psychologist for 6 months. Really helped.

I hope you find some peace with your retirement. I’m trying to. It’s not easy but hang in there

How About Working, Again!
by: JDenise/Cleveland,OH

After reading all your pursuits, I didn’t see the option of going back to working. Y

ou have a boatload of experience, why not look for a job that can utilize your experience. Maybe at a part time position or a teaching position or start a business taking ppl on biking tours, etc.

Why not go back to work! No one said you can’t.

Weed or meds
by: Gilbert

Curious about discussion of weed vs anti depressant meds. What’s the difference between taking a puff or two in the morning vs taking a pharmaceutical?

I have found weed much better for improving my mood but the guilt over thinking of myself as a "drug addict" makes me feel like a loser. Anyone else have thoughts on this one?

Perhaps if I was taking marijuana under a doctors supervision I wouldn’t have the same guilt feelings but find there is still a big stigma around weed in the recovery community.

Feeling lost, comment
by: Dana

Many of us do not realize how much we were connected to our work and its daily structure, co-workers, and others we interacted with until after we've left it. While we're still working and dealing with the stress of it all, retirement looks really really good, and then it happens and we find ourselves asking wait, what? It's too bad we are not given the option of rehearsing retirement for a year and then deciding whether to return or not!

For me, the lack of structure - getting up early, getting ready for work, interacting all day, coming home to do what needed to be done and unwinding, and being tired enough for a good night's sleep is what's missing and may be for you too. The bike riding and other activities I fit in while working were a treat, now they are available any time and I don't even take advantage of those "treats" as much.

Good for you in seeking individual therapy -- It's great to have someone to bounce your thoughts and feelings off of in a confidential, nonjudgmental way. Go weekly for awhile if you can. I did and it's helped me immensely. You are too important to leave this life too early when you have much to offer and a family who loves you. If you have kids, please know that if you leave this earth by suicide, they will forever ask themselves what they've done and will always feel that rejection.

Lots of us have been where you are at. Please know you are not alone! All the best.

Feeling lost
by: Anonymous

If it is any consolation, I think most retirees feel the same way. I know I still do and I've been retired for many years.

I'm trying to find more activities to get involved with. I find having some type of schedule helps.

Feeling Lost
by: Anonymous

So you think it's bad to smoke weed, but not bad to take medication. I would rather take weed for anxiety and depression. Medication has too many side effects and does not even work most of the time.

I feel the same as you, lost and not looking forward to living to a ripe old age. My boss always said Don't retire, people retire and then they die. Well I got sick the very week I retired and been sick 8 months now. Doctors just keep saying stress because of losing my job (got laid off at age 69) and then my son died from fentanyl. Like you I have considered suicide.

There are lots of things to do and I have no interest to do much but sleep and play on the computer. No interest in doing all the things I put on my list to do when I retire. I just look at the list, feel anxiety, and go take a nap.

Unlike you I can sleep for hours. I sleep 8 hours a night and then have 2 hour naps in the afternoon.

My husband works 2 or 3 days a week only and when he is not here, I feel even more lost. I walk the dog 2 hours a day at least but now he's getting old and soon there will be no dog to walk.

I'll go back to the gym, that always interested me and I miss going. Haven't gone in 2 years since we got this rescue dog who is old.

Can't do both in one day at my age. I wish you luck and not sure what to tell you.

Start living
by: Wee-zer

You do sound lost but we all need to find our way in life. The journey is not easy but we must all do it our own way.

You need some inspiration in your life and I am attaching a link that has 75 very inspiring books. I would suggest that you pick one book to read as a start, go to the library, check it out and read it.

Go thru the list and I am sure you will find something to start with.


by: Wendy, retirement enthusiast

You are a good writer... you must write!

Journal to get your feelings out, privately.

Write online to share life with others... your simple words can change the trajectory of another retiree's life.

You have been there, and done that -- for four years now.

You are now well-qualified to share your experiences of retirement and life itself to benefit the lives of others who are in the same circumstances.

Write -- share life -- get it out of your own head, onto the screen and let those demon thoughts, never-ending, float down the river of life.

You have the opportunity to help others --
You likely helped people throughout life --
It's time to step up and do what you know --
Share life's experiences --
Share your senior adventures --
here and now --
Help Others Live Life
HELP YOURSELF AS YOU Move Past your Negative Mindset (that subconscious mess that keeps you in this never-ending cycle trying to keep you small).

Please write --
the World needs your thoughts!

Retiring from work not life.
by: Jane Curtis/Hawkins Texas

If you read through some of the other blogs on this site you will discover you are not alone. Usually, the depression sets in within the first year some where just past the 6 month mark.

It takes at least 6 months to enjoy not punching a clock or having your life determined by a schedule. You feel much like a child with no discipline feels. It is very exhausting to be a free spirit all the time. Boundaries give us security some what like wrapping yourself in a blanket gives you comfort. Don't worry. It will pass. There is a key to unlocking the joys of retirement.

When you stop focusing all your thoughts on yourself you find you can expand your horizons. Start by volunteering at something you really find interesting. Research that business or subject you always wanted to but never had the time. The key is to stay busy doing something. It does not matter what you do just make sure you have to get out of bed, bath, and dress to get it done.

I stayed inside my house for 2 years without even going out on my front porch. It was not until someone else needed my help did I suddenly realize it was ok to try. It does not matter if you fail.

Do not count your failures. Count only your wins. If you must count your failures count them as how many times you got back up.

With the Internet now days you can learn almost anything. Learn a new language. Learn a new skill. Teach someone else the skills you have. When you are ready to teach the student will suddenly show up.

I have just recently started doing some writing. Nothing major but for fun and to keep my mind active and my imagination alive. I find I have time to paint. I don't sell my work, I donate it to charities who are trying to raise money. They love it and it benefits all concerned.

Get your mind off your retirement and start working on the journey ahead. It will be a good one but you have to get up and take the first step. When you turn your mind away from self you see so much more to do.

Please, please don't
by: Auntie/Northeast

You are working in the right direction, but if it's not helping, please tell some one. Tell your helpers, tell someone! And if that doesn't work, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

And don't give up.

We all will die soon enough without trying. Please stay with us now.

by: Sherry/ NC

What is the meaning of freedom; doing what you want to do?

Find a volunteer job or 2 and you will meet people and make friends, and learn something new; also you can go to your local community college and take a course and meet folks there too.

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