No Normal

by Thomas
(Fishers, In)

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.

Along the way I was promoted to Sergeant as a first line supervisor working with my squad for eight years. I believed as we all do, I wanted to follow the promotion path. I was promoted to F/Sergeant and then to Captain.

I worked very hard to follow the promotion path and to move up the ladder. This is what I believed I needed to do too be successful. The career was a good one and I ended up at headquarters. I was responsible for hundreds of employees in special investigations. This position was 120 miles per hour nonstop.

The day came when I realized I had my time in and felt I have done as much as I could do. I also felt like I didn't have the energy or the desire to continue.

I was so excited to have made it to the end of the race and I have earned my pension and most importantly my health insurance. I walked out feeling a great burden was lifted off my shoulders.

This lasted about one day.

I had to talk myself off the ledge the next day. I was going 120 mph the speed I was when I was working, but I was at home.

Since then I have been suffering from anxiety attacks and depression. I keep telling myself this will pass but I'm not having much luck.

Thank god I have a wonderful spouse who is helping me through this along with a few good friends.

People keep telling me to find something to do that I have always wanted to do. Well I've never thought about that before and it comes as quite a surprise to me that its not that easy to find.

The depression is still with me, but not as bad. It is good to find out that I'm not the only one who has these feeling and I really am grateful I found this site. I can't stop reading the responses and finding others with the same feelings.

Thanks to all for the advice and to Wendy for a place of peace and knowledge.

Wendy: Kudos to YOU for looking for help out here. That's the first step... and now you KNOW its not just you, not at all.

I think Law Enforcement, above all, is hit hardest - but rarely tell others how they feel. They lose that tight camaraderie with fellow co-workers, and loss of identity hits heavy. Going from Full Speed to "Nothingness" is difficult for many - but law enforcement is another breed to begin with.

IF you'd like my help as a Retirement Coach, please use the Contact Me (bottom left) and we'll talk!

Best Wishes!

Comments for No Normal

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In the same boat
by: New York city

Retired from law enforcement as a lieutenant with 34 years on the job. retired too because I had enough.

Serious anxiety and depression hit me. I don't regret my decision but I wish I could shake these awful feelings as they are making my life a living nightmare.

Have no idea what to do. Spend many hours at the gym, also train my dogs and read books but nothing seems to work.

Wendy: Please write to me via the Contact Wendy, under About Me... let's chat via email.

Being busy at work
by: Anonymous

This was a good thing, I now realize. Working people should count their blessings.

Glad you doing better
by: EJ


Like Wendy I'm glad to see you trying to move on. The comment about seeing your doctor and getting some counseling is telling.

After recently seeing my doctor I'm back on antidepressants and it has made a tremendous difference in my life.

Hang in there brother and I'll keep you in my prayers.

How are you, Thomas?
by: wendy

Just curious how you are adjusting to retired life?

Have you found some new interests? Started to travel? or Just Coping, Day to Day?

Praying for your transition...

Thanks to you all
by: Tom

I wish to thank you all for your comments and the time you took to respond. Update, I am still having some issues but have reached out to my doctor and seeking some counseling. It has been a awful experience but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I continue to look at the site and enjoy reading the comments and seeing other ideas to move on. Thank you all so much

Wendy: Woo Hoo! Just the fact that you write this makes my day -- you are headed in a new direction! Enjoy your Retirement -- it's great once you pass the transition stuff!

Not Normal
by: brenda


Allow yourself to grieve. Retirement brings on a sense of loss for most people to varying degrees. You have 'lost' your job, your identity from the work force - you used to be Captain, now your are Mr. - and you have lost the automatic respect and deference people used to give you due to being Captain. You have lost your paycheck which is how out society measures people. You have lost the daily socializing on the job with people who were your 'family' and understood everything that you were experiencing. You have lost your sense of purpose and daily routine. You have lost the feeling that what you do every day matters, that you were contributing to society. You have lost the self you were for over 30 years; the successes and the goals that you worked so hard to achieve.

Retirement is one of life's biggest and most life altering transitions and yet it is the one we are least prepared for when it happens. A retirement coach may be helpful after a year or so, a coach can help you reach your goals. But when you are newly retired and have no new goals, are feeling lost, and do not have the ability to form new goals, a coach probably will not help. You may even resent the positive, cheerleader qualities of someone encouraging you to move forward. You need time to grieve the life and lifestyle you have lost, time to adjust to days without structure, time to get over feeling of being left out of the community of State Troopers, time to admit to yourself how you feel and come to terms with your feelings. Until then you won't be ready to move forward with purpose and joy.

Be kind to yourself, accept your feelings and allow yourself to feel your emotions. If you try to stuff them, ignore them, or deny them, you will never really move past them. I know this does not sound positive and hopeful, but as the first year goes by, you will most likely start feeling better, the days will grow ever brighter until you realize the depression of grief is lifting. At that time you will be able to look ahead and make plans and set new goals. During the time you are allowing yourself to acknowledge your depression; do not stop living, do not stay home and wallow in your depression. Nature is very healing, get outside as much as possible. Connect with God as you understand Him. Accept invitations with the understanding that you are not expected to be the life of the party. Take on small tasks and jobs that are easy to complete yet will give you a sense of satisfaction when they are completed.

You have already accomplished so much in your life. Believe that there is much more for you to conquer. Just allow yourself the time to get to the point where you are ready to take on the challenge. Your energy will improve as the depression lifts. You will see things through clearer eyes.

Thomas, just remember - at this phase in your life depression is normal. Not fun, not welcome, not permanent, but it is normal.

FDNY-Manhattan Trustee
by: Rudy

I hear you brother,
My experience in retirement has been similar.
One day at a time.
We have to LEARN to relax and concentrate on ourselves and our own family, instead of others for the first time in our lives.
For me it has been two years now.
It gets easier brother.
Good luck.
Live long and prosper,

Thank You
by: Anonymous

I have read all the comments and want to thank you for your response's and advice. Your concerns and help is so very much appreciated and you should know how much I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Definitely not alone
by: Carol Miller

I worked in a very busy emergency department of a big hospital.

When I retired I began to get panic attacks and that's when I started Prozac, Librium, Xanex, and all of the other meds. I even went to a shrink who was crazier than I was so after one visit I quit.

My husband and both of my daughters have had the same thing but at different times. I think that when your life changes big time you just panic.

I'm off of all the pills now but my 2 daughters both take them. My husband takes Prozac and it really seems to help him.

[All I can tell you is that one day you'll notice its all gone. Its part of life and everyone I know has gone through it.]

Good luck and God bless. Carol Miller

In the same boat
by: EJ


I went through the same feelings, emotions, depression, etc as you are doing.

I retired three years ago due to health reasons. When people would ask me when I was going to retire I would always say, "I'm going to work until they plant me. I have no hobbies, I don't play golf so why retire."

Well low and behold, I had to retire and not because I wanted to. I have to tell you I have been miserable the last three years and of course I hear you've got to do something, get involved, etc, etc.

All good advice if your not on the receiving end.

I've started volunteering one day a week at one of the local hospitals and I've become active with the local organization for my disability but I still miss working and being able to contribute.

I'm in the master blog for R.O. so if you want contact me there.

Good luck and let's hope we both make it.

thank you
by: Corinne in Ohio

Dear No Normal, I work at the Senior Center of the small town I live in, as activities coordinator.
It's a membership and social services organization, not a residential facility.

Yesterday I took a group of seniors on an outing, driving a 14- passenger bus all by myself (I'm 65.) about twenty miles to a restaurant in a nearby city. On the way back, the thought came to me that it is a wonderful thing that a relatively vulnerable group of people can safely travel on such a trip, and even all over most of our country.

I believe it is due to the system of law, order, and policing that most of the people who would victimize others are kept from wreaking most of the havoc that is possible.

So thank you for your years of work. I hope you now can find a venue-- maybe fundraising for a Senior Center, for your wits, sociability and creativity.

The retired chief of local police is having fun and camaraderie as fundraising chair of the Senior Center. His wisdom and experience are important on our board of trustees.

Don't let society's old is bad stereotype keep you from a realm of service that could be a real blast for you.

Yours, Corinne

Responding to Thomas
by: Linda Lively

Hi Thomas...just think how many times in the past you may have saved a life. How about continuing that with volunteering?

Animal shelters need help desperately. Or being a big brother or even helping children in the therapy horse riding clubs. You are a person who has given so much and I imagine it is almost impossible to NOT give of yourself.

As a nurse for 41 yrs, I have seen my share of sorrow, pain and even horrible disfigurements. I am now semi-retired and I find a great deal of pleasure in volunteering.

Pick something of interest to you and give it a try! If you do, let me know how it goes.. the facility/people you help will love you for it and I promise you will feel so much better!

Have a wonderful day, just smell the fresh air and remember you are alive!

It's natural!
by: Cath

I worked in a similar profession to you, but in the UK. I had 32 years’ service and like you, was pleased to take retirement – but also went through this phase of depression.

For years you’ve had a very strong work ethic. You've been under stress. The adrenalin has been coursing round your body but now it’s stopped.

So it's natural, this feeling of depression. You can't rush it - it's like a grieving process for the hard-working, fast-moving person who earned respect and a living through his work.

One of the important things to remember is that you're still that person but now with the time to relax and enjoy life. You need to find a niche - something that makes you feel good about yourself, and about life.

I did it by thinking back to things I'd enjoyed as a child and young person and then I found something I can do which combines those things. I don't have a lot of money - but I spend what I have got on the things I enjoy.

You're not alone. Wendy's site is amazing. You have a loving partner and a lot to offer. Be kind to yourself. Don't rush it. Allow yourself time and let your mind wander. It will let you know, sooner or later, what you really want out of this exciting phase of your life.

Speedy Gonzoles
by: Joe W.


Congratulations on your retirement from a commendable career. I see too many law enforcement officers, military personnel and other people that have been in situations where they had to deal with violent incidents. Anxiety and depression are the psychological effects of these types of careers for many men/women.

You mentioned having both a pension and medical coverage which would probably allow you to take more risks.

I'm a Canadian but I believe in the USA they have a new program there to help military personnel to become entrepreneurs. Others like can help people get to become social entrepreneurs eg. mentoring role.

A career for a lot of people takes up 30 years or more of their lives however; most people forget that after their corporate job ends the retirement life starts beginning with year one.

In year one you'll need to take baby steps again and go through the self-discovery stage until you are ready to select a meaningful retirement path for yourself. Good Luck!

You Are Not Alone
by: Anonymous

You are not alone. I have had this feeling as well. Be thankful for your spouse. Your family is the best support system.

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