Retired, depressed, no reason to get up

by Jennifer
(Pleasant Hill, IL)

I’ve been retired for a year. I worked 35 years as an advertising designer/illustrator.


When my husband retired 6 mos. ago we moved to a small town where he has lots of hunting buddies. I thought it would be a good break from the city and the deadline job I was in. Now I find I have no reason to even get up in the morning.

He’s always out with the guys for coffee every morning. The only people I know are at church and I really haven’t been included in any groups outside of worship time and Bible study.

I’ve looked for volunteer work but there is none in this little town. I am on antidepressants and barely staying afloat in life.

I feel very un-needed.

Comments for Retired, depressed, no reason to get up

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Teach Drawing
by: Elizabeth/Spokane

Maybe you could teach people to draw in a class. Maybe you could get on the Internet to offer your services as an illustrator. Maybe you could just draw for fun. That is a nice talent to have. I read about someone once who drew pictures of people's homes and then sold them to the people. Don't know how many were sold, but it is something to do.

I Know the Feeling
by: Tim C

Hi Jennifer
Although we didn't move after I retired last December, I know how you feel. I was a supervisor/manager for 28 of the 31 years I spent with my last employer. People depended on me. As of January 1, that wasn't the case anymore. Nobody called and asked for help or information. There were no problems I could solve.

It's been a tough adjustment but one of the things I had to accept is that the core things about me as a person haven't changed. I'm still dependable, smart, etc.

I'm active in my church but other than that volunteering really isn't my thing. Right now, I'm concentrating on doing all those home projects I put off while I was working. I know that won't last forever, so I'm looking for groups or clubs where I can participate in things that interest me but don't necessarily come with the commitment a lot of volunteer positions require.

One nice thing about retirement is that I can be selective on where I choose to devote my time and energy. There isn't going to be One Big Thing that fulfills everything I gave up when I retired. I need to look for a combination of hobbies, activities, and social interactions that meet what we all need--meaning in our lives.

You are not alone
by: Lin S. / Cape Cod,MA

Hi, Your note touched me. Please don't lose hope. I think in times of change, one needs self love. Caring for yourself is not selfish. Go get your nails/hair done. That always makes me happy.

Keeping healthy is the main thing. Is there an old hobby that you never had time for? Is there a college or library there? What about "Meetup" or Facebook friends? There has to be something out there that floats your boat.

It sounds like you're on the right path with the meds. They do help if you give them time. You are experiencing so many changes at once, no wonder you're stressed. Please know you are loved.

Take care and Best of luck in everything.

more advice
by: Cindi H, NC

Ok - here's a weird suggestion. If you have experience in illustrating, have you ever thought of illustrating books - either cover art or children's books? Try doing some research on line. There are places you could advertise to find writers and see if they want to collaborate. You'd get to meet new folks - even if only online. Who knows? Maybe someone in your small town might be a writer who needs a good illustrator. Or hit up the children's book section of your library yourself and do your own children's book. Just a thought.

A reason to get up??
by: Anonymous

Dear Jennifer: There is so much more we need to know about your situation:

How many miles is it to drive to the next town or city.
This could be a project for you to consider---, studying what is available in the towns or cities around you.

Also is there a school or community college nearby where you can take courses that gives also art classes or anything else that speaks to you.

You have so much to give....and to discover. Take advantage of this time of life to find out who you really are and get excited about it. Blessings.




You have so much to offer...
by: Junebug in WI

Given your background I am sure your skills are in demand. Maybe help with the church bulletin or other "small town" publication. Find your own buddies. I live in a small town (<3000). I do chair yoga for free in a nearby town paid by the school district. Get a dog to walk. That is a great way to make friends and is great company when your husband is busy.

Take an interest I mythe outdoors. Birdwatching is great fun...join Audubon. There are lots of backyard projects to report on over the internet.

Just do something; it will pick up your spirits.


Start enjoying retirement
by: Wee-zer

Jennifer, what did you do the first 6 months before your husband retired? Did you do things where you used to live?

First off, I would tell your hub you feel a bit neglected with him paling around with his buddies every day. It might be nice for the two of you to go out to breakfast a few days a week and then plan a little activity. Shopping for groceries might seem boring but my hub and I like it and pick up new products to try. Or splurge on some seafood that we find on sale. You could take a ride to some destination like a water fall or to a flea market.

Plus, this time of year with spring around the corner, maybe you could go out and buy some flower seeds. I just bought some dwarf zinnia's, some basil and some green beans. I have tomatoes on order from QVC. Go to a garden center to see all pretty plants.

If you have a senior center, visit there. Mine has expert knitters and crocheters. They have exercise programs, book clubs and a variety of other things. Check out your library. They have guest speakers now and then.

Check out Meet Ups. Groups are everywhere. You might find a group that fits your personality. Also, you might look up Ed2go classes: https://www.ed2go.com/osuokc/ They are reasonably priced and offer lots of opportunities to learn new things.

Read some books on explorers like the Lewis and Clark expedition. Books on arctic exploration. There are so many brave people who have done extraordinary things. Just reading about what they did and the hardships they endured, will exhilarate you! Here are some books: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/6771.The_Great_Explorers

Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

Retirement Takes Work and Patience
by: Linda/Nevada

Until you are comfortable with your new chapter in your life, you must fight for yourself to find a reason to engage in a daily routine. It doesn't have to be grand in purpose or take up all your day, it just has to be something that will make you feel alive.

I find that making lists or writing in a journal about my problems or concerns helps me have a clearer picture of what it is that I can do to make myself feel better. This is your battle to conquer and you should not expect someone else, even your husband, to find solutions for your unhappiness.

Sometimes remembering what made you happy in your childhood is a good place to start finding activities that will occupy your time. Coloring, jewelry making, reading, puzzles, going to movies and music concerts, swimming, and long walks are just some of the activities that you can do that will help you with your depression without medicating yourself and risking the side effects of the antidepressants.

When I feel a black cloud over my head, I dance to Cajun and Motown music in the privacy of my living room. Before I know it, I feel tired, but better and I am not dwelling on the negative things in my life. Music and dance is my form of therapy for a bad day.

Try to remember what makes you feel lighter and fulfilled and then bring those activities back into your life. You have nothing to lose.

small towns
by: Anonymous

If the town is at least big enough to have some schools, go volunteer to read with small children or work with special ed or do remedial tutoring with high school kids. You'll have a ball and may make friends with stdents, teachers, aides and may even get a part time job.

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