Retired: I'm not living anymore.....just existing.

by Karen
(Chippewa Falls, WI)

I've worked outside the home all my life. I've been divorced for 11 years, have one son that is married and lives 10 hours away.

I've had anxiety, depression problems since age 7. Between medication and therapy it was kept pretty much under control. A year and 1/2 ago, I was laid off from a telecommunications company of which I had been employed as a lineman(lady)for the past 26 years. Of course I also lost my medical benefits. I do have some insurance, but nothing like I had when employed.

No medications seem to help. I feel so alone.

I don't feel like leaving the house, and don't unless I have to. I cry all the time. And things I used to enjoy doing I no longer enjoy. I don't even know who I am anymore, this just isn't the "me" that I've known all those years. How much can one endure day after day?

I really need some help/advise.

Wendy: I'm certainly not qualified to help with depression issues, but is this is part of your retirement transition, it IS difficult. You need something to do each day.. whatever that something is for you.

Can you volunteer locally to force yourself out the door daily? Can you start a blog (and write to the world daily)? Find your previous hobbies online and find new friends to discuss them with?

Join my free e-newsletter and find senior pen pals to talk to daily via email!

Lots out there, you just need to be well enough to find it all... Best wishes~!

Comments for Retired: I'm not living anymore.....just existing.

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Retired not living anymore
by: Anonymous

You have depression, it really is a illness. We never understand it unless we have experienced it. I understand as i have, the constant crying is awf1, exhausting, gives you headaches, and makes your face sore.

I was the opposite instead of not going out i couldn't stay in. I'm not much better now, i can't sit. Although occasionally i struggle to move but i know if i don't it will even be worse the crying will not stop. If i go out i have to try to stop crying.

I would say to you to get outside try, really try to go for a walk. Go for a coffee anything but get put of that house.

A lot of people with depression have a place they feel calmer at mine is cinema. I go for hours.

Wishing you all the best ❤️

Lonely and want a email friend Rosemary
by: Anonymous

I will gladly be your penpal. I have a retired husband who does zero every day and i am now at the end of my tether. Friends i have are very happily married.

Wendy: Join the Retirement Community to connect. I cannot share email addresses here.

Lonely and want an email friend
by: Rosemary

Hi I know where you are coming from. I have suffered with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager.

Now I find myself retired after a busy life working as an English teacher and bringing up two daughters as a single parent. I re-married 20 years ago and things were ok until my husband retired.

All he does is sit around watching TV all day, he hardly ever speaks and if he does it is only to be critical of me. I am trying to take control of my own life and try and make an effort to be cheerful.

Owing to the Lock Down I can't go to my usual yoga group or Book Club meetings which I really miss.

Can't see my sister either who lives nearby or my two daughters because of social distancing. I would like a pen pal to write to, I do have a lady I write to in Germany but would welcome anyone who would care to write.

Best wishes from England!

Online help
by: Bob/illinois

I’m feeling the pain you’re going through. It does take awhile to get through the retirement transition, it’s a major life change. I fell into a depression when I retired. I found a therapy website where you get a therapist that you interact with Smokey online by texting and or Skype video chat. It really helped me. There are several therapy websites available. When we’re down in the dumps we need to get help. And there is light at the end of the tunnel. Wishing you well.

Thankyou Katiekat
by: Rich in spirit

Thankyou katie for your idea of a get together. Just your desire to help has made me feel better. You are a kind soul.

I think being retired makes us all feel alone. It certainly changes the way we once lived. One thing I wouldn't have done is have the discussion im having with the whoevers in life. So to whoever is out their I leave a little of myself to. Letting you know their are like souls out here in cyberspace that do care about others.

Just the fact im writing helps others know there are people like Katie and me that want to connect mentally.

Together we can help lesson the pain and help each other know there things we can do to make life exciting again.

I understand
by: Katiekat

I can empathize with you!

One thing that seemed to add a "spark" of life for me was participating in some of the events at the local Senior Center. I don't feel I fit into all they offered, but I enjoyed the book club and other intellectual offerings.

Take the plunge - this is a good place to make new friends.

I know, the hardest thing to do is to get the motivation to do something but wallow in depression (believe me, I know!). But, if you will take that one small step, it will be a catalyst for you doing other things.

I wonder if this site would allow/promote regional get-togethers? I think it would be beneficial for all of us.

Prayers that you find what you need to feel whole again.

by: Georgis

Go to church! You will find singles classes, many older single women who would love a new friend and many activities. Never know, you may find companionship from the opposite sex. Wonderful place to meet nice, decent and caring people. Good luck!

Friends How
by: Jenna Sue

Karen, my name is also Karen and I've been retired for 3 years. I find it lonely. My husband talks very little, we have no children, my parents have passed and my one good friend has early alzheimers and I'm losing her more each day.

I wish we could be friends. Just having coffee and talking a few days a week would be marvelous. My point is there are other people out there who would love to be your friend. Just how do people make friends? It's been a mystery my whole life.

A Friend....
by: Anonymous

Hi. From my last post and lots of advice, I think I know where you're coming from. My name isn't Cassidy, but that's what I'm going by because I was too worried to be found out who I was.

Depression isn't solved by medication...alone. Or even at all. I had depression and was treated then stopped medications successfully. I'm not suggesting you do that because I don't know your situation.

I also can't pretend to fix you or what your feeling, but I can empathize. Sometimes I feel guilty, alone, etc. and have a few friends, but not ones I can bear all too, without judgment.

Hope you feel better by the time you get this!

I Need A Female Friend
by: Christin

I can relate a lot to this post.
I'm a couple of years older than you and have not worked outside the home in almost 21 years. But like you, I have two grown sons (one near, one in another state) and so far two grandchildren.

I have a happy marriage but as one poster wrote about herself, I'm alone a lot when my husband is at work.
I was struck recently by the fact that I have zero female friends other than my sister (and that's kind of a roller-coaster relationship). And I have one male pen pal. But that's it. I really am hoping to find a female friend, at least online.

I use the internet A LOT, play the piano & in a casual way a couple of other percussion instruments, collect and enhance dolls, and do a regular mild workout.

I've found a lot of spiritual encouragement from watching the Hillsong religous tv station and that has kept me from being too lonely as I would have been.
But as I mentioned, I really would like a female friend.

Join the Retirement Community (right side bar)!

and the beat goes on
by: nance-New Hampshire

I retired 2 years ago due to health issues. Love my freedom. And yes I have depression issues too, but with counseling and the right meds, life can be worth the journey.

I live in housing, in a high rise, so all my neighbors are kinda in the same boat.

We get together every morning for coffee and meals on wheels. They also play bingo, and cribbage during the week.

Please reach out and make new friends...You are not alone!! Email me personally and we can talk.

nance mct7017 @

hope to hear from you

Light a fire
by: Kathy Montgomery

I felt the same when I retired. I was existing not living.

I researched jobs I could do at home. I love being home but I needed a reason to get up every day. I went online and looked for jobs for seniors.

I love animals so I offered my services as a pet/house sitter. Be careful. I was almost scammed but caught it. I had a few successful jobs. I took my Yorkie to the fabric store and met a lady who made a business selling pet treats. I'm going to make her treats and she will pay me. She sells them at farmers markets. This lit a fire for me.

I'm going to make treats and sell them on my home owner's site; at church and craft bizarres. I went online to get recipes.

Find your passion and go for it. It won't knock on our door. Good luck. God bless.

Retired: I'm not living anymore.....just existing. by Karen (Chippewa Falls, WI)
by: LA, Cape Cod, MA

HI Karen (and All),

I also retired from the Telcom Company as a technican, three years ago at the age of 51. I took the offer and ran out of there. When the dust settled, I found myself lost and without purpose.

The first year my dear sister suddenly passed away. I was in a downward tailspin. Fast forward to now and I have found a great doctor for depression and am keeping busy with my pets, gardening and shopping! My husband still works but I am constantly alone.

What helped me was to get into a routine and help someone or animal that needs it. My library offers free knitting classes once a week. I've met many lovely ladies there. We go out to lunch afterward. It's not much but it's nice to socialize a little.

Good luck to you. I hope you find your groove. Just know you aren't alone by a long shot. You are loved.
All my best, LA

Don't lock the world out.
by: Brendan in Ireland

Retirement should not be forced on people. Like every stage of life, it should be carefully planned. I retired and within one year, my wife decided to leave. Talk about an emotional upheaval !!

However I threw myself into many activities around town and became better for it. I understand that getting involved with loads of different organisations is not for everyone.

Life is too short for regrets and the what ifs. I'm 68 and happy. Had a few medical hiccups but generally okay. I wouldn't dream of complaining.

Be happy with yourself and you will find that you have unintentionally opened doors to opportunity,

Just existing
by: Elna Nugent , Mass.

After retirement, you are given a chance to be introduced to yourself--who you really are-- without distractions that keep you from being real.

Depression is actually hurt, frustration and sometimes boiling anger turned inward. .......Writing down your anger can release some of your depression and hurt. Walking around the house each morning and afternoon several times--counting your footsteps to at least one hundred each time--- would be a kindness you can do for your body.

Find photos of yourself that shows you at your best, your most energetic, and happiest time of life. Put one on the refrigerator
and another in your wallet or pocket. Carry it with you every day. See what happens after a few weeks. Many blessings.

re 'I'm not living anymore.....just existing.'
by: Pamela/Yorkshire

The striking effect of reading all the comments, just made me feel glad, so glad to read within the despair, of such caring kindness. I'ts left me feeling affectionate to strangers, here, on the internet so I just wanted to thank you all for giving me this good feeling.

How I hope those who are still suffering and looking for their meaning to living, find a comfort, soon.

After a very busy life, & 'being of use' I think I had/have to look at a new approach, (to help stave off loneliness & inertia ) someone touched on the truth that we are all maybe living longer, and society hasn't sorted out what to do with us.... It's a new frontier, it's scary, uncharted territory and we don't have the qualities of youth anymore ie to venture forth regardless.... in fact our age and experiences actually hinder our progress to attempt new ideas & adventures. there comes I N E R T I A again...

a few years ago I would have spent days in black holes with tears of total despair. I was lucky and found a tiny chink, a tiny beginning towards a way out... and I am still slowly making my way...I hope you keep looking for your ways too......

thanks for your company xxx Pam

Hi existing
by: Joanne, cleveland, ohio

Hi Karen- I don't know how long ago your story was posted... but I'm hoping your feeling better. I understand anxiety and depression, I also have had the anxiety all my life. I am in my early 60ies, and have recently retired, and finding life the same way. I have one daughter who lives out of town, along with 3 grandsons. I am in the burbs of cleveland, ohio, and would love to hear more from you.
Sincerely, Joanne

by: plp

Loneliness is scary. We try to keep busy but yet think, what if something happens to me tomorrow? What will happen? Who will help me? What then will happen to me?

I'm 68 and these thoughts scare the hell out of me.

Financially I am not able to just go to a nice assisted living facility. These are scary, scary thoughts. I can keep busy now but when will I need help?

i have one son but he just will not be involved. SO???

That is my thoughts.

4 the lady who feels she is just existing....
by: Colette

Hi there - I can relate to your situation as I spent my entire life being a wife, a mother, a carer of my two elderly parents and since Mom passed away in January of last year - I am also finding it *so* difficult to get quality pen pals in my own age group. (I am 61 years old and live in South Africa. Have been divorced for many years)

My two sons live in Europe. I have one daughter who lives close by but I am lucky if I can see her 3/4 times per year as her and her hubby have high end jobs and on my son-in-law's side there are *endless* aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews - the list is a seriously l-o-n-g one and then I am not even touching on the amount of business and social related friends/connections they have so they are always off to this or that celebratory occasion on their free week-ends which means that my computer is my life line to the outside world.

I had a lovely Canadian pen pal for over 25 years but one day about 2 years ago he suddenly passed away and it has been so difficult to try to find new pen pals.

I will try to sign on at this site just to see if I can find good, quality, pen pals on here who like me live alone and would welcome someone to have a fairly regular email correspondence with.

Warmest regards from Colette (JHB, S.Africa)

by: Loyce!

I've kissed many frogs: Started my own on/line groups; joined the local health club and The Moose Lodge; host a weekly dinner for a few friends; am learning to play pool and racquetball; opine on/line and work on my upbeat 'tude so I can continue to draw people. Life is a battle for warriors.

Freedom can take getting used to
by: Pamela R

Hello Karen

I am a recently retired Social Worker, also living nearby Mt Clemons & searching the net as to why I "Like"spending" so much time alone when all my life I have been surrounded by others.

Your story touched me, as did the Beautiful story of the man who helped the little girl to live. Other people here have given you very good advice I believe.

Depression can be not only a reaction to stress around us in our environment but a chemical imbalance much like sugar diabetes, which can also be genetic. Sometimes when our prior Meds aren't working with additional stress we may need an adjustment, I would say keep in close contact with your DR & how you are doing on your meds so he can help you.

Also learning to choose what "thoughts" to dwell on, help us a lot to fight off depression, exercises such as the free site online in conjunction with Harvard University are really informative as well as having a "Ride the Wild Horse" meditation tool that helps to refocus our feelings & thoughts/problem solve.

I wish you the best, hope some of this is helpful to you & as others said before me, remember You are Not Alone, there is help & other people all around you wanting to help & hoping you feel better, just reach out to them, try to see what positives there are in this world just waiting for you.

There are thousand maybe millions of people in our country in jobs for whatever reason they absolutely hate, they have to force themselves to go to everyday, I bet they would be Thrilled to be facing the problem of Permanent Retirement & no "have to" job.

As retirees we just have to figure out what we want to do with all the free time we suddenly have. I look at it like a slave or a prisoner being suddenly set loose to freedom, he/she may not know what to do with himself at first, not being told all the time what to do & so tired he/she has little time to think.

It may feel uncomfortable & alien at first but later on we slowly begin to realize what a Blessing Freedom is. Then we can begin to make our lives what We really Want them to be, get to know our true selves & Fill our time with activities We actually Enjoy, whatever that may be.

We eventually begin to see how Truly Lucky we are..but all that takes time to adjust to. They say prisoners begin to "cope" by starting to love their capturers, a very sick but necessary coping mechanism psychologically.

Now we have to work on no longer needing this misery, saying goodbye to it and moving on to learning who we really are & how we wish to use our time in order to make our Life Happy.

Good Luck Karen, my thoughts & Best wishes to you ^^.

just killing time
by: Anonymous

When your retired alone and nothing worth while to do anymore, it's like your real life is over and now your just killing time.

During your life you had a career, family to raise, that was your life. You had goals. That was your life. Now that's all gone. Now they say take walks find a hobby or anything other non-important thing to do. It's just killing time.

Maybe we're living to long and it wasn't meant to be like that.

by: Anonymous

Moved so you can see what other retirees have to say.. help and be helped!

Look under WHATS NEW and you'll see your post. Visit it and find the new comments!

by: Candy

I had been working for last 25 years and was planning to take a retirement since, at this stage I felt that my employer no longer need me. (reason could be my aging I just started my 50 years this January). Though, my two daughters are studying in Colleges and still not settled, the office environment is so painful, I don't feel like going to my work place. Every morning I have to push myself. However, after reading all of your comments about life after retirement, I feel, it is better not to take retirement. I can just feel the pain and the loneliness of each of you since, each moment, I too go through the same though, my children and spouse are around me.

I reiterate that LONELINESS is very painful. Most of the night I cry and cry in my bed, apparently there are no serious issues which I can count on. Still, I am so lonely.

by: Anonymous

The days seem like eternity! I walk and spend hours on the computer and go to the grocery store, but it isn't very interesting. I enjoy not being rushed, but my life seems empty. No family, friends to spend time with... my partner works and I'm alone. I pray a lot so one of these days I'll find my direction... and I wish the same for you too!

Don't Give Up Trying...
by: Pam

I can honestly say I know exactly how you feel right now! For months after I left the home I loved and lost the man I loved for 19 years and moved to a senior community apartment, I cried every day, most of the day!

What I have learned over the past several months is that I am stronger than I thought, and this was not the end of the world or my life as I knew it. It was just a different phase of it, a new start again!

I also found God again and He helped me get to this comfort in my life. There is a lot out there you can do, first try going to your local health department for help with someone to talk to, or talk to one of your close friends. I have found that the doctor is a better choice, friends just want you to get better quickly and get over it.

Sometimes it is not that easy to do. It does get easier, I started my quilting again, and hope to enter a craft show during the holidays to try to sell some of them. I also started to read again, something I always enjoyed but never seemed to have time for.

f nothing else you now have time for all of the things you loved to do, and never found the time to do. You are always welcome to write to me, I am online most days and always welcome a new pen-pal. You can write me at

I live in Mt. Clemens, MI not far from Detroit, so you are not too far away either. I am 61 and a mother to two grown sons, with four grand-children.

My sons live, one close by and one in Chicago. I also do not see them much, nor do I see too many of my old friends from years ago, most have moved on or are married.

So, I spend a lot of time alone, or reading, quilting, and I also crochet occasionally. Trust me, one morning you will wake up and realize that it is a better day and from that point, it will get easier.

You may still have a bad day or two, I do from time to time, but mostly they are good days because I can still get up on my own and see and hear the world around me.


Baby Boomer Resources
by: Adam

There are an enormous amount of resources available on line. you're not alone.

by: Anonymous

You are far from alone. Loneliness is an epidemic, partly the isolation created by technology, partly the change in family dynamics, partly the fact that we live longer and are very mobile.

I've thought of starting something, a way for women like us to re-create something like an extended family. Anyone else interested?

There is purpose in your pain, you only need to find it. Everything happens for a reason and nothing is wasted. Try Byron Katie's four questions.

You can't change what is happening to you, but fighting against it, telling yourself how difficult it is, that is what is actually causing the pain, not the reality but your thoughts about it.

Let my story show you the way ....
by: Retd. Prof. Mr. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava New Delhi, India

Esteemed Ms Karen, Wendy has given you the best advice You must reach out to people in your own way and you will have no dearth of people to talk to.

Let me tell you the story of my friend, a retired man in his 60s. He had been divorced and had no children. He lived alone on the edge of a a forest. He had five pets - four cats and a dog. They were his only friends and he spent a lot of time caring for them and talking to them. His neighbours thought him to be eccentric.

He would write extensively about his pets and post his blogs on the Internet. He wrote so well that he soon had a stream of letters. He was also a skilled craftsman.

He could make beautiful dolls out of waste cloth. He kept himself busy with his pets, doll making and tending to a small kitchen garden.

One day the police arrived at his residence along with some court officials. They had a Court order declaring him incapable of looking after himself. He was to be transported to an institution for mental patients. His property was to be attached and his pets put to sleep.

Seeing the commotion in his house, a neighbour arrived and talked to them. He stood by the old man, got a lawyer to represent him and moved an application for him to be freshly examined by a medical board.

When he was taken to the hospital for his medical check, he came to know that a certain child was admitted to the same hospital for bone marrow transplant but the child was going to die because a suitable donor was not available. He asked to be tested.

Luckily, he was found to be a perfect donor The life of the child was saved. The child's family adopted him as their own and began caring for him. Now he had a foster family bound by love. His life had changed.

You are not alone in this world. Reach out in love and people will respond. You can write to me by email. You should also write to your son everyday. Have no worry.
Best wishes. DKS,11.4.11

RE: I'm Not Living Anymore....
by: Anonymous

Even though I retired under different (positive) circumstances, I believe feeling alone is a common thread when our days are no longer filled with lots of activity--not having enough to do allows us to internalize to a negative extent.

The advice to get outside is crucial at these times--taking walks is an activity you can do alone, which eliminates the "excuse" that you don't have anyone with whom to do anything!

I relate to your feelings and there have been times I have felt very alone, to the detriment of my well-being, which is why I am writing. I absolutely will NOT go to the movies alone, nor will I go out to dinner alone (and I get depressed when I dwell on that fact if I happen to be alone at the time)--yet, I have seen others who don't let being alone stop them from doing these things.

Everyone is different!

But walks are so good for you, and you CAN do this alone without any feelings of "social stigma!" Perhaps these walks will evolve into other activities, but even if they don't make walking a daily "must" and you will find your spirits have lifted to a degree.

Most importantly, do not dispair! You are NOT alone!!

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