So Stinkin Happy now!

by Cindy Petzoldt

After I retired November 1, I realized I had been struggling with anxiety/depression for about four years, and I went to my primary care physician. After taking a self quiz in his office, I could clearly see that yes, I had anxiety and depression. He put me on an anti-depressant that did nothing for me, but then he switched me to a different one. Between the medication and embracing the start of the New Year, 2019 is turning into the favorite year of my life!


I was already doing a lot of volunteer activities: singing with dementia residents at two assisted living facilities, being a Ready Reader volunteer to City preschoolers, many of whom live in poverty (I get them excited about reading), and I was a hospice visitor. When I felt anxious/depressed, I still enjoyed these activities but would feel depressed as soon as I headed back to my car.

Well, I started admitting my anxiety/depression to friends and found out TONS of people have that problem. One friend suggested we take a meditative class at the Missouri Botanical Garden that started in February and ended in May, and I found visiting the Japanese Garden once or twice a week incredibly relaxing and uplifting.

I also took a Witnessing Whiteness class that ran from late January to May, and that opened my eyes to unintentional racism/unfairness. I also made good friends among others in that group.

I now have developed friendships among a small number of fellow Ready Reader volunteers, and we are loving our social interactions.

I also get a group of retired former coworkers together once a month for lunch, and we are all enjoying reconnecting.

This week, I became a YRead tutor — the St. Louis YMCA has this literacy program that matches volunteers with adults or children who struggle with reading. I’ve been matched with a 2nd grade boy who appears to be hyperactive (perfect — so am I, 😆) and he informed me he HATES reading and I cannot make him like it. I impulsively stuck out my pinkie finger, and he wrapped his around mine and grinned as I leaned closer and whispered, “Wanna bet?” By the end of our first hour together, he was hugging me repeatedly and asking if I could go home with him and his mom. Um, no, sorry, the YMCA would not like that. But I will get him hooked on reading!

I have made social connections with members of my hospice choir.

I am so “stinkin’ happy” now that I messaged my doctor over the Memorial Day weekend, and he’s cut my dosage in half. If I still feel happy when the 30-day supply runs out, I can stop taking the medication entirely. I am curious to see if I need the med or not — either way, I’m fine!

Actually, I am WAY BETTER than fine. I am incredibly happy and fulfilled, doing meaningful volunteer activities I enjoy.

Comments for So Stinkin Happy now!

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Still adjusting to retirement
by: Jeanine Illinois Retiree

Your story is very inspiring. You are living the "how did I find time to work" life?

I thought I might have been the only one battling depression and anxiety after I retired on January 1, 2019. I worked for 51 years, and with work, my family and my hobbies I was kept busy.

Now divorced, children grown and gone, I just don't have the ambition I did a few years ago (before retirement) to go through my "to do " list. Nothing seems to inspire me.

I do enjoy watching the grandkids, just wish I could get excited about all the things I planned on doing after retirement.

I volunteer at the school my grandsons attend and that helps a couple of days a week. I meet up for lunch with former co-workers and keep in touch with some of my high school friends.

After reading your story, I need to get out there more. Was excited to see that you are just across the river from my hometown. Thank you for your inspiring story.

Magnesium levels, get tested
by: Michael Hertel

HI, please get your magnesium level tested especially if you have any sort of restless leg problems. Low level are very common and cause a lot of problems both physical and emotional.

I hope you continue to be happy and active, Peace. Love and Joy.


So Happy
by: Elna Nugent, Mass.

Cindy, Not only have you found ways to be happy.... by sharing your story with this forum you may have inspired many to follow in your footsteps.

Your first step was getting yourself help with a physician
and then following ways to help others and inspire yourself.
Amazing what you have done. Hope you keep in touch.

Congratulations.

Lots to make you happy
by: Sherry/NC

Well, you did work at being happy and it paid off for you!
Keep up the good work!

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