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.